American Express Revamping Delta Cobranded Cards – Higher Annual Fees & Benefit Changes (Changes Start Tomorrow)

Update 1/29/20: These changes go into effect tomorrow. You can now request a metal card as well by using the American Express app

Account Services -> Card Management -> Replace a Card -> Request Metal Card

Card number will remain the same.

Update: Looks like the card redesigns are out:

Hat tip to reader SCJ

 

Original post: American Express has announced that the Delta co-branded portfolio will be receiving a revamp with changes going into effect on January 30th, 2020. In addition there will be new limited time sign up bonuses being added to these cards starting October 1st (tomorrow), we cover those in this separate post.

Personal Cards

Delta Skymiles® Blue American Express Card

This card has no annual fee and this will remain the same. The only changes are that it will be possible to pay with miles and they will be removing foreign transaction fees.

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

  • Annual fee will increased from $95 to $99
  • MQD Waiver for spend will end on December 31st, 2019
  • Delta Sky Club access for $29 will end on January 29th, 2020
  • Card will now earn 2x miles per $1 spent on restaurants & U.S. supermarkets
  • Card will offer a $100 Delta flight credit after $10,000 in spend within a calendar year

The biggest change here is the loss of the MQD waiver.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

  • Annual fee will increase from $195 to $250
  • Earning rate changes:
    • 3x miles on Delta spend (currently 2x)
    • 3x miles on purchases directly with hotels (currently 1x)
    • 2x miles on purchases made at restaurants (currently 1x)
    • 2x miles on purchases made at U.S. supermarkets (currently 1x)
  • Global Entry or TSA Pre✔ Fee Credit
  • Miles Boost to be replaced with Status Boost. Previously when you spent $25,000 in a calendar year you’d earn 10,000 MQM & 10,000 Delta miles and this could be done twice. Now you’ll just earn the 10,000 MQM but not the bonus 10,000 Delta miles
  • Delta Sky Club visit fee will increase from $29 to $39

Basically an increase of $55 to the annual fee and the benefits get worse. I guess if you’re the one person that reads this blog without access to a Global Entry/TSA Pre credit then these changes might be useful. The increased earning rates aren’t that interesting for most people as other cards earn at a higher rate, although 3x on Delta might be good for high spenders.

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card

  • Annual fee will increase from $450 to $550
  • 3x miles on Delta spend (currently 2x)
  • Miles Boost to be replaced with Status Boost. Previously when you spent $30,000 in a calendar year you’d earn 15,000 MQM & 15,000 Delta miles and this could be done twice. Now you’ll just earn the 15,000 MQM but not the bonus 15,000 Delta miles but it can be done a total of four times
  • Global Entry or TSA Pre✔ Fee Credit
  • Addition of 2 Delta Sky Club One-Time Guest Passes
  • Complimentary Access To The Centurion Lounge when flying Delta
  • Access To Complimentary Upgrades
  • Sky Priority Security will end January 29th, 2019

The big addition here is the access to the centurion lounge. This is particularly crazy as American Express currently has massive issues with overcrowding at these lounges and have had to introduce restrictions to help alleviate overcrowding. I can kind of see people that only care about lounge access going for this card given it comes with both centurion and sky club access, but there are no real benefits to offset the $550 annual fee.

Business Cards

Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card

  • Annual fee will increased from $95 to $99
  • MQD Waiver for spend will end on December 31st, 2019
  • Delta Sky Club access for $29 will end on January 29th, 2020
  • Card will now earn 2x miles per $1 spent on restaurants & U.S shipping and U.S. advertising in select media
  • Card will offer a $100 Delta flight credit after $10,000 in spend within a calendar year

Basically the same changes as the personal card, but one of the 2x categories is different.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card

