Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card

How I use it:

  • I don’t use it for spending unless I have to
  • The benefits are pretty awesome though

Quick details:

  • 2x Points on Delta purchases
  • 1x Points on everything else
  • 1 free checked bag for everyone on our reservation
  • 1 companion ticket a year
  • Miles boosts based on spending (up to 20,000 SkyMiles and MQM’s)
  • MQD waiver
  • All the other Amex benefits (extended warranties, car protection, etc.)
  • $195 annual fee
  • Sign-up bonus (mine was $100)

Annual Value:  $655

  • $450 from free checked bags (3 people x 3 round-trip flights a year x $25/bag/flight)
  • $400 from the companion ticket (typical flights from MSP to anywhere… ugh)
  • ($195) from the annual fee

This card pays for itself 4 times over with two basic benefits, the first being the companion ticket.  On average, a ticket out of MSP to anywhere desirable is over $400, so with the companion ticket, you’re covering you annual fee plus saving an extra few hundred.  It blows me away how many people don’t use this benefit – it’s there, and awesome, and incredibly easy to use.

Second, the free bags for each passenger on a my reservation.  Since having a kid, we’ve been on 3 trips a year with him (on average).  A car seat, one big bag for him/me, and another bag for my wife.  Even if we could fit things in to a carry-on, with him along it’s nice not to haul around extra stuff in the airport, so everything is checked.  At $25/bag, that’s a TON of savings over the years.

This was my first credit card, so even if I hated the card, I’d probably keep it open just for the extended credit history, plus I think it’s nice to have one Amex card for various specific purchases (for instance, I always put a rental car on the Amex because their customer service in the insurance area was unbelievably good the one time I needed it).

Bottom line, if you’re living in a Delta hub (Minneapolis, Detroit, Salt Lake, Atlanta, etc.), and you fly with your family a few times a year, you need to get the Platinum Delta American Express card.  Don’t argue, just do it.

Side Note:  At some point, if travel slows down for work, I could see using this card just to get to the MQD waiver ($25,000 in spending I think) to take advantage of all those rolled-over MQMs.  It would be my primary card for that year in order to reach that spend.  However, with Silver status, the ability to select somewhat decent seats, the increase in baggage weight limits (70 pounds up from 50 pounds), rare upgrades to better seats, etc. might make it worth it.  I’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

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