Who Is Eligible For Delta American Express Sign-Up Bonus?

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Update: These offers for the Delta SkyMiles® Credit Cards from American Express are expired. Learn more about the current offer here.

UPDATE: This offer is expired. You can find the best current offers here.

As I wrote about a couple of weeks ago, American Express is offering some generous sign-up bonuses on their co-branded American Express cards through September 8, 2014:

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

  • 50,000 SkyMiles after making $1,000 in purchases within three months
  • $50 statement credit after making Delta purchase within three months
  • $95 annual fee, waived the first year

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express

  • 50,000 SkyMiles after making $1,000 in purchases within three months
  • $50 statement credit after making Delta purchase within three months
  • $95 annual fee, waived the first year

Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

  • 50,000 SkyMiles after making $1,000 in purchases within three months
  • 15,000 Medallion Qualifying Miles
  • $100 statement credit after making Delta purchase within three months
  • $195 annual fee

I’ve received quite a few questions about these bonuses, so figured I’d answer them to the best of my knowledge.

Limit on how many American Express Cards you can have

Nowadays you can have a maximum of four American Express credit cards and four American Express charge cards. It doesn’t matter whether they’re personal or business, so that means you can have four American Express business credit cards, or two American Express personal credit cards and two American Express business credit cards. Split it up however you’d like.

Can you apply for both the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express and Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express?

These are all considered separate products, so you should be eligible for the bonus on each of these cards, assuming you haven’t had them before. So if you’ve never had any of these cards, you’re theoretically eligible for all of them.

However, American Express typically won’t approve multiple applications in a day. It’s fine to apply for two cards in a day, though they may only process one after waiting a few days. So just don’t expect to be approved for multiple cards in one day.

What kind of a Delta purchase is required for the statement credit?

All versions of this offer come with a $50-100 statement credit after making a Delta purchase within three months. So what kind of a purchase would qualify for the purposes of fulfilling that requirement and earning the statement credit? For example, the section about the statement credit for the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card reads as follows:

One statement credit for $50 will be issued to your Card account after a Delta purchase is charged to your Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership starting from the date your account is approved. In rare instances, your period to make your Delta purchase may be shorter than 3 months if there is a delay in receiving your Card. Also, purchases may fall outside of the 3-month period in some cases, such as a delay in merchants submitting transactions to us or if the purchase date differs from the date you made the transaction. (For example, if you buy goods online, the purchase date may be the date the goods are shipped). Purchases to meet the spend requirement include those made by both the Basic and Additional Card Members on the Card Account. Purchase must be made directly through Delta. A purchase may not qualify for the statement credit if it is submitted under a merchant code that has not been categorized as a Delta merchant code as of the date of the purchase(s). Credit will be issued as a Card Member statement credit approximately 8-12 weeks after your first Delta purchase. Additional Card Members on your account are not eligible for this offer. To receive the $50 statement credit, your Card account must be active, in good standing, and not in default at the time of fulfillment. For questions regarding your Card account, please call the number on the back of your Card. If your application is not received by 9/8/2014, you will not be eligible for the $50 statement credit offer if your application is approved. American Express reserves the right to modify or revoke offer at any time.

Based on those terms it doesn’t seem like you actually have to purchase a Delta ticket, but rather just have to make a purchase coded by Delta. So an onboard food or beverage purchase should qualify, as should purchasing a Delta gift card (which can be for as little as $50).

Delta SkyMiles are becoming more valuable in my opinion

As a relative matter, I’ve found that Delta SkyMiles have become more valuable over the past couple of years. With United MileagePlus’ huge devaluation, I’d say Delta SkyMiles are almost as valuable, if not more valuable, than United miles now. Over the past couple of years:

  • Delta SkyMiles has partnered with Virgin Australia and stopped imposing fuel surcharges on those award redemptions. They’re the most generous airline for nonstop business class award space between the US and Australia, in my experience.
  • Delta SkyMiles has partnered with Virgin Atlantic, making them one of the only ways to redeem miles for Virgin Atlantic without paying fuel surcharges.

