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When Banks Compete, You Win

Delta airlines recently became the world’s largest airline by acquiring Twin Cities based Northwest Airlines. One curious fallout from the merger has been the competition for airline credit cards. Minneapolis based US Bank issued the Worldperks credit cards for Northwest, and Delta issues their Skymiles cards through American Express. As their prior agreement was dissolved by the merger, US Bank chose to switch their credit card holders to a competing flexible miles program. Cardholders who did nothing were issued new cards and were automatically enrolled in the Flexperks airline miles program. American Express is aggressively advertising to convert Worldperks members over to the Delta Skymiles card.

In order to grab these customers away from US Bank, American Express keeps sweetening the deals.

  • The offers started with 20,000 miles to new cardholders. Apply for the card, make a purchase, and collect almost enough miles for a free flight.
  • The offer got sweeter when they added a 5,000 mile bonus if you added two additional card-holders. I can easily add my wife, but I’m not sure who else I would add? My 3 year old? Maybe if I had teenage children this would make more sense.
  • Then they added a 10,000 mile bonus if you spend $15,000 on the card in a year. This equates to a 1.66% bonus considering that you already get 1 mile per dollar.

Some drawbacks to jumping on these offers:

  • Slight hit to your credit score by applying for more cards.
  • The miles are locked into Delta. Seeing as how they are the largest airline in the world, this should be okay to most people, it’s especially sweet to those living in the Twin Cities, Atlanta, Memphis, Detroit, etc. where they are the largest carrier in town.
  • The miles expire after 24 months under the Delta program. They have announced that they will automatically extend any Worldperks miles an additional 24 months when they switch these into the skymiles program. Great for us that don’t fly very often.

If you’re thinking about air travel sometime in the next 24 months, it might be worth looking into these deals.

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