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Credit Cards

AmEx Quietly Adds New Restrictions on Delta Cards

AmEx has altered the deal – pray they do not alter it any further.

American Express and Delta Airlines have long enjoyed a close partnership, offering a range of co-branded credit cards that have been popular among travelers seeking to maximize their SkyMiles and benefits. However, recent developments in the world of Delta and American Express credit cards have left many loyal SkyMiles members scratching their heads and, frankly, feeling a bit alienated.

For years, American Express had a policy in place that allowed customers to enjoy a credit card welcome offer “once in a lifetime.” In practice, this typically translated to a wait period of 5 to 7 years before you could snag another tempting welcome offer. But there was a clever workaround for those savvy enough to exploit it – the various flavors of American Express Delta business and consumer cards were considered different products, enabling cardholders to potentially sextuple-dip into the world of Delta welcome offers.

However, as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end, and it appears that the party may be over for the welcome offer aficionados. Danny the Deal Guru recently noticed the emergence of some intriguing “family language” on Delta consumer cards, similar to the language recently implemented on the AmEx Platinum family. This language, while not consistent across all Delta consumer cards, seems to put restrictions on obtaining a welcome offer if you’ve had other cards within the same family. Notably, Delta Business cards remain unaffected by these changes (for now).

So, what’s the scoop on these new rules? Well, it seems the Gold Delta card is currently off-limits if you’ve had any of the three top cards in the Delta consumer card family in the past. However, there’s a glimmer of hope for those eyeing the Delta Platinum card – you might still be eligible for its welcome offer even if you’ve previously held the Gold card (though not the Reserve). And as for the Delta Reserve card, it appears to be business as usual, with no new restrictions in sight. Also notably, the Delta Blue card seems to go without mention, so that signup bonus may still be up for grabs. Some examples of the new language:

You may not be eligible to receive a welcome offer if you have or have had this Card, the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card, the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card or previous versions of these Cards.

Delta Gold Card

You may not be eligible to receive a welcome offer if you have or have had this Card, the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card or previous versions of these Cards. 

Delta Platinum Card

You may not be eligible to receive a welcome offer if you have or have had this Card or previous versions of this Card. 

Delta Reserve Card

Now, it’s worth noting that the variations in language between the Delta Platinum and Gold cards appear deliberate and targeted, rather than the result of a gradual rollout of a uniform family rule. Delta and Amex seem intent on allowing cardholders to ascend to more premium and expensive offerings, but they’re tightening the screws if you’re thinking of heading in the opposite direction. In other words, if you were planning to score welcome offers on all three cards by applying for the Gold, Platinum, and Reserve sequentially, you’re in luck. However, if you had your sights set on circling back to one of the other cards after having the Reserve or the Platinum, you might find yourself out of luck. This enhanced language has been aptly termed “waterfall language,” as signup bonus ineligibility “waterfalls” down from higher tier cards.

As with many developments in the credit card rewards landscape, these rules are subject to change. It wasn’t long ago that Amex added more restrictive language to its various Platinum cards, so it’s entirely possible that we’ll see further tweaks down the road.

In the ever-evolving world of credit card rewards, it’s crucial for travelers and points enthusiasts to stay vigilant and adapt to the changing landscape. With Delta’s recent moves to overhaul its SkyMiles loyalty program and tighten access to its SkyClubs, it’s clear that change is in the air. And if you’re not yet affected by these new rules, it may be worth grabbing the welcome bonuses for these cards before AmEx tightens the rules even further.