Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Credit, Debit and Prepaid Card Programs > American Express | Membership Rewards
Reload this Page > Confused by AmEx cards and Delta miles...certain I'm doing it wrong. :)

Confused by AmEx cards and Delta miles...certain I'm doing it wrong. :)

Reply

Old Apr 16, 18, 6:03 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 26
Red face Confused by AmEx cards and Delta miles...certain I'm doing it wrong. :)

I'd love someone patient to help me work this out if you've got a few minutes!

I'm a longtime holder of the Delta Reserve card. I use it primarily to run a number of businesses, so I tend to earn all of my MQMs in January each year. I hold the card primarily for mileage accrual, but admittedly didn't do much research before I bit the bullet other than I travel to and from Europe once a year for a few weeks and prefer to fly in the front to do so...when I upgraded to the Reserve there was some incredible amount of miles and MQMs if memory serves, so I lept. The last airline ticket I paid for was in 1997, which I suppose is both good and bad since I'm not spending much with the airline directly! I do use the companion ticket each year, but that's really the extent to which I use the benefits. I'm sure it's a waste of the annual fee, but the MQMs have kept me at Gold for at least a decade and that has come with many-an-upgrade; however, with card spend it seems like there must be a better option for me. That being said, I've never truly investigated what options might be better for my travel needs until now...and my head is spinning. I do fly almost exclusively with Delta, though that's mostly due to having the Delta Reserve card building up miles.

Now my challenge. I'm adding another card solely for personal purchases...or keeping the Reserve and adding a business card, whichever makes the most sense. I've spent ages reading about each card, benefits of business v personal cards, bonuses, etc., but what I really can't determine are two things. 1) Ultimately I want to dump all of my miles into Delta...I'm taking my parents and a friend to Europe next summer to knock off a couple of things on Mom and Dad's bucket list and need over a million miles to put us all in 1st...with a handful of trips before I book our tickets. I would just love to not pay it out of pocket when I'm spending at least that on my Reserve card each year. I'm sure there's a fee to combine miles between cards (right?!), but I can't make sense of it all. 2) What card makes the most sense, even if it means bagging my Reserve card for something different and adding the second card. I don't mind the annual fees if the benefits make sense, but after reading through pages and pages on the message boards, I'm just sure I'm not doing it right.

I've read the boards for hours this past week, but can't find a thread that addresses what I'm after. If I'm just not finding it, please direct me and I'll keep hunting!

Thank you for the help!
Natalie
tulips*n*truffles is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Apr 16, 18, 7:23 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: ATL
Posts: 725
Home airport?
bigbuy is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Apr 16, 18, 7:34 pm
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 26
Originally Posted by bigbuy View Post
Home airport?
Most often, MSP. DSM is closer but fewer options (and heftier fares).
tulips*n*truffles is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Apr 16, 18, 8:29 pm
  #4  
Moderator: Credit Card Programs & Chase Ultimate Rewards
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Anywhere a good IPA is served!!
Programs: Too many to list
Posts: 9,220
I moved your thread to our AMEX forum and in this forum you'll find this thread: Ongoing offers for Delta American Express cards You'll find cards here that will earn you a 50K>70K miles sign up bonus. Maybe one of them will fit your need. Miles earned from different DL cards will flow right into your DL frequent flyer acct. No need to "combine".
philemer is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Apr 16, 18, 8:34 pm
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 26
Originally Posted by philemer View Post
I moved your thread to our AMEX forum and in this forum you'll find this thread: Ongoing offers for Delta American Express cards You'll find cards here that will earn you a 50K>70K miles sign up bonus. Maybe one of them will fit your need. Miles earned from different DL cards will flow right into your DL frequent flyer acct. No need to "combine".
Thank you, I wasn't sure the best board to post on. I've read various posts (not all here of course!) that indicated miles needed to be purchased between accounts and such...got me nervous. Mainly I was unsure if there was a better card out there, not necessarily AmEx, that would be more suitable for what I'm after. I'll keep digging!
tulips*n*truffles is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Apr 16, 18, 8:36 pm
  #6  
mia
FlyerTalk Evangelist, Moderator: American Express, Citi, Diners Club, Signatures
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Miami & London
Programs: AA 2MM Perpetual Platinum; HH, Marriott & SPG Gold
Posts: 33,822
Originally Posted by tulips*n*truffles View Post
.... with card spend it seems like there must be a better option for me. ....
How much do you spend on cards in a typical year?

