- Platinum Member
- Posts: 93
- Joined: Thu Nov 06, 2014 11:53 am
- Location: United States
That was funny. I used to not like Delta, but then Delta grew, and offered more flights where I flew, so I'm kind of invested with them now.
I have informed myself, but I couldn't understand all of the information that I acquired until it was too late. Once I applied, I disqualified myself from a targeted offer that was 4.5 times more rewarding in bonus miles, for 4.5 less cost in annual fees.
Had I ran across TheCreditForum prior to applying, I would have better understood the information I had, and would never have applied for the Delta Reserve Card. Buyer beware... just as this website describes.
Here are the 10 lessons that I learned in the last 24 hours, that caused me to loose a 35,000 bonus mile welcome benefit, as well as 5,000 MQMs.
1. If you decide to apply for the first time for a Delta Skymiles American Express Card, of ANY kind or color.... DON'T! At least, not before following the rest of these steps on this list...
2. The comparison chart on both the Delta American Express website, as well as the American Express Delta website, may not accurately reflect the terms and welcome benefits available and targeted to you.
3. If you are thinking about applying for a Delta card, t is very important to start saving, opening, and reviewing any Delta credit card offers sent to you in the mail, PRIOR to applying for any Delta card.
4. This is important, and this is where I lost out... The offers in the mail are SUBSTANTIALLY different, and in my case, far and away much better, than the benefits of these cards as explained online. Do not rely on the Delta and AmEx websites that allow you to compare all six Delta branded cards. That comparison will not show you the benefits that are reflected in promotional offers that were targeted to you.
5. The offers in the mail have expiration dates. Even though the same offer may repeatedly be sent to you over and over, with the same enticing terms that beckon you to join, each offer is dated and terminates irrevocably upon the expiration date given. There are no extensions. Even though you are the same person, in the same financial situation, at the same address, who will receive the same offer next month, until you actually receive that offer, it is no longer available to you. DON'T apply for a Delta credit card until you have a valid, non expired promotional offer in hand that is addressed to you.
6. If you DO apply for a Delta credit card, the honeymoon is over the very second you click "I agree". By signing up for any Delta card, whether you use it or not, whether you receive it or not, whether it is mere seconds later that you realize you selected the wrong card or not, you no longer qualify for any of the Welcome benefits (like miles) that were available to you seconds earlier in the promotion you might have received in the mail. Once you application is approved (and online, it can be shockingly instantaneous), you are not longer a "new" Delta card holder.
7. For current Skymiles members, there is another Delta/AmericanExpress website you can go to, enter your Skymiles number and name, and it should reveal the current promotional offers targeted directly toward you as a member. Do not apply for a Delta Card until you check this website first, and/or your snail mail. In my brief and bitter experience, these promotional offers correlate. I'm sorry I don't have the URL to that website handy... it lay buried amidst a mountain of web tabs that I closed the browser on. But I think I learned about the sight on this forum, or one like it.
8. Really, really, really look long and hard before applying for a Delta Reserve card. Dig deep into the terms, conditions, and benefits of between the regular non branded AmEx Platinum versus the Delta Reserve. If you are considering a Delta card at all, it is likely for only two reasons... the first and most important being MQM accruals and an MQD waiver once specified spending thresholds are reached within the calendar year ($25/30K), and the second being access to the Delta SkyClub.
9. The Delta SkyClub is over rated. In the old days it was nice... airports didn't always have internet access, where the Crown Room (as it was formerly called) did. The snacks were good. There was room to sit. There wasn't a waiting line to get to the MEN's room, never mind the ladies room. And the drinks were free. All of them. Not just a couple. Now of course, good luck finding a place to set up your laptop in the SkyClub at some hubs, especially in LAX, SLC, some terminals at ATL (several Skyclubs in ATL, some larger than others}. You'll have to leave your luggage unattended just to reserve a chair to come back to, while waiting in line to use the head. And after paying for your drink of choice, you will find the cheapened snacks leave much to be desired. The Reserve card gets the primary cardholder into this elite flying experience for no charge. But as of May of 2014, anyone you bring with you needs to pay $29. Per visit. Even if just to wait in line to the bathroom.
10. On the other hand, the regular Platinum AmEx card not only gets you into the SkyClub, it also grants entry to the new Centurion lounges (SFO, JFK, others coming) as well as the AirSpace lounges, as well as free membership with PRIORITY PASS... a 600+ lounge network I know absolutely nothing about. But it is more than what the Delta Reserve offers.
11. Something else the regular AmEx Platinum offers that I have not found with the Delta Reserve... reimbursements for monies spent on TSA PreCheck applications, or GlobalEntry passes. Even though the Delta Reserve card is marketed as an "elite" AmEx card, and is positioned higher "status" than Delta's Platinum card, and as such is presumably supposed to offer "platinum level" benefits... the benefits in the regular AmEx Platinum card appear to be more comprehensive once outside of Delta's terminal.
12. One of these supposed benefits not available on the Delta Reserve card is the rental car agency status benefit. Having status with rental car agencies can be quite helpful when the pickings get slim out there on the lot. The regular AmEx Platinum member can have Avis Preferred, Hertz Gold, and National Emerald status without ever renting a car from these companies. I don't know if this is a red herring though, because it seems to me that all need do is merely sign up for these rental car companies individually, and you're in. So part of what this thread is about is discovering what are the real benefits, versus what are the fake ones. Forgive this newbie while I try and figure this out, and leave the legacy of my growing pains for others to learn and benefit from.
12. Another benefit to regular AmEx Platinum is a membership to a "free 2 day shipping, free return shipping" shopping service called "ShopRunner". This subscription alone would normally cost $79.00 per year. I know nothing else about it, other than it isn't stated as a benefit in the $450 Reserve card, but is indeed a benefit of the $450 Platinum card. There are several other benefit mismatches like this, almost all of which I've never heard of, and probably wouldn't miss. But again, if one is trying to justify paying a $450 annual fee for a card, the cost to each and every one of the reimbursements and available services should be considered in the value maximization.
13. Ignoring all these other benefits, and moving back to Delta, and using credit card strategies to maintain Medallion status, know with certainty that the Delta Reserve card did not offer nearly as an attractive MQM welcome benefit as the lower tier, less expensive, Delta Platinum card offer that was targeted to me. Compare the 15,000 MQDs, and the 45,000 bonus miles, and the $100 statement credit offered to me via the mail for signing up for the Platinum card, versus only 10,000 MQDs, and 10,000 bonus miles (a grand total 10K miles on your mileage balance, not 20K), and no statement credit, for the Reserve card. Oh, and the Platinum card would only cost $95 the first year, while the Reserve card costs $450. That's 4.5 times more expensive, for 4.5 times fewer miles on the welcome benefit.
And I signed up for it. Don't be me. Don't be the one who couldn't figure it all out fast enough, couldn't remember all the terms in the dizzying pile of junk mail, and who finally resorted to trusting the Delta and American Express website "card comparison" pages in the hopes that all the relevant information would be distilled there in a readable manner for me to appropriately choose. Not.
Instead, the information is here. Boldly posted in stickies at the top of these forums. Buried deep in random posts in the middle of these forums. But it is here. And you're here reading this. You're already "miles" ahead of where I was yesterday, and if you are new to this game, I hope you found benefit from this post.
AmEx Platinum Charge: NPSL, $450 AF
AmEx Reserve Credit: $30K limit, $450 AF
Chase Slate Visa Credit: $32K limit, No AF
Near Term: Need a good MasterCard for places that won't accept AmEx or Visa
Long Term: Will downsize out of one or both current AmEx cards to reduce AFs