winner of the 15000 mqms from deltapoints blog

First off thanks all  700+  of you who took part in this weeks SWAG Saturday! I think I will have to do this every year and this was FUN!

jeffrey Smith wins mqms

Now to our winner via random.org #7 who is Jeffrey Smith. I have sent over the MQMs to him and he tells me:

“You sir, are one special person. Thank you for all you write about and help educate us newbies!”

Happy to help Jeffrey and thank YOU for supporting the blog. I hope you make your goal of reaching Diamond this year!

Now for the rest of you who did not win, sorry, but do know the Delta Platinum card, after spend, can get you the EXACT SAME 15,000 MQM bonus!

Be sure to check back tomorrow for another round of SWAG Saturday! – Rene
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Editorial Note: This content is not provided by American Express. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by American Express.

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Posted by rene | No Comments

photo credit aboutourkids.org

This week I have hundreds and hundreds of comments about why we love our Delta. However, I wanted to remind flyers that Delta has one of the worst rules about what happens to a flyer’s hard earned Skymiles when they die (but had the best in the past). Yep, when you go, so do your Skymiles.

Dear grieving widow or child, you cannot use your daddy’s Skymiles as they have now turned to ash and dust; so sorry to be the one to add one more bit of pain to you during your grieving time!

IMO this really is one of the most disgusting changes Delta has made in the past few years of enhancements devaluations.

A question most ask is, and also a reason for this post as a reference point, does Delta scour the obituaries and go looking for accounts to close down due to the unfortunate demise of the frequent flyer? No (I have been told).

This does mean if you DO HAVE the former frequent flyer’s number, and the password, you can book tickets from the account for anyone you want. In other words, if you happen to have a large stash of Skymiles saved up and you plan to spend them one day it would be very wise to put your frequent flyer number and password somewhere it can be found by those who love you just in case, cuz you just never know. I don’t plan to check out tomorrow, but I could get hit by a bus on my way to my next flight.

Bad value but you can cash out Skymiles.

Bad value but you can cash out Skymiles.

Now Delta does say they could cancel an award ticket booked this way – even in the middle of a trip! So, while normally this is a VERY bad value for your Skymiles,  you may look at cashing out for AMEX gift cards from the Skymiles Marketplace to lock in what you can (if your former loved on had access to it that is).

Other airlines, like American, have a small service fee to transfer miles to someone else when you die. I find it very disappointing Delta did not move to this kind of arrangement rather than just coldly telling us the points are for the frequent flyer and them only. Perhaps if more write in and complain about this policy they will think about changing it?

At least you now know and can make the proper arrangements!- René
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Posted by rene | 6 Comments

GearUp Summer2014 Delta OCC magazine

I really enjoyed being on the very first ever revenue flight of Delta’s 737-900ER! Getting to sit in seat 0A and see the heads up display and more was just #AVgeek overload that had my head spinning (and I could not stop smiling for hours)!

I also enjoyed my recent visit to Delta OCC and picked up the summer copy of GearUp by the OCC folks. It was a very interesting read including a piece by a sector operations manager that asked “Can a 737-900 really replace a 757?

photo from Delta GearUp - Summer 2014

photo from Delta GearUp – Summer 2014

The highlights of the article touched on the current routes Delta flies the 737-900 and discussed many factors where the jet shines, such as replacing the 757 on routes where it is “too much airplane“. The neatest part to me was the fuel savings over the life of the plane. A comparison was made that showed on many routes the fuel savings ALONE would just about pay for the cost of the new 737! That is impressive.

Many more 737-900′s are on the way and I really like the business and coach class seats on the jet vs the old 757 that is really showing its age. The IFE is clearly MILES better as well as consistent power throughout the plane. Even though most complain about “slim line” seats, the ones Delta has chosen are quite good.

1st class seats delta 737-900 vs 757 jets

One of the only disappointments I guess from a passenger experience side is the reduction in upgrade opportunities because you are talking 20 first class on the 737 seats vs 22/24/26 seats depending on just what version of the 757 happened to be on whatever route previously. Next time you end up #1 or 2 with ZERO seats open for upgrade on a 737 keep in mind you would have cleared had the 757 been still flying.

I am sure most of you have had the chance to try the new birds. What do you think? Are you happy with them (you better be, we will be flying them for decades). Shout out and tell us/me what you think. – René

 

PS – Be sure to enter to WIN 15,000 MQMs this week!

