|by Jason Steele|
American Express offers numerous Delta SkyMiles cards that can be seen in the pockets of most travelers in Atlanta, Cincinnati, Salt Lake City, and other Delta hotspots. What can be confusing is determining which card is for you.
When A Mile Is Not Just A Mile
Frequent Delta Customers know that the key to getting great service is joining the ranks of their SkyMiles Medallion Level. Fees are waived, upgrades obtained, and lines are skipped for all those who have earned exalted status. While Delta SkyMiles can be accumulated with countless promotions, and from a myriad of affiliates, however only a special kind of SkyMile, the Medallion Qualifier Mile, or MQM, will bring you any closer to Medallion status. There are only two ways that you can earn MQMs, flying on Delta, and earning bonuses with the American Express Delta SkyMiles cards.
Earning MQMs With A Reward Card
American Express’s base SkyMiles card, their “Classic” card, and even their “Gold” card offer various mileage bonuses, but no MQMs. Once you move up to their “Platinum” card, only then do the MQMs start rolling in. With your first purchase with the Platinum card, you earn 20,000 SkyMiles, of which 5,000 of them count as MQMs. After that, you earn an additional 10,000 MQMs when you spend $25,000 and again when your spending reaches $50,000 per calendar year. If you were to sign up for this card and spend $50,000 in one year, you would receive a total of 25,000 MQMs, enough to become a Silver Medallion member without even stepping on an airplane! There is a $150 annual fee for this card, but most people will find this well worth it if it allows them to reach a Medallion level they would not have otherwise attained.
The top of the line American Express SkyMiles card is the Delta Reserve Card. With this card, you will recieve 10,000 MQMs with your first purchase, and 15,000 MQMs when your annual spending reaches $30,000 and $60,000 respectively. A business traveler spending $60,000 a year will earn a whopping 40,000 MQMs from their credit card alone, more than half of the 75,000 SkyMiles needed for Platinum Medalion. On the down side, their is a steep $450 annual fee, but there are other benefits that more than justify this fee.
Extra Rewards Beyond SkyMiles
Both the Platinum and Reserve Cards have large annual fees, but it is very easy to justify them with the additional rewards that Delta includes. Both cards offer a free complimentary companion certificate for domestic travel which alone could be worth hundreds of dollars. The Gold card members receive a companion pass for coach travel in the contiguous United States, whereas Reserve card holders receive a certificate good for coach or first class travel to any domestic destination, which is potentially worth well over a thousand dollars. Reserve card holders also receive Delta Crown Room access for yourself and two guests, which is worth the $450 annual fee by itself!
Which Card Should You Get
With rewards going way beyond mere miles, anyone who travels on Delta regularly, if not frequently, should have an Amex Skymiles card. Even if you only travel on Delta few times a year, a Gold Card is almost certainly worth it, if only for the free domestic companion ticket. For all those who travel more than a few times a year on Delta, you should strongly consider the Reserve card. From the lounge access to the companion certificate to the MQMs the Reserve card does the seemingly impossible, it makes the $450 annual fee a bargain.