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Amex Card Upgrades and Refreshes

Card Maintenance With Amex

We had a few exciting (if you’re a card geek) cards arrive this week that I’ve been waiting for since last year. They all come with much-improved benefits and changes to the overall travel strategy.

Bonvoy Upgrade

A year ago we got P2 (player two, non-military spouse) the AMEX SPG card right before it discontinued and closed out applications. This was then converted automatically into a plain old Bonvoy artsy card during the great Bonvoy rebranding and super hotel conglomerate release. We did not get a signup bonus or any great annual perks to write about. It was just a slow play dormant account, sitting there until the 1 year account anniversary.

Well, that anniversary hit and finally we were able to product change it to its big brother; the ultra-luxury Bonvoy Brilliant card. This change closes out our perpetual Amex credit card holdings (until they release a new must-have card) and grants us another free annual Bonvoy night (capped at 50k Bonvoy points) and another $300 annual Bonvoy statement credit. This brings the Bonvoy total to $1200/yr and 7 free nights/yr (four $300 credits and four nights from 4 Bonvoy Brilliant cards and three nights from 3 Ritz cards); a solid vacation option for any military family.

Delta Refresh

I like this new card design exponentially better. Numbers on the back, best hand feel of the big 3 airlines, a real class act.

Delta also made a much-needed card overhaul to its lineup. The most important change, of course, is the switch to a metal card with numbers on the back. Welcome to the party, Delta. Obviously, we immediately requested replacement metal forms of our existing Delta Reserve cards.

Also of note is the ability (with the Delta Reserve) to request cabin upgrades. Now, on every Delta flight, we have the option to select upgrade requests to first-class, business class, and Delta Comfort+. Granted, without medallion status these requests are in the back of the upgrade line compared to Delta frequent flyers, but the chance now exists. They also threw in 2 Delta lounge passes for friends and family per year and some new, but still difficult, ways to earn medallion status.

The best change of all, however, is the new feature on all Delta cards that allows you to pay with miles. Starting at 5k miles for $50, you can select, in 5k increments, miles to hack off portions of your ticket cost. This actually isn’t a great redemption value at 1 cent per mile, but it opens up a new loophole that has made Delta my now exclusively flown airline.

Delta Loophole

I’m having an internal struggle with writing about this. The info is publically available if you know where to look, but I don’t want to contribute to its public proliferation. That’s how loopholes get shut down faster. So as a compromise to keep it more in-house I will post the info in our closed Facebook group. Please, if you could, let me know with a comment on the Facebook thread if you found this info useful. I would like to gauge if it’s worth the effort. Thanks for reading!

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