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Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

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Posted by rene | 14 Comments

Welcome to a weekly feature on the Delta Points blog. Each week this series covers in a “rookie” way either a Delta or travel related theme and attempts to break down to a basic level each topic. You can read up on all the previous posts HERE. Now on to this week’s feature.

delta gold-platinum-reserve cards from amex

As I talked about in this post, the 50,000 bonus Skymiles from 4 different cards is a great offer. But what bonus points can YOU get and what if you have or have had the cards before? What is OK and what is not? Let’s break them down rookie style.

First let’s look at the rules that are in place since 1MAY2014.

  • For the personal Delta AMEX cards, if you have at any time in your life received the new card sign-up bonus then you will not be able to get a bonus again.
  • For the business Delta AMEX cards, the rule is what we had in place for all cards before. That is, you must cancel, wait 365+ days, then you can apply again and get the new card bonus again.

Please note that these apply ONLY to the primary card holder. If you have had, say, a Delta AMEX Gold card where your husband was the primary, this in NO WAY excludes YOU from getting the bonus points.

What about the question I get all the time. If I got, say, the GOLD Delta AMEX card in the past, can I get the Platinum or Reserve card now and the bonus? If you HOLD the card your chance is just about zero as AMEX will see you are a card holder. Not just that but if you hold ANY AMEX consumer card you will not be able to get the current Delta new card bonus (OUCH)! The official wording says:

Consumer Delta Gold, Platinum:
If we identify you as currently having an American Express® Card account, you may not be eligible for this welcome bonus offer. This offer is also not available to applicants who have or have had this product.

What about the business cards then? Well as long as it has been 356+ days since you canceled any of the big 3 you should be fine as it is more about time between bonus deals not what card you held. Or again the official wording is:

OPEN Gold Delta Skymiles Business Credit Card:
The OPEN Gold Delta Skymiles Business Credit Card welcome bonus offer is not available to applicants who currently have the product or who have held the product within the last 12 months. Small business owners who hold or have held an American Express Consumer card will qualify for this offer if they have not held a Gold Delta SkyMiles Business Credit Card account within the last 12 months.

Can you hold more than one Delta business card at once, say a Gold and a Reserve card? For example, get one in your name and one in the EIN of your other company? Officially, no you can’t, at least per Delta, as you can only hold one personal and one business Delta card at a time that go to your Skymiles account. Does this mean that it 100% will not work? I have had readers report that they do hold two business cards this way so YMMV.  EDIT: Per updated info from AMEX you CAN get the new card bonus for all 3 cards and they are all unique products! Say you have the Delta Platinum business now and you got it more than 90+ days ago, you could then go for the Delta Gold business now and get the bonus as it is NOT the same card. Just know Delta may not like this and this updated rule DOES NOT apply to the consumer Delta cards only the business Delta cards.

What about my wife / +1 sending me their MQMs? Keep in mind the ONLY card that lets you send MQMs to another person is the Delta AMEX Reserve card. And then, ONLY the points you earn from spending $30/60,000 each year. The new card bonus MQMs go to the card holder – period! With the Platinum card you CANNOT send points to anyone. It goes to the Skymiles number linked to that card!

Can I apply for both the personal and business Delta AMEX cards at the same time / same day? Yes, but some words of warning. I would go for the personal card first, hopefully with instant approval, then go for the business. You will get a decision pending on the latter. You can then call the next day and tell AMEX why you want both cards. Some reps say you have to wait 5 days. Others say 1 week (same thing really, 5 business days). So should you just wait a week and apply for the business card later? You can, but either way should give the same results depending on your credit worthiness.

OK, I understand about the bonus points. But can I just get the card again if I have had it in the past as I want the card for the perks? Sure. Just know, as you just said, you are only getting the card not the bonus points. This likely applies to both the Skymiles & the MQMs, but there have been mixed reports on the MQM bonus. Just don’t expect ANY points if you had a new card bonus in the past, per the current rules.

Another good reminder to touch on at this point is the spending year. Understand the spending year is CALENDAR YEAR not the personal date for you when you got the card. MQM minimum spend to get bonus points? Does not matter when you got the card, it ends each year 31DEC and that is POSTING date of any transaction NOT the purchase date. Same goes for your MQD exempt spending – you must get it done and posted by 31DEC each year.

When it comes time for the annual fee, what should you do? I value my cards so I pay the fee ($450 per card for the Reserve each)! You could cancel, or see if AMEX wants to toss you some points to keep you, or downgrade. Do keep in mind that one of the current “rules” with AMEX is you can only hold a total of 4 credit cards at once (that is a total of 4 combined, personal and business). You can have additional charge cards. But if you are thinking of going for another AMEX card in 91+ days you may want to think about canceling over downgrading. The other issue too can be moving credit lines over to another card before you cancel. Just be VERY VERY VERY careful they do not do a credit pull to move the line over. If they want to do that most times say NO unless the credit pull is at the same time you are going for other cards on the same day maybe. At least that is my take on it.

