3 Changes (1 Good, 1 OK, and 1 Bad) to Delta Credit Cards

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Starting May 1, 2014 the Delta American Express cards will no longer have foreign transaction fees of ~2.7%.  However the annual fee increases on the Delta Platinum card.

Delta American Express Changes Coming May 1, 2014

What are the Changes?

1.   No Foreign Transaction Fees

Most American Express cards charge foreign transaction fees of ~2.7%.  This makes AMEX cards less useful to folks who travel internationally because the foreign transaction fees will usually cost you more than the miles or points are worth!

But starting May 1, 2014,  ALL the Delta American Express cards will stop charging foreign transaction fees.

This includes the Delta Gold credit card, the Delta Platinum credit card, and the Delta Reserve credit card.  If you’re considering a Delta card, check to see if you have a higher targeted offer from Delta or if you get a higher targeted offer from the CardMatch tool!  These may be better offers than the regular links!

Note that the terms on the Delta cards say that you can’t get the bonus on the SAME card for at least 12 months after you close the card.  And that you can’t get the bonus for a different Delta card if you have had a Delta card in the previous 3 months.

But note that business and personal cards are considered different products, so you could get the bonus on the same or different business card.

This is great news if you like collecting Delta miles.  But if Delta miles are not useful to you, there are many other cards with no foreign transaction fees.

I usually use my Chase Sapphire Preferred or Ink Bold or Ink Plus card while traveling abroad.

I personally would have preferred if the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express stopped charging foreign transaction fees instead of the Delta card.  That’s because I prefer earning Starwood hotel points to Delta miles.  I can either use my Starwood hotel points at hotels or transfer them to many airlines.

2.   New Cards With Smart Chip

Credit cards with Smart Chips are nice, but I don’t really need to have a card with a Chip.  While cards with Chips are helpful in certain countries, they don’t always work!  That’s because US issued cards are almost always “Chip & Signature” cards, but many countries use “Chip & PIN” cards.

Oh, and most cards in the US will eventually be converted to “Chip & Signature” cards in the next few years.  So I would NOT apply for a Delta credit card just to get a card with a Chip!

All new Delta AMEX cards issued after May 1, 2014 will have “Chip & Signature” technology.  If you are a current card holder, you can call the number on the back of your card and ask for a new card with the Smart Chip.

3.   Higher Annual Fee

The annual fee on the Delta Platinum card increases from $150 to $195.  The Delta Reserve annual fee stays the same at $450 and the annual fee of $95 stays the same on the Delta Gold card.

The annual fee will increase for new and current Delta Platinum card holders.

Delta American Express Platinum’s Annual Fee Will Increase by $45 Per Year

Bottom Line

From May 1, 2014, the American Express Delta cards will no longer charge foreign transaction fees and will include Smart Chips.

No foreign transaction fees on the Delta American Express cards is good news if you already have one of these cards or if you value Delta miles and travel outside the US.  However, the annual fee for the Delta Platinum card increases by $45 to $195.

I’d really like to see American Express remove foreign transaction fees on their other cards as well!

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35 responses to “3 Changes (1 Good, 1 OK, and 1 Bad) to Delta Credit Cards

  1. Wow. I have had the Delta Platinum card for over 12 years. I rarely use it anymore but I was keeping it for the “free” companion” cert. At $195 that cert will barely be “free” anymore. I think it might be time to dump this card. I still have the Starwood card…though I was thinking about dropping that too. ALthough it is probably good to keep 1 AMEX card to maintain my long term status with them.

  2. I’ve found Delta credit cards to be the least valuable airline card when it comes to actually being able to book award seats for an economical amount of miles earned from their credit cards. I’m far too busy earning and actually being able to redeem decent seats for decent points with other airlines. I’ve watched as friends would try their best to gain Delta miles with their Delta credit cards only to realize when they actually tried to book award seats that they really didn’t have enough points because the seats they wanted cost double due to lack of economy availability. Delta has one of the worst programs.

  3. I agree Duane and I’m embarrassed to admit I have over 300,000 miles in my SkyMiles account right now. I need to use them, but every time I try, I cannot find low-level seats. Even though I have enough to blow on high-level seats, I refuse on principle. :O

  4. So, they have to be making up the money somehow. Has anyone checked what their foreign currency conversion rates are? Wouldn’t be surprised if they were increased to make up the difference.

  5. The other BAD change to the Delta Reserve is that you can no longer take 2 guests in with your card. Unless they pay an additional 29 or you pay 695 a year. I rarely brought guests, but next time I do my wife is going to be pissed.

  6. Well that really is good/bad news. Since I live overseas, I am concerned with the foreign transaction fees. My dilemma was that when I booked tickets to the states on Delta, it would be charged in Euros. Hence, if I used my Delta Amex to try to get extra miles, I would get charged the extra fees. I tried several times with both Delta and Amex to get the fees waived for only plane tickets but no luck. Fortunately, now, I think those fees will add up to the extra $45 for the yearly fee . It would be nice if Delta would actually let me get upgrades on international flights, but NOOOOOOOOO!

