6 Airline Credit Cards Might Help Cruisers Save Money on Upcoming Trips — Including Hotel Stays!

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a cruise ships in the water

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A half-dozen airline credit cards can help cruisers save money on not just checked luggage to and from port cities — and they now also feature hotel stay discounts.

All information related to the cards mentioned in this post was collected independently by Frequent Floaters and was neither provided nor reviewed by the card issuer. Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

Delta SkyMiles® American Express Cards

We’ve written about some of the Delta SkyMiles® American Express Cards’ Companion Certificates, which can be quite helpful for some cruisers living in cities with Delta service (especially where Delta is pretty much the only choice).

Current Delta Amex Welcome Offers

Here are the current welcome offers for Delta Amex cards:

Delta Stays Statement Credit

Here’s the major change that we think is friendly to many cruisers.

Most of us take at least one or two cruises a year departing from somewhere other than our hometowns. We have to commute to and from a port city. It’s a good idea to arrive at least a day before a cruise’s departure. Naturally, we need somewhere to stay.

If you’re not redeeming points or a hotel credit card’s free night certificate for a hotel booking, the Delta Amex cards offer you some help.

Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, CA
Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, CA

There’s something called “Delta Stays,” an online travel agency using Expedia’s platform. Cardholders are eligible for annual statement credits toward booking prepaid hotels or vacation rentals on the card through Delta Stays on delta.com. The amounts vary by card.

Heck, the Delta Gold Business Amex‘s $150 annual fee can be completely earned back through Delta Stays. And the $150 doesn’t kick in until the second year of card membership.

I hold the Delta Amex Reserve Business card. I’ll happily save $250 off at least a night or two each year.

Now, because Delta Stays is an online travel agency, you won’t necessarily be eligible for any elite benefits you normally receive when booking directly through a property or chain. That being said, someone at the hotel may take pity on you and offer you a small upgrade or something. Stranger things have happened. But you very likely will not earn hotel loyalty program points.

But I’ll sacrifice that to save a chunk of change.

a glass window with text on it

More Sky Club Guest Passes

Delta Amex Reserve and Delta Amex Reserve Business card members can access Delta Sky Club airport lounges when flying a same-day, Delta-marketed or Delta-operated flight. Until recently, each card came with two guest passes each year. The passes were valid for one visit only.

Those were easy to burn through. You and a guest could enjoy a Sky Club during the start of your trip and then again on the way back. After that, you were out of visits until your card renewal — or if you wanted to spend $50 each time your guest entered the lounge.

But there’s good news on that front. Both now feature four guest passes per card anniversary year.

(Effective February 1, 2025, Reserve Card Members will receive 15 Visits per year to the Delta Sky Club. A “Visit” is an entry to one or more Delta Sky Clubs or usage of the Delta Sky Club “Grab and Go” feature, at one or more airports, for a period of up to 24 hours starting upon the first Delta Sky Club entry or Grab and Go usage, during an Eligible Card Member’s travel on a same-day Delta-marketed or Delta-operated flight. A single Visit permits usage of Delta Sky Club(s) in multiple airports during the 24-hour period.  To earn an unlimited number of Visits each year starting on February 1, 2025, the total eligible purchases on the Card must equal $75,000 or more between January 1, 2024, and December 31, 2024, and each calendar year thereafter. Once all 15 Visits have been used, Eligible Card Members may purchase additional Delta Sky Club Visits (including Grab and Go) at a per-Visit rate of $50 per person using the Card.)

Samara, Russia - June 5, 2021: Uber taxi is parked on a city street in summer (©iStock.com/blinow61)
(©iStock.com/blinow61)

Rideshare Statement Credits

On the surface, this new benefit sounds good.

Delta Amex Reserve, Delta Business Amex Reserve, Delta Amex Platinum, and Delta Business Amex Platinum cardholders can earn up to $120 annually in statement credits for U.S. rideshare purchases made with Uber, Lyft, Curb, Revel, and Alto. However, the statement credits are limited to $10 a month. Enrollment is required.

If you use Lyft, regardless of how you pay, remember to link Lyft to your SkyMiles account so you can earn bonus SkyMiles. (I digress: should I have said “lynk Lyft”?)

I don’t love that the credit is available monthly. But, hey, saving $10 here and there is always nice.

a man and woman sitting in an airplane

Improved Companion Certificate Destinations

Delta Amex Reserve, Delta Business Amex Reserve, Delta Amex Platinum, and Delta Business Amex Platinum cards give members a Companion Certificate for one eligible roundtrip each year upon card renewal, beginning the second year.

The certs used to be redeemable for trips to the U.S. 48. The list of eligible destinations greatly expanded.

René and Lisa have used their Companion Certificates to ferry to/from port cities.

$200 Flight Benefit

For all you big spenders out there, the Delta Amex Gold and Delta Business Amex Gold feature something that might interest you.

Cardholders who spend $10,000 in purchases can receive a $200 Delta Flight Credit to use toward future travel.

Here’s where the math gets interesting.

The card earns 2X on eligible purchases made directly with Delta, at restaurants, and at U.S. supermarkets.  All other eligible purchases earn 1X.

Even if you spend all of your $10,000 on those “all eligible purchases,” you’re earning 10,000 SkyMiles, which are worth about $100. Combine that with the $200 flight credit you earn, and the Delta Gold cards offer a 3X return on the first $10,000 you spend.

A Delta Air Lines jet in Atlanta

The Other Benefits

I saved this part for last because most airline credit cards feature more or less the same benefits. But one (so far) is unique to Delta.

  • First checked bag free for the cardholder and up to eight others traveling on the same confirmation number. (That could yield some significant savings on a roundtrip!)
  • Priority boarding (Main Cabin 1).
  • 20% statement credit on select inflight purchases, such as premium beverages and food.
  • THE UNIQUE ONE: TakeOff 15
    • Delta SkyMiles® American Express Card members are entitled to something called “TakeOff 15.” This allows them to get 15% off when using SkyMiles to book Delta award flights through delta.com and the Fly Delta app. (The discount isn’t applicable to partner-operated flights and doesn’t include taxes and fees.)

Time to Set Sail

Six refreshed Delta Amex cards offer benefits that can benefit cruisers. The most valuable ones are the Companion Certificates and Delta Stays credits.

But their limited-time welcome offers expire on Wednesday, March 27!

 

 

For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, please visit this link.

For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card, please visit this link.

For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card, please visit this link.

For rates and fees of Delta SkyMiles® Business Platinum American Express Card, please visit this link.

For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, please visit this link.

For rates and fees of Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card, please visit this link.

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Advertiser Disclosure: Frequent Floaters is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as CreditCards.com. Some or all of the card offers that appear on the website are from advertisers. Compensation may impact how and where card products appear on the site. This site does not include all card companies or all available card offers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed, or approved by any of these entities.

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

3 COMMENTS

  1. I did a quick comparison of delta stays to Google hotels. Like many travel portals, I found the prices to be inflated 33% or more per night. So the stays credit is a bit scammy because of the higher prices IMO

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