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Advice Needed: Next Amex Travel Card

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Valued Member

Advice Needed: Next Amex Travel Card

Hi Everyone-

 

I’d like to get some input on a decision I’ve been contemplating for the last month or so. I travel frequently (about 3 - 4 times a month) for business. Work trips must be paid for with corporate AMEX but I receive loyality points outside of the credit card spend. My goal here is to supplement earned reward points with personal credit card spend. 

 

I’m based in Atlanta and fly Delta 100% of the time. 

Hotels are a bit more distributed. I’ve been a loyal Hilton consumer for the last couple of years. However, in many cases, other hotel chains (namely Marriott) have been more conducive to my business travel. I’ve also had mixed results with my Hilton Diamond status (from AMEX). 

 

Cards I currently have:

AMEX Personal Platinum - typically transfer MR points to Delta for personal aspirational travel. Travel credit goes to Delta gift cards. Also very much need the SkyClub access.

AMEX Delta Platinum - companion ticket

AMEX Gold - was contemplating downgrading to green until the refresh occurred. This was my first AMEX and has age so don’t want to close for the impact to my profile.

AMEX Hilton Aspire - free night, travel credit to Delta gift cards, Diamond status

Chase IHG Premier - little use

 

Yes, I realize the annual fees might seem absurd but I net a positive value and can afford them. 

 

I’m contemplating adding the SPG Luxury to my portfolio and wanted to get opinions. I have been routinely avoiding booking with Marriott / SPG due to lack of loyality. I’m 100% confident I will use the $300 credit. If traveling to a desirable destination for work (usually international) I’ll often pay for a few extra nights out of pocket.  Any thoughts on this? I was also contemplating adding the Delta Reserve as I’ve heard now from a few gate agents that it can positively impact your upgrade status (when flying from ATL on Delta you practically have to have founded the airline to get a FC upgrade) but I cannot find empirical evidence of this.

Also over 5/24 so Chase Marriott is out of the question. 

Message 1 of 18
17 REPLIES 17
Regular Contributor

Re: Advice Needed: Next Amex Travel Card

What’s your Delta status?
Message 2 of 18
Valued Contributor

Re: Advice Needed: Next Amex Travel Card

SPG bonuses are down right now. I would wait for them to go back before applying

More cards than I can mention in a signature.
Message 3 of 18
Established Contributor

Re: Advice Needed: Next Amex Travel Card


@charp150 wrote:

  

I was also contemplating adding the Delta Reserve as I’ve heard now from a few gate agents that it can positively impact your upgrade status (when flying from ATL on Delta you practically have to have founded the airline to get a FC upgrade) but I cannot find empirical evidence of this.


These are both true. I usually fly odd hours (like Christmas evening, or monday/thursday night) to even get a chance for upgrade, as a Gold Medallion. Thankfully, I am not at ATL, but I am at a Delta hub. The reserve does help in cases, when multiple people have the same status and fare class. If you have the reserve and they don't, you'll be higher on the list. If that is worth it for you, then get it. Personally, if I have the Platinum, I would not go for the Reserve as it overlaps perks.

 

I would get non-luxury SPG, and maybe upgrade to the Luxury if it works out for you. They currently both offer the same SUB, but non-luxury has a free year, essentially vs $450 on the luxury.




Message 4 of 18
Contributor

Re: Advice Needed: Next Amex Travel Card

It seems like you're set on Delta cards. I like my Reserve becuase I want the companion certificate to include Comfort+ , First & Delta One fares. If that is attractive to you, it may be worth the $450 fee. If not, I would grab the SPG Lux and try to focus your hotels. They have a huge portfolio. Maybe shoot for Platinum status depending on how many nights you spend between biz & personal. Or, why not both cards?

Message 5 of 18
Super Contributor

Re: Advice Needed: Next Amex Travel Card

I have a similar set of cards, except have the Lux, not the Platinum, and Delta Reserve, downgraded Delta Plat to Blue. I have Hilton Aspire and AX Gold.

The Delta Reserve is indeed a tiebreaker on upgrades.
The SPG Lux has a slightly higher annual free night.

But you do want to wait for the best SUB on any AMEX, so I would suggest waiting for that. You have most of the best perks already. That is the reason I wait for a Platinum 100k SUB, cause I only get one bite at the apple.
High Bal Jan 2009 $116k on $146k limits 80% Util.
Oct 2014 $46k on $127k 36% util EQ 722 TU 727 EX 727
April 2018 $18k on $344k 5% util EQ 806 TU 810 EX 812
Jan 2019 $7.6k on $360k EQ 832 TU 839 EX 831
Message 6 of 18
Valued Member

Re: Advice Needed: Next Amex Travel Card

Thanks for the feedback.  I'm currently Gold with Delta. I had to trips scheduled to Europe that would've put me at Platinum but they were cancelled last minute.  I was thinking the Reserve MQM SUB would push me over but I doubt they would post in time.  Unfortunately, I travel primarily on busy routes (NYC, LA, DC, and Seattle). I get Comfort+ about 80% of the time and I'm typically never in the top 10 for FC.  If the Reserve got me at least two FC upgrades annually I'd say it's worth the AF (for me at least). 

 

As far as the SPG Lux is concerned I'd agree the current SUB's are not awesome (seem atypical for their $450AF cards) and I'm hoping this isn't an indicator of the SPG portfolio being migrated to Chase.  Wondering if Marriott offers status match?

Message 7 of 18
Frequent Contributor

Re: Advice Needed: Next Amex Travel Card

I was actually really surprised at how often my Delta Plat got me seat upgrades.  Before I almost never got a seat upgrade, not sure if I ever did, but after I got it I had 3 upgrades out of 6 flights from main to Comfort+.  Wasn't really expecting it, was pleasantly surprised, never thought much about that perk on the card.

Message 8 of 18
Super Contributor

Re: Advice Needed: Next Amex Travel Card


@digitek wrote:

I was actually really surprised at how often my Delta Plat got me seat upgrades.  Before I almost never got a seat upgrade, not sure if I ever did, but after I got it I had 3 upgrades out of 6 flights from main to Comfort+.  Wasn't really expecting it, was pleasantly surprised, never thought much about that perk on the card.


I am not aware that the AMEX Delta Platinum credit card has any bearing on upgrade status for a cardholder.

I suspect if you dig deeper into your Delta Medallion status, you will find either the routes are lightly travelled, or some other auspicious factor combination helped upgrade you. The best way to track this is, as boarding time approaches, use the Delta app on your phone to check the Upgrade Wait List. If it is a really short list when your name comes up, congrats, your chances are good. I bet most of those upgrades occurred when there were a lot of open Comfort+ seats, and your name on the Upgrade List was well within the available number of Comfort+ seats.

 

The Delta Platinum CC, however, was not one of those factors.

 

Congrats, upgrades are nice.

High Bal Jan 2009 $116k on $146k limits 80% Util.
Oct 2014 $46k on $127k 36% util EQ 722 TU 727 EX 727
April 2018 $18k on $344k 5% util EQ 806 TU 810 EX 812
Jan 2019 $7.6k on $360k EQ 832 TU 839 EX 831
Message 9 of 18
Regular Contributor

Re: Advice Needed: Next Amex Travel Card

thats 100% right, Delta Platinum Credit Card didn't do anything more than waive a bag fee..if you are medallion, you got that anyway.

Message 10 of 18
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