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  1. #1

    Delta Credit Card Miles Worth The Annual Fee?

    If you're a frequent flier on Delta, you may be tempted to sign up for one of the three American Express Delta SkyMiles credit cards, which all earn miles and give you your first checked bag for free.

    There's a HUGE difference between the three cards, however, with annual fees ranging from $95 to $450. Here's a break-down comparison of the three Delta Skymiles cards and a look at if they're really worth the cost.




    Gold Delta Skymiles from American Express

    Annual fee: $95, waived the first year

    Welcome bonus: 30,000 bonus miles after $500 in purchases during the first 3 months and a $50 statement credit when you use your Gold Skymiles card to make a Delta purchase during the first 3 months.

    Miles earned: Earn 2x miles for every $1 spent on Delta purchases and 1x miles on all other purchases. There is no miles boost with the Gold card.

    Priority boarding: Zone 2 priority boarding

    Other benefits: You'll also get a 20% discount on all Delta in-flight purchases.

    Our Take: The Gold Delta Skymiles card has the lowest annual fee and it's the best fit for most travelers. You'll still receive the best benefits, including priority boarding and a free checked bag.




    Platinum Delta Skymiles from American Express

    Annual fee: $150

    Welcome bonus: 5,000 MQMs and up to 30,000 bonus miles. You'll earn 15,000 bonus points after your first purchase and another 15,000 if you spend $500 within the first 3 months.

    Miles earned: 2x miles for every $1 spent on Delta purchases and 1x miles on all other purchases. This card includes a Miles Boost as well. If you spent $25,000, you'll earn 10,000 bonus miles and 10,000 MQMs every calendar year. If you spend $50,000, you'll earn an extra 10,000 bonus miles and 10,000 MQMs.

    Priority boarding: Zone 2 priority boarding

    Companion ticket: With the Platinum card, you'll get a companion ticket certificate each year you renew your account. The ticket can be used for coach class tickets within the 48 contiguous United States although tax and fees will still apply.

    Other benefits: You'll also get a 20% discount on all Delta in-flight purchases.

    Our Take: The Platinum card is designed for moderate travelers who spend at least $50,000 each year. The bonuses earned with the Platinum aren't very good considering the high annual fee, especially when you compare it what you get with the Gold card.




    Delta Reserve Skymiles from American Express

    Annual fee: $450

    Welcome bonus: Receive 10,000 MQMs and 10,000 bonus miles after your first purchase.



    Miles earned: 2x miles for every $1 spent on Delta purchases and 1x miles on all other purchases. This card includes a Miles Boost as well. If you spend $30,000, you'll earn 15,000 MQMs and 15,000 bonus miles each year. If you spend $60,000, you'll earn an additional 15,000 MQMS and 15,000 bonus miles. Your MQMs earned can also be gifted to others to help them reach Medallion status.

    Priority boarding: Sky Priority lane boarding and Premium security, when available.
    Companion ticket: You'll get one free companion ticket certificate each year that can be used on first-class and coach tickets in the continental United States.

    Other benefits: Delta SkyClub access for the primary cardholder and two guests, as well as upgrade priority and concierge. You'll also get a 20% discount on all Delta in-flight purchases.
    Who is this card for? The Reserve card is designed for very frequent travelers who travel first class and spend at least $60,000 each year.




    The Delta Skymiles Rewards Program -- Is it Worth it?

    The Delta SkyMiles program was once considered the best in the industry by frequent flyers, although it isn't as good as it used to be. You'll find there are a lot of fees and restrictions when you redeem your miles. The best part about the program is the partnership with AmEx and the airline partners. Unfortunately, difficult with upgrades, high redemption fees and the lack of available seats may cause you some problems.

    The Delta SkyMiles program has a Medallion system with levels you need to obtain, including silver, gold, platinum and then diamond. You earn Medallion status by earning MQM miles. Any miles you fly on Delta will count as MQM miles. Each level in the program offers unique benefits: at Silver level, you'll receive a 25% Medallion mileage bonus. By the diamond level, you'll receive unlimited upgrades on discounted fares 5 days in advance with free upgrades on Award and Pay with miles tickets. Your Medallion mileage bonus is also boosted to 125%.

    The Problem with Exchanging Partner Points

    While the ability to convert your points into other loyalty programs may seem like a huge advantage with the Delta Skymiles program, most exchanges put you on the losing end. Convert your miles into the Hilton HHonors program and you can end up losing 75%! Even converting to the American Express Membership Rewards will result in a loss of 11%. In most cases, converting your miles is only a good deal if you just need a few to qualify for a free ticket.

    How MQMs Work

    Delta has a somewhat confusing rewards program and MQMs, or Medallion Qualification Miles, aren't actually miles that can be put toward tickets. Instead, these miles are used to determine your frequent flyer status in the Delta Elite program, which can earn you perks like seat upgrades.

    Starting in 2014, a new Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQD) requirement will go into effect. All SkyMiles cardholders can waive this new requirement and qualify for Medallion status without meeting the MQD threshold if they earn the necessary MQMs or Medallion Qualification Segments (MQSs) and spend at least $25,000 each year.

    New Crossover Rewards

    Delta has also announced registration for their new Crossover Rewards program will begin March 1, 2013. You're eligible to enroll in the new program if you have an active Delta Skymiles membership and a Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) membership. Benefits of the new program include:

    • Earn 1 bonus mile per $1 spent on eligible room rates at any Starwood resort or hotel in the program.
    • If you're a Diamond or Platinum Medallion member, you'll also get 4pm checkout, an elite check-in service, complimentary in-room Internet and other room upgrades.
    • SPG Platinum and Gold elite members earn 1 Starpoint per $1 spent on Delta flights.
    • SPG Platinum members receive priority check-in, priority boarding and a first checked bag for free.
    • SPG members earn rewards toward Free Night Awards with no blackout dates and resorts and hotels from 9 brands, including Westin, Sheraton and St. Regis.

    The Bottom Line

    The Gold Delta Skymiles card is the most popular with the lowest annual fee. If you're going to spend under $50,000 per year on your card, the Gold Delta Skymiles is the best choice. The main disadvantage of the Gold card is you won't earn bonus MQMs to get Medallion status.

    If you fly on Delta frequently and you're interested in earning rewards and perks, the Gold Skymiles card is a good option. The Platinum and Reserve cards are the best option for very frequent flyers who spend at least $60,000 annually to qualify for the cards' best benefits.

  2. Delta Credit Card Miles Worth The Annual Fee?
  3. #2
    Great writeup and overview of all of the Delta Skymiles cards! I've never personally used SkyMiles because Philly is a hub for US Airways (very unfortunate actually since they have one of the worst airline cards) - however if you live in Atlanta the Gold Delta Skymiles seems like it's worth the annual fee.

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