An American Express Delta card can be a valuable part of your wallet if you’re a frequent Delta flyer. Since I live in Atlanta but no longer fly enough for elite status, having a Delta card allows me a free checked bag (with a 20-minute guarantee that frequently earns me 2500 miles) as well as Main Cabin 1 boarding (even on a Basic Economy ticket).
The cards are also a must if you want to chase elite status, since spending large amounts of money on them can waive the minimum ticket spending required for all elite levels plus earn your Medallion Qualification Miles.
All of the flavors of cards offer a bonus that combines both miles as well as a statement credit after your first Delta purchase. According to Doctor of Credit, some of the offers right now include a Delta Gold Delta SkyMiles card with 50,000 miles after $2,000 in spending in 3 months, an additional 25,000 miles after an additional $1,000 spend in first 6 months, and a $50 statement credit after your first Delta purchase.
I recently got a Platinum Delta Business Amex, mainly to avoid taking up a 5/24 slot in my wallet. It required $6,000 of spending for 80,000 miles, but also offered a $100 statement credit after my first Delta purchase.
The key caveat to the statement credit is first Delta purchase. Some offers will specify a certain amount of spending before you get the statement credit. If your offer includes first Delta purchase, you just need to use the card to buy something from Delta.
If you’re uncreative, you’ll buy a Delta gift card or buy a Delta flight. I prefer to use either points or my Chase Sapphire Reserve for flights (due to trip delay coverage). Instead, I try to find the cheapest item I can buy from Delta.
For me, that brings us to the Buy-on-Board menu. The cheapest option on my recent flight from Atlanta to Liberia in economy class was a $3.99 can of Pringles. Since you receive 20% back on all in-flight food purchases, I actually only spent $3.19 on the chips. A couple of days later, I got the $100 statement credit.
Now, I still had to spend $195 for the annual fee, since that wasn’t waived, but with the statement credit, the fee comes closer to $100. And the card saved me $60 on my trip to check-in a bag for myself and my companion on our one-way leg just weeks after getting the card.
Can you find a cheaper way to activate the Delta Amex statement credit?