All of the Delta credit cards earn one Skymile per dollar on general spending. If you use an American Express card that earns Membership Rewards points you can earn more than one point per dollar in some categories. The points can be converted to Skymiles 1000=1000, with a small fee for the transfer, and the points can also be transferred to several other airline programs for those times when Delta is not the best choice to a particular destination. However, only the Delta cards will earn MQM's and waive the airfare spend requirement for Medallion status. (In the USA, all credit cards that earn Skymiles are issued by American Express.)

Last edited by mia; Apr 16, 18 at 8:42 pm Reason: Correct typo is transfer ratio
mia is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Apr 16, 18, 9:18 pm
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 26
Originally Posted by mia View Post
How much do you spend on cards in a typical year?

All of the Delta credit cards earn one Skymile per dollar on general spending. If you use an American Express card that earns Membership Rewards points you can earn more than one point per dollar in some categories. The points can be converted to Skymiles 1000=1000, with a small fee for the transfer, and the points can also be transferred to several other airline programs for those times when Delta is not the best choice to a particular destination. However, only the Delta cards will earn MQM's and waive the airfare spend requirement for Medallion status. (In the USA, all credit cards that earn Skymiles are issued by American Express.)
I generally spend somewhere around $1.5M on cards depending on where I'm at with business expansion. I use AmEx where I can solely for the airline mile benefit and have had few vendors deny it, in which case I use a FlexPerks Visa, which I redeem mostly for hotel and airfare. I've had that card for probably 25 years as it transitioned though various programs so I've just always kept it...another card I'm not sure is all that valuable. Those are the only two credit cards I have, period, so everything I do is on those. I do make some purchases through Delta when there are 4x-10x mile offers (computers, etc), but again it doesn't add up very quickly. I fly only 5-10 times a year and only use miles to do so, hence the travel reward cards if that makes a difference to what cards I might look at. Thank you for the help and information!
tulips*n*truffles is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Apr 16, 18, 9:35 pm
  #8  
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: SFO
Programs: UA 1K, Marriott Platinum, Avis President's Club
Posts: 971
As MIA notes, if your goal is Delta miles, other AMEX Cards can earn faster. However, you'd give up the MQM portion. Each AMEX card has different bonus categories for different spend.
  • Book a lot of airfare with airlines? AMEX Personal Plat will get you 5x points which can be converted to Skymiles 1000:1000
  • Have many purchases that are 5K or more? AMEX Business Plat will get 1.5x points which can be converted to Skymiles 1000:1000
  • If you are booking a lot of airfare and wouldn't mind booking that through the AMEX Portal, then the Business Plat will also get 5x on that (weird difference, but it is what it is)
Additionally, with the Business Plat you'd choose Delta as your preferred airline and get the $200 airline incidental credit (which may or may not require some leg work to maximize depending on how you spend). However, you'd also get a 35% points rebate when booking a delta economy flight with MR points through the AMEX portal. You'd also get that 35% rebate when booking any airline in business or better. The 35% bonus works out to 1.54 cents per point in value, and you don't need to worry about delta absurd award pricing. Also, this would count as a normal revenue flight and you'd get your award miles and MQMs. Last but not least, you'd also have access to the Centurion lounges for you + 2, and access to Skyclubs for you only when flying delta same day.

Last edited by JHake10; Apr 16, 18 at 9:44 pm
JHake10 is online now  
Reply With Quote
Old Apr 16, 18, 9:46 pm
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 26
Originally Posted by JHake10 View Post
As MIA notes, if your goal is Delta miles, other AMEX Cards can earn faster. However, you'd give up the MQM portion. Each AMEX card has different bonus categories for different spend.
  • Book a lot of airfare with airlines? AMEX Personal Plat will get you 5x points which can be converted to Skymiles 1000:1000
  • Have many purchases that are 5K or more? AMEX Business Plat will get 1.5x points which can be converted to Skymiles 1000:1000
  • If you are booking a lot of airfare and wouldn't mind booking that through the AMEX Portal, then the Business Plat will also get 5x on that (weird difference, but it is what it is)
Additionally, with the Business Plat you'd choose Delta as your preferred airline and get the $200 airline incidental credit (which may or may not require some leg work to maximize depending on how you spend). However, you'd also get a 35% points rebate when booking a delta economy flight with MR points through the AMEX portal. You'd also get that 35% rebate when booking any airline in business or better. The 35% bonus works out to 1.54 cents per point in value, and you don't need to worry about delta absurd award pricing. Last but not least, you'd also have access to the Centurion lounges for you + 2, and access to Skyclubs for you only when flying delta same day.
If I keep the Delta Reserve card, I'm comfortable with the MQMs I collect there. So you're both saying if I added another AmEx (Delta branded?), I would be able to accumulate miles fast and those would convert to SkyMiles with a small fee, is that right?

