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American Express Adds New Benefits to Delta SkyMiles Credit Cards But They Also Come With Much Higher Annual Fees

American Express Adds New Benefits to Delta SkyMiles Credit Cards But They Also Come With Much Higher Annual Fees

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After Delta Air Lines provoked a furious backlash from consumers and frequent flyers last year when it tinkered with its American Express co-branded credit cards, you would have thought that both Delta and AmEx would be keen to maintain the status quo for as long as possible.

That is not, however, what is happening as American Express announced big hikes to its annual fees for SkyMiles branded credit cards on Thursday, although the issuer attempted to sweeten the deal with a slew of new or enhanced benefits.

The annual fee for the SkyMiles Reserve and Reserve Business cards has been hiked by more than 18%, going from $550 to $650, while the annual fee for the SkyMiles Platinum and Platinum Business cards has shot up by 40% from $250 to $350.

The highest percentage increase, however, is for the SkyMiles Gold and Gold Business cards, which have gone from costing $99 per year to $150 per year – an increase of more than 50%.

In return for paying a higher annual fee, cardmembers will now enjoy up to $610 worth of annual statement credits for rideshares, prepaid hotel stays and Resy restaurant bookings.

AmEx is also improving the Companion Certificate benefit, allowing customers to book First Class with certain SkyMiles credit cards on a wider selection of flights, including to Hawaii, Alaska, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central America.

In addition, AmEx has also increased the MQD Headstart which comes with select SkyMiles credit cards, bringing cardmembers halfway to Silver Medallion status at the beginning of each qualifying year before they’ve spent anything.

SkyMiles credit cardOld annual feeNew annual fee% Increase
Reserve and Reserve Business$550$65018%
Platinum and Platinum Business$250$35040%
Gold and Gold Business$99$15051%
BenefitReserve Platinum Gold
Rideshare credit$120$120
Hotel bookings credit$200$150$100
Resy credit$240$120
Delta flight credit$200 when you spend $10,000 per year
MQD Headstart$2,500 MQD$2,500 MQD
MQD Boost$1 MQD per $10 spend$1 MQD per $20 spend
Companion certificateFirst Class, Comfort+ or Main cabinMain cabin

Explaining the changes, Howard Grosfield, President, U.S. Consumer Services, American Express, explained: “These Cards offer a host of new benefits to help consumers and business owners get closer to Medallion status, access new credits and more value, and enjoy a premium travel experience. They make being a SkyMiles member even better”.

“Through the new MQD Headstart value — along with MQD Boost, the expanded Companion Certificate and new statement credits — these Cards remain a great way to enjoy elevated experiences with Delta Air Lines and American Express.” 

Other benefits remain intact, including a free first checked bag, priority boarding, and Sky Club lounge access.

Delta made around $6.8 billion from its partnership with American Express in 2023, and spending on Delta cobranded credit cards accounts for an incredible 1% of the entire U.S. economy, according to CEO Ed Bastion.

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