Should I keep or cancel my Delta cards?

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My wife and I currently have four Delta cards. We each have a consumer Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card and a Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card. With the latest Delta credit card changes, the annual fees for these cards have increased. Platinum cards cost $350 (up from $250) and Reserve cards cost $650 (up from $550). If we don’t make changes to our Delta card lineup, we’ll be looking at $2,000 in annual fees each year. That’s insane.

a man sitting in a chair with credit cards flying in the air

Over the years, my wife and I regularly product changed our cards back and forth between the Delta Platinum and Reserve variations in order to max out the status boosts that were available from spend with each type of card. Now, all that has changed even without considering the new annual fees. First, for those interested in earning elite status from spend, there’s no longer any reason to use more than one Reserve card since elite earnings are now uncapped. Second, my wife and I have no plans to spend towards Delta status ever again. Through our last great mileage runs (details here and here), we have secured Diamond status for several years and should each have lifetime Platinum Medallion status by the time our Diamond status runs out (actually, depending on how much I fly Delta in that time, I’ll probably still be short of lifetime Platinum, but my wife will still have Diamond status for a while and so while I’m traveling with her I’ll be treated like a Diamond Medallion as well).

So, it’s clear that we no longer have to keep all four cards. Should we keep any? And if so, which type of card is best?

General Delta card advice

Before I get into whether my wife and I should keep any Delta cards, here first is some advice about each card and who each is best for:

Business is better

Delta Gold, Platinum, and Reserve cards each are available either as a consumer card or business card. The features are very similar either way, but the business cards offer $50 more annual hotel credit than their consumer counterpart.

Gold is good for most

The $150 Gold card is a good choice for most people. It can easily pay for itself thanks to offering the first checked bag free, 15% off awards, and up to $150 in hotel rebates for the business Gold ($100 for the consumer version).

Platinum is good for companion tickets & elite pursuits

The $350 SkyMiles Platinum card is a good choice for those who highly value the card’s annual companion ticket and/or the card’s annual $2,500 MQD Headstart (towards elite status). The card’s hotel, rideshare, and Resy dining credits can help defray the annual fee.

Reserve is good for Sky Club access & spending to elite status

The $650 Delta Reserve card is a good choice for those who highly value Sky Club access and/or highly value the ability to spend towards elite status. Yes, the SkyMiles Platinum card also allows spending towards elite status, but the Reserve card offers twice as many MQDs for the same amount of spend. The card’s hotel, rideshare, and Resy dining credits can help defray the annual fee.

Do we need Delta cards at all?

With general advice out of the way… let’s get back to me and my wife…

We each already have lifetime Medallion status thanks to being Million Milers. That gives us most of the perks that we’d otherwise get with a Delta credit card: free checked bags, priority boarding, etc. Plus, we each have multiple Amex Platinum cards (not to be confused with SkyMiles Platinum cards) which we can use for Delta Sky Club access. Even with the Sky Club access changes coming in February 2025, we should be fine even without Delta Reserve cards. Note that I don’t generally recommend that people keep multiple Amex Platinum cards. I have them because I’m a blogger and podcaster in this space and find it valuable to be able to talk from experience about all significant rewards cards.

We do need TakeOff 15 (15% award discounts)

The only Delta credit card feature that I can think of that we really need is the 15% award discount available to Delta Gold, Platinum, and Reserve cardholders. We each have large Delta SkyMiles balances and those balances will go farther with the discount.

One Gold card each is all we need

If we want to minimize annual fees, we could each drop down to a single Delta Gold card. Since the Delta Gold Business card offers bigger hotel rebates ($150 per year vs. $100 per year with the consumer Delta Gold), we’d go with those.

With just one Delta Gold Business card each, we’d pay a total of $300 per year in annual fees and we’d get $300 per year in rebates for hotels booked through Delta Stays. Perfect!

With one Delta Gold Business card each as the baseline, the next question is whether the SkyMiles Platinum or Reserve card perks offer enough value for us to consider keeping those cards instead despite their higher annual fees…

Is the SkyMiles Platinum Card worth $200 more?

The SkyMiles Platinum cards cost $200 more than the Delta Gold cards and offer perks that make them more valuable than Delta Gold cards:

  • Annual $2,500 MQD Headstart: This is great for those chasing elite status but since my wife and I have already secured status, this is meaningless to us.
  • $150 or $200 Prepaid hotel credit ($50 more than the Gold card counterparts): Get up to $150 back (consumer card) or $200 back (business card) per year as a statement credit for prepaid hotels or vacation rentals booked through Delta Stays on delta.com/stays.
  • $120 Rideshare Credit: Enroll and earn up to $10 in statement credits each month after using your Card on U.S. rideshare purchases with Uber, Lyft, Curb, Revel, or Alt.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Up to $10 per month in statement credits on eligible purchases with U.S. Resy restaurants
  • Annual companion ticket: Get an economy companion ticket (subject to taxes & fees) each year upon card renewal.

