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When To Open A Travel Credit Card

Here is a question I recently received and felt that it would be beneficial to answer it now, since we are rapidly approaching the end of the year.

With the end of the year comes the scrambling of mile earners as they either need to reach a specific amount of miles to keep their status or to push them over into the next level up. Since we are almost at 60 days before the end of the year, time is rapidly running out. This post is based on Delta and their rewards program.

I’m thinking about opening a Delta Amex card. Do you have any opinion on the best time to do this?

If you remember, last year Delta/AMEX offered a credit card that gave 25,000 MQMs as a sign up bonus. That one sign up bonus made a lot of people happy! Not only was it enough to push anyone over a status threshold but it allowed for many people to advance to the next status level. Delta has 4 different rewards statuses starting from:

  • Silver – 25,000 miles
  • Gold – 50,000 miles
  • Platinum – 75,000 miles
  • Diamond – 125,000 miles

You can learn more about the benefits of each Delta status here. 25,000 MQMs (the miles that actually count for statuses) would instantly give you a status with Delta.

I would not wait or hedge my bet that Delta would offer that kind of incentive this late into the season.

If you are a few thousand miles (MQMs) short of a status or from holding onto your status the following year, you still have time to get miles, either by travel or credit card signups.

I know this can get confusing so I am going to try to lay this out as simple as possible. There are 4 different American Express Delta credit cards that currently give you miles (possibly more), they are:

Offer 1

Platinum Delta SkyMiles credit card with 20,000 MQMs. Earn 10,000 MQMs after reaching $25,000 in qualifying purchases in a calendar year. Earn an additional 10,000 MQMs once reaching $50,000 in spending. Get this offer here.

Offer 2

Platinum Delta SkyMiles credit card with 5,000 MQMs. 15,000 SkyMiles after your first purchase, which 5,000 are MQMs. Then earn an additional 15,000 miles once spending $500 within the first 3 months. Get this offer here. Annual fee of $150

Offer 3

Gold Delta SkyMiles credit card with 30,000 SkyMiles after spending $500 within the first 3 months. Annual fee waived first year, then $95/year. View this offer here.

Offer 4

Delta Reserve Card, earn 10,000 MQMs with first purchase, plus an additional 30,000 MQMs after the first year. They make it difficult to earn the extra MQMs and it also comes with a high $450/year fee. You can learn more about the Delta Reserve card here.

Other than signing up for a credit card that offers MQMs, you would have to either fly to earn those miles or find another offer that gives MQMs. Right now Hertz is offering 250 MQMs for booking a car rental through them.

You can also get 250 Delta MQMs by registering and staying at a Hilton hotel from now until December 15th. Register for this deal here.

With about two months left of the year, don’t wait until the last few weeks to scramble to keep your status. People who have been a few hundred miles short of keeping their status have successfully called Delta and asked for ‘those’ miles. Let that be your last ditch effort, but don’t wait. Start planning now in order to keep your medallion status with Delta.

If you know of other ways to earn MQMs, please share! Offers come and go so these offers may be out of date.

About Derek

I currently live in beautiful Alaska with my wife! Living in Alaska i have learned that it cost so much more just to travel anywhere! In order to fly anywhere it cost us an extra $250+ a ticket. We use miles and points to fly nearly everywhere for free, usually in First Class. You can also follow me on Twitter or Facebook or why not signup to receive new blog post via email or in RSS reader