AmEx Platinum vs. AmEx Delta Reserve

Old Jul 24, 19, 12:03 pm
  #1  
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AmEx Platinum vs. AmEx Delta Reserve

I have owned an AmEx Platinum for a few years, and as a consequence, Delta became my airline of choice, primarily for the lounge perks (which I use heavily). I figured the AmEx Platinum fee was offset by not having to pay the Sky Club lounge membership, and I usually journaled my MR points to my SkyMiles account to use for personal/family/vacation travel. My flying habits have me hitting Delta Platinum Medallion status via Segments and Dollars without much trouble.

I just received a promotional email for the AmEx Delta Reserve, offering me 70k bonus miles and 10k bonus MQM's if I spend $4k within the first three months of receiving the card. That hurdle is easy for me to hit.

Both cards have their pros and cons, but I don't think I need to carry both cards - primarily because both carry a hefty annual fee. I certainly don't want to pay $1,000 in membership fees across both accounts, and my gut tells me to stay with the Platinum, but those 70k points are hard to pass up.

I know I am not the first person to have this quandary, so I wanted to throw the question out to those who'd had first-hand experience in this: is there any reason I can't charge the $4k to the Delta Reserve, pay off the charges, receive my 70k miles and then cancel the card before getting hit with the annual fee? Or will doing so cause me to forfeit the 70k points?

Alternately, has anyone had any success in getting AmEx to waive/pro-rate one or both of those annual membership fees if you are carrying both cards? I am guessing the answer is a solid "no" on that, but figured it would not hurt to ask.

Any constructive advice or suggestions would be appreciated.

Please and thank you,

Squirk
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Old Jul 24, 19, 12:18 pm
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mia
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Originally Posted by squirk View Post
....any reason I can't charge the $4k to the Delta Reserve, pay off the charges, receive my 70k miles and then cancel the card before getting hit with the annual fee? ....
Don't do this. You can pay the fee, keep the card for a full year, and cancel if there is not an appealing retention offer, but closing anytime less than a year is a problem.

See here:

Amex USA terms now penalize:abuse,misuse,gaming;1st yr downgrade/close;leaked offers.
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Old Jul 24, 19, 12:27 pm
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If you use pay with miles for DL tickets, you get approximately (due to some rounding) one cent per mile, so the 70,000 DL RDMs are worth at least about $700, which is less than the annual fee. You get a couple extra perks from the DL Reserve card that aren't on the regular AmEx Plat charge card, such as 15,000 RDMs and 15,000 MQMs (which probably won't benefit the OP but can be gifted) at $30,000 spend, two extra RDMs for every dollar spend on DL tickets charged to a DL AmEx card, and discounts for onboard F&B purchases. It's also the first tiebreaker for (free elite) upgrades after elite status tier and fare class, so it should help you to get a couple more upgrades if you tend to be on the bubble.

To me, this says that the Reserve card is worth the fee for at least the first year, and it can be priceless if you (or someone you know) needs the MQMs for status.
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Old Jul 24, 19, 12:29 pm
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Originally Posted by mia View Post
Don't do this. You can pay the fee, keep the card for a full year, and cancel if there is not an appealing retention offer, but closing anytime less than a year is a problem.

See here:

Amex USA terms now penalize:abuse,misuse,gaming;1st yr downgrade/close;leaked offers.
Thanks. But that's AmEx talking about their points (i.e., Membership Rewards), not Delta talking about their points, right?

Last edited by squirk; Jul 24, 19 at 12:35 pm
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Old Jul 24, 19, 12:30 pm
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
If you use pay with miles for DL tickets, you get approximately (due to some rounding) one cent per mile, so the 70,000 DL RDMs are worth at least about $700, which is less than the annual fee. You get a couple extra perks from the DL Reserve card that aren't on the regular AmEx Plat charge card, such as 15,000 RDMs and 15,000 MQMs (which probably won't benefit the OP but can be gifted) at $30,000 spend, two extra RDMs for every dollar spend on DL tickets charged to a DL AmEx card, and discounts for onboard F&B purchases. It's also the first tiebreaker for (free elite) upgrades after elite status tier and fare class, so it should help you to get a couple more upgrades if you tend to be on the bubble.

To me, this says that the Reserve card is worth the fee for at least the first year, and it can be priceless if you (or someone you know) needs the MQMs for status.
Great thoughts. Thank you!
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Old Jul 24, 19, 12:32 pm
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Originally Posted by squirk View Post
Thanks. But to be fair, that's AmEx talking about their points (i.e., Membership Rewards), not Delta talking about their points, right?
American Express awards the bonus.

