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Major Changes and Higher Fees Coming to Delta American Express Cards

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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.


Delta announced wholesale changes to its co-branded American Express cards this morning.

The major changes — which go into effect January 30, 2020 (the end of the current Medallion year) include:

  • Annual fee hikes across the board
  • Reserve cardholders eligible for upgrades — even if they don’t hold status
  • Gold cards no longer eligible for MQD waiver spending
  • No more bonus SkyMiles after reaching certain spend thresholds (i.e. $25,000 on the Platinums and $30,000 on the Reserves)
  • Bonus SkyMiles on everyday spend (restaurants, supermarkets, etc — varies by card)
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit for the Platinum and Reserve cardholders
  • American Express Centurion Lounge access for Reserve cardholders
  • Four “Status Boosts” (15,000 bonus MQM after spending $30k, $60k, 90k, and $120k) on both the personal and business Reserve cards
  • Free first checked bag benefit remains for all cards

Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express (learn how to apply)

  • Spend no longer counts toward MQD waiver — unless you have Delta Amex Platinum or Reserve card, too.
  • $99 annual fee — not waived the first year. This is a change from its current $95 annual fee, which is waived the first year.
  • 2X SkyMiles at US supermarkets
  • 2X SkyMiles at restaurants
  • $100 Delta flight credit after spending $10,000/year on the card
  • No more $29/vist Delta SkyClub access

Gold Delta SkyMiles Business Credit Card from American Express (learn how to apply)

  • Spend no longer counts toward MQD waiver — unless you have Delta Amex Platinum or Reserve card, too.latinum or Reserve card, too.
  • $99 annual fee — not waived the first year. This is a change from its current $95 annual fee, which is waived the first year.
  • 2X SkyMiles on US shipping and US advertising
  • 2X SkyMiles at restaurants
  • $100 Delta flight credit after spending $10,000/year on the card

Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express (learn how to apply)

  • Annual fee raised to $250 (from $195)
  • 2X SkyMiles at restaurants
  • 2X SkyMiles at US supermarkets
  • 3X SkyMiles at hotels
  • 3X SkyMiles on Delta purchases
  • Up to $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit
  • Companion certificate benefit will remain
  • “Status Boosts” — basically the current “spend $25,000 in a calendar year, get 10,000 bonus MQM, up to twice a year” benefit
  • No 10,000 SkyMiles bonus after spending $25,000 and $50,000
  • Delta SkyClub visits available for $39

Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business Credit Card from American Express (learn how to apply)

  • Annual fee raised to $250 (from $195)
  • 1.5 SkyMiles on each eligible purchase of $5000 or more
  • 3X SkyMiles at hotels
  • 3X SkyMiles on Delta purchases
  • Up to $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit
  • No 10,000 SkyMiles bonus after spending $25,000 and $50,000
  • Companion certificate benefit will remain
  • “Status Boosts” — basically the current “spend $25,000 in a calendar year, get 10,000 bonus MQM, up to twice a year” benefit

Delta Reserve Credit Card from American Express (learn how to apply)

  • Annual fee raised to $550 (from $450)
  • American Express Centurion Lounge access when you use your Card to book a Delta flight
  • Two Delta SkyClub one-time visit guest passes
  • Up to $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit
  • 3X SkyMiles on Delta purchases
  • No 15,000 SkyMiles bonus after spending $30,000 and $60,000
  • Access to complimentary upgrades for cardholders without Medallion status
  • Four “Status Boosts” annually (15,000 bonus MQM each after spending $30k, $60k, 90k, and $120k)
  • Companion certificate benefit will remain
  • Delta SkyClub access when flying Delta Air Lines

Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card (learn how to apply)

  • Annual fee raised to $550 (from $450)
  • American Express Centurion Lounge access when you use your Card to book a Delta flight
  • Two Delta SkyClub one-time visit guest passes
  • Up to $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit
  • 3X SkyMiles on Delta purchases
  • No 15,000 SkyMiles bonus after spending $30,000 and $60,000
  • 1.5 SkyMiles on purchases after spending $150,000 per calendar year
  • Access to complimentary upgrades for cardholders without Medallion status
  • Four “Status Boosts” annually (15,000 bonus MQM each after spending $30k, $60k, 90k, and $120k)
  • Companion certificate benefit will remain
  • Delta SkyClub access when flying Delta Air Lines

Quick Takes

We recently discussed that it would be nice to have some of these benefits (Global Entry credit, bonus spending, etc).

I currently hold every single one of the Delta credit cards except the personal Gold flavor. I’ll do a little soul-searching when these annual fees hit next year, though. I like the companion certificate perk because it can save me money when traveling with my daughter. But I’ll evaluate our travel habits and see if the money can be better spent elsewhere.

