My choice of two premium AMEX cards & one for Skymiles 2015

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delta reserve card and amex platinum membership rewards cards

It is that time of the year when some annual fees (some big ones) are coming due and I need to make some choices for a bunch of reasons. First why.

AMEX lets you hold, at any one time, four credit cards (more if you include charge cards). Right now I have a number of AMEX credit cards and I am looking at a new round of cards soon and need to be careful. I want to keep my SPG credit card and my Business Delta Reserve credit card as I have had it forever. I also love having a Platinum AMEX Membership rewards card for access to 3rd party lounges and especially for the Centurion lounges for free. So what about cost and value.

I hold two Delta AMEX Reserve cards. They each come with a $450 fee. With spending of $60,000 on one of them I earn a total of 90,000 Skymiles and 30,000 MQMs (with bonus points). To me I am thus getting $900 in minimum value since I can use Pay with Miles and get 1 cent each per Skymile and that does not even count the MQMs that I also DO value very highly. Oh, then there is the BOGOF that is Buy One Get One Free that I can use in 1st class. But considering the changes to AMEX gift card purchases via shopping portals as of late (with no promise they will be back, ever) running that much spending next year on two cards may not be as simple. Not saying it is not an option, just more work than I may be willing to put into the task considering I will end the year with almost 250,000 MQMs. Plus, holding one card is enough to help me on upgrades, that is holding two does no good in this area. So do I keep two Reserve cards or not?

On to my non-Delta Platinum AMEX Membership Rewards cards. This one is for me a keeper. I mean for the first year I get bonus points, $200 in airline incidentals plus after 1JAN2015 another round of $200 in airline incidentals refunded to me. But even after next year I will keep getting the $200 so the net fee to me is just $250. Since every 5 years I also get my $100 Global Entry fee paid for, really my net cost is $230 per year. I will easily visit enough lounges to cover that. Plus I value the membership rewards points this card provides and also it waives international transaction fees. The only question remains if Lisa gets one of these as well next round, now that I cannot guest her into the Skyclubs anymore after next year (thanks Delta btw for that)!

So what is the most logical card to drop? Yep, one of my two Delta Reserve cards. Now I will take the time to call to see if AMEX will do something BIG like waive my fee for a year due to the change in Skyclub entrance or give me some points to offset the fee for a year, but if not it will be time to cancel one of them sad to say.

So what card will be next to replace it? While I plan to spend as little as I possibly can under Skymiles2015 on Delta tickets, when I do I plan to use an  AMEX Premiere rewards Gold card  to earn 3x points booking directly on (a 50% better return than using Delta AMEX cards that only pay 2x points)! – René

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by American Express. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by American Express.

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  1. If you get a fee waiver or extra points for not cancelling please let us know. This year I tried with both my DL Reserve card and my AMEX Plat. and got a “rock” on both attempts (I didn’t really want to cancel the cards, just tried to get a $450 fee waiver or some bonus points).

  2. Thanks for the head’s up on the 15K MGM on the AmEx Platinum. I enrolled, spent my $1000 in month one (ended 8 Sep). I did not receive my miles (either the 15K or the 50K total. when I called AmEx I was told that an agreement between Delta and AmEx provided payment piecemeal over several weeks. Are you aware of this?

    In other AmEx MTM bonus programs, the bonus is delivered at the close of the statement.

  3. Have your wife get her own delta reserve card.she can use it to get into the sky clubs and then gift the mqm to you as needed.
    Still spending the same money but now she has club access.

  4. @Eric – thought about that option too but I have enough MQMs for a while and the Reserve card will cost $450 for 1st year and the AMEX non-Delta plat, with bonus points and airline credits for year 1 & 2 will cost me/her net ZERO :-)!

  5. Can I get the bonus miles/MQMs if I get my own delta reserve card? I’ve only been a co-user on husbands platinum, for which he’s had so long he never got a sign up bonus, by the way . . If so, can I the gift him the MQMs? I don’t need them because I only fly with him and usually on a free ticket.

  6. Rene .. Have you ever used the AMEX Platinum card’s BOGO offer for international Business class travel (through AMEX travel, of course)? It seems prohibitive, as only certain city pairs, airlines, and class of services.

  7. @Anthony – I have not much due to the same results you have and others as well that the cost is just not as good as you can find with some diligent searches for discount biz fares. I do each year use my Delta domestic BOGOF certs and find real value there.

  8. Hi Rene,

    I am trying to decide on a business card and am stuck b/t the Delta Reserve Biz and the Amex Biz Platinum. I have had the Delta Gold Biz for a few years (but in my husbands name). Going to cancel his and get my own so I can reap the benefits, but can’t come to a decision. Are the points worthwhile with the AMEX Plat? I’ve always had DELTA cards, as I live in ATL and usually only fly delta. I have a personal Ritz Visa Sig, so get a $300 flight incidental reimbursement there. Any help/advice is appreciated!

  9. @Stacy – to me I get value out of my NON-Delta plat as I visit enough lounges outside Delta. Plus the $200 in incidentals brings the fee down to $250/year. If you do need MQMs you want to stay Delta AMEX. It is really that simple.

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