Should I Keep My Delta SunTrust Debit Card?


Here it is–the 25th of July, and I have taken my Delta SunTrust debit card and tucked it into bed in the sock drawer.  Yesterday I made one last trip for some money orders, and now I’m probably going to wait for my SkyMiles to post to my account, and then call and cancel the card.

As of today, the 25th of July, the miles-earning capabities have changed drastically as SunTrust has new terms and conditions for this card.  I wrote the details about the upcoming changes in this post from May when I received my letter from SunTrust.  At the time, the changes were so drastic that I was sure that I would be canceling my account.  Now I need to take a hard look at this card and decide logically if it will remain in my arsenal.

I see this as a two-fold analysis.  The first aspect is how valuable SkyMiles are to me.  I do have the ability to nonrev on Delta, albeit at a low priority.  I therefore don’t need to accrue as many SkyMiles as I would other airline miles.  There are a few itineraries where I can get flights for 12,500 miles each way (ATL-YUL), but in most cases I would need 32,500 SkyMiles each way for a domestic flight.  Compare this to 12,500 (or less) to 20,000 miles each way on Star Alliance (United Airlines and others) or OneWorld (American, US Airways, BA).  The bottom line is that on a mile-to-mile basis, SkyMiles are worth less than other airline miles to me. 

The second part of the analysis is how much work I would have to do to earn SkyMiles on the SunTrust Debit under the new rules.  You may recall from my last post that there are now two types of accounts at SunTrust where you can earn miles. Here is a table that I made of all the types of accounts that will earn SkyMiles from here on out:

suntrust table

This is a compilation of all the information given in the letter mailed to current account holders in May. NB– the minimum balance on signature accounts is $25,000.

Basically you have a choice between keeping a high balance in your account (at least $25,000) and earning 1 mile per dollar spent, or a low balance (at least $3000) and earning 0.5 miles per dollar spent.  This sounds like a lot of work especially when I just got 50,000 miles as the sign up bonus on a Delta Business AMEX.   If you have $50,000-$100,000 at your disposal, why not park it at BankDirect and earn American Airline Miles, or park it at Fidelity and earn your choice of miles?

The nail in the coffin is the maximum number of miles that can be earned per month.  The best case scenario is $4000 per month, which is less than 50,000 per year. The bottom line is that it is too much trouble to earn these few miles.

My Delta SunTrust Debit Card will go from the sock drawer to the burn pile, however its memory will live on in the Credit and Debit Card Hall of Fame.

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