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Amex Green Card vs. Delta Gold Card [Detailed Comparison]

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Christine Krzyszton
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Christine Krzyszton

Senior Finance Contributor

318 Published Articles

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Christine ran her own business developing and managing insurance and financial services. This stoked a passion for points and miles and she now has over 2 dozen credit cards and creates in-depth, deta...
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Michael Y. Park

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Michael Y. Park is a journalist living in New York City. He’s traveled through Afghanistan disguised as a Hazara Shi’ite, slept with polar bears on the Canadian tundra, picnicked with the king and que...
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If you’re a frequent Delta Air Lines flyer, you’ve probably considered the airline’s co-branded credit cards. It makes sense to earn miles you can use, plus receive Delta-related flight benefits.

While a Delta-branded card is certainly logical, today we’re going to look at another option that may be an even better choice.

Depending on your spending mix, redemption preferences, and which benefits you can utilize, the American Express® Green Card is worth considering. To illustrate this possibility, we’re comparing it to the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card.

Is earning Delta SkyMiles better for you than a flexible rewards points option? And would you be giving up significant Delta Air Lines benefits by choosing the Amex Green card?

We’ll answer these questions, and more, in today’s comparison.

Amex Green Card vs. Delta Gold Card — Overview

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Feature or Benefit

American Express® Green CardDelta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

Welcome Offer

Earn 40,000 points after spