Rookie Wednesday: Does Having Lots of Credit / Travel Cards Hurt Your Credit Score?

René’s Points for Better Travel has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. René’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. This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our advertising policy, visit visit this page.

RenesPoints Rookie

Welcome to a regular feature on the Renés Points blog. This blog series covers in a “rookie” way either a Delta or travel related theme and attempts to break down to a basic level each topic. You can read up on all the previous posts HERE. Now on to this featured topic.

I, Chris, have around 18 open credit cards in my name right now (René tells me he has 22 after getting 3 new ones approved on Monday). Continue reading

Meeting New Delta Amex Credit Card Minimum Spend: Summer 2019 Edition!

René’s Points for Better Travel has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. René’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. This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our advertising policy, visit visit this page.

A collage of Delta Platinum and Delta Reserve credit cards.

Still on the fence about taking advantage of some of the highest ever welcome bonuses we’ve seen for Delta American Express cards? Can’t think of how you’ll meet the minimum spend in just three months?

Don’t worry. We’re here to brainstorm! There are plenty of ways to meet your minimum spend requirements in the next three months.

Remember this very important rule: never buy something you wouldn’t normally purchase or go over your budget. Interest fees could easily negate the points you earn.

Also, keep in mind that your minimum spend period begins the day your card application is approved, not the day you receive or activate your card.

If your card application is instantly approved, Amex generally provides you a card number, expiration date, and CVV you can use to start shopping online right away. Make sure to take advantage of that!

All that said, here are ways you can meet your minimum spend within the next three months:

The Usual Suspects

Remember to use your new credit to pay everyday bills, such as:

Pay Quarterly Taxes

Paying taxes is a great way to knock out chunks of minimum spend requirements. (Keep in mind we at Rene’s Points are not tax advisors, nor are we giving any tax advice in this post.)

Paying taxes hurts less when you earn some travel rewards! (Photo: ©iStock.com/grejak)

Paying taxes hurts less when you earn some travel rewards! (Photo: ©iStock.com/grejak)

Unless you were approved and received your card a few weeks ago, you missed the boat on paying Q2’s estimated quarterly taxes. But September 15 (Q3’s estimated quarterly tax due date) is less than 90 days away.

School Expenses

Are you going to school or paying for someone’s education? I know we just started summer but the school year is only a few weeks away. Consider using your brand new credit card for:

  • Books
  • School supplies
  • Tuition (if applicable)
  • Room and board (if applicable)
  • Parking permits (if applicable)
School supplies are a nice way to help meet minimum credit card spend! (Photo credit: ©iStock.com/Ekaterina Senyutina)

School supplies are a nice way to help meet minimum credit card spend! (Photo credit: ©iStock.com/Ekaterina Senyutina)

Travel

Delta American Express cards are rarely worth using for travel (or much else), simply because their standard bonuses are limited to a whopping two points per dollar on Delta purchases. Everything else earns one point.

Except when it comes to earning welcome bonuses. That’s a lot different.

Consider the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express (learn more). The 75,000 bonus miles essentially make each dollar up to the $3000 minimum worth 26 SkyMiles each.

So use your Delta SkyMiles Amex card to purchase flights, hotel rooms, AirBNB, whatever.

Remember to use your Delta Amex onboard Delta flights: you receive a 20% statement credit when purchasing alcohol, premium snacks, and headphones. And it’s a great way to earn the Delta purchase statement credit!

 

Jack Daniel's, Woodford Reserve, Finlandia vodka, Coca-Cola, fruit and cheese platters, and assorted other snacks are seen onboard a Delta flight from New York (JFK) to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). ©RenesPoints.com

That day we earned a lot of 20% rebates using my Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express (learn more) for onboard snack and beverage purchases…

Event Tickets

Summer concert tours are underway! Many fall concert tours are already on sale.

Tickets to a show / event in a hand with a black background. Photo credit: @iStock.com/GlasserStudios

@iStock.com/GlasserStudios

Major League Baseball season is about half over. NFL and college football are two months away. Those are a couple of great opportunities for sports lovers to meet their minimum spend requirements.

Remember you can earn bonus SkyMiles for each Ticketmaster purchase — but using a cashback portal like TopCashBack or Rakuten (formerly Ebates) may be smarter.

Wedding Gifts

It’s wedding season. Pay for the happy couple’s gift with your new card!

A wrapped wedding gift. ©iStock.com/Ekaterina Senyutina

(Photo Credit: ©iStock.com/Ekaterina Senyutina)

For what it’s worth, my wife and I usually buy couples customized Visa gift cards from GiftCards.com. (Remember to start your shopping session through TopCashBack!) Many couples have their own wedding website; download a picture from the site, upload to GiftCards.com and create a gift card they will love.

Word to the wise: don’t go crazy buying gift cards to meet the minimum spend. Credit card companies are getting hip to certain, creative practices.

Fourth of July and Labor Day

Going to a Fourth of July BBQ this week or weekend? Hosting people for America’s big day? Going to or throwing a shindig on Labor Day?

Fourth of July BBQ and get-together with friends and family. ©RenesPoints.com

Break out that card for food, beverages, snacks, party favors, sunscreen, water, and aloe vera (for when you forget to buy sunscreen!).

Medical Expenses

I sincerely hope you (and/or your insurance company) don’t spend a cent this way. But summer months are the busiest for emergency rooms and urgent cares.

I got a jump start (or, rather, a trip start) in May.

Author Chris Carley displays his wrist injury.

How I started my summer: tripping over a suitcase.

Just last week, my wife plunked down her new Delta Reserve Credit Card from American Express (learn more) at the ER. The MQM bonus took a little sting out of our visit.

Remember to purchase travel insurance (and pay for it with your new card).

Kiva

Kiva is a microlending organization — and they accept credit cards through PayPal! This is a great year-round option but always worth a special mention. Check out Rene’s Kiva quick tips!

Anything Else?

Any ideas I may have missed? How will you knock out minimum spend on your new Delta Amex cards? Tell us in the Comment section below!

PROCRASTINATORS – Last call for the BIGGEST EVER Delta Amex Card Offers! (OFFERS EXPIRED – SEE UPDATED OFFERS)

René’s Points for Better Travel has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. René’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. This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our advertising policy, visit visit this page.

Have you been dragging your feet applying for the huge Delta American Express welcome bonuses expiring tomorrow? (OFFERS EXPIRED) Only a few hours remain; so it is not yet too late to apply!

We don’t know exactly Amex will expire the offer but if history is any indicator, the offers will likely be gone sometime tomorrow morning, July 2.(OFFERS EXPIRED)

The Impressive Elevated Offers

Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card (learn more about this card)

Receive 80,000 bonus SkyMiles and 5,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $6,000 in purchases on this card within the first three months of being approved. Because we (and Delta, for the most part) value SkyMiles at about a penny each, the 86,000 SkyMiles pretty much equals at least $860 in value.

Receive 40,000 SkyMiles and 5,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on this card within the first three months of being approved. Because we (and Delta, for the most part) value SkyMiles at about a penny each, the 45,000 SkyMiles pretty much equals at least $450 in value.

(This card also comes with complimentary Sky Club access when you are flying Delta and serves as a tie-breaker in the Delta upgrade hierarchy). You can also earn bonus MQMs via spend each year.

Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express (learn more about this card)

Earn a massive 80,000 bonus SkyMiles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $6,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first three months. Again figure around $860 (if not more) in SkyMile value.

Earn 35,000 bonus SkyMiles and 5,000 MQM after spending just $1,000 in the within your first three months of being approved. The 36,000 SkyMiles you’ll earn equates to about $360 work of travel!

This card also lets you earn bonus MQMs via spend each year.

Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express (learn more about this card)

You’ll earn 75,000 bonus SkyMiles and 5,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after spending $5,000 in purchases on your new card within three months of being approved. (This card also comes with complimentary Sky Club access when you are flying Delta and serves as a tie-breaker in the Delta upgrade hierarchy). You can also earn bonus MQMs via spend each year. Figure this card nets you a minimum of $800 of flight savings.

Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express (learn more about this card)

You’ll earn 75,000 bonus SkyMiles and 5,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after spending $3,000 in purchases on your new card within three months of being approved. Using the one SkyMile = one penny, the minimum spend requirement and welcome bonus come out to about $780 in value. This card also lets you earn bonus MQMs via spend each year.

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express (learn more about this card)

Earn a nice 70,000 bonus miles after you make $4,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months. (Again, about $740 worth of SkyMiles.)

