Credit Cards

Delta has left me “wallet confused”. My choices are no longer simple. Change is really hard.

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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Last year it was so simple, that is my choices were so simple. I had, not just my Delta business AMEX Reserve card that I have held forever, but also a personal Delta AMEX Reserve card. I would often pull either card for most purchases other than those where 5x came into play. Why? My choice was simple even if I was not getting MAX value for my spend. I was working to get to $60,000 in spend on each card to net out a total of 60,000 bonus MQMs (30k from each card) plus the bonus SkyMiles that came along with that. Simple.

But as we all know Delta has not been honest with us this year. They promised the moon when it came to SkyRubles last year and then pulled the rug out from under us. They cut and cut and even stooped so low as to remove the award charts online (even though they still use them). Trust is just  gone  when it comes to the Delta award program. This is really sad to me.

renes delta mqms this year

So I am no longer driving all my spending to earn SkyMiles as I have in years before. I have canceled one of my two Delta Reserve cards already. Now part of my spending confusion is driven by my personal MQM totals (I know, a good problem to have). As you can see I only need to end the year with 235,000 MQMs to hit my goal to rollover Diamond Medallion status until 1FEB2018. Why not 250k you ask? I can meet the MQD exempt spend next January via spend on my remaining Reserve card, earning 15k MQMs after 30k spend, and be done. So I only need ~47k MQMs this year. I have 15k on the way once I get to 60k AMEX Reserve spend this year. So all I need is about 30k flying. I have about 15k worth of Delta mileage runs booked already and will use my Global Upgrade certs to buy tickets to earn the rest of the MQMs I need. Simple.

But that does leave me with spending issues as I mentioned from the outset. After I am done with Delta spend what do I do now? Where will I drive my spend for the next half of the year and for every day spending. What should be my “points bucket” I toss all my spending into?

Membership Rewards points. I have shifted my buying of airline tickets over from my Reserve card to the American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card <—LINK. Clearly getting 3x per dollar is much smarter than 2x and I can earn it on any airline not just Delta. Plus, I trust the value of membership rewards much more than SkyRubles now. So that choice was not really all that hard. But do I pull this card for ALL other spending? Sure for things like gas that I can get 2x. But what about other spend? Should I make it simple and just use this card for everything?

FlexPerks points. My USbank FlexPerks® Travel Rewards Visa Signature® <—LINK still has it’s place. Both for grocery store purchases and for real charitable giving I use it as well as “manufactured” charitable giving. So this card has it’s place in my wallet.

But again, what about everything else and all the little things I buy each day. In the past it was just always – always – always my Delta Reserve card. I had a two-fold reason for doing this. One was to mix up spend, but also just because the numbers to reach each year were large each year. Now I am finding I have to think. Many times it ends up being the Barclay’s Arrival Plus card that hits the counter at checkout. Other times my Chase Sapphire Preferred (like at restaurants). I also trust and value both of those points for lowering my travel expenses.

There are still simple things that have not changed. I still have my cell and cable bills auto-billing to my Chase INK Plus card and will keep doing so as long as they offer 5x. To be able to spend ultimate rewards points at 1.25 cents each for travel OR to be able to transfer them to so many good partners puts these points in the real value bucket. I just like simple and 5x is as simple as it gets!

I also have other cards that I have in my wallet and keep for the perks but don’t really use for much spending (other than UBER) like my non-Delta The Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN <—LINK. Also my Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express <—LINK I, for now, only use when staying at SPG hotels.

The funny thing to take from all of this is I now have to choose and think and Delta’s choices have affected my spending pattern with AMEX. I wonder if AMEX knew ahead of time that Delta was going to make so many drastic #KeepDescending choices before they signed the new multi-billion dollar deal with Delta for years to come. I wonder if they would have offered such a sweet deal if they knew that Delta’s choices would impact customer spending for those like me. – 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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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

René de Lambert is a contributing writer and the founder of RenesPoints. He is an avid Delta and SkyTeam flyer who has held Delta’s top Diamond Medallion status for many years and flown millions of miles.


  1. Ditto – I put $150k+ on Delta Amex cards last year but haven’t even pulled out an Amex in 2015 thanks to #KeepDescending Delta

  2. “Manufactured charitable giving” … I want to hear more about this one.

  3. I cancelled my Business Amex Reserve in January and may cancel my personal Reserve when it’s up for renewal. I have started moving $1,000’s each month to my US Bank and Ink cards to build them back up. This looks to be my last year as a Delta Medallion.

  4. Still no interest in the 90k miles promo with the Virgin Atlantic world MasterCard that says “use miles on Delta” on the envelope? Already hit spend bonus on Reserve card and switching to others too.

    • @Kevin – Not a fan of that card. I would pick a number of others including Alaska card.

  5. Made changes as well. Dumped Amex Delta and Amex Costco cards. Going to the Marriott Rewards for big 70K points start up. Build up hotel on top of Skyrubles which are worth less and less.

  6. @Rene, does the Flexperks card *really* count as a charitable contribution? Wow!

    • @Mark – Make a $25 loan and see for yourself 🙂 (unless something has changed that I don’t know about).

  7. I have noticed that with all the negative changes Delta has made, we are flying Delta less. They didn’t realise that by cutting down the miles you get by flying Delta, it has become easier and more profitable to earn them with credit card spending.
    Surely they didn’t intend this to happen !
    We are staying the same Medallion status with Delta, thanks to our credit card spend, but now we are choosing other airlines when the price is better!

  8. @Rene, I made a $100 contribution (to a different organization) using my Flexperks card a few weeks ago. I still haven’t figured out how to check if it was treated as a charitable contribution or not.

  9. @Rene, been waiting for that statement for a few weeks … any day now. 🙂

  10. I have switched to AA and so far so good. Have had great flight crew, in fact friendlier than DL! I switched from DL Amex to AA Citi card and have had no problems. Barclaycard will be issuing for AA customers the Navigater card. The one card offers 3 miles for every $ spent.
    For the time being DL has lost me.

  11. Just did a $25 Kiva loan in an attempt to make it onto the current statement period. It did redirect me to paypal for payment, will that be a problem (because it will say paypal*kiva rather than just kiva on the charge)?

  12. Now, assuming this works, and we know it does because @Rene has been doing it, how much MS can occur before paypal gets annoyed and starts to do nasty things?

  13. AMEX Delta Plat card cancelled. $50,000 + spent last year.
    Will be 0 for Amex this year.

  14. Rene,
    Like you, this year I have been moving spending away from my Delta SkyMiles AmEx (which used to be the only card I used) to other cards. Now don’t get me wrong, I totally get why you would use various cards for ‘category spend’ but what I don’t get is why you wouldn’t make something like the Citi DoubleCash Back your choice for “everything else”. Is it a problem with the sponsors of your blog or something? I did the math on a bunch of cards this January (in Excel and everything) and I realized it would be a lot less hassle to put all spending that doesn’t qualify for at least 3x category bonus onto the Citi DoubleCash card. To make sure I still get the ‘jolt’ from earning points, I opened a new online saving account to sweep the cash into. I’ll just use that account to send myself on vacations when the balance gets high enough, and earn interest on my Rewards in the meantime. But hey, to each their own.

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