American Express Launches Blue Delta SkyMiles Card

American Express just launched the Blue Delta SkyMiles card. It seems like airline companies are launching their new credit cards this week, like the United Travel Bank card we wrote about yesterday.

The basics

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Signup bonus: 10,000 miles after $500 in spend within the first three months
  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent at U.S. Restaurants (no other card offers 2 miles for dining without an annual fee)
  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on purchases made directly with Delta
  • Earn 1 mile on everything else
  • 20% savings in the form of a statement credit on all eligible in-flight purchases when flying with Delta

The card does NOT offer free checked bags, priority boarding, or lounge access. 

Signup bonus and return on spend

Earn 10,000 miles after $500 in spend within the first three months. Delta miles are usually valued at 1.2 cents per point.

10,000 miles x 1.2 cents per point = $120 in value
$120 in value / $500 minimum spend = 24% return on spend

Blue Delta SkyMiles vs. United TravelBank Card

Both cards were launched this week and geared towards the same target market — people who don't want to pay an annual fee and worry about counting points. The signup bonus for both cards are okay, not great.

The Chase United TravelBank card is affected by the Chase 5/24 rule, so you'll have to burn up one of the slots to get the card. Read our full review about the United TravelBank card here.

With the Blue Delta SkyMiles card, unless you currently have five active American Express cards, there are not any rules you have to worry about. 

In the short term, I think the Blue Delta SkyMiles is better than the United TravelBank card. If you are someone who spends a lot of travel with Delta, the Delta Gold card might be a better option. 

In the long term, you can get a 2.4% return on spending when you factor in the 2% back on dining and Delta purchases. 

Whether it makes sense to use the Blue Delta SkyMiles card for dining expenses and travel depends on which cards you have in your wallet. If you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you earn 3x back on dining and travel, so it wouldn't make sense to use the Blue Delta card. 

If you have cards like the Discover It or Chase Freedom card, you can earn 5x back on dining during certain quarters.

Product change paths

The most interesting thing about the Blue Delta card is that it can be a downgrade path for the Delta Gold or Platinum. Before the Blue Delta came out, the only downgrade path for the Delta Platinum was to product change the card to a Delta Gold or cancel the card. 

With the new card, you can keep your credit history alive, especially if you had a higher tier Delta card in the past. 

If you had a Delta Gold or Platinum in the past and canceled it, an interesting approach would be to get the Blue Delta and upgrade offers from Amex. Upgrade offers usually aren't as good signup bonuses, but it's better than nothing.