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Why Amex and Delta extended their credit card partnership

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American Express and Delta have extended their co-branded credit card partnership through the end of 2029, a nod to how profitable the pairing has been for both companies. In 2018 alone the co-branded Delta SkyMiles Credit Card led to 1 million new accounts for American Express.

The continued partnership means co-branded cardholders will be able to continue using their cards for American Express’ Membership Rewards and transfer those rewards to Delta’s SkyMiles® Program.

Want to know more?

What are the terms of the extended Amex-Delta partnership?

Through the end of 2029, American Express and Delta will continue offering the following perks for co-branded cardholders:

  • The ability to transfer points you earn through American Express’ Membership Rewards program toward Delta’s SkyMiles Program
  • Free access to Delta Sky Clubs for cardholders of the Delta Reserve® Credit Card and holders of the Platinum Card® from American Express
  • The benefits that come with Delta SkyMiles Credit Cards from American Express, such as welcome offers and in-flight savings
  • The ability to use American Express cards for Delta transactions

Why was this partnership extended?

The hookup between American Express and Delta has been lucrative for both parties since they began partnering on co-branded cards in 1996.

American Express said in a press release that these cards fetched 1 million new accounts in 2018, along with “double-digit” spending growth. And Delta expects annual revenue from the co-branded cards to nearly double by 2023 to some $7 billion, the statement said.

This growth highlights the popularity of rewards cards among U.S. consumers. By partnering with airlines to offer rewards to frequent fliers, card issuers like American Express can entice cardholders to use their cards more frequently.

What’s in the future for these types of partnerships?

American Express isn’t the only card issuer to partner with an airline. Chase and United also offer co-branded cards, for example.

A number of card issuers (including American Express) have been working to make their rewards cards more profitable, which industry experts say may be to offset losses from rewards programs. But given the relative success that card issuers like American Express and airlines like Delta are enjoying from these partnerships — along with record-high credit card spending among U.S. consumers in 2018 and fierce competition for their business  — it’s likely these partnerships will continue for the foreseeable future.