What is the Best Delta AMEX card for Flyers? Is it the GOLD Personal Card?
What is the Best Delta AMEX card for Flyers? Is it the Platinum Personal Card?
What is the Best Delta AMEX card for Flyers? Is it the Reserve Personal Card?
Let’s face it – if you are flying Delta Air Lines even just a few times a year then you need to hold one of the above Delta AMEX cards. Why? That is what we are going to take a look at and help to consider what card is the best choice for you.
Before we begin, when it comes to ANY AMEX cards, it is critically important to understand the current rule (as of this post date) for receiving a bonus offer from any card. Right now if you have EVER held any specific AMEX card you cannot get the new card bonus again. You can get the card again for all the perks, but not the new card bonus points. This means even if you made the mistake of downgrading to this card from some other card, you have held it and cannot get the bonus ever again!
So first up let’s consider the Gold personal card. This is the card most start with because of the sign-up bonus offer and understandably so. But what about holding the card year after year? There has to be enough benefit to justify the annual fee. Let’s look at some of what I feel are the most valuable ones and a reason to consider the Gold personal card.
Delta tells us that on average, only about 50% of flyers pay bag fees. To me that means at least half of the folks getting on a Delta jet are doing it wrong as $25 for the first checked bag (per person by the way) is a lot of money. Oh and that is each way so you are talking $50 round trip. Now the Delta Gold personal card gets you your first bag free. The super simple math tells us that if you alone take just 2 round trips on Delta you have paid for the fee to hold the card. As added financial incentive you can have the first bag fee waived for up to 9 travelers with you on the same reservation. This bag fee waiver alone explains why I say if you fly Delta you really need to hold some kind of Delta AMEX card.
Let’s look at another critical perk, that is, priority boarding. You, and those with you on the same reservation, get Zone 1 boarding. Now to be clear this does not mean you are boarding first. Delta boarding is a bit confusing but the important bit is you need to understand that many times Delta will start forcing you to “gate check” your bag when you board after Zone 1. What this means is your approved carry-on size bag will be checked to your final destination whether you like it or not. If you value overhead space, holding a Delta AMEX card really is all but a must in today’s crowded flying environment.
Then we have the perk of using “Pay with Miles“. This allows you to spend your SkyMiles at 1 cent each booking flights on Delta.com. This is not always the best value / redemption for your miles but it gives you tremendous flexibility to book anything you want that has any open seat. Plus, if you are working on any kind of status, you do earn FULL elite points or MQMs even if you pay for the flight in full with SkyMiles with the Pay with Miles perk. Lastly, as a side tip, always compare any award price to the option to Pay with Miles as sometimes this can be a cheaper option.
Since we are briefly above considering elite points, any of the Delta AMEX cards allow you to earn a Medallion Qualification Dollar Waiver. Currently this means that spending on the Delta Gold card $25,000 (but also includes any other cards personal or business you hold) that posts to your account between 1JAN and 31DEC each year exempts you from MQD spend requirements to earn status. It does NOT however exempt you from needing to fly a bunch of miles for each elite level, but the point here is part of the elite equation is taken care of if you can reach the spend goal each year.
Next up we have a perk I have used now and then. When you pay for food or drinks on-board a Delta jet with your Delta Gold card you save 20% off the published prices. If you are paying for snacks for your entire family (and maybe a drink for you) this can really add up over the year. Again, real savings for holding the card and using it on-board.
You may wonder why I have not yet mentioned the perk of earning 2 SkyMiles per dollar when buying Delta tickets. While this is a nice perk I personally feel there are better cards that offer greater travel protection like the Citi BANK Prestige card that once you hit a delay of 3 hours or more benefits start to kick in. Yes, 2x per dollar is a nice perk but at least know there are other options that may be better personally to you.
As I said there are a number of other perks but these we have touched on are the major travel perks that I value and I think others do as well as Delta flyers. But one last one outside the travel world is the amazing AMEX Extended Warranty perk. You need to read the details to make sure whatever you buy is covered but for most items you are basically adding one year of warranty to what you buy. I have again and again had AMEX simply give me my money back when something I purchased broke outside the manufacturers warranty. It is quick and simple and AMEX is amazing taking care of you when you need it. This is simply real value and piece of mind.
So there you are. Is the personal Delta AMEX Gold card the best one for you to hold? For many the answer is yes but for others the Platinum or Reserve card may be a better choice. We will look at that next up. – René
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