Here is a fun one. Should you call or click? That is, say you have a chance to upgrade or go for a new card. Should you just call and see what they say? Please, never just call. Reps can say anything and you may not get the points at the end. By clicking and printing the page of the offer you are going for, you have a MUCH better chance of the offer, whatever it is, being honored as stated.

Are there any exceptions to these “rules”? You betcha! I have tons of reports of people having TWO Delta AMEX Gold personal cards at the same time. Others say they had the GOLD and went for the Platinum and got the new card bonus (i.e they went for the Platinum after 1MAY2014 and still got the bonus points including the MQMs). Ditto for the business cards even without an EIN number. So strange things can and do happen, but use these rules as a guide.

Any other questions? Ask away! – René
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Editorial Note: This content is not provided by American Express. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by American Express.

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Posted by rene | 21 Comments

a shot

Most of you all know I will be flying a ton in September. I will visit ATL, CVG, DTW, MSP, GRR, LAX, LAS, MIA, EWR, PHX, AMS, DFW, SFO, GOT and a few more I think. Some of them I will visit several times. Yeah, I see lots of bumpertunites, that is, chances for oversold flights and getting a bump and a voucher for taking a later flight. But I also see chances for lots of sick people with all sorts of nasty bugs. And we all know planes are not all “that clean” right? The one thing I don’t want is to do all that flying sick as a dog! And not just for me, but I do not want to share a bug with my fellow flyers either.

flu shot sign at cvs

So yesterday I started calling around to see if anyone in my area already had received this year’s flu vaccine shipments and the first two places basically said:

You are WAY too early, check back late September.

Well a fat lot of good that will do for me as I need one NOW as it takes a little while to build up full immunity. But then I called my local CVS (I mean I go there anyway now and then) and they said sure you will the 2nd person this season to get one from us. Sweet!

But this got me thinking about my annual flu shot. Is it a good idea? The CDC site has lots of info for us to consider, but I also reached out to Dr. Julien since he was so great to help with a much appreciated Sunday reader post. Here is what he shared with me.

Hi Dr. Julien, hey thanks for taking the time to help with this post.
Nice to hear from you René.

Do you get one each year yourself?
Yes. Flu vaccines are extremely safe as long as you’re not allergic to them or have a previous history of Guillain-Baré syndrome. Generally speaking, any healthcare provider offering flu shots should always go through a list of contraindications before injecting.

Some of the places I called here in Indiana seemed to indicate I was jumping the gun in getting my shot already. Can you get it too soon, that is too early? Is it better to wait?
No, the sooner the better. There is a two-week delay between injection and immunity. The CDC recommends to get vaccinated before the end of October.

Also, you might wanna know that there are two types of flu vaccines: trivalent and quadrivalent. Trivalent vaccines protect from three different strains (usually two A viruses and one B virus) and quadrivalent vaccines protect from four different strains (two A and two B). It’s impossible to know in advance which strains are going to be endemic in a specific region of the world. I would certainly encourage travelers to get a quadrivalent vaccine as they are more likely to encounter different types of flu viruses (as long as it doesn’t mean delaying your flu shot; in which case, simply go for a trivalent.) On the US market, French pharmaceutical Sanofi-Pasteur markets a quadrivalent vaccine called Fluzone whereas British competitor Glaxo-Smithkline markets Fluarix which is also quadrivalent. Both are single-dose injections with excellent records of safety. Also, Maryland-based pharmaceutical MedImmune offers an inhaled quadrivalent vaccine called FluMist. FluMist is an excellent option especially if you want to avoid an injection. However it is significantly more expensive and lots of insurance plans won’t cover it or might just cover it for children.

That is just what I needed to hear. Thanks so much for your input Dr. Julien and for being here for me and other Delta Points readers on the blog.
Happy to be of service René

Now clearly, even though Dr. Julien is an MD, you should always make your own decisions as to any kind of healthcare. Neither of us are telling you what to do. Having said that, I would love some reader feedback.

How many of you get a flu vaccine each year? Do you like to go as early as possible or before a long trip or flying internationally? Do you not get them for some reason? Please take the time to comment on the blog and share with us all! – René

 

PS – Be sure to enter to WIN 15,000 MQMs this week!