There’s lots of concern because Delta is introducing a new SkyMiles program come 2015, with both new redemption tiers and a different earnings structure. It’s worth keeping in mind that:

  • The new five tier redemption system applies exclusively for travel on Delta — travel on partner airlines won’t be impacted, and will continue to be available at the “saver” award level.
  • Delta will be introducing revenue based mileage earning for flying in 2015. This actually works out in the favor of those earning miles through credit cards. People on average will earn fewer miles for flying, but the same number of miles for credit card spend.
  • Delta will be introducing one-way awards in 2015, which is great news, since it means you can redeem one-way awards on partner airlines for half the cost of a roundtrip.

Virgin Atlantic Upper Class

Bottom line

I really enjoyed my Delta SkyMiles award redemption earlier in the year for travel on Virgin Atlantic and Alitalia, and am looking forward to redeeming SkyMiles for travel on Virgin Australia very soon.

Alitalia Business Class

I’ll be applying for both a personal and business card through this offer before the deadline.


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  1. The title of “Who is Eligible” gave me false hope you were about to give a definitive answer to the questions resulting from this statement on the T/C for the personal Gold card:

    “If we identify you as currently having an American Express® Card account, you may not be eligible for this welcome bonus offer”

    The problem is that AMEX will quite happily approve an app for someone who is “not eligible” for any bonus, without telling the applicant that. Then when the fees and/or minimum spend is done, refuse to give out the promised bonus. Even when AMEX CSRs have told potential applicants that they do qualify, AMEX won’t honor that, they just say “sorry, the CSR was mistaken”.

    So the fact that several blogs have said “that doesn’t really mean what it says”, is not something I find very reassuring.

  2. @Robert: I sent a tweet and also called Amex over the phone. Both times they told me that as long as you NEVER had the card before you are fine and will get the bonus. It doesn’t matter if you currently have other Amex cards. You can get both the Personal and Business and you’ll get both bonuses. After that, you are done for life. The rep on the phone even laughed saying “people would apply for cards, get the bonus, close the card and re-apply again”. 🙂
    Hope this helps!

  3. The Gold Skymiles card was the very first card I ever signed up for in the card churning game and I cancelled it in December of 2012. Under the old rules, I would just about be coming up on the time I could sign up for it again and get the bonus (2 years). Now though, it sounds like I will never be able to get the bonus on this card again. Is that right? Which leads me to ask another question: you say you’ll be applying for the personal and business cards under this offer. Are you saying then that you’ve never had these cards at any point in the past? OR…reading between the lines…are you saying that you know a way around the restriction of not getting a bonus if you’ve previously had the card?

  4. @ Robert Hanson @ Lantean — Ultimately I can’t speak for the terms, but having called many reps and having read many anecdotal reports, I haven’t heard of anyone not getting the bonus on the Delta Card if they haven’t had that specific card before.

  5. @Angel Strange then that they have both sentences. First “if we identify you”, followed by “This offer is also not available to applicants who have or have had this product.” ALSO not available? By what AMEX told you, the first sentence is irrelevant, and the “also” verbiage is just very strange.

    Last April people were told by AMEX CSRs that they could apply for another SPG card in April, before the new rules stated May 1st, and still get the bonus. Then they didn’t get it. AMEX went by the printed rules, not what the CSRs said. For some reason we are supposed to believe they will do things differently this time?

    This basic response from AMEX is what I stated above “It doesn’t mean what it says”. Why don’t I find that reassuring? Normally, I would say let’s just wait and see if the first people to apply do get the bonus. But since the offer ends in early Sept, and AMEX takes weeks to transfer bonuses even when they do honor them, that’s not an option.

    For anyone rolling the dice on this, be aware when you see that “50,000 points” on the offer, that’s only 20,000 points for the first year where the annual fee is waived. To get the remaining 30,000 points, you have to pay the $125 fee for the second year, and meet additional minimum spend.

