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Delta and American Express have unveiled a new travel rewards credit card aimed at casual travelers and millennials.
The Blue Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express pays 2 miles per dollar spent on purchases made directly with Delta and at U.S. restaurants. All other eligible purchases earn 1 mile per dollar.
The card is the fourth in the airline’s portfolio of travel credit cards, but Blue is the only card that charges no annual fee.
“People said they wanted three things,” says Sandeep Dub, Delta’s vice president of customer engagement and loyalty. “They wanted us to make it easy to earn miles, they wanted peace of mind that their miles won’t expire and, lastly, they didn’t want to pay an annual fee.”
Leaner benefits, fewer fees
The card’s airline rewards are equal to the more expensive cards in the Delta lineup, while the restaurant reward is unique. But you’ll sacrifice the access to airport lounges offered by its premium card counterparts, Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card, the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card and the Delta Reserve.
This card also eschews free-bag check, but owners will get 20 percent off in-flight Delta purchases in the form of a statement credit.
New SkyMiles American Express cardholders will get a bonus of 10,000 miles if they spend $500 within the first three months. Avid card shoppers will notice the the smaller bonus, but it also has a lower minimum, which is likely Delta’s strategy in attracting younger consumers new to travel rewards credit cards who might be on a smaller budget.
This is definitely not a card for the road warrior.
Cardholders are tied to Delta, which can be a drawback if you’re on a budget and want to find the cheapest tickets or use another airline for logistical reasons. This could make it challenging to compete with more flexible options.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card not only lets members use their miles at any airline, but it also offers 2x points on travel and restaurants and 1x points on all other purchases. Even with this card’s $95 annual fee, which is waived the first year, it offers savvy travelers and consumers bigger rewards payouts with more flexibility.
Who is this card good for?
If you travel a bit, but typically only bring a carry-on bag, this card might be the right fit. Delta typically charges $25 each way for the first checked bag. Fly round trip twice a year — and check your luggage — and the Gold card is probably a better option. It charges a $95 annual fee, which is waived the first year.
Amex and Delta also think this might be a good fit for young adults who dine out frequently.
The companies conducted a poll that showed 37 percent of this age group spends more money on dining each week than other discretionary expenses.
Again, though, if you dine and travel frequently, there are other, better options.
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