Would that last paragraph be the biggest benefit of choosing a business card over a personal card? I've only used a personal card for business purchases for 15 years...but don't really know any better other than I was accumulating miles.

Thank you for breaking this down for me!! There is so much information out there it's overwhelming!
tulips*n*truffles is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Apr 16, 18, 10:00 pm
  #10  
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: SFO
Programs: UA 1K, Marriott Platinum, Avis President's Club
Posts: 971
Originally Posted by tulips*n*truffles View Post
If I keep the Delta Reserve card, I'm comfortable with the MQMs I collect there. So you're both saying if I added another AmEx (Delta branded?), I would be able to accumulate miles fast and those would convert to SkyMiles with a small fee, is that right?

Would that last paragraph be the biggest benefit of choosing a business card over a personal card? I've only used a personal card for business purchases for 15 years...but don't really know any better other than I was accumulating miles.

Thank you for breaking this down for me!! There is so much information out there it's overwhelming!
I went back and edited my original post. Any flights you booked with the Business Plat 35% rebate are normal revenue tickets in the eyes of Delta. Therefore, you earn MQMs and Skymiles as you would normally.

The cards MIA and I mention aren't Delta branded cards. They are the non co-brand AMEX cards. These cards collect AMEX Membership Rewards points which can be covered into Skymiles, amongst other partners. Cards like these include the AMEX Plat (not the Delta one), AMEX Business Plat, AMEX Premier Rewards Gold, AMEX Business Gold, AMEX Everyday, AMEX Everyday Preferred.

As mentioned, the 35% rebate, and 1.5x points on purchases 5k and up are unique to the Business Platinum (the plain AMEX one, not the Delta one). However, the lounge access mentioned also applies to the personal AMEX Plat (which gets 5x points on airfare booked directly with airlines).

The small fee MIA refers too is the Federal Excise tax. This only applies when transferring points from AMEX Membership Rewards to US based airline programs. There is a maximum of $99 per transaction. If i'm doing my math right you'd need to transfer in 165K points to hit that $99 fee cap.

For each conversion of points into the Frequent Flyer program of a U.S. airline, a fee of $0.0006 per point, with a maximum fee of $99, will be charged to your Card account.
AMEX Membership Rewards also partners with Flying Blue (Air France, KLM) which are big Delta partners . There is no tax/fee when transferring to them. I'm not sure how their award chart is compared to Delta.

Did some quick research. It seems 60k/yr on the Delta Reserve card gets you 30k MQM (plus bonus redeemable miles). After that, if you put additional spend on cards that generated more then 1x (or 2x for Delta purchases) you're getting more miles.

Last edited by JHake10; Apr 16, 18 at 10:19 pm
JHake10 is online now  
Reply With Quote
Old Apr 17, 18, 7:47 am
  #11  
mia
FlyerTalk Evangelist, Moderator: American Express, Citi, Diners Club, Signatures
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Miami & London
Programs: AA 2MM Perpetual Platinum; HH, Marriott & SPG Gold
Posts: 33,822
Originally Posted by tulips*n*truffles View Post
... The last airline ticket I paid for was in 1997...
Originally Posted by JHake10 View Post
...[*]Book a lot of airfare with airlines? ...
It would appear the tulips*n*truffles will not benefit from features such as 5X for buying airfare, and perhaps not from the 35% rebate when using Pay with Points to purchase airfare, assuming she is redeeming Skymiles for award tickets, rather than using them to buy tickets at $0.01/mile.

