For those who already have Delta AmEx cards, the new fees will take effect at their next renewal dates on or after May 1.
The higher fees come after Delta last year announced higher thresholds to meet elite status, angering some longtime frequent fliers.
Paying significantly more just to hold a frequent flier credit card could drive some longtime SkyMiles AmEx cardholders to cancel.
But there are some new benefits Delta is announcing that are aimed at making the cards seem worth the hefty investment.
One of the key benefits of renewing the pricier Delta AmEx Platinum and Reserve cards is a companion certificate that can be used to bring a companion on a trip for free with the purchase of a Delta ticket.
But the companion certificate has been limited to use on flights within the continental United States.
Now, Delta will allow the companion certificate to be used for roundtrip flights to Hawaii, Alaska, Mexico, the Caribbean or Central America, in addition to the continental U.S.
Delta will also give Platinum and Reserve cardholders 2,500 Medallion Qualifying Dollars (MQDs) to reach elite frequent flier status. That amounts to half of the MQDs to reach Silver status, which is the lowest elite frequent flier status with few benefits.
Delta generates billions of dollars in revenue a year from its AmEx partnership, and is thus eager to offer more incentives to persuade customers to get the cards.
So it also now offers ways for AmEx card holders to earn more MQDs through purchases, and statement credits to Platinum and Reserve card holders for spending through its partners, including Resy restaurant reservation purchases, certain rideshare purchases and certain hotel partner bookings.
“These new benefits not only help our members on their journey to status, but they also provide tangible benefits both in the air with us and on the ground in their everyday lives,” said Dwight James, Delta’s senior vice president of loyalty, in a written statement.
- Delta SkyMiles American Express Reserve card fee: $650 annually, up from $550
- Delta SkyMiles American Express Platinum card fee: $350 annually, up from $250
- Delta SkyMiles American Express Gold card fee: $150 annually, up from $99
- Enhanced Companion Certificate: The certificate now includes First Class (for Reserve/Reserve Business), Delta Comfort+ or Main Cabin round-trip flights to Hawaii, Alaska, Mexico, Caribbean or Central America, in addition to the continental U.S., each year after Card renewal.
- Statement credits: Card holders can earn up to $560 for Reserve, up to $610 for Reserve Business, up to $390 for Platinum, up to $410 for Platinum Business, up to $300 for Gold and up to $350 for Gold Business in annual statement credits after using an enrolled card on eligible purchases at U.S. Resy restaurants and U.S. rideshare purchases with select providers as well as on prepaid Delta Stays hotel and vacation rental bookings on delta.com.
- MQD Headstart: Delta SkyMiles American Express Platinum, Platinum Business, Reserve and Reserve Business Card Members get an annual MQD Headstart of $2500 Medallion Qualification Dollars.