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The American Express Gold Delta SkyMiles personal card and Gold Delta SkyMiles business card have an increased sign-up bonus of 50,000 miles after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new card in the 1st 3 months.
Usually, the sign-up bonus on these cards is 30,000 miles, so this is a great deal! But you have to apply by September 8, 2014.
Because the annual fee of $95 is waived for the 1st year, the increased sign-up bonus should be interesting to lots of folks. But do you know these cards come with some great extra benefits?
The Top 10 Benefits!
Link: American Express Gold Delta SkyMiles (Personal)
Link: American Express Gold Delta SkyMiles (Business)
1. 50,000 Miles After Completing Minimum Spending
You’ll get 50,000 miles after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new card in the 1st 3 months. Here are ways you may not have considered to meet the minimum spending requirement.
Delta miles can sometimes be hard to use, but with 50,000 miles, you could get:
- 2 round-trip coach class tickets to anywhere in the continental US, Alaska, and Canada for 50,000 miles
- A round-trip coach class ticket to Hawaii for 45,000 miles
- A round-trip coach class ticket to the Caribbean, Mexico, or Central America for 35,000 miles
- A round-trip Business Class or First Class ticket to anywhere in the continental US, Alaska, and Canada for 50,000 miles
And after January 1, 2015, you could also get:
- A 1-way coach class ticket to Africa for 40,000 miles
- A 1-way coach class ticket to Middle East or South Asian Subcontinent for 42,500 miles
- A 1-way coach class ticket to Southwest Pacific for 50,000 miles
- A 1-way coach class ticket to Southeast Asia (such as Thailand or Malaysia) for 40,000 miles
Delta miles can be used on Delta, partners like Hawaiian Airlines and Alaska Airlines, and SkyTeam alliance airlines.
2. $50 Statement Credit
You’ll get a $50 statement credit when you make a Delta purchase on your new card in the 1st 3 months. This could be airline tickets (purchased directly from Delta), baggage fees, change fees, or in-flight food and entertainment.
You can only get the $50 statement credit once, but it’s a nice bonus to get if you’re planning on flying Delta within 3 months of getting the card. Free money is good!
3. First Checked Bag Free
Link: First Checked Bag Free
Delta normally charges $25 for your 1st checked bag each way on domestic, coach class tickets. With the Gold Delta SkyMiles cards, you and up to 8 traveling companions (on the same reservation) get your 1st checked bag free.
This is great when you travel as a family or a large group. A family of 4 could save $200 (4 people x $50 in checked bag fees each) on a round-trip ticket. And a large group of 9 passengers could save $450 (9 people x $50 in checked bag fees each).
You’ll get the free bag as long as the primary cardholder’s Delta frequent flyer number is on the reservation. And you don’t even have to use the card to pay for your ticket.
4. Double Miles on Delta Purchases
You’ll earn 2 miles for every $1 you spend on Delta Airlines and Delta Vacations purchases. This includes airline tickets, fees, in-flight purchases, lounge entrance, and vacation packages.
If you buy lots of Delta tickets, or are planning on buying a vacation package for your family, you could earn a lot of extra miles. But if you usually fly on Delta award tickets, the benefit is probably minor.
And if you spend a lot of money on Delta (or any other airline) tickets, you might instead consider the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express or The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN. That’s because they earn 3 points for every $1 you spend on airlines. And American Express Membership Rewards points transfer instantly at a 1:1 ratio to Delta!
5. 20% Discount on In-Flight Purchases
When you fly in coach class, meals, drinks, in-flight entertainment, and headsets can cost a lot of money, especially for families and groups. With the card, you’ll get a 20% discount on in-flight purchases. This doesn’t include duty free items, SkyMall, or in-flight Wi-Fi.
Emily and I prefer bringing our own food and entertainment onboard to save money, but some folks don’t.
