Demise of the Suntrust Delta Debit Card


For the last few years I have been using the SunTrust SkyMiles Debit Card to easily add SkyMiles to my Delta account.  There was no limit to the number of miles you could earn!  I did not abuse this card as much as some have, but I have probably added about 50K SkyMiles to my account using this method over the last couple of years.  It has proved to be a reliable, steady, and low-cost way to amass Delta miles.

Two days ago I received a letter that the program was finally changing effective July 25, 2015.  There are now limits on how many miles can be earned, and fees are changing. Here are the old rules for Balanced Banking, which the is the type of account I currently have:

  • Minimum balance of $3000
  • Yearly fee $75
  • 1 SkyMile earned for every $1 spent
  • No limit on miles earned

Here are the new rules for Balanced Banking:

  • Minimum balance of $3000
  • Yearly fee $95
  • 1 SkyMile earned for every $2 spent
  • Monthly limit of 2000 SkyMiles

These are huge changes!  Earning power cut in half, limits on miles earned, and higher fees!  There is a Signature Advantage checking with better earning capability, but it requires you to keep more money in your SunTrust account.  Here are the abridged rules for the Signature account:

  • Minimum balance of $25,000
  • $25 yearly fee with more than $100,000 balance
  • $75 yearly fee with less than $100,000 balance
  • 1 SkyMile earned for every $1 of spend
  • Monthly limit of 4000 SkyMiles earned

Is it worth it to keep $25,000 at SunTrust for the ability to earn an extra 2000 SkyMiles per month?  I don’t think so.

Will this card stay in my armory of cards?  Not only do I have to think carefully about the new limits but I need to consider how much time I are going to spend to earn these miles.  I also need to consider the worth of SkyMiles compared to other miles currencies.  I value SkyMiles from 0.75 – 2.00 cents per mile.  I value American and United Miles at from 1.5 to 2.8 cents per mile.  Therefore I am much more willing to spend my valuable time accruing those currencies.

I will be leaving on my trip to Greece in a few days.  When I get back however, I will be busy earning as many Delta miles as I can with my SunTrust Debit card until the party ends in July.

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