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express (learn more about this card)

Earn 60,000 bonus SkyMiles after you use your new card to make $2,000 in purchases within your first three months.

Earn 30,000 bonus SkyMiles after you use your new card to make $1,000 in purchases within your first three months.

 

Remember the Delta Purchase Credit Card Statement!

The Delta Platinum Amex (learn more), Delta Business Platinum Amex (learn more), Delta Gold Amex (learn more) and Delta Business Gold Amex (learn more), each come with special statement credits when you make a Delta purchase within your first three months of applying. What works?

Remember the Delta purchase can be for as little as the $2 headsets sold in the Main Cabin. You’ll still receive the $50 credit and net a $48 savings. Treat yourself to an onboard cocktail or premium snack. Plus, you receive a 20% credit on all onboard purchases.

Not flying on Delta during the next three months? Buy yourself a gift card at delta.com (via a PC – not a tablet or phone). That, too, will trigger the credit.

Wait! No Statement Credit for the Delta Reserve Cards?

No, but both the Delta Reserve Credit Card from American Express (learn more) and Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card from American Express (learn more)  come with Sky Club access when you fly Delta.

A view of the Delta Sky Club in terminal A/B at Seattle SeaTac Airport in Washington.

The Delta Sky Club in Seattle

Plus, they have a buy-one, get-one-free companion ticket good for both coach fares and first class tickets, including domestic Delta One. (The BOGOF companion certificate does not hit your Delta account until you’re billed for year two.)

Airbus A330 Delta One first class section

Look! Two Delta One seats: one for you and one for your companion who’s traveling free!

But The Annual Fees! How Much Are These Cards Really Worth?

If I had a nickel for every person who complains about annual fees yet still pays for checked luggage, lounge access, full price for onboard food and beverages, and ignores companion ticket benefits, I could pay off all René’s Points’ readers’ annual fees 😉

Don’t cut off your nose to spite your face when it comes to annual fees on cards that have great value in return.

At the bare minimum redemption, SkyMiles are worth one cent each (hence our “SkyPenny” slang). Delta allows Delta Amex cardholders to Pay with Miles at a value of one cent per mile. So, for example, the Delta Platinum Amex’s 75,000 welcome bonus alone is worth at least $750 in Delta airfare. Keep in mind Pay with Miles tickets earn MQMs.

Upgrade-Eligible BOGOF

The Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express (read more here) and Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business Credit Card from American Express (read more here) both have their own BOGOF certificates starting year two. Elite Medallions and a companion traveling on a BOGOF cert are eligible for first class upgrades and C+ sidegrades.

This benefit alone can be quite valuable for families; my wife and daughter applied a companion certificate to a $358 roundtrip. Even taking into consideration the card’s $195 annual fee, we still saved $163 that year alone.

Free First Checked Bag for You and Up to EIGHT Others

Each Delta Amex provides the cardholder and up to eight other passengers on the same confirmation number/PNR a free first checked back on Delta flights. One round trip can easily earn back most or all of your annual fee. Delta currently charges $30 for the first checked bag on Main Cabin itineraries. So a family of four with one checked bag each would normally spend $120 before leaving the check-in counter. However, any of the Delta Amexes would save that family $240 round trip. And if they travel, say, twice a year, that earns back the annual fee on even the Delta Reserve (read more) or Delta Business Reserve card (read more).

The first checked bag for you and up to eight others is free with all Delta Amex cards!

The first checked bag for you and up to eight others on your PNR is free with all Delta Amex cards!

Free Drinks and Food!

Sip a drink or two in airport bars when taking your Delta flights? Enjoy a snack with your cocktail? Get the Delta Reserve card (read more) instead and enjoy complimentary Sky Club access. You’ll earn back the annual fee in no time.

Lunch items such as chicken soft tacos, tuna tartare, dried apricots, and cheeses are seen at he Delta Sky Club Austin airport lounge in Austin, Texas. Photo © Chris Carley / PointsLounge

Chicken tacos, stinky cheese, dried apricots, walnuts, tuna tartare, and a Flower District Margarita at the Delta Sky Club in Austin. Simply delicious!

Main Cabin 1 Boarding

Also worth mentioning: all Delta Amex primary cardholders receive Main Cabin 1 boarding when ticketed in the main cabin or Basic Economy. This used to be marketed as “Priority Boarding.” But some people understandably got it confused with “Sky Priority” boarding, which the benefit was not.