There is also the impact on future American Express applications:

Amex (USA) restricts bonus based on number of accounts opened/closed (June 2018)
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Old Jul 24, 19, 12:41 pm
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Originally Posted by mia View Post
American Express awards the bonus.

There is also the impact on future American Express applications:

Amex (USA) restricts bonus based on number of accounts opened/closed (June 2018)
Good to know. Thanks.

I guess I wonder where AmEx (and Delta) get what they bargained for in this promotional offer - is it the $4k worth of charges? Or the collection of the $450 annual fee? Or both?

Under the terms you cited, it sounds like "both".
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Old Jul 24, 19, 12:44 pm
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Even if AmEx is paid 3% on the $4,000 spend, that's just $120. AmEx is hoping that the cardholder will accrue interest charges on an unpaid balance and also keep the card longer term. Late fees are also highly profitable, but could also indicate that the person isn't a good credit risk.
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Old Jul 24, 19, 2:49 pm
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Originally Posted by mia View Post
Don't do this. You can pay the fee, keep the card for a full year, and cancel if there is not an appealing retention offer, but closing anytime less than a year is a problem.

See here:

Amex USA terms now penalize:abuse,misuse,gaming;1st yr downgrade/close;leaked offers.
But as far as I know in reading all the forums etc, there haven't yet been any reports whatsoever of a delta miles clawback once awarded, is that correct? Also the whole popup reasons are just speculation I would personally not be living in fear of it to impact my current actions because its a blackbox?
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Old Jul 24, 19, 3:24 pm
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If all you want are the Skymiles, then wait for one of the better offers for the Delta Gold/Plat to roll around since they seem to come around a couple times per year and recently were in the 70k-80k sign up bonus range. The Golds are no AF the first year, and the Plat is a much more reasonable $195 (I think). If you already have SkyClub access and don't need the MQM bonus then I wouldn't bother with the Reserve.
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Old Jul 24, 19, 3:41 pm
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Originally Posted by nomiiiii View Post
....haven't yet been any reports whatsoever of a delta miles clawback once awarded, ....
I will need to think about that, but there are certainly examples of Skymiles bonuses delayed until after the annual fee would be due.

Two examples from July 2019:

Originally Posted by lz80521 View Post
Met spending on May 30th. Stmt showed correct amount of miles earned. Now it's been 7 weeks. No bonus miles or normal spend miles posted. Called rep/supervisor and they told me "miles are awaiting transfer. can take up tp 12 weeks"......
----------------

Originally Posted by nickfromNWI View Post
So, I have Delta Gold and Delta Platinum. Last year, when I reached spending threshold, I received my bonus miles rather quickly (within a few days) for my Gold card. I opened a Platinum card in beginning of June to take advantage of 75K bonus miles so I could use them for an upcoming, last minute vacation I planned for the family. Well, I reached my $3K threshold last Monday, 6/24. I guess with the luck I had with the Gold card, I thought I would get the miles quickly again for Platinum. Now, I am still waiting for them to credit ...
Originally Posted by nickfromNWI View Post
FYI...still waiting...
Originally Posted by nickfromNWI View Post
...Still no bonus miles...I'm beginning to think it may be a while.
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Old Jul 24, 19, 3:44 pm
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Well yes, even myself I've experienced delayed miles (and in one case even denial of awarding bonus delta miles because I used a short-lived public link of what was a targetted offer).

What OP is suggesting is completely different - and while everyone's risk tolerance is up to their own and OP should definltely not trust some random stranger on the internet, they should know that I did do what they suggested in the first post successfully sometime back in 2017 with the delta reserve card with no major repurcussions. Amex has changed over the last couple years, but have they changed specifically in this instance? Only OP can be the datapoint they want to see.
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Old Jul 25, 19, 3:32 pm
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another advantage to the DL reserve is the companion first class ticket (if you will use it). you won't get it the first year, so your $450 gets you $700 in DL miles, then your renewal fee next year kind of gets you that first class companion ticket.
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Old Jul 25, 19, 3:37 pm
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If you love DL, then you already get your own answer. But to me, DL (and AmEx' Hilton) give very bad value for the points. For a couple of years, I've not had any success with any reward booking with DL. Its main hub Atlanta is actually my main destination. But there is always something else better and cheaper than DL.
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Old Jul 26, 19, 12:30 pm
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I keep the Amex Platinum and the Delta Gold cards. Seems like a good combination that gets a relatively good amount of value (free checked bags, etc) without the hefty AF of two premium cards.
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