Clark Howard

Delta Shakes Up Credit Cards with New Annual Fees and Bonus Offers

If you have a Delta SkyMiles® American Express credit card, you may soon be paying more for the privilege of carrying it.

Delta Airlines and American Express recently announced major changes to their co-branded credit card offerings.

In addition to higher annual fees on most of the cards, there are new sign-up bonus offers for new customers and some changes to the perks for existing customers.

Let’s take a look at the announced changes and consider how they could impact both current and potential cardholders.

The Annual Fee Is Going Up on Most of Delta’s American Express Credit Cards

Do you have a Delta co-branded credit card in your wallet? Then you are likely to be asked to pay more when your annual fees come due this year.

Effective February 1, 2024, there are new annual fees for six of the seven Delta co-branded American Express credit cards.

The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card and Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card, which are the most expensive Delta credit cards, will see a $100 increase to $650 per year.

The Platinum and Gold tiers of personal and business credit cards will be impacted as well. Only the Blue tier of personal cards will remain unchanged.

Here’s a breakdown of the annual fee changes:

New signups will be charged the new annual fee rates effective immediately. Existing cardholders who opened accounts before February 1, 2024 will see the new annual fees go into effect at their next renewal date on or after May 1, 2024.

There Are Some New Perks That Come Along With the Annual Fees

At this point you may be wondering: What's in it for me?

After all, they’re asking many of their cardholders to pay an additional $100 per year for the privilege of maintaining their credit card status.

Delta is touting four key bullet points as added value for consumers as a part of these changes: Increase destination availability for companion certificates, statement credit opportunities for select restaurant and hotel purchases, annual head starts on MQD status and expanded miles earning opportunities.

Your benefits will vary based on your card tier. Here are the details directly from the American Express announcement:

  • Go More Places with Enhanced Companion Certificate: The certificate now includes First Class (for Reserve/Reserve Business), Delta Comfort+® or Main Cabin round-trip flights to Hawaii, Alaska, Mexico, Caribbean or Central America, in addition to the continental U.S., each year after Card renewal.
  • New Everyday & Travel Value: Card Members can earn up to $560 for Reserve, up to $610 for Reserve Business, up to $390 for Platinum, up to $410 for Platinum Business, up to $300 for Gold and up to $350 for Gold Business in annual statement credits after using an enrolled Card on eligible purchases at U.S. Resy restaurants and U.S. rideshare purchases with select providers as well as on prepaid Delta Stays hotel and vacation rental bookings on (see graphic below for details). With TakeOff 15, these Card Members also get 15 percent off Award Travel booked with miles (not applicable to partner-operated flights or to taxes and fees).
  • Get Closer to Status: New annual MQD Headstart of $2500 MQDs gets Delta SkyMiles American Express Platinum, Platinum Business, Reserve and Reserve Business Card Members halfway to Silver Medallion status at the beginning of each qualifying year. MQD Boost helps them get closer to status throughout the year when they use their Card for purchases (Reserve and Reserve Business Card Members earn $1 MQD for every $10 in eligible purchases, and Delta Platinum and Platinum Business Card Members earn $1 MQD for every $20 in eligible purchases).
  • New Reward Categories and Spending Power for Business Card Members: Platinum Business and Reserve Business Card Members can earn more miles in new everyday business spending categories. With Expanded Buying Power Card Members have the flexibility to spend above their credit limit. The amount they can spend above their credit limit is flexible, so it adapts with use of the Card, payment history, credit record, financial resources known to us and other factors. The amount Card Members can spend with Expanded Buying Power is not unlimited. 

Delta Introduces New Limited-Time Welcome Bonus Offers for American Express Credit Cards

If you're thinking about applying for one of these cards in spite of the annual fee increases, you may find some of the new welcome bonus offers attractive.

American Express and Delta also announced new limited-time offers on the credit cards, which will be available from February 1 to March 27, 2024.

Your offers may vary, but here’s the data I was able to find on American Express’ website as of February 1, 2024:

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