Been holding off till 1JAN16 to get your Delta AMEX card for MQMs?

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I cannot tell you how many e-mails I get with folks telling me that once the 1st of the year rolls around it will be time to go for a Delta AMEX card of some flavor. The choice will be either the personal card or possibly the business card. But there are some things to consider before you go for one of the above.

First off, many were wise to wait if you had some rollover MQMs and want to start the year off right. The bonus MQMs from the Platinum or Reserve cards alone can offset the non-waived fee in value for many flyers who have MQMs as their goal. But don’t forget the bonus SkyMiles that come with these cards as well once you meet the minimum spending requirements.

But a very important thing to consider is will you get the bonus points. If you have EVER held any of the above three personal cards, either by getting the card new, or making the mistake to upgrade to the card, you are then ineligible for the new card bonus for that card – period! This is currently the hard and fast rule by AMEX. Yes, you can get the card again, but don’t expect the new card bonus.

This is also why so many go for the business AMEX Delta cards because the rule here is that you can cancel, wait 365+ days, and then get the new card bonus again. This is, in my option, a much wiser choice for AMEX to take to attract new card holders. Plus, just about anyone can get the business cards using their SSN number to get a card for their use for whatever business purpose they have. While you don’t have to have an EIN number, some do get one just for “banking purposes” but that is up to you.

Some other data points. Many are not just working on earning MQMs but also working toward their MQD exempt status so that they do not have to worry about that part of the elite equation since earning your elite status is dependent on BOTH elite points AND MQD spend or being MQD exempt. Do keep in mind your spend on all your cards total, both personal and business, count toward your $25,000 total needed to be exempt. Lastly, if you have authorized users on your primary account, like adding your wife to you account, then that spend also counts to YOUR total MQD exempt spending total.

I also often get questions about waiting even longer for some higher bonus MQM offer from AMEX. For the Reserve card, I cannot ever recall a better offer than the standard one. For the Platinum card there have been a few but do keep in mind they have, each time, been late in the year and it can be harder to spend the sizable about (for some) to get the bonus MQMs that way with the end of the year at hand (spend for MQM bonus is based on calendar year NOT your card holder year).

I am always amazed just how many pushed it to year end again in 2015 to get the needed points they required. Some failed and did not get it done and now must pay, before 31JAN16 for credit on 2015, BAT CRAZY prices sad to say. Don’t let that be you this year. Look at what you need NOW to get what you need. Plan your spend. Look at Elite Mileage Runs right now when they are so dirt cheap compared to year end when you often must pay through the nose. Be travel smart not travel desperate at year end. – 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. Why not get the Starwood AX and business AX cards instead? Can transfer to multiple airline partners with 25000 miles for 20000 points – a 25% bonus.
    And sometimes (AA last fall) actually gave 30000 miles for 20000 points (a 50% bonus).

  2. @Charles – We are focused on MQMs not SkyMiles. You get no MQMs from SPG. Sure I agree for SkyMiles that is a good option!

  3. If you have a Delta Gold but want to move to Delta Reserve, you need to close and cancel Gold then apply for Reserve for bonus MQMs and miles? Thank you!

  4. @Rene – I had the Gold skymiles card back in 2008 (before I knew ANYTHING about signing bonuses etc.) and if memory serves, I did the upgrade to the Reserve (doh!) and of course missed the signing bonus. Good news is I’ve maxed out the MQMs and bonuses each year so missing the 10K MQM bonus is water under the bridge, and I’m DM for 2017 so no hard feelings lol. Would I still qualify for the personal Platinum skymiles card signing bonus?

    Thanks for the continuous flood of information and happy new year!

  5. The Delta Platinum Amex offer last June was pretty good. 10K MQM and 60K RDM after 2K spend. I’ll be waiting for something similar on the business card front.

    As for upgrading, your experience may vary, but I was able to successfully upgrade from the Gold to the Reserve online, and got the full bonus.

  6. Rene, a bit off topic, but question for you as a Delta flyer. Heard from someone that the row directly behind Comfort+ has extra legroom to accommodate Comfort+s extra recline. Could you confirm/deny this? Thanks. Would be a real money saver for my upcoming trip to Asia. Or not.

  7. @William – Congrats on the upgrade working. Many run across6 lane highway too but I would never recommend that either 😉

  8. Assuming I’ve maxed out on platinum and reserve personal sign up bonuses, how would recommend doing product changes throughout the year to maximize mqms and reduce annual fees? For example, first half of year would be personal platinum combined with Delta reserve business. At Jul 1, product change to reserve personal and apply for platinum business? I would think you’d always want to have a Reserve active for it’s benefits.

  9. Rene thanks for all the tips. I currently hold a business Platinum Delta Amex. My wife has a personal Platinum Delta Amex and I am an additional cardholder. Lastly, 4 years ago I cancelled a personal Delta Amex. This was not the Gold, Platinum, or Reserve product. It was the card that originally did not have a fee. Can I get MQM bonus for personal Reserve Platinum Delta Amex card?

  10. @AI R – If you personally have NEVER had, ie been a primary card holder, of the personal Delta Gold or Platinum or Reserve card you can get the bonus once in your life for each of these cards yes. If you have ever held them, i.e. new card or upgraded to them, you can not get the new card bonus for them. You can get the card again, but no bonus.

  11. @JR – I always wait until a fee hits before I think about changing any travel cards (or just before they do). You are then in a better position to negotiate retention points or at that point change or cancel a card. Please never “upgrade” or downgrade a Delta AMEX personal card as you are then killing your shot at EVER getting a new card bonus for that card. I would think long term as to Delta AMEX card MQM earning strategies and yes I would always hold either a personal or business Reserve card for the upgrade perks (and I do).

  12. Got the Delta Reserve as a non- upgrade card (already have the platinum) and AMEX put a different skymiles account attached to the card. Better to merge the two skymiles accounts on Delta or to call American Express and ask for a new card issued with the correct skymiles number? I am gold in the skymiles account attached to the platinum card for 2016. Thanks!

  13. @Sarah – Just call Delta they will merge accounts. Also tell AMEX the one account to keep (the oldest one). It is a simple fix.

  14. So if you have a delta gold card AND a delta platinum card, your spend on each goes toward the total $25k? Say 10K on gold, and 15k on platinum, you would have your 25k? Im assuming though that this would not work for earning your 10,000 MQM on the platinum? Would you have to spend the full 25k on plat card to earn that (not combined spend on both cards?)

  15. @Nick – Correct. For Delta MQD exempt spend it is across all personal and business Delta cards you hold. For MQM bonus it is only THAT card spend.

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