My first EVER KIVA loan loss! But net results still make lending worthwhile for many Delta flyers.

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Photo Credit loan #1250553

Many of us who are Delta flyers are still trying to spend either $25,000 or $30,000 (or twice that much) on our Delta Amex Platinum or Reserve cards each year. The reason behind this is the goal of A) meeting the $25,000 MQD exempt spend number for Platinum Medallion or lower, B) wanting to spend at least $25,000 to have a better shot at (meager) upgrades, C) spending enough to earn bonus MQMs and SkyMiles for each spend level.

With Amex cracking down on “creative spending” that means real spend on things like paying your taxes each year, at a cost of 1.89%, has become a more attractive choice for many. Since at rock bottom PWM or “Pay With Miles” prices you can burn a SkyMile at 1 cent each many choose this route due to eating the net loss of less than 1% to get the spend done quick and easy. Some even tell me (I am not a tax advisor, check with your own advisor) they can write off this fee anyway (again, I am no tax advisor nor am I giving you tax advice).

I can live with a less than 1% loss!

Another way for many who are willing to have some funds tied up for months at a time is KIVA loans. I have shown you how, at the time, my loss rate was ZERO. Well I ended 2017 with one single loan that was not looking good and it has now ended in default, but the story is an amazing one almost worth the loss. Notice what happened:

The group is going through some internal issues. Despite the fact that they had collected money to pay their debts, the group’s president kept the amount corresponding to two installments and went to Chile with the money. However the group made efforts to reorganize, they carried out activities to collect money and this time another member of the group traveled to Argentina with the money and didn’t come back.

Yikes! I have a feeling two in the group will not be welcomed home to their village anytime soon. But again KIVA does not guarantee repayment and I now, after over $30,000 in loans, have a net loss rate of less than 1%. Considering I can spend a SkyMile at 1 cent each with PWM I look at this as a wash. Not just that but if I had put all that spend on my Delta Reserve card I would get 15,000 bonus SkyMiles (as well as 15,000 MQMs – See E18) so if we add that back in my total loss is even less. Either way by being careful with my loans my loss rate is still half that of the average lender.

Bottom line is for those who are still interested in reaching some yearly spend goals with their Delta co-branded Amex cards there are still ways you can do that (in addition to normal every day spend and business spend) and KIVA is still one to consider.

Are you still going for some yearly spend goal on your Delta Amex cards or have you given up this year? You tell me! – René





  1. Interesting – I generally had good results with KIVA South American loans, especially with women’s collectives. Over 3 years and many thousands of dollars in loans I only had one bad loan that was half paid (Mexican loan – lost $25) and a few smaller currency conversion losses.

  2. I’ll try to make the spend on the one remaining Delta AMEX card I have (Delta Platinum) but I’m not going out of my way. By this time every year I have usually met the spend on the Reserve card and have started on the Platinum but Delta makes it hard to get motivated. Plus my job now requires a lot of travel so I’ll get a ton of miles the old fashioned way, BIS. This year I’m re-focusing my spend on other cards.

  3. I have quit trying to meet spending requirements for elite status on all my cards. It became a crazy treadmill. Now, I collect miles and Membership Rewards as best I can. Since most of the time we travel Biz or 1st either with cash or miles, the status does not seem to matter much anymore. I cannot tell tell difference when I am in Delta One whether I have status or not in the way I am treated. Guess that is Bastian’s goal. I will probably not keep any of my Delta cards much longer. MR are so much easier to accrue. Thanks for the fun blog.

  4. @rene. One of the deductions ad I go through the questions on HR Block software is how much fees were for layong previous year taxes by credit card.

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