Here are words I never thought I’d write:
I might use my Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card to purchase Delta Air Lines tickets.
American Express announced yesterday that both the personal/consumer and business flavors of Delta Amex cards were eligible for 5X SkyMiles on Delta purchases this year. (The only exception? The Delta Blue card. I’m not shedding tears.)
This gives cardholders some decent incentive to use their eligible card for Delta trip spending. (If you hold more than one Delta American Express card on your Amex account, you can only add the 5X SkyMiles offer to one. So apply it to the Delta Amex that’s best for you this year.)
Wait for a second, you may think. Why wouldn’t you always use your Delta Amex for every Delta purchase?!
Well, for several reasons. But that might go on hiatus this year.
Why I Don’t Usually Buy Delta Tickets on My Delta Credit Cards
I honestly don’t remember the last time I purchased a Delta trip using any of my SkyMiles cards. Here’s why I give that business to other products.
I get a much better bang for my buck using non-Delta credit cards for most of my mothership spending. Such as:
Better Bonuses Elsewhere
Several options consistently provide me more lucrative earnings or redemptions:
- My Platinum Card® from American Express awards 5X Membership Rewards points on flights booked directly with airlines (or on AmexTravel.com). That’s capped at $500,000 in purchases per calendar year.
- The Business Platinum Card® from American Express has an excellent 35% rebate with its Pay with Points feature when booking flights through AmexTravel.com. (There’s a max of 500,000 points back per calendar year.)
- The Chase Freedom Flex awards 5X Ultimate Rewards when purchasing travel from Chase.
- My Chase Sapphire Reserve gives me 3X Ultimate Rewards points on all travel purchases. I can then redeem them for 4.5 cents per point when booking travel directly through Chase.
The Delta Reserve and Platinum cards, though, usually top out at 3X for Delta purchases.
Transferrable Currencies are More Valuable
Membership Rewards and Ultimate Rewards can be transferred to other travel programs to be redeemed for award flights. Or you can use them as cash to book trips through Amex’s or Chase’s travel services and still earn miles.
Trip Interruption, Delay, and Cancellation Protection
I use the Chase Sapphire Reserve for the vast majority of my airline ticket purchases. It offers great trip coverage when you put even just a portion of your airline fare onto the CSR. While many premium Amex cards include some coverage, entire trips must be charged to the eligible card.
I usually also carry travel insurance. But the CSR and insurance are a solid tandem to keep me relatively protected in the event of something unforeseen.
For my Delta Amex Companion Certificate airfare purchases, I generally go with the Platinum Card® from American Express unless there’s an Amex Offer for statement credit on another card.
Bottom Line: If Delta and Amex made it more rewarding and beneficial for me to purchase airfares on the co-branded cards, I’d likely use them far more often.
My Plan for Purchasing Delta Tickets This Year
But yesterday’s announcement has me rethinking things a little.
Until I reach the $30,000 spend threshold for my bonus MQM/Status Boost, I’ll consider using my Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card for any Companion Certificate trip bookings. Those require the paid ticket portions to be purchased with any American Express card.
But for everything else, I’ll likely keep using my Chase Sapphire Reserve because of the trip coverage and Ultimate Rewards points value (which I think is potentially closer to 6 or 7 cents).
Then again, I’m not close to traveling for a while, so…
What’s Your Plan?
If you haven’t been using your Delta Amex to book Delta tickets, are the Amex Offers enough to get you to start putting them on your card? Please share your thoughts in the below Comments section!
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