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AmEx Delta card offers new perks

By Janna Herron ·
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Posted: 2 pm ET

Traveling is getting a little easier for American Express Delta SkyMiles credit card holders.

The companies said Tuesday that Gold and Platinum cardholders will get priority boarding Delta flights starting in September. That means more space to pack away carry-on luggage before the crowds flood in. The benefit is not available to Reserve Delta SkyMiles credit card holders.

And Delta SkyMiles cardholders can share the luxury. They can extend the benefit to their travel partners just like they can offer one free checked bag perk to flight companions.

Additionally, all SkyMiles cardholders will get 20 percent off certain Delta in-flight services, such as food, drinks, movies, TV shows and video games. The discount also begins in September.

This news comes as credit card issuers either enhance or rebrand their travel credit cards to appeal to affluent, globetrotting consumers, says Eric Lindeen, marketing director at Zoot Enterprises.

Last month, Citi unveiled its Citi Executive/AAdvantage World Elite MasterCard with American Airlines, which offers benefits such as Admirals Club membership privileges, no foreign transaction fees on purchases, "enhanced airport experience," waived baggage fees for the first domestic checked bag and concierge services.

And in June, Chase introduced its Ritz-Carlton reward card with the aim of attracting the upscale hotel's more well-to-do guests. Its annual fee: just $395. In comparision, Delta SkyMiles platinum members have a $150 annual fee and gold members is $95 after the first year.

"Affluent card holders are a draw because they often place large purchases on their cards, meaning a large transaction fee for the card issuer and are not high risk to default," Lindeen says.  "They also tend to have higher loyalty and retention rates making them even more desirable as banks seek to improve profits."

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