I’ve Already Had a Gold or Platinum or Reserve Delta Amex But Canceled It. Can I Get That Card’s Bonus Again?

Technically, no. Each unique American Express card’s welcome bonus is limited to once in a lifetime.

Can you try and see if you “slip through the cracks”? That’s up to you (Amex should warn you during the application process if you have had a new card bonus before). But you’re safer applying for a card you’ve never held.

Been a Delta Amex Platinum cardholder but never had the Reserve or Gold? Consider one of those instead. All of the six cards are unique products and you CAN get the bonus for each of them.

Can I Have More Than One Amex Credit Card?

Yes.

Technically, you can hold four Amex credit cards at a time, though recent data points — and speaking from experience — suggest you can hold five.

I have four, including the Delta Reserve Credit Card from American Express (learn more) and Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card from American Express (learn more). I’ve earned MQM bonuses from each of them in some years.

Can I Have Both the Personal and Business Versions of the Same Card?

Sure can!

BUT keep in mind that if you have, say, two Delta Reserve for Business Credit Cards from American Express (learn more) you earn the MQM boosts on only one of the cards.

Learn More and Apply

Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card (learn more about this card)

Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express (learn more about this card)

Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express (learn more about this card)

Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express (learn more about this card)

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express (learn more about this card)

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express (learn more about this card)

Time is running out to take advantage of the biggest ever Delta Amex sign up bonuses! (Photo credit: ©iStock.com/artisteer)

Time is running out to take advantage of the biggest ever Delta Amex sign up bonuses!
(Photo credit: ©iStock.com/artisteer)

How Can I Meet the Minimum Spend?

Let not your heart be troubled (unless you spend money you can’t pay off)! Tomorrow, we’ll talk about some everyday ways to meet minimum spend requirements, plus some summer and fall expenses to consider. – Chris

What AMEX card am I going for next? Super simple choice really (hint: 50k+$50)!

René’s Points for Better Travel has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. René’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. This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our advertising policy, visit visit this page.
my-list-of-cards amex says I have ever had

Thanks for the FACTS AMEX! Most helpful.

I am constantly stunned how many times readers make simple mistakes that cost them so many points. The first mistake is NOT reading this post that, if you do screen shots, gives you the in print proof you need, that is, what cards does AMEX says you have ever had (since the new card bonus is now just 1x ever in your lifetime with AMEX).

The next major failing so many just dismiss out of hand are business travel cards. Notice a trend in my shot above and this is just from AMEX. Yep, I tend to gravitate towards business cards because the new card bonus deals can be a great way to really build my points needed and expand how many cards I can get each year. Let’s look at the current Delta AMEX gold cards for an example:

    Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express (learn more)

    Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express (learn more)

My guess is most readers have had the personal AMEX Gold card sometime in their life (if not, you should really consider taking advantage of this amazing limited time offer). But I venture to guess most have NOT had the business AMEX gold card ever. In other words:

WAAAHOOOOO!

Good news for you – you can get in on the current deal. Even if you have had, or even recently applied for, any or ALL of the other 3 personal Delta AMEX cards you can get the new card bonus for any or all of the business cards right now! Keep in mind all 3 personal and all 3 business Delta AMEX cards are viewed as unique products so you can get bonus for each (but only once each ever). And that is where my choice of this round will come into play.

I have had my business Delta AMEX Reserve card (learn more) forever. I use it and run $60,000 a year on it. I enjoy the bonus MQMs and bonus SkyMiles I get from this spending. I get more upgrades by holding this card (including my wife soon). When I was not a Diamond the card got me into Sky Clubs. I use other ways to offset the fee each year. I could go on and on, but holding this card does NOT exclude me from getting the Delta AMEX Gold business card bonus of 50,000 points OFFER EXPIRED. Please learn about the current Welcome Bonus) as well as a $50 statement credit for buying just about anything onboard like a “Flight Fuel” cheese plate (any charge will trigger the full credit btw).

approved biz delta amex card

…and I am approved – thank you AMEX!

The bottom line is I would be foolish, during the current promotion, not to take 50k points that I personally value at 1.5-2 cents each as well as the $50 credit all with no fee the 1st year! This is not really a hard choice at all when you think about it.

Are you taking advantage of all the points business cards offer you yet? – René