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Delta Skymiles Credit Cards Debut New Changes

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Delta SkyMiles® cards from American Express® got makeovers in 2020. The changes involve some new perks and better earning power, but cardholders will also lose out on a few items and may pay higher annual fees.

Most of the changes went into effect beginning on January 30, 2020. If you have a Delta SkyMiles card already or are thinking of getting one, here are a few highlights of the upcoming new policies:

  • For the first time, the Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card will have foreign transaction fees of None.
  • The Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card will be offering a $100 Delta flight credit once you hit $10,000 in spending for the year.
  • The Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card is adding a statement credit up to $100 for Global Entry or TSA Precheck.
  • Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card cardholders will now have access to The American Express Centurion® Lounge, plus two Delta Sky Club® one-time guest passes.

Read on for a more detailed look at how each Delta SkyMiles card is changing. Terms apply to American Express credit card offers. See americanexpress.com for more information.

Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card

The lower-tier card among the four is the Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card. There’s still a $0 annual fee, but the new program is adding a couple of additional benefits.

Take the card abroad. For the first time, this card will have foreign transaction fees of None, which is convenient for overseas travel.
Extra miles when you dine. Earn 2X Miles per dollar spent on Delta purchases and at restaurants, now worldwide. Earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. However, the new program extends that to dining worldwide.
Pay With Miles feature is activated. Beginning in January, with the Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card, you can reduce the cost of your flight using miles. This program used to be exclusive to Gold, Platinum and Reserve credit card members.

For Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card rates and fees, click here.

Overview of changes

Overall, the Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card isn’t changing all that much, but each tweak lets cardholders come out on top. The updates are especially beneficial for those who want to use this card abroad, since they won’t have to pay a foreign transaction fee and they can earn miles on dining outside the U.S.

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

The next level up is the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card. While there are some new benefits that cardholders will love, they’ll also be losing a couple of perks.

More miles. Cardholders will be able to double their miles earnings at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets starting in January.
Spend and save. A nice new feature is getting a $100 Delta flight credit when you reach $10,000 in spending for the year.
A slight bump up in the annual fee. Prior to January 30, 2020, there was an $0 introductory annual fee, then $95. The annual fee has now bumped up to $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99. That’s hardly a game changer, but just a heads up.
No more Delta Sky Club access. This one hurts for cardholders who used this benefit, since the card will no longer allow you entry into the premium lounge for a daily fee.
Say goodbye to the MQD waiver. You used to be able to waive the MQD (Medallion Qualification Dollar) requirement to reach Platinum, Gold, or Silver Medallion Status if you purchased $25,000 or more using this card. But that is no longer the case.

Overview of changes

For the person who simply wants to earn miles and save on flights, the changes to the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card give you more earning power at restaurants and supermarkets. Plus, the statement credit of up to $100 more than makes up for the small annual fee increase. However, for cardholders who are aiming for Medallion status and who enjoy Sky Club access, the updated terms are sure to disappoint.

For Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card rates and fees, click here.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Next up is the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card. Like the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, there are a couple of nice new perks, but the card will cost you more to carry and the Miles Boost program is changing.

New statement credit of up to $100. Like many travel cards, this one will begin to cover cardholders for Global Entry or TSA Precheck costs.
Annual fee increase. The annual fee has increased from $195 to $250.
Miles Boost transitions to Status Boost. Before, spending a lot used to earn both bonus miles that you could redeem and MQMs (Medallion Qualification Miles, which helps you toward earning status). The new program will no longer include bonus miles, so you’ll get just 10,000 MQMs when you spend $25,000, up to twice per year.
Delta Sky Club price increase. The good news is you can still get access to the lounge with this card, but it will cost $39 instead of $29 per visit.

Overview of changes

There’s definitely a significant boost in earning potential given that the rewards rate is going up in four spending categories. However, losing the bonus miles and having to pay more for the annual fee and for lounge access is a big turnoff.

For Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card rates and fees, click here.

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card

The highest tier card is the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, and it, too, has a few significant changes in 2020.

Lounge access. Cardholders will be able to use The American Express Centurion® Lounge, and they get two Delta Sky Club one-time guest passes per year.
Complimentary upgrades. This is a snazzy new perk, especially considering that you don’t need to have earned Medallion® Status to get it.
Statement credit up to $100. Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card cardholders also get up to a $100 statement credit for global entry or TSA Precheck.
A boost in earnings. There will be a bump in miles earnings on Delta purchases from 2x to 3x.
Get up to 20,000 MQMs. To qualify for both the signup bonus and the 20,000 MQMs, you must spend at least $5,000 on the card within the first three months of card membership.
Annual fee increase. The annual fee has increased from $450 to $550.
No more priority lane check-ins. Reserve cardholders used to get Sky Priority® Security Lane access, but that’s going away.

Overview of changes

Assuming you can live with the increased annual fee, the added benefits do have some real value. In fact, the lounge access and complimentary upgrades rise to VIP-level perks, which you should have with this expensive of a card. Having more opportunities to earn MQMs is also in the plus column for status seekers, but again, there are no more bonus miles. Lastly, although you lose automatic Sky Priority privileges, if you earn Medallion status or fly first or business class, you’ll get those anyway.

For Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card rates and fees, click here.

Bottom line

Changes to rewards and miles programs do happen from time to time, and depending on which benefits you enjoy on your card, it may or may not have that big an impact on you. The forthcoming changes on the Delta SkyMiles cards are a mixed bag.

On the lower end, the Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card and Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card will be adding appealing features to help earn more miles and save a few bucks on fees. The big drawbacks are on the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card where you lose Sky Club access and the MQD waiver.

On the higher tier cards, the annual fee jump is significant, and the transition away from bonus miles to status miles may hurt some. But, the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card has the nicest bump up in earnings rates overall.

As for the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, the added Centurion Lounge access and complimentary upgrades may help ease the pain of losing Sky Priority privileges.