New No Annual Fee Delta Credit Card With Faster Points-Earning

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American Express has launched a new no annual fee Delta co-brand, the Blue Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express, which earns 2 SkyMiles per dollar at US restaurants and Delta, 1 mile elsewhere.

Signup bonus is 10,000 miles after $500 in purchases within 3 months. And it comes with a 20% statement credit rebate on eligible inflight Delta purchases.

Several observations.

  • The card doesn’t appear to be available for application yet, I received a press release about it but it goes live tomorrow (Thursday).

  • No annual fee cards used to earn at best 1 mile per 2 dollars spent, but of course miles have been devalued (though aren’t cheaper for the banks to buy)

  • The reason to get an airline card is for the travel benefits and this card doesn’t get you that. No checked bags or priority boarding.

  • Your spending should be earning points that transfer to a variety of mileage currencies. The Amex Everyday Card has no annual fee, earns spending category bonuses, and points transfer to a variety of airline programs including Delta (so it earns faster than the Delta card).

  • At least this card bonuses restaurants. The Delta Amex a decade ago bonused ‘everyday spend’ categories, it was a pioneer in offering category bonuses, but that ended. In this way the new card is better for points-earning than the expensive Delta co-brands.

  • If spend counts towards elite qualifying dollar waiver ($25,000 in a year on existing products will waive the requirement to achieve status) then this is a great product there would be no reason for elites to get the $95 annual fee card. It’s not yet clear if this product does and I’ve inquired.

    Update: According to Doctor of Credit,

    It will come with a Medallion Qualification Dollar Waiver (MQD) until the end of 2017. Starting 1/1/18 spend on this card will not count towards the MQD waiver unless you have another American Express Delta card.

    Update 2: Officially confirmed by American Express:

    Effective January 1, 2018 (in line with the beginning of Medallion Qualification Year), Card Members who only have a Blue Delta SkyMiles Credit Card, will not be eligible for the MQD waiver.

    However, if a Card Member has a Blue Delta Card and another Delta SkyMiles Credit Card (Delta SkyMiles Credit Card, Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card, Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card or Reserve Delta SkyMiles Credit Card), their spend on all of their Delta SkyMiles Cards, including the Blue Delta Card, will count towards the MQD waiver threshold of $25,000 in eligible spend annually.

American Express is running a contest to promote the new product:

To celebrate the new Blue Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express, one winner and three friends can win the ultimate food-filled excursion to Nashville, Tenn.

From delicious barbeque to hot chicken, this getaway will offer a winner and three guests:

  • Roundtrip flights with Delta Air Lines6
  • Four night Airbnb stay (awarded in the form of a $2500 coupon code)
  • Six dining experiences at select Nashville restaurants (up to $500 per meal)
  • $400 worth of Lyft ride credits for the trip
  • Away luggage pieces in blue for winner

Beginning Sept. 7, to enter the Taste of Travel with #DeltaAmexBlue contest, consumers must post a photo and caption on Instagram or Twitter that represents why the entrant and their best friends deserve the ultimate getaway trip to dine their way around Nashville using the hashtags #DeltaAmexBlue and #Contest from 12:00 a.m. EST Sept. 7, 2017 through 11:59 p.m. PST on Oct. 12, 2017.

New products to appeal to different sets of consumers is a key strategy now that cardmember acquisition growth for airline credit cards has slowed in the face of competition from bank proprietary products. I don’t think this will be enough because it’s really not the best product for any large consumer group unless spend counts towards waiver of qualifying dollar requirements for elite status which I’ve inquired about but it’s interesting to watch the experiment.

Update: As noted above and confirmed, cardmembers who spend $25,000 on the card in 2017 will receive the qualifying dollar waiver, starting in 2018 spend on this product will count towards the waiver only if the cardmember also has one of the other pre-existing annual fee products as well.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Editorial note: any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of any advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either. Terms and limitations apply to all offers.

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  1. It’s live and it’s a turd.

    2.7% foreign transaction fee. No early boarding. No MQDs after first year. You cannot get the bonus if you have or have had within past 90 days any AmEx Delta card.

    2 miles on Delta is nothing. I get 3 on my PR Gold AmEx or 5 on an AmEx Simply Cash. There are many credit cards that beat 2% on dining.

  2. “their spend on all of their Delta SkyMiles Cards, including the Blue Delta Card, will count towards the MQD waiver threshold of $25,000 in eligible spend annually.”
    This is interesting because I asked Amex & Delta 3 different times last year and was told my Amex Delta Platinum and my Amex Business Platinum would NOT be added together for MQD waiver/bonus MQM thresholds. Has anybody had personal experience that they do add them together? (ie $10k spend on one card and $15k on another and you got the bonus?)

  3. Just received notice from Amex that my old Delta Skymiles Options card is now the Blue Skymiles card. So the old Blue is now the new Blue.

    I had the Delta Gold SM card way back in 1999 and downgraded to the free Options card when the AR was coming due. Last year I asked AMEX if I had ever had the Delta Gold card and they said “NO” (I’d heard their records don’t go back that far) so I reapplied and got the bonus and $100 statement credit. But the Options card, being no fee, has been in the drawer for years, esp. after Delta decided to make Skymiles never expire, saving me from putting a $2 charge on the card to keep the miles alive. If they every go back to expiring miles, I will only have to charge $1 with this “new, improved” Blue card.

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