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Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

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Posted by rene | 4 Comments

amex platinum boingo wireless access

One of the very long list of perks from the (non-Delta) AMEX Platinum Membership Rewards cards is a special Boingo Hotspot package free.

boingo from amex plan

I love free. I love the 40,000 points that come with the card (after $3,000 in spend). I love the $200 in airline credits. I like the $100 Global Entry fee rebate (when paid with the card). I REALLY love the Centurion lounge access and will be back to the club in DFW a bunch before year end. But do I love the Boingo access and app?

screen shots of boingo wifi trying to connect me

A bunch of airports are now offering free WiFi at least over here in the states including Delta’s own ATL hub Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. The performance of the WiFi can swing up and down, but then again the Skyclub WiFi can be sometimes good and sometimes bad.

So I decided to test the Boingo app a bit during my last trip to Sweden on Lufthansa. The results were less than impressive I hate to say, bordering on useless. There is a Boingo hotspot in GOT airport but it would not connect. All the other free ones require your cell phone to work as they text you a code. My cell does not work in Sweden. I had similarly disappointing results in MUC airport.

What did work well was the auto connect whenever near an open free WiFi spot that Boingo could connect to. I found several places where it just connected me, but again these were OPEN spots not specifically Boingo spots.

I guess the bottom line is that the AMEX Platinum card comes with a ton of travel perks that just about pay for the card the first year or two, but the I would not say the Boingo hotspot feature is one that would push me to get this travel card! – René

 

PS – Be sure to enter to WIN 15,000 MQMs this week!

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Editorial Note: This content is not provided by American Express. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by American Express.

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Gold Delta SkyMiles®
Credit Card from American Express®
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Posted by rene | 6 Comments

change

Thanks to a heads up from my twitter follower Rob (thank you, thank you, Rob) I was alerted that this weekend Delta has rolled out some new schedule changes over the next few months. So what, you ask?

cwsi-net sbn-dtw-lax

cwsi-net sbn-atl-lax

Well, we all should know the power of the mighty schedule change rule. It truly is the ticket to joy and more points. Take my above for example. I am flying a positioning flight out to LAX before my sub $600 GU cert to Sweden trip. I was connecting via DTW but getting in later than I wanted and NOT on a very good product.

delta-com 777 seatmap

Now, after this latest schedule change, I am getting in at a MUCH better time, and on a 777 full flat on my ride to LAX! SCORE! Oh and I will pick up a few extra MQMs and RDMs as well (never a bad thing, right) with help from my outstanding friends from CWSI and their handy dandy Skymiles calculator.

So if you have not taken a peek at your upcoming trips you may want to do so today! – René

PS – Be sure to enter to WIN 15,000 MQMs this week!

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Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

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Gold Delta SkyMiles®
Credit Card from American Express®
Click HERE for more info

 

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Posted by rene | 7 Comments

what is fair

Warning: I am in a contemplative mood this weekend and the result is this post. Just sharing the thoughts from this past week that have filtered down into my thinking, been churned up, and come out like this. Here we go:

  1. What the banks who make travel cards want: We get a card, get bonus, then use the card each time we buy anything ever.
  2. What we want: Get a HUGE new card bonus and then only use the card to get max value and points and pull whatever card gives us that.

————————————–

  1. What the airlines want: Buy the most expensive ticket they sell, buy all the upgrades like WiFi, hotel & cars from their site. Oh, and pay back the least amount of points possible.
  2. What we want: Buy the cheapest ticket, get free upgrades & avoid the airline site because we can get more points starting at other sites. Oh, and get max bonus points including promo routes.

————————————–

  1. What the hotels want: Pay the highest price possible per room, holding suites as long as possible to sell them too for as much as possible. Release as few rooms on points as they can and offer as few perks as they can get away with.
  2. What we want: To always book on points, get free upgrade as well as breakfast and much more. Oh, and points back as a rebate for even coming to the hotel and booking on points.

So do you see any problems here? You bet, what they want and what we want are in direct opposition to one another. The companies care about getting as much money as possible – Duh – and we want to keep as much of ours in our pockets while still getting value.

I recently had someone “ask / tell me” “what value I bring to Delta” (the blog but I am also extrapolating to me as a Diamond Medallion flyer)? That made me think and it really applies to the banks and the hotels as well. So while I am not the “ideal” HVC since I don’t just spend with no thought to the value I receive, I do make choices due to loyalty. Lets take a look.

