The Minimum Value You Should Get Out Of Delta Amex Sign-Up Bonuses

Update: These offers for the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express, the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express, the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express and the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express have expired. Learn more about the current offers here.


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Through April 11, 2018, there are increased sign-up bonuses on some of the popular Delta Amex co-branded credit cards.

Delta Amex Increased Sign-Up Bonuses

These are among the best offers we’ve ever seen on the cards, and you’re eligible for the bonuses on each of the cards, as they’re all considered separate products (see my previous post about how many Delta Amex cards you can apply for).

A couple of days ago I wrote a post valuing the sign-up bonuses on all four of the cards with increased bonuses. As I explained in the post, I value SkyMiles at 1.2 cents each, so my valuation was based on that.

Once you factor in the sign-up bonuses and annual fees:

While I think that’s a realistic valuation of SkyMiles, many people tell me that redeeming SkyMiles is too difficult, and therefore it’s not worth taking advantage of the bonus. The good news is that unlike some other points currencies, SkyMiles have a legitimate “floor” value, thanks to the ability to redeem SkyMiles as cash towards the cost of a ticket.

If you have a Delta co-branded credit card then you can redeem SkyMiles for one cent each towards the cost of a ticket, in increments of 5,000 miles. The Pay With Miles benefit is available exclusively to those with select Delta co-branded credit cards, and even elite members without the credit card don’t have access to this benefit.


You should use Pay With Miles for a Delta One ticket

In other words, if a ticket cost $200, you could choose to pay $150 plus 5,000 miles, $100 plus 10,000 miles, $50 plus 15,000 miles, or just pay 20,000 miles outright. The best part is that for all practical purposes these are still considered “paid” tickets. This means that:

  • You’re eligible for complimentary upgrades on these tickets as an elite member
  • You’re eligible for Medallion Qualifying Miles and Medallion Qualifying Segments for these tickets
  • You earn redeemable miles based only on the portion of the ticket for which you’re paying cash

In other words, the 60,000 bonus miles offered by the Gold Delta SkyMiles Personal Card and Gold Delta SkyMiles Business Card would give you at least $600 worth of travel on Delta, while the 70,000 bonus miles offered by the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Personal Card and Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business Card give you at least $700 worth of travel on Delta.

On top of that, the Gold versions of the card come with a $50 statement credit after making a Delta purchase, and the Platinum versions of the card come with a $100 statement credit after making a Delta purchase. If you were to just buy a Delta gift card for that amount, that means the Gold version of the card gets you $650 worth of travel on Delta, while the Platinum version of the card gets you $800 worth of travel on Delta.

Even for someone who doesn’t want to go through the effort of redeeming SkyMiles, this is something that’s very much a worthwhile sign-up bonus.

Let me just emphasize again that this isn’t personally how I’d choose to redeem SkyMiles. Even though Delta has significantly increased many award costs over the past few years, I still think you can get more value through premium cabin redemptions. However, there is something to be said for there being a floor value for miles, because I can see many people redeeming American and United miles for significantly less than a penny of value per point. For example, I value a one-way China Airlines business class ticket from Los Angeles to Taipei at more than $950.

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Comments

  1. I live in Chicago and thus rarely fly Delta. I would be interested in this strictly for partner redemptions. Do you have any favorite partner redemptions?

  2. Lucky, I’m not sure if I’ve had the Delta Platinum business credit card before. Does it matter? If it does, is there a way to find out without giving it away to a rep that I want to get the bonus miles? I’m not sure if business credit cards count for their once-in-a-lifetime bonus rule. Also, is it a better use of an app to apply for this card or the the new Amex Hilton small business credit card with 100K bonus with spend? Thanks!

  3. For on occasional traveler like myself, redeeming Delta miles for anything more than 1.0-1.2c is a challenge. I’ve been dumping mine on Dom Perignon at the SkyMiles lounge 🙂

  4. Just as a point of comparison, I redeemed 140,000 SkyMiles for two Delta One tickets from ATL-BRU last year. BRU was not our preferred gateway city in Europe – we were ultimately going to Italy but were open to spending a night in Paris – but it was more than acceptable. We did have to spend a little over $100 for two Thalys one-way tickets to Paris since we could not get award tickets on DL into CDG. While, I don’t know what that ticket would have cost in cash last year, that seat on the same flight and day this year is about $7800 each. Even if that ticket was $7000 last year, that’s a value of $0.10 per SkyMile. I know that that is just one example, but that is how I seek to use my miles – premium cabin. I know DL is not EK or even AF, but I had a lie-flat seat and a non-stop transAtlantic flight. I call that a good use of SkyMiles even if it we had to be flexible on our destination. In fact, we are taking the same flight this summer when we return to Europe, though we booked the tickets using Flying Blue miles instead of SkyMiles.

  5. @Derek – I’m ATL based and just about always default to starting or ending in BRU for Delta One awards to Europe – I have never had trouble getting 4 RT seats @ 140k a few months out even sometimes returning from LHR. Asia is a different story.. I’ve started to just go PE on AF to CDG and book the Asia leg in business on AF @160k RT.

  6. @Paul – That’s good to know on Asia. I have not been there yet, but that is where I really want to get to in the coming few years. Though, I must admit, I really want to try to go Singapore or Cathay if possible!

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