Delta Air Lines allows SkyMiles members to keep up to four credit (or charge) cards in their virtual wallets. This speeds up airfare purchases and, overall, makes the process pretty convenient.
Plus, certain Delta American Express credit card benefits are available only if the cards are part of your Delta wallet.
But because not all credit cards are created the same, there are different reasons you may want several options in your Delta wallet.
Here are the cards I personally use for my Delta purchases — and why.
I use my Chase Sapphire Reserve card for most airfare purchases because it earns 3X on all travel spend. I can redeem those points at a rate of 4.5 cents each through the Chase travel site. Or I can transfer them at 1:1 ratio to one of Chase’s Ultimate Rewards travel partners.
Why not an Amex? you may ask.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve provides great trip cancellation and interruption protection. Like René, I have a blanket travel insurance policy through Allianz for my wife, daughter, and me. But I like the peace of mind being “double-covered” in the event anything happens. Plus, the Chase Sapphire Reserve requires only a portion of your airfare be paid with the card for your trip to receive the coverage. So it’s great for cash balances on award tickets, Pay with Miles trips, or airfare involving gift cards or vouchers.
Whenever my full airfare purchase is reimbursed (work, etc), I pay with my personal/consumer American Express Platinum card. American Express added trip cancellation and interruption insurance to many of their premium cards as of the New Year. But your trip’s entire airfare must be paid with that card in order for you to receive the benefit.
Purchases made directly with airlines earn 5X per dollar spent. Those Membership Rewards points can be transferred to a number of airlines (including Delta!) or hotels.
Or, they can be redeemed a rate of one cent each when purchasing airfare through Amex Travel. (Though Business Platinum Amex cardholders can get a 35% Membership Rewards rebate when buying premium airfares with any airline or coach fares with an airline they designate.)
Plus, the cash portion of a Delta Amex companion certificate airfare must be paid with an American Express card. (It doesn’t have to be a Delta Amex.) I pay those purchases with my Amex Platinum card.
As an aside, my Platinum card is often targeted when Amex Offers are available for Delta purchases.
The only reason the business American Express card takes a spot in my Delta wallet is that it came in handy for some of the purchases that credited toward my Amex airline incidental credit last year.
Purchases made directly with airlines earn only 1X on the business American Express card, so it’s far from the best available option.
The Delta American Express card must be added to the cardholder’s Delta wallet in order to receive the checked bag and boarding benefits.
Cardholders of the personal Reserve and/or business Reserve products receive complimentary access to Delta Sky Clubs and American Express Centurion Lounges when flying Delta Air Lines.
Plus, holding a Delta Reserve card serves as a tie-breaker for Medallions in the upgrade hierarchy. (And starting January 30, Reserve cardholders who aren’t Medallions will be eligible for complimentary upgrades. But we doubt many upgrades will materialize.)
To receive those benefits, however, the Reserve card must be added to the cardholder’s Delta wallet.
That’s the sole reason my Delta Reserve business card is part of my Delta wallet.
Other Good Cards to Consider for Your Delta Purchases
Chase Ink Business Preferred Card: 3X on travel purchases, plus good trip cancellation and interruption insurance. And the $95 annual fee is far cheaper than the Reserve’s now-$550. (Read about a great tandem to maximize your Chase Ultimate Rewards earnings — at very low annual fees.)
American Express Green Card: 3X on travel purchases. Trip cancellation and interruption coverage included if your card pays an entire airfare.
American Express Gold Card: 3X on airfare purchased directly from the airlines.
Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card (both business and personal flavors). Starting January 30, these cards receive 3X on Delta Air Lines purchases. Ultimate Rewards and Membership Rewards points are more valuable, but I’m glad Delta and Amex are finally giving Delta Amex cardholders a reason to actually use their cards on Delta purchases.
What’s In Your (Delta) Wallet?
Tell us which cards you use — and why — for your Delta airfare purchases!
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