Travel Related

Should You Cancel Your Delta (or Other Airline) Travel Credit Card Due to Coronavirus?

Google+ Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr
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.

I have canceled all my travel plans that I had booked for this year. Early on, before some cruise lines decided to park all their ships for 60 days, I posted that I am not getting on a cruise ship anytime soon (nor booking anything new – even with all the stunning offers).

Heck, I am even suspending my “creative spending” trips out and about in my local area for the time being.

Yep – I am staying home for the next few weeks.

Do keep in mind as you read this that I am a Delta frequent flyer. I currently hold their “top” Diamond Medallion status and have already qualified for Platinum Medallion for 2021.

I also posted that Delta should take steps, now, to extend everyone’s elite status for a year. One hotel chain has already taken this step. I am not the only one concerned about my status. The Financial Times recently posted “Frequent flyers fear loss of airline loyalty points” and notice what one Delta frequent flyer stated:

Nick Schwab, a Detroit-based software developer, said he would probably lose his platinum status with Delta Air Lines this year because so many tech conferences have been cancelled. 

He added that this meant he would probably also cancel his $250 a year Delta-linked credit card. 

“If I’m not going to be flying, there is no point using it to earn points that I would put towards upgrades,” he said. He added he would need an incentive to stay within Delta’s loyalty scheme, such as a waived credit card fee or a one-year extension of his elite status.” From The Financial Times – (BOLD MINE)

The part I wanted to focus on was that he is clearly a Delta Amex Platinum Cardholder (I know this from the annual fee quoted in the piece). He is considering canceling the card since he is not flying that much.

Is this a good idea? Maybe, but likely NO!

Why? Let me explain.

For the Delta Reserve cards (personal card and business card, as well as the Delta Platinum (personal card and business card) you pay the annual fee upfront for the year. If you cancel, you do NOT get that back (not even prorated refund). So why cancel now if your next year’s fee is months away?

So wait? Yes. Here is why.

Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card from American Express

First up, if you have made the firm decision to cancel – wait for the next year’s fee to bill. Why? The above cards all come with a BOGO or “Buy One Get One – Free” cert (See E22 post) that dumps into your “My Delta” when the fee bills. At that point you have 30 days to get your annual fee back — but the BOGO cert sticks in your Delta account and can be used for 1 year (you just have to pay with ANY Amex card).

Why else hold the card?

Amex Offers! If you are not taking advantage of these you are just being lazy. They can be very lucrative (as you can see). Since Nick, quoted above, has already paid the yearly fee, why not keep the card for now and try to earn a few more bucks back with Amex Offers until the next year’s fee bills? He may even get targeted offers better than the stock ones they put up for everyone to claim and earn.

OK, any other reasons? A few more.

Let’s assume, over the next few months, we get this bug squished and it is again safe to get on an airplane (shocker – but I bet it happens faster than expected). Nick, who is a Platinum Medallion, already gets free bags due to his status but others who do not have status may enjoy the perk of the free bag (as well as free for those with them on the same reservation – up to nine). Why pay a bag fee in a few months when you did not have to?

Last one: MQMs.

Who knows what Delta is going to do — if anything — to adjust the elite earning thresholds this year. They may not be as bold as I have suggested (that is, simply extend the expiration by a year). They may simply lower them and then earning MQMs from the Delta Amex card could be just as needed to keep the status for 2021.

Bottom line: if you are giving up flying Delta forever – then, yes, you may want to cancel your Delta Amex card (whatever flavor). You could consider a downgrade to a cheaper card like the Delta Amex Gold card but ONLY if you have already had that card once in your life. If you downgrade and have not yet had it you give up your 1x lifetime shot at a new card bonus. Better to apply for a new Delta Amex Gold card if you have not had it and THEN cancel your higher fee card (if that is your choice). – René

🔺 Delta SkyMiles American Express Cards

Delta Reserve American Express cardDelta Reserve Card 

Delta Reserve Business Card 

Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express

Delta SkyMiles Platinum Card from Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card ExpressPlatinum Delta SkyMiles Business Credit Card from American Express

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express CardDelta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card

Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express CardDelta SkyMiles Gold Business American Express Card 

Terms apply.

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.

René de Lambert is a contributing writer and the founder of RenesPoints. He is an avid Delta and SkyTeam flyer who has held Delta’s top Diamond Medallion status for many years and flown millions of miles.


