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‘Plane’ and simple – the 60k Amex Platinum Delta will get me closer to Virgin Upper Class.
- Whether that be on Virgin Atlantic or Virgin Australia…I don’t really care.
- The 60k Amex Platinum Delta SkyMiles bonus is the highest ever. You can only get a sign up bonus once in your life, so get it while the getting is good.
- I would sign up for the 50k offer in a heartbeat, but I did both personal and biz gold last year. I’m still sitting on the miles.
I flew Virgin Upper class last year on an old 747 from San Francisco to London Heathrow. I LOOOOOOOVED it. It was the old product and the plane had certainly seen better days, but she treated me well. I can’t wait to fly the new product as it look incredible. But regardless of hard product, the soft product is sick: the vibe, the crew, the bar, and more than anything – it’s the simple cool factor. Just check out the Virgin Australia “The Business” business class.
Airlines specialize in their brand:
- Airlines that make you feel pampered
- Airlines that accommodate your need to work
- Airlines that make you feel ignored and neglected
- Airlines that treat you like cattle – sans the prod
Well Virgin specializes in the brand of Cool.
I’d use the Amex Platinum Delta for the 60k bonus and benefits and not for on-going spend and point accrual.
- 60,000 bonus after 2k spend
- $100 statement credit after a Delta purchase
- 10,000 MQM after 2k spend ( that leaves you 15k shy of Silver – pretty great if you’re traveling much Delta at all)
- free bag
- priority boarding
- If you renew the card you’d get a r/t economy companion certificate
It’s worth noting that the $195 annual fee is not waived the first year. But even if you value Delta miles at just a cent – you’re getting $600 worth of flights. If you’re redeeming for business class, you’ll be getting more like 5 to 10 cents a point – making this worth 3k to 6k worth of potential flying. There are many more benefits, but those are the ones that I’m most interested in – if you’d like to see the entire list, click here
Ok, enough with the card benefits – how does it get me on Virgin?
Delta is a member of the SkyTeam Alliance and partners with:
- Aerolineas Argentinas
- Air Europa
- Air France
- China Air
- China Eastern
- China Southern
- Czech Air
- Delta Air
- Garuda Indonesia
- Kenya Air
- KLM Royal Dutch
- Korean Air
- Middle East Air
- Vietnam Air
They are also partners with:
- Virgin Atlantic
- Virgin Australia
- Great Lakes Airlines
In all honesty, there are several airlines on that list that’d I’d be stoked to fly: Air France has a dope new biz class as does China Eastern and China Air. But, I loved my Virgin experience and specifically would love to give Virgin Australia to go down unda.
Delta doesn’t publish an award chart anymore. But, as we can see above, it’ll cost 80k for a one-way flight from LAX to SYD in Virgin Australia “The Business.” The great thing about using Delta to fly on Virgin – and I comment on it in my Virgin Atlantic review to San Francisco, is they don’t assess the taxes/fees on London bound flights. However, if you were to fly the same flight but use Virgin Atlantic Flying Club points – you’d fork over several hundred in fees.
Delta is also a transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards
Since we are basically looking at this card for benefits and the bonus, it’s worth pointing out that American Express is a transfer partner. This means if your balance is a little short, you can shore it up with a transfer. In fact, American Express allows you to have 4 credit cards with them at one time. MMS has reported, anecdotally, they are allowing up to 5 now, but that hasn’t been proven to be a consistent case study. Since this card is a credit card and the American Express Platinum Mercedes Benz is a charge card, if you applied for both, only the Delta card would go against you 4 card maximum.
I’ve been an American Airlines loyalist for the last few years…and that’s coming to an end – at least on face value. My hometown is in Indiana and I fly back and forth quite a bit. For loyalty reasons, I had been avoiding Delta to fly on American, but now with American gutting its program and Delta offering the same route, often times with sub $600 First class, I’ll fly Delta for sure. Anyways, this card gives you some great redemption options, and with the bonus only available once in your lifetime – it’s worth seizing when at all time highs.
Affiliate link via Card Ratings
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great starter card that earns Premium Ultimate Rewards that can be transferred into over a dozen partners many of which are US based.
60k Points after $4k spend in 3 months
Transferrable Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you carry this card alongside Chase’s cashback cards like the Chase Freedom Flex℠and Chase Freedom Unlimited® or the business versions: Ink Business Cash , Ink Business Unlimited you can combine the points into Preferred account and transfer into hotel and airline partners
Annual fee is quite low at $95 a year + you get a 10% anniversary bonus on points + $50 hotel credit in Chase travel.
- 3x on dining
- including eligible delivery services for takeout
- 3x on select streaming services
- 3x on online grocery purchases
- (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)
- 5x on all travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards – Chase Travel Portal
- $50 Annual Credit on hotel stays purchased via Ultimate Rewards/Chase Travel
- The begins immediately for new cardmembers and after your account anniversary for existing cardmembers
- 10% Anniversary Bonus
- Every year you keep the card, your total spend will yield a 10% points bonus. If you spend $10k in a year, you’ll get 1k bonus points
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® continues to redeem at 1.25c in the Chase Travel Portal and the slew of other benefits remain in tact including primary rental car insurance, purchase protections, etc.
- Points are transferrable to 13 Ultimate Rewards partners
- Redeem in the Chase Travel center for 1.25 cents per point
- No foreign transaction fees
- Suite of Travel and Purchase Coverage
- Primary rental car coverage is my favorite
We keep an up to date spreadsheet that lists the best ever offers: You can find that spreadsheet here.
Historically 80k is a very, very good offer and hit in both 2022 and 2023. In 2021, we saw the offer hit an all time high of 100k. Who knows if that will ever come back.
Cards that earn flexible points and should be used on the bulk of your purchases.
Cards that earn fixed points in the currency of the airline/hotel and can not be transferred at attractive rates. These cards yield benefits that make it worth keeping, but not necessarily worth putting a lot of your everyday spend on.