Amex has just released a new no-annual-fee Delta card, and it’s not that great. Apparently it’s for millennials, so they offer double Sky Miles on dining (because millennials want to earn double points on their avocado toast). The sign-up bonus is 10,000 Sky Miles for $500 in spend, which isn’t too bad for a no-fee card. If you can spare the credit inquiry, it’s an easy way to top up your Sky Miles account if you’re close to a redemption and don’t want to transfer points over from Membership Rewards.
There are a couple things about this card that I haven’t seen pointed out yet, although as I said in the title, I haven’t looked that hard. There’s probably already a thread on Reddit about this, now that I think about it. Anyway, I’ve already started writing, so I’ll just keep going.
First – there’s a restriction on the sign-up bonus that I’ve never seen from Amex before.
This has a whiff of Citi’s shitty new “one bonus per card family” restriction, although it only applies on this card. I checked the bonus on the Gold and Platinum Delta cards, and they still show the standard “have or have had” language. I’d keep an eye on the fine print before you apply for one of those cards, though, since that could change at any time. Basically it looks like Amex really wants new customers to get this card, not seasoned Sky Miles collectors who are looking for a quick 10k. Also interesting is that they’re roping in the Options card, which is only available via product change from one of the other Sky Miles cards. I’d be annoyed if I had changed a Gold card to the Options card in the past and then found out later that I was disqualified from the bonus on different card.
Second – this card is not eligible for Delta’s “Pay with Miles” feature. This probably isn’t a deal breaker for most people, since points are only worth a penny when you use them this way. Despite all the devaluations, it’s easy to get more than one cent per point from Sky Miles, even if you’re redeeming for fancy drinks in a Sky Club (or buying a Sky Club membership for that matter). However, I do like the idea of it, because it backstops the value of your Sky Miles. Even if Delta further devalues the shit out of the program, you’re guaranteed a certain value. When I signed up for a couple Delta cards last year, I liked knowing that, at worst, my sign-up bonuses would be worth $1100. Now that I have canceled both cards, I’m more exposed to major devaluations. (I realize Delta could just cancel this program at any time, but it’s still another use for miles, and more uses are better than less.)
However, unlike the Gold, Platinum, and Reserve Delta cards, the Blue card doesn’t activate Pay with Miles in your Sky Miles account. Again, it’s not a huge deal, but it’s something to be aware of, especially if you convert one of the other cards into the Blue card in order to avoid the annual fee.
A new card introduction from Amex is always exciting, but I have a feeling the coverage of this one in the blogosphere is going to die down pretty quick due to the card being kind of a dud. However, I hope the more restrictive sign-up bonus on this card isn’t a portent of things to come, whether it’s added to future new cards or rolled out to existing cards. As if once-per-lifetime isn’t restrictive enough, amirite?