  1. Santiago Speranza Reply

    I am a 7 year Platinum on Delta and hold the Reserve Card (as well as AMEX Platinum) but I won’t be cancelling my card even though i’ve cancelled travel until June… I just plan on earning my 2021 through card spend because even if Delta does nothing (that’s what I think will occur) then my upgrades will clear many more times in 2021 and heck even later this year as I already have MQM’s for Gold just have to hit the $25K Spend and then the $30K and $60K spend threshholds to achieve Platinum again for 2021.

  2. I’m a million miler and multi-year Platinum (and one year recently even made Diamond). I only fly international for leisure. Cancel my Delta Skymiles credit cards? Never! I just had to cancel two sweet 99K RT Delta One awards to Europe, one this month and one in April that I booked during a November flash sale. I’m already a couple of grand shy of 25K spending for the MQD exemption. I usually hit both MQM boosts. I am in danger of losing Platinum if this goes on for a long time-even with 15K rollover and both MQM boosts I’ll still need 40K MQM to reach Platinum for 2021. I need to keep earning Skymiles for Pay with Miles Delta One fares if and when this thing abates. Or, if I lose Platinum, I’ll need the Skymiles for those flash sales to continue to fly in the style to which I have become accustomed. I just got my 80K welcome bonus for the personal Platinum card too with another 20K coming at anniversary date! I’ve always gotten great value from my Skymiles and have never considered them SkyPesos. But you have to be flexible. Delta rocks and I’m sure they’ll do something to help us Medallions retain status if this goes on for more than a couple of months.

  3. I do not understand. In one place you say “you pay the annual fee upfront for the year. If you cancel, you do NOT get that back (not even prorated refund).” Then later you say “At that point, you have 30 days to get your annual fee back”. These seem to contradict each other. Thanks.

    • @JohnHace: If you cancel your card within 30 days after your statement posts, you’re not on the hook for the annual fee.

      But if you pay a card’s annual fee and then decide to cancel the card AFTER 30 days, you’re not getting back the annual fee. So it makes sense to hold on to the card until the annual fee posts — and then cancel it.

  4. Another point to consider is the loss of credit if you cancel. My credit limit on my delta amex is very high and, except for trying to spend to $25000 and $50000, I use very little of that limit. Thus, my credit score is better because of my utilization rate. I have been flying very little because I recently retired and have been building my “final” home and then this virus hit. I’d been considering down grading to gold, as per Chris’ suggestion, until I gave thought to my credit score. I also get about 0 use from the offers because most of my offers are only high end merchandise that I can do without. Then again, not paying a bag fee will add up once I start flying again, if I start flying again. Being at home and exploring by car has proven to be much more enjoyable than enduring the cattle call at the airport. Retirement brings about much different decision sets than working!

  5. Joanne Gray Reply

    Any American Express? For booking the companion certificate. I had read somewhere it had to be the Delta card. Game changer for me if I can use my Aspire AmEx.

      • This is not the case, according to Delta, @Chris Carley… they just told me it has to be the same Amex card that earned the companion certificate, in order to keep the certs even after just downgrading! I’m pretty frustrated with this system, and the $75 “loyalty bonus” while they are increasing the annual cost of the card to $250 is not much consolation.

        • Delta is going to say that because they want people to use the co-branded cards. Especially right now — because they sell SkyMiles to Amex. Delta needs every cent they can get.

          Every companion certificate reservationI’ve booked during the past several years — as recent as January or February — has been paid with my Amex Platinum card.

          • Thanks @Chris Carley … But what if I want to use a different card? Like a non-Delta Amex? Or a totally different card? Would they not allow it? Because I’m just not getting the value out if that card anymore and want to cancel it.

  6. So – any idea if I could get Czech air to refund my one way tickets I bought to my credit card versus a credit. There are four of us, about 125 bux each and they will never be used again as the trip has been cancelled and we won’t use that leg ever. Not sure since they cancelled if I have more recourse, but since it is another country, and airline, thought I would ask. I am awaiting my Delta credit card adjustments, for my trip overseas, and they said that would not be an issue…

    • @dennis: Contact Czech Airlines and see what they have to say. You might be able to claim a refund because of EU cancellation and delay policies.

  7. Thanks @Chris Carley – but if it is a non Delta Amex, might they not allow that? I didn’t want to do the downgrade to lower rate Delta Amex card at this time but I hate to lose those vouchers…

Write A Comment