“To celebrate” (their phrasing) Delta and Amex are launching new limited time offers effective tomorrow. We’ll keep you apprised. OFFERS NOW AVAILABLE!!

–Chris

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.

14 Comments

  1. Not a single spending bonus category(except Delta…hello non-Delta Plat at 5X!) for Reserve holders????? Oh, and the fee is rising for superfluous benefits. Very lame.
    These cards are now strictly for status chasing.

  2. This looks like a “plus” for those of us who hold the Reserve and the Platinum Card.
    Currently, I pay $645 for both cards ($450 and $195) and i expect to spend a minimum of $110,000 in order to gain the MQM bonuses totalling 50,000 MQM’s (and 50,000 bonus award miles)

    It looks like under the new scenario, if I elected to go only with the Reserve Card, i will pay less in total, $550 (vs $645 currently), and if i increase my spending dollars by $10,000 up to $120,000 per year, I will obtain 10,000 additional MQM’s totaling 60,000 (up from 50,000 currently)

    Plus i will receive TSA/Global Entry fee credits and maintain my Companion Ticket benefit.
    However, i do lose 50,000 award miles. I would rather have the additional MQM’s in any event.

    Am i missing something here?

  3. Seems to me if you have both the Reserve and the Platinum you can get 80K MQMs just for spend. Add the business reserve and you’d have Diamond just on spend!

  4. All I wanted was Clear with the Reserve. But I received yet another Pre-check credit. Not impressed overall.

  5. qofmiwok

    Wow! Glad I just closed one when the annual fee came due last month. NEVER would put $25k spend on at 1x, even for an MQD waiver. 1.4x was bad enough but bearable. It’s about time they add 3x miles on Delta flights, but too little too late since you get that plus travel protections with CSR. All still would be OK with the companion certificate, except that while they used to be easy to use now every time I search I get “none available.” So the Platinum basically becomes a way to enter Delta lounge when flying Delta, for $39 plus your $250 amortized over how many times you use the lounge. At $29 I used to be on the fence whether to use a lounge. At $39 +amortizing the annual fee, I’ll just go to a restaurant and buy dinner and drinks.

    I can only guess their goal is to get rid of all the people who have the card for benefits but don’t use it much or travel Delta much. The only people this may benefit now are people who fly often with Delta.

  6. I gave up my Reserve card last fall, and haven’t really lamented it. Don’t think I want it back from this. Although, I wonder what the pecking order for upgrades will be for Reserve cardholders without status.

  7. @Rob W: To be honest, I think the upgrade pecking order for non-Medallions will be a non-issue, at least, most of the time. I think it’s a fun selling point — but I can’t remember the last time I took a flight and all Medallions were upgraded.

  8. Raising prices in a good economy and full capacity! Wait till the economy turns one day it will be interesting to see what happens. I use the Reserve and Plat to maintain Diamond status but was re-evaluating that for next year if even worth it. I like the status boost at each level as right now it sucks to spend $250k for no real purpose it kills me to spend it on these cards.

  9. Vladimir

    I received the email from Delta and United May be looking pretty for me next year. I have been always flew Delta unless there is no other option, but this adds to the now low cost per mile we have been exposed to.

  10. Eric Gunderson

    Currently, the Blue card doesn’t qualify on its’ own for the MQD Waiver, but the spend does count towards the total spend of the cardholder’s other Delta AMEX cards. I’m assuming, based on no mention of that being changed for the Blue card, that the Gold card will now work the same way: no standalone MQD waiver, but spend accumulated with Platinum/Reserve spend towards the total. Can you confirm this?

    Also, assuming they will continue the MQM gifting option?

  11. @Eric Gunderson: The benefit terms state “The Medallion Qualification Dollar Waiver will no longer be available on the Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card.” I’m guessing that’s a no.

    The Reserve MQM gifting option will still be in effect.

  12. The click here link is simply a sneaky referral link for you to get extra bonus miles if someone applies and not an actual learn more about the changes? It lists current benefits under this link.

  13. @Craig: The verbiage for the “sneaky referral link” is dictated by others, not me. Affiliate links, sales, and advertising are what help keep this free site going.

    I can’t control what Amex puts on their site for each individual card. I expect tomorrow — when the new limited time offers are available — they will.

  14. Eric Gunderson

    @Chris Carley: I found the answer –> According to the FAQ’s, If you have an eligible Delta SkyMiles Card (Delta SkyMiles® Platinum, Delta SkyMiles® Reserve, Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business, or Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business) with the MQD waiver benefit in addition to an ineligible Delta SkyMiles Card (Delta SkyMiles® Blue, Delta SkyMiles® Gold, Delta SkyMiles Gold Business, Delta SkyMiles Business Credit Card from American Express), purchases made on each of your Delta SkyMiles Cards will continue to count towards the MQD waiver.

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