Delta Cards Improve But They’re Still (Generally) Not Good Cards For Spending

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Effective 05/01 the Delta American Express cards will no longer charge a foreign transaction fee and will have a chip to make spending abroad easier.

It’s can be worth getting the card for the signup bonus and having the card for the benefits.  Those include a free checked bag for you and 8 other travel companions and getting to board early which can be the difference between having space for your carry-on or having to check it to your destination. The Delta Platinum and Reserve cards also give a free annual companion ticket.

However it’s generally not worth spending on Delta cards as Skymiles are one of the worst mileage currencies out there.  (I say generally because the Delta Platinum and Reserve cards can earn elite qualifying miles based on spending.  Plus if you spend $25K on any Delta card you can earn elite status for 2014 even without spending the new required flight spending amounts on top of required flown miles)  But even if you do want Skymiles (there are some decent uses such a business class to Tahiti or Australia or getting a free stopover within the US) you can earn them faster on the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express as 20K Starpoints transfers into 25K Delta Skymiles.

The points earned from the American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card transfer to Delta as well and that card earns 3 points per dollar on airfare (as well as 2 points per dollar on gas and groceries and a 15K annual bonus for spending $30K).

Of course both of those cards charge foreign transaction fees.  Hopefully that will change soon, but in the meantime if you want miles the best cards to use abroad with no foreign transaction fees include the Chase Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card , Ink Plus , and Ink Bold. The Sapphire card earns 1.07-3.21 points per dollar and the Ink cards earn up to 5 points per dollar and those points can be transferred to several airlines and hotels, though not to Delta.

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14 Comments On "Delta Cards Improve But They’re Still (Generally) Not Good Cards For Spending"

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But what about the companion ticket that delta amex provides? I know they just changed that benefit to now apply to platinum only (used to be gold too), but still, doesnt that make it worth having the card?

What do u mean when u say....

“if you spend $25K on any Delta card you can earn elite status for 2014 even without spending the new required amounts on top of required flown miles”
I have a delta reserve card, and unless I spend enough money to earn MQM’s I don’t get any elite status (at least that I know of). So what do u mean by that statement?


Why wouldn’t you suggest the United Club card to use abroad. it’ll always give you 1.5


I dont know where this craze came from that everyone needs to board the plane as early as possible to get room for their carry on. I never board till the end and still keep my carry on. If they tell u to check ur bag just say NO. As long as u insist there is nothing they can do. (Obviously do it politely)


I see you have an opinion on Delta Skymiles, but what is your opinion on American Airlines advantage program as well as the CITI credit cards to earn points with?


@What do u mean when u say….

It’s worded a little clumsily.

To get elite status on Delta from now on, you need to spend $2,500 on Delta for Silver and up from there….

However, you can get the requirement to spend on the airline waived if you put $25K in charges on any Delta card.


I see your opinion on Delta Skymiles, but what is your opinion on the AAdvantage program from American Airlines? and what about the CITI cards which earn points for it?


I just got approved for the AMEX Delta sky mile card. It is my first CC and want to know what card I should apply for next that will earn me the most miles as I travel often to Australia ( but am not a big spender!)

Dan's the man

@Yosef: As Dan has stated many times. You can earn more for doing your spending on the SPG Amex card. They transfer to AAdvantage miles 20k:25K while the Citi cards are 1 point per dollar spent. The Citi AA cards are good to grab the good sign up bonuses such as the recent 100K offer. They are also good for the free baggage, priority booking, etc.


you work hard to collect skymiles, but cant use them. No dates available, and rates are rediclulous.
ONE WAY NY- Miami coach – 60,000 miles!
RT 120,000 MILES ($250 cost for ticket same time).
How do you guys ever find good use for reasonable tix with Delta?


If there is no room left in the overhead, saying “No” when asked to check your bag is not going to make more room although it might delay the flight and make a chilul Hashem.

Re Delta miles being bad currency, at least Delta offers kosher meals wherever they have meal service, the only US airline to do that now. I really like Delta.


@ BMG, what routes do they offer kosher meals?
nyc- FL?
What are they serving in biz?


Hey, how does spending 25k on any Delta card gt you elite status?


Delta is a good airline, probably the best domestic with JetBlue in terms of flying.
Mileage is not great but a NYC – Nice tix costs on average $1800 and only 95k in miles which is a good return (1.3%). Now, it is true the SpG card is in general better than the gold card in terms of accumulating miles and you can leverage through flying blue and still use Delta on certain routes given their partnership. With their recent change in mileage accrual and spending, effective Jan 1st, if you are an occasional traveler, does not make more sense to continue with them but a lot of sense if you travel a lot on business (I.e when price is not the primary factor).