  • Annual fee will increase from $195 to $250
  • Earning rate changes:
    • 3x miles on Delta spend (currently 2x)
    • 3x miles on purchases directly with hotels (currently 1x)
    • 1.5x miles on purchases of $5,000 or more (currently 1x)
  • Global Entry or TSA Pre✔ Fee Credit
  • Miles Boost to be replaced with Status Boost. Previously when you spent $25,000 in a calendar year you’d earn 10,000 MQM & 10,000 Delta miles and this could be done twice. Now you’ll just earn the 10,000 MQM but not the bonus 10,000 Delta miles
  • Delta Sky Club visit fee will increase from $29 to $39

Major difference between this and the personal card changes is that you’ll earn 1.5x miles on purchases of $5,000+

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card

  • Annual fee will increase from $450 to $550
  • Card will earn 1.5x miles on purchases after spending $150,000
  • 3x miles on Delta spend (currently 2x)
  • Miles Boost to be replaced with Status Boost. Previously when you spent $30,000 in a calendar year you’d earn 15,000 MQM & 15,000 Delta miles and this could be done three times. Now you’ll just earn the 15,000 MQM but not the bonus 15,000 Delta miles but it can be done a total of four times
  • Global Entry or TSA Pre✔ Fee Credit
  • Addition of 2 Delta Sky Club One-Time Guest Passes
  • Complimentary Access To The Centurion Lounge when flying Delta
  • Access To Complimentary Upgrades
  • Sky Priority Security will end January 29th, 2019

Only difference between the personal card is the 1.5x miles after spending $150,000+.

Our Verdict

When American Express has revamped other cards it has increased the annual fee but also added benefits to help offset this annual fee (e.g the GrubHub credit or Uber credit) with these Delta changes some cards are having the annual fee increased and benefits removed (e.g MQM requirements no longer offering bonus Delta miles). The only card that is having a real benefit added is the Reserve with the Centurion lounge access and it’s hard to justify the $550 annual fee when the only real benefit is lounge access.

For the majority of people keeping Delta cards long term hasn’t made sense, I’d argue with these changes it makes even less sense now.

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btobel
btobel

Looks like they aren’t honoring bonuses for spend made before the changes in this calendar year. Still haven’t received my 15k bonus delta skymiles for $30k spend on the reserve card. Spend was completed 1/14, statement closed 1/27, miles for spend posted 1/28 with bonus MQMs, but no bonus 15k skymiles.

Chris B
Chris B

Are these considered new products, thus waving the lifetime limitation?

Mark
Mark

Status Bonus is a major downgrade compared to Miles Boost: No more 15K bonus SkyMiles after $25/30K on Plat/Reserve and pay an extra $100 in annual fees!? Oh, but we get 1% more on DL spend. So, to breakeven on that $250 loss just spend $25000 on Delta. Brilliant.

P
P

I’ve never had any of the Delta cards, but Amex has denied the bonus on two cards I’ve signed up/upgraded so I’m going to lay off signing up for amex cards for a while.

Suitcase
Suitcase

I have both the gold and platinum, I’m wanting to cancel the platinum card. The problem is I’ve had it less than a year (2/2019)…If my reason for canceling is a change of benefits and higher fee, do you think I’m at less risk for a claw-back of my miles even though it’s been less than 12 months?

StarAdmiral
StarAdmiral

No, why risk it? just cancel after the annual fee posts

Mark
Mark

For Platinum, wait for the card anniversary, get your companion ticket, then cancel/downgrade so you get your annual fee back.

DeltyShmelty
DeltyShmelty

Thanks for the reminder, DoC. Was not aware of the new metal cards. Just ordered 4 between P2 and I. Gotta love the new purple one… totally worth the extra $310 we’ll pay in annual fees.

brandonlee
brandonlee

I don’t see option to request metal card online or in app

Hari
Hari

iOS App that I checked has a slightly different navigation.
Account > More Options > Replace A Card > Choose your Delta Card

anthony
anthony

The important question is WILL THEY CONTINUE WAIVING FIRST YEAR FEE FOR THE GOLD CARDS?

Zack
Zack

You can now request a metal card.

CJ
CJ

which cards offer metal design?

Rick
Rick

Delta Plat does, Delta Gold doesn’t. Don’t know about Delta Reserve

Staradmiral
Staradmiral

for which ones?