  6. @Lucky “I haven’t heard of anyone not getting the bonus on the Delta Card if they haven’t had that specific card before.” The “if we identify you” language has only been out a few months. That’s not long enough to be tested, since bonus points can take months to post. My 50,000 points from a targeted Bus PRG offer took 10 weeks to post, after the spend was billed. So it’s too soon to tell.

    I did, however, find this on Google:

    “CFPB Orders American Express to Pay $85 Million Refund to Consumers Harmed by Illegal Credit Card Practices. Oct 1, 2012”

    ““Several American Express companies violated consumer protection laws and those laws were violated at all stages of the game – from the moment a consumer shopped for a card….”

    “Deceived consumers who signed up for the American Express “Blue Sky” credit card program: Consumers were sometimes led to believe they would receive $300 in addition to bonus points if they signed up for this American Express Centurion Bank program. But consumers who met the qualifications did not receive the $300. This violates federal laws prohibiting deceptive practices.”

    But surely they’ve seen the error of their previous ways, and wouldn’t do that sort of thing again…..

  7. Suddenly you’re calling Delta miles as valuable as United. How come you didn’t say that back when United devalued?

    Ah. Got it – you’re trying to push new Amex links.

  8. I received 2 targeted Amex offers. Business Platinum with a 150k points and Personal Platinum with 100k points. I applied for the Business Platinum using my sole proprietorship (ssn). Do you think I’ll get the personal platinum bonus as well if I apply in a few weeks? Technically they’re both the same Amex product (platinum), even though one is business. Thanks!

  9. Greg called it. As usual, this is all about a greedy, dishonest blogger hustling the rubes for sign up fees. Nothing more.

    I call BS on the following statement “I’ve found that Delta SkyMiles have become more valuable over the past couple of years.” Oh, reeeeeealy? MOre valuable, eh? How’s that exactly?

    Come on. What kind of idiots do you take your readers for? Only a sucker would believe that SkyMiles have become “more valuable”. *ALL* airline points have become less valuable over the past couple of years – a lot less valuable (thanks to bloggers like you, by the way, but lets not go there today). Now, one could reasonably argue that Delta Skymiles have lost less of of their value than other airline currencies (although they started out less worth, too, so it’s no great shakes), but then you would have to admit that points have generally become worth less, and that hurts your wallet, so of course you try to obfuscate that fact.

    You are dishonest. Shame on you.

  10. @ JC — Since one is a personal and one a business card, I see no reason you wouldn’t, assuming you didn’t have the products before. Very nice offers!

  11. @ Donny — Great job selectively quoting. I said SkyMiles have become more valuable as a relative matter, which I absolutely stand by. Totally agree with the second part of your statement that all (or at least most) miles have become less valuable over the past couple of years. Which is why my assessment was based on relative value and not absolute value.

  12. I had to make a change to a recent Delta flight and the customer rep was trying to upsell the current Delta AMEX offer.

    He mentioned that as a AMEX holder, you get access to more saver awards. Does anyone have anecdotal evidence of that ever happening?

    In my past experience, Delta saver awards are pretty rare to find unless you’re travelling wed-wed in the middle of October or take 2 stops to get to Europe.

  13. @Jonathan – I’m DL Platinum, with a few DL AMEX cards. I don’t have a lot of issues finding cheap miles tickets – and I have been upgraded a lot before other Platinums I fly with.

  14. I am currently a Delta reserve card member..silly me..applied to the gold card for 50K bonus…upon approval, we received the message that I may not get the bonus miles..since it said..may not..I call Amex. The Amex rep confirmed I was not able to get the bonus miles as it was null ..it..if you have another Amex card linked to your skymile, the bonus is voided regardless..not necessary because I have another Amex but I have an Amex linked to the Skymiles account..so for those out there with one card already in place with Delta..don’t bother with this offer

  15. Actually, I don’t think Lucky is that off to proclaim DL miles =~ UA miles, at least for credit card earners. It has the potential. One-way awards will make it significantly more useful for me. UA partner chart is more expensive in many cases for J. The jury is still out on award availability, but if that proves OK, then I think Lucky is onto something.

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