The SkyMiles Platinum cards cost $200 more per year than the Delta Gold cards ($350 vs. $150). The question for me is whether I value the enhanced Platinum card perks more than that $200 difference. A good way to think about it is this: If Delta let me keep the Gold card and optionally pay more for each of the enhanced SkyMiles Platinum perks, how much would I be willing to pay?

  • Annual $2,500 MQD Headstart: $0. I’m no longer chasing status.
  • Additional $50 hotel credit: $25. I wouldn’t prepay $50 for the chance of getting $50 more in credit, but I think I’d take it for $25.
  • $120 Rideshare Credit: $0. I wouldn’t pay for this. It would be more of a headache each month to figure out how to use it than much of a benefit. This is doled out $10 per month and I already have tons of Uber credits thanks to Platinum cards.
  • $120 Dining Credit: $0. I’m more likely to get value from this than from the rideshare credit, but since it’s also doled out monthly, it would be a pain to make sure to use it every month.
  • Annual companion ticket: $250. These can be a pain to use since they’re limited to round-trip and only available when the lowest fares are available. But now that they can be used to fly to Alaska, Hawaii, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America, the opportunities for great value are dramatically higher than before. See: Delta’s Enhanced Companion Certificates.

Based on the above analysis, I’d be willing to pay $275 per year for the extra perks that the SkyMiles Platinum card offers over and above the Delta Gold card’s perks. Therefore, paying $350 per year for the SkyMiles Platinum Business card (which offers higher hotel rebates than the personal version) absolutely makes sense for me!

My new baseline now is for my wife and I to have one SkyMiles Platinum Business card each for a total annual cost of $700. In exchange, we’ll get $400 back in hotel credits, two valuable companion certificates, and rideshare and dining credits that we may get some value from but which are not considered in the decision to keep our SkyMiles Platinum cards.

Is the Reserve Card worth $300 more?

The Reserve cards cost $300 per year more than SkyMiles Platinum cards and offer perks that make them more valuable than SkyMiles Platinum cards:

  • Earn 1 MQD towards elite status per $10 spend: This is great for those chasing elite status but since my wife and I have already secured status, this is meaningless to us. For comparison, the SkyMiles Platinum cards earn half as much as Reserve cards: 1 MQD per $20 spend.
  • Sky Club Access when flying Delta plus 4 guest visits
  • $200 or $250 Prepaid hotel credit ($50 more than the SkyMiles Platinum counterparts): Get up to $200 back (consumer card) or $250 back (business card) per year as a statement credit for prepaid hotels or vacation rentals booked through Delta Stays on delta.com/stays.
  • $240 Dining Credit ($120 more than the SkyMiles Platinum): Up to $20 per month in statement credits on eligible purchases with U.S. Resy restaurants.
  • Annual first class companion ticket: Unlike the SkyMiles Platinum’s companion ticket, this one can be used to book first class, premium select, or comfort+.

The Reserve cards cost $300 more per year than the Delta SkyMiles Platinum cards ($650 vs. $350). The question for me is whether I value the enhanced Reserve card perks more than that $300 difference. A good way to think about it is this: If Delta let me keep the SkyMiles Platinum card and optionally pay more for each of the enhanced Reserve card perks, how much would I be willing to pay?

  • Earn 1 MQD towards elite status per $10 spend: $0. I’m no longer chasing status going forward.
  • Sky Club Access when flying Delta: $0. While I think that most people would be right to highly value this, I expect to keep several Platinum cards in our family for the foreseeable future and so I expect those will give us all of the Sky Club access that we need.
  • Additional $50 hotel credit: $25. I wouldn’t prepay $50 for the chance of getting $50 more in credit, but I think I’d take it for $25.
  • $240 Dining Credit: $50. The fact that this offers $20 per month instead of the SkyMiles Platinum card’s $10 per month makes the feature almost workable. I could see myself planning a stop at a Resy restaurant once per month in order to get this rebate. Still, I don’t value this anywhere near its $240 face value.
  • Annual companion ticket: $50. Remember: this is how much I’d pay for the incremental benefit of the Reserve companion ticket over the SkyMiles Platinum companion ticket. I like the fact that this could be used for first class or premium select, but I don’t know how often I’m likely to actually book anything but main cabin.

Based on the above analysis, I’d be willing to pay only $125 per year for the extra perks that the Reserve card offers over and above the SkyMiles Platinum card’s perks. Therefore, paying $300 more for the Reserve card doesn’t make sense.

Final Answer

Based on our current situation, the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card is the right card for both me and my wife. When the next annual fees come due, we’ll cancel our Delta Reserve cards.

If we didn’t think we’d be able to take full advantage of two companion tickets each year, I’d look to downgrade one or both of us to the Delta Gold Business card (or cancel the SkyMiles Platinum card and sign up new for the Gold).

At the other extreme, if we were still actively chasing Delta elite status or if we needed the cards for Sky Club access we’d want to upgrade our business cards to Delta Reserve Business cards and cancel our consumer Delta Reserve cards when the next annual fees came due.

What about you? I know that a lot of readers have Delta cards and are pondering next steps. What have you decided? Please comment below.

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