With annual spending of $1.5 million she can still spend enough on Skymiles Reserve to qualify for the MQD waiver, and put other spend on Membership Rewards cards where she may earn more than one point per dollar. It's largely a matter of seeing if the bonus categories align with her spending, and if the bonus caps are high enough to make the effort worthwhile.

Last edited by mia; Apr 17, 18 at 8:50 am
mia is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Apr 17, 18, 8:28 am
  #12  
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: SFO
Programs: UA 1K, Marriott Platinum, Avis President's Club
Posts: 971
With that kind of spend you can get the Delta MQD waiver for Diamond
JHake10 is online now  
Reply With Quote
Old Apr 17, 18, 9:28 am
  #13  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 26
Originally Posted by JHake10 View Post
With that kind of spend you can get the Delta MQD waiver for Diamond
Oh yes that MQD waiver is the easy part LOL! Still have to deal with that MQM/MQS requirement though and I suuuuure don't reach that ha!

I really appreciate the help and information...I'm still wrapping my head around the options but I'm getting closer (I think). I hear from MIA that I probably don't benefit too much from the business card benefits, other than I would meet the spend for the currently 60,000 membership reward points with AmEx platinum and that's pretty valuable to me.

In one of your posts, you said "Did some quick research. It seems 60k/yr on the Delta Reserve card gets you 30k MQM (plus bonus redeemable miles). After that, if you put additional spend on cards that generated more then 1x (or 2x for Delta purchases) you're getting more miles." When you're talking about the more than 1x miles for spend, do you mean one of the cards that has categories to choose from (3x miles on one category, 2x miles on the other 4 categories, etc)? Right now I *think* I'm looking at the AmEx Platinum versus something like the Business Gold Rewards OPEN card (though the point categories aren't real solid for me...we spend a ton but it's generally not on software, shipping, gas, etc). All that said, there are a couple of Chase cards that look real appealing (like the Chase Sapphire Reserve card...50k bonus points or the Chase Ink Business Preferred card...80k bonus points)...but am I right I can't convert those points to Delta miles though? It feels like Membership Rewards are the best way to go for what I'm after. I've only ever had two credit cards, both rewards cards, so it's hard for me with so many options

Thank you again!!!

Last edited by tulips*n*truffles; Apr 17, 18 at 9:57 am
tulips*n*truffles is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Apr 17, 18, 10:18 am
  #14  
mia
FlyerTalk Evangelist, Moderator: American Express, Citi, Diners Club, Signatures
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Miami & London
Programs: AA 2MM Perpetual Platinum; HH, Marriott & SPG Gold
Posts: 33,822
Originally Posted by tulips*n*truffles View Post
...Chase Ink Business Preferred card...80k bonus points)...but am I right I can't convert those points to Delta miles though?....
Correct. Ultimate Rewards points cannot be transferred to Skymiles. However, they can used for travel on flights operated by Delta. There are two approaches.

  1. You can transfer to a program that has a partnership with Delta. There are three: Flying Blue (Air France, KLM), Korean Air, Virgin Atlantic. Then, you redeem through that program for flights operated by Delta. Award availability and pricing (number of miles) will be different than when you redeem Skymiles.
  2. You can redeem points through Chase's travel agency for tickets on pretty much any airline. The points have a fixed value, which depends on which Chase cards you hold, varies from $0.01 to $0.015 each.
JHake10 likes this.
mia is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Apr 17, 18, 1:39 pm
  #15  
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: LAX
Programs: AAdvantage Executive Platinum, Citi Exec MC
Posts: 1,308
The way I view most Amex MR cards is that they are often superior to AMEX DL cards. All Amex DL cards are 1X everywhere except for 2X only with Delta (and I guess 2X on the blue card for restaurants).

Amex Plat is effectively 1X SM most places but 5X on airfare and some prepaid hotels. Superior to DL and I can choose to do something else with the points instead of being married to DL.

Amex PRG is superior in every way with 3X on airfare and 2X on a few other categories, Amex EDP is 1.5X everyday and other stuff with more bonuses.

I view DL MQMs as only useful if I actually fly Delta often enough, but if I was flying DL often enough, Id probably make Medallion status anyway on my own. For an occasional DL flight, comfort+ or buying Domestic First is good enough to get the benefits of status.
JHake10 likes this.
matrixwalker2012 is offline  
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Search this Thread