  7. Agree with Duane and Laura. With that said, I think it is easier using Skymiles on its partners because Skyteam partners tend to be more generous in releasing awards seats. However, you’ll still have to deal with Delta to get the seats…bad booking system and DL representatives who does not know how to get the seat from their partners. You’ll have to do your homework or hire one of the award services for booking. It is doable with doing homework (a lot of homework) and some luck. I was able to book four business class tickets to Japan and Taiwan from the U.S. last February for a trip I took with my family over this past Christmas and New Years. It wasn’t easy……. Will not actively collect Delta again!

  8. Daraius or any experts here, can you please tells me if I’m thinking this correctly? With Delta (DL) Platinum membership fees increasing to $195, there’s essentially not much difference between the Gold and the Platinum other than the possibility of getting MQM bonus after minimum annual spending on the Plat. They both get 1st luggage free (which I’ve used a lot); the companion certificate for Gold is $99 + tax and the free certificate comes at a $95 more on membership fee, still have to pay taxes on both. So this means if I downgrade to Gold, I only lose $4 if I use the companion certificate. And if I didn’t get a chance to use the certificate, I don’t lose $95 on the membership fee. I travel about 4-5 times a year for leisure purposes, so no elite status with DL and live in a Delta hub city. This may prompt me to downgrade to Gold when my annual fee is due. Did I miss any other benefit of the DL Platinum? I’ve read on other blog where having the DL American express would prompt Delta.com to show the card holder more saver award inventory. If this is true, I wondered if having platnum would have any advantage there.

  9. Low-level award seats have been gone from Delta for years if you have to be at a specific time and place instead of the time and place of Delta’s choosing. By refusing to book the higher level awards, you’re only hurting yourself, in my humble opinion. I’ve been telling people for years that they need to be very generous when estimating how many miles they really need to book on Delta (and the former Northwest). To Laura: By trying to squeeze the last drop of value out of them, you are not getting ANY value out of them when you refuse to book high-level seats “on principle.” So how is your strategy hurting Delta? It only hurts you. While you stand your ground, the value of the miles continues to devalue. They win. I don’t see the principle, I’m afraid. It hasn’t been a secret for years that Delta’s program is of lower value than the others, and they clearly want it that way, so I don’t see the value of hurting yourself to send a message that just makes them laugh. Consolidation is bad for consumers, and the others will doubtless go the same path. It is what it is. I for one don’t see your 300K miles suddenly becoming more valuable. Use them and enjoy them and don’t worry about someone who took a trip three years ago claiming you didn’t maximize the value of your miles.

  10. Dear Sir, I came to the United States to establish a Taiwanese company, through your blog to know more ways to save money, I do not ssn no. My only a newly established company tax ID, you think I do have the opportunity to apply to commercial credit card or charge card yet? Please tell me the way! Thank you

  11. @Sandy – the Amex Delta Gold no longer has the $99 companion cert.

  12. @william – 對不起,如過你要美國的新信卡,你得有美國的ssn, 我覺得你沒有辦法

  13. @Steve- Thanks fo rthe heads up!! I guess I may keep the platinum at a higher rate…

  14. @Sandy…I have also heard that if you have the Platinum card SUPPOSEDLY you will be shown low-level award seats. I have not found that to be true. For me anyway. And now Steve says no $99 companion cert for Gold card. Yep,…buh bye DL SkyMiles Platinum card. I will keep my Starwood card for another year.

  15. @peachfront. I know you’re right. Which is why I said I was embarrassed to admit that I had so many. 🙁 I used to work for Delta and collected only Skymiles for over 10 years before I discovered this cute little miles collecting hobby.
    And I’m not really doing it to send a message to anybody. I was actually planning to use them for Thailand this year, but I got better routing on United. I will probably use them to go to Hawaii for Spring Break next year or possibly Europe next summer. Maybe both. 🙂

  16. Last time I applied for a Delta card, I was able to sell my 70,000 Delta miles to rewards2cash for $665.


    The company has positive reviews on yelp, slickdeals and fatwallet.

  17. Think this will be the last year for our Delta AMEX Plat for us. Availability for the companion ticket and low mileage awards were difficult to match up for a family of four. We did get great value out of the card for the companion ticket each year for a $450 flight back home and bag fee waiver though paying $390/year for two cards to get 2 companion tix would basically just be one free ticket for us. Finding miles cards is going to be a better strategy for us.

    • @Sandy – The Gold card doesn’t have the companion certificate any more. I’ve heard that Delta may prioritize upgrades among members based on a higher credit card (assuming you have elite status to be eligible for upgrades).

      @william – Most business card applications require both a Tax ID and a social security number of the person guaranteeing the loan.

  18. Like Laura R, I also have had Platinum card for about 15 years but rarely use it.
    Paying $195 for fee is too much for me.. What should I do?
    Would downgrading the card affect my credit rate?

  19. Like most of you I have approx. 300,000 miles for over 3 yrs now and never use the AX Delta card. The mileage rates for Delta fares are always more than most other airlines. I’ve used United because I choose to fly one way into less say Barcelona and return less say via Marseille. Usual off season rates are 30,000 miles each way. Note that 2015 Delta will offer ONE way mileage rates. I’ve been screaming to Delta for years that I use United because of one way. All said and done I plan to travel around the world in 2015 and with Delta I’m sure it will cost more, but I’ve got to enjoy and use the mileage.

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  21. There is a quiet problem with Delta MQM system that is still there DO YOU KNOW MQMs can only be earned 10 Months a year Jan and Feb don’t EVER COUNT. as Per DELTA TODAY! so now in a year I lost the last 150 Miles to make my mediallion this year so I get “early boarding in zone one” and i still get to Pay for bags and lose my 2X miles all because they DO NOT make public that a delta year is 10 months! Spread this around. Year = 10 Months in the Delta dictionary.

  22. I could really use some skymiles to get to a friend’s wedding this summer. If you have some miles you’re not planning on using anytime soon, I would be super grateful if you wouldn’t mind transferring some to me. It ends up being a rather expensive trip for me and my wife to fly to virgina for a quick wedding. So if anybody is willing to donate some miles, that would be a huge help! Thanks so much!

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  24. If you have had the Delta Gold AMEX in the past, several years ago, can you get this again? My understanding is no, but is it worth a shot? I guess you can always not activate the card if you don’t qualify for the bonus.

  25. I have 50K skymiles sitting there for a long time (don’t expire?) as it is almost impossible to find 25K domestic flights (even with connections).

    Now with Pay with miles option, I can get 1 cent/mile. Looks like I will have to get Dela credit card to get the feature. Oh well, $550 is not bad.

  26. Out of curiosity, has anyone else had trouble being awarded the miles off of these cards in the first place? I recently completed the minimum spending on mine but am being refused the miles. Any other similar experiences out there?

    (long story short: because of a “missing date” on my bank statement, Amex refused to approve my Gold Card application for several months, and only approved once the deadline for their offer had passed. I wasn’t awarded the 60,000 bonus I applied for or their usual 30,000 bonus or whatever it is)

  27. Martin Killington

    Ben–the same thing just happened to me. Since it has been nearly four years since I had a Delta Amex card, I applied for the current bonus and was approved. Flash forward three months: I’ve spent (and paid off) over $5000 on the card and the bonus never appeared. So I tried being patient… finally used their online chat feature today and the agent said: “I have checked that for you and you had a Gold Delta SkyMiles with us in past as well which has cancelled on 03/29/2011. So if you have the card in past with us then a welcome bonus offer will not be applicable on the new account.”

    Their decision is final, they said, and they were under no obligation to inform me since it’s in the ‘fine print’ on the T&C…that if you have EVER had a Delta card from Amex, they will not provide the bonus. The lesson here is to avoid Amex and avoid Delta. For this and many other reasons, I’ve come to the conclusion that both companies really hate their customers.

  28. I signed up for this gold card based on this page but found out I would Not get the bonus. I last had the gold card in 2010. I called before I activated it and was told since I had it before I wouldn’t get it and that the policy had changed around June. Here’s what their website says “This offer is also not available to applicants who have or have had this product.”

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  30. I just received a targeted award from Amex for the Delta Gold of 60K for a 1k spend in 3 months with a $50 credit after a Delta purchase. To my knowledge this is the highest targeted award offered for the Delta Gold is this true or should I hold off.

  31. First, thanks for everything you do and the great advice on your site. I’m about to take the plunge and get two Amex Delta cards–one personal and one business card. As I live in the Detroit area the Delta card seems to make sense (Delta has a hub here).

    I see American Express is limiting one “Business Card” to one per lifetime. If I get a Delta American Express card for my business does that count against the one time limit? Or, does the limit apply only to designated “small business cards?”

    Many thanks in advance

  32. I closed the Delta Gold card about 2-3 years ago. Signed up again, spent the amount and now they are telling me that I can NEVER get the promotion again (that the promotion is for new users only). What a sham

  33. I called to cancel my American Express Business Delta Gold card and was offered 5,000 Delta SkyMiles to retain card. The agent also told me that I get a discount on award tickets when using the card. For example, a 60,000 mile award ticket would cost 45,000 (I don’t know the exact discount)

    Is this true? I tried booking an award but do not see the discount at checkout.

  34. If i request a Delta match to my United Silver status, it says I have to earn 6750 MQM. Can I apply for the Platinum Delta AMEX card and use the MQM bonus towards that status match challenge of 6750?