American Express And Delta Air Lines Introduce Buy Now, Pay Later

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American Express and Delta Air Lines have been longtime partners in the card space, and today they announced that they’re giving consumers more flexibility to pay for flights over time. Starting Feb. 17, American Express cardholders will be able to use Plan It®, Amex’s branded buy now, pay later (BNPL) feature, to cover Delta flights of $100 or more.

Here’s what you need to know about the announcement, plus what to keep in mind when using BNPL.

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Amex and Delta introduce BNPL option

Eligible consumer American Express cardholders will be able to break up the cost of their Delta flight into smaller payments over time with the Plan It option.

If you select this option at checkout, the total price of the flight will be divided into equal monthly installments with a monthly fixed fee. An Amex spokesperson confirmed to Select that there are no additional interest charges on top of the fixed fee, which is calculated for consumers before checking out.

Delta flights of $100 or more qualify for Plan It, and you will earn the same rewards as you would paying for the flight in full. While you can start booking your Delta flight using the BNPL feature with Amex today at delta.com, it is not available as a checkout option on the Fly Delta app until spring 2022.

Other travel providers have started their own creative financing options, but this move makes Delta the first merchant partner to offer Amex’s BNPL as a payment method, and the first airline website in the US to offer an on-card BNPL feature at checkout.

If you plan on purchasing a Delta flight in the near future and want to take advantage of a BNPL payment plan, consider applying for one of the below Amex cards that are geared towards traveling. This way, your spending can also help you earn points toward a hotel stay or even earn airline miles for future travel. Cards like The Platinum Card® from American Express also offer luxury travel perks like access to over 1,200 airport lounges in more than 130 countries around the world, as well as complimentary benefits like room upgrades, free breakfast for two, late checkout, early check- in and up to a $100 hotel credit (upon availability) when booking with The Hotel Collection.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

On the American Express secure site

  • Rewards

    5X points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel (starting January 1, 2021, this applies on up to $500,000 per calendar year), 5X points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel, 1X points on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    100,000 Membership Rewards® points after spending $6,000 within 6 months of account opening. Apply and select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum Card®, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu.

  • annual fee

  • Intro APR

  • Regular APR

  • Balance transfer fee

  • Foreign transaction fee

  • Credit Needed

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card

Information about the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card has been collected independently by Select and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card prior to publication.

  • Rewards

    12X points per dollar for eligible purchases on your card made directly with a participating hotel or resort within the Hilton portfolio; 6X points for eligible purchases at US restaurants, US supermarkets and US gas stations; 3X points for other eligible purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points plus a Free Night Reward after you spend $2,000 in purchases on the card in the first 3 months of card membership.

  • annual fee

  • Intro APR

  • Regular APR

    15.74% to 24.74% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

  • Foreign transaction fee

  • Credit needed

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

On the American Express secure site

  • Rewards

    Earn 2X miles per dollar spent on Delta purchases, 2X miles per dollar spent at US supermarkets, 2X miles per dollar spent at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery in the US and 1X mile per dollar on all other eligible purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Limited Time Offer: Earn 70,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 4/13/2022.

  • annual fee

    $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99

  • Intro APR

  • Regular APR

    15.74% to 24.74% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

  • Foreign transaction fees

  • Credit needed

What to keep in mind with BNPL

BNPL startups like Klarna and Afterpay have exploded in popularity, but now legacy brands are starting to get a piece of the pie. According to a 2021 C+R Research study, about half (51%) of consumers used buy now, pay later services during the pandemic.

However, several consumer advocacy groups like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) are concerned about these new services because “if a consumer has multiple purchases on multiple schedules with multiple companies, it may be hard to keep track of when payments are scheduled,” according to the CFPB. A 2022 survey published by Breeze, a digital insurance platform, confirmed this theory when it found that 36% of BNPL users reported having missed or made a late BNPL payment at least once before, which the survey indicates was also strongly correlated to having multiple accounts open at once.

If you’re considering using any BNPL platform, including Amex’s Plan It, keep these factors in mind:

  • Your credit score may drop, even if you’re paying on time and in full With point-of-sale loans, like BNPL, your credit score could decrease because of the effect these short-term loans have on the length of your credit history.
  • You may feel tempted to overspend: Because your payments are broken up into smaller chunks, it’s easier to justify a large cost. But just because that $500 round-trip flight to Hawaii can be broken up into, say, $125 chunks over time, it doesn’t mean it’s best for your budget or accomplishing your financial goals.
  • Your fees could compound: Not only could you possibly overspend, you could be penalized for it as well. For example, Afterpay will charge up to 25% of the order if you pay late, while Klarna charges a $7 late fee if it can’t collect an on-time payment.

Bottom line

For rates and fees of the Platinum Card® from American Express, click here

For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card, click here

For rates and fees of the Delta Skymiles® Gold American Express Card, click here

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.

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