Question: What’s The Best Time To Get A Delta Credit Card In This Hobby?

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Question: What's The Best Time To Get A Delta Credit Card In This Hobby?

Question: What’s The Best Time To Get A Delta Credit Card In This Hobby?

Our question of the week: What’s the best time to get a Delta credit card? If we have our eyes on maximizing this hobby via most points earned at minimum investment required, what’s the best time to get a Delta credit card from American Express? You may be surprised by my answer.

The Question

Our question of the week comes from John in our Facebook group:

I have 200K+ points that I have earned with my Chase hyatt CC. At what point should I get a delta CC ( I live in a Delta hub) to maximize points?

First of all, I’m jealous of that Hyatt stack of points.

John’s question is about the best time to get a Delta credit card. I know nothing about John and what other cards he has, which is fine, because my answer on factors to consider wouldn’t change.

Here are my thoughts.

Delta Credit Cards Are Low-Hanging Fruit

In a previous article, I mentioned that credit cards like the Delta Gold Card from American Express and the Barclays AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard can wait. People tend to get “wow”-ed by how easy it is to attain the miles from the welcome offers on these cards. Get a bunch of miles after my first purchase?! Lots of miles for low spend?! Sounds great!

It’s not great. It’s decent.

There is nothing intrinsically wrong with applying for these credit cards or having them in your wallet. However, they should be part of a larger strategy. I outlined in this article the method I use for deciding which credit card to get next. And look at the example of 2 people I created, where one of them earned a LOT more miles than the other by having a solid strategy.

Here’s the key takeaway:

People who get cards “now” that they could get “later” often end up with less miles/points in the long run.

How To Build A Solid Strategy

This brings us back to John’s main point: maximization. Here are the factors you should consider when deciding on your next credit card application.

  • Chase 5/24 status – if you’re under 5/24, it’s unlikely you should be applying for any personal cards that aren’t from Chase (barring targeted / elevated welcome offers for things like the Amex Platinum Card). Read more about 5/24 here.
  • What banks you’re eligible for right now – too many inquiries recently? Past that bank’s limit? See our bank-by-bank rules here.
  • Best offers available – once you know what you CAN get, look at what’s available. Get the best card available.

Notice that I didn’t put any emotional factors in this list. Things like “I like airline X” should not play a part. Firstly, you can always book airlines via their partners. For example, it doesn’t matter if you often fly American Airlines, because having British Airways or Iberia or Alaska miles will totally work. Secondly, emotional factors tend to lead us to make decisions we shouldn’t. Remember to do the math–maximum value. Take your emotions out.

One caveat is obviously for those who live near small airports. If the ONLY airline that flies there is United, then you may need to slant toward points/miles that work with Star Alliance partners. Delta miles might not seem that great to you, but positioning flights (you can fly cheaply to airport ABC, and you book your main trip out of that airport using miles) can still accomplish what you want in the end.

Final Thoughts On The Best Time To Get A Delta Credit Card

Like I said, there’s nothing inherently wrong with Delta credit cards from American Express. And when they have elevated welcome offers, they can become attractive. However, don’t let “new & shiny” outweigh a long-term strategy built around maximizing your points & miles earning. If the cards and offers fit into your long-term strategy, great! However, the best time to get a Delta credit card usually isn’t “right now” for most people.

Ryan S
Travel hacker in 2-player mode, intent on visiting every country in the world, and can say "hello" or "how much does this cost?" in a bunch of different languages.

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