  • Banks. I have a LOT of cards. In fact I have had or hold almost every single card ever made (not quite, but working on it). I get cards for the bonus points they offer. But I have cards that “Live” in my wallet. Some are always there. Others come and go. Some, like my AMEX Reserve card stays in place until I reach $60,000 in spend then there is ZERO point to spend more as I spend to earn MQMs. After that, no point. Now I do have two of them so I can switch to the 2nd for my next $60,000 in spend! And that is my point. I get the cards for the bonus. I use and keep the cards for value. If banks want me to keep pulling their cards they need to provide value. That is one of the reasons I like the Barclay’s Arrival+ card so much and pull it often!
  • Airlines. I am clearly a Delta fan boy. I don’t have to be. On the blog I call out Delta when they do dumb things. The airline does not like that – too bad – stop doing stupid things. I do provide value to Delta on the blog as I also tell about ways for flyers to “enjoy” a.k.a. stick with Delta even when devaluations hit rather than going away. If you look at my blogging brethren you will see 99.99% of them just do not like Delta, think I am a fool for sticking with Delta, and encourage others NOT to fly Delta. I could do that too, but I want people to fly and to be elites on Delta. So there is the answer to THAT question. What about me personally as a Diamond? Sure I do a few mileage runs now and then (ok ok a bunch of them) but I also do pick Delta for business and other flights when I do not have to. I have enough points and other choices that I could switch / status match to AA and be a top elite with them and to be honest AZO airport is not that much farther than SBN and prices are often much better. I choose to spend my money on Delta and that is value to the airline.
  • Lastly hotels. SPG has yet again this year sucked me in to get my 25 stays to be Platinum. I have canceled other bookings and switched to SPG properties. I hold one SPG card still but did cancel the second and I held them for the simple reason that each gave me 2 stay credits toward status. Will I keep going with SPG? I am not that far from lifetime GOLD so maybe but everyone keeps saying how great Hyatt is and I may have to consider a match next year at some point. Right now, I see SPG value plus the Crossover Rewards is a big factor.

Maybe we can have it both ways. But, the companies need to be careful. They can push us to get max value out of us but push too far and we will break. I do change what credit cards I use, I could switch airlines if things get bad enough, and hotels, well that is a simple move should I want to! – René

PS – Be sure to enter to WIN 15,000 MQMs this week!

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.
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Credit Card from American Express®
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Posted by rene | 4 Comments

15000 delta mqms giveaway from delta points blog

If you are going to talk the talk you have to walk the walk, right? Most long time readers know I hold, not just one, but  TWO Delta AMEX Reserve cards  (one business and one personal) and have held one of them since the late 1990′s. Why? Hello – MQMs! You see, with that card ONLY you can, via qualified spending, earn 15,000 bonus Delta MQMs for reaching the $30,000 mark and again at the $60,000 mark and then I can choose to keep those MQMs or give them to whomever I want to. I want to give them to ONE reader this week!

delta plat card face

Now the RULES for SWAG Saturday are the same each week so if this is your first visit be sure to look HERE as I would hate for anyone to be disqualified. Also by commenting you are agreeing you have read the rules! Lastly, there will only be ONE winner picked late on Friday 22AUG2014, but you can earn your own 15,000 MQMs very simply as currently AMEX has a 15,000 bonus MQM offer with the Delta AMEX PLATINUM card  (limited time offer btw)!

So what do I need from you for a chance to win the very special prize? First you MUST understand what I am giving away. These are MQMs or Medallion Qualifying Miles (see this rookie post for more info). You cannot “spend” these points on a ticket – they ONLY help you to attain elite status with Delta, but if you don’t have at least $2,500 in MQD spending (or are MQD exempt) they will do you no good!

Next, I want you to comment below on the blog what you like about Delta. It can be anything at all just something you like about Delta Air Lines! Have fun – René
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Editorial Note: This content is not provided by American Express. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by American Express.

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Gold Delta SkyMiles®
Credit Card from American Express®
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Posted by rene | 750 Comments

award booking service help winner

Congratulations to this week’s SWAG Saturday winner, that is, #11 via Random.org and that is Brian H. who says: “I would use it for a trip to Bora Bora.”

Wow that sounds like fun. I cannot wait to hear the report about how Adam and Juicy Miles does at finding you those seats with your miles. I will forward your email to Adam and have him get in touch with you soon!

Be sure to check back tomorrow because, as mentioned, on tap this week will be the 15,000 Delta MQMs that could just put you over the top to that next medallion level!- René
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Editorial Note: This content is not provided by American Express. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by American Express.
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Gold Delta SkyMiles®
Credit Card from American Express®
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Posted by rene | No Comments

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