For example, suppose a groom and 3 of his buddies are heading to Las Vegas from New York (for his bachelor party, of course!) and they get hungry and thirsty. If each has 1 beer and a wrap on their Delta flight, they’ll pay:
- $24 for the beer (4 people x $6 each), and
- ~$44 for the wraps (4 people x ~$11 each)
That’s ~$68 for a beer and sandwich for 4 guys! But with the Gold Delta SkyMiles card discount, they’ll save ~$14 (~$68 x 20%). And if they add in-flight movies, headsets, and video games, the discount becomes more valuable.
Somehow, I don’t think the “Quinoa Crunch Wrap” would be a popular option in this case. 😉
6. Priority Boarding
Boarding early is always a great perk, because you can get settled in sooner, and have more access to overhead bins for your luggage. You can actually pay $10 extra on paid Delta tickets to get priority boarding, which could appeal to folks like musicians who have to carry their instruments on board, or those traveling with valuable or bulky items.
If you’re someone who usually pays for priority boarding, you might get some good value out of this perk!
7. Pay With Miles
Link: Pay With Miles
If you’re a Gold Delta SkyMiles cardholder, you can use miles to offset some (or all) of the price of a paid ticket! Each mile is worth 1 cent towards the cash price of a ticket (unless you’re redeeming for a ticket under $100, which isn’t a good idea).
Don’t use Pay With Miles for tickets less than $100, because you have to redeem 25,000 miles to get $100 off. That’s not a good value because you’re paying 4 cents per mile ($100 cost of Delta Airlines ticket / 25,000 Delta Airlines miles).
For tickets above $100, you can get $100 off your ticket price by redeeming 10,000 Delta Airlines miles. You can also redeem 5,000 Delta Airlines miles to get $50 off once you’ve already redeemed 10,000 or more Delta Airlines miles (for tickets that cost up to $1,000).
For tickets above $1,000, you can redeem 10,000 miles to get $100 off your ticket price, then redeem in increments of 10,000 miles.
To use Pay With Miles, you have to pay for the ticket with the card.
8. Delta Sky Club Reduced Rate
A 1-day pass to a Delta Sky Club lounge costs $50, but Gold Delta SkyMiles cardholders can get a discounted lounge pass for themselves and up to 2 guests for only $29 each. You’ll save $21 over the regular price.
There are other credit cards that give you free lounge access outright (like The Platinum Card from American Express or Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® cards), but those cards come with a much higher annual fee.
For folks who only use Delta SkyClub lounges occasionally, perhaps on a long journey, it could be worth paying for entering a lounge, especially at a discount!
9. No Foreign Currency Fees
I’ve written about how cards with no foreign transaction fees can save you lots of money when you travel outside the US. Some cards charge an extra ~3%, and that can definitely add up on an overseas trip.
But you won’t pay foreign currency fees on the Gold Delta SkyMiles cards. That can be huge savings for folks who travel out of the country often.
10. American Express OPEN Discounts (Business Card Only)
Link: American Express OPEN
With the business version of the American Express Gold Delta SkyMiles card, you can get discounts for business expenses with the American Express OPEN program.
You get discounts of up to 10% or earn up to 4 extra Membership Rewards points per dollar at 7 popular merchants including Hyatt, Hertz, and FedEx.
But always compare the price at these merchants after the AMEX OPEN discount to the best price you would pay elsewhere for a comparable hotel or service. It’s not worth paying more to earn a few extra points.
You’ll get an increased sign-up bonus on the American Express Gold Delta SkyMiles personal card and Gold Delta SkyMiles business card until September 8, 2014.
The sign-up bonus alone is worth at least $500 in travel, plus you get a $50 statement credit if you make a Delta purchase with your new card in the 1st 3 months. The annual fee of $95 is waived for the 1st year.
Depending on how often you fly Delta, this card could be worth paying the $95 annual fee for in the 2nd year and beyond. That’s because you get a free 1st checked bag, priority boarding, 2X miles on Delta purchases, and a 20% discount on in-flight purchases like food, drink, and entertainment.
What do you think about the increased sign-up bonus and benefits on this card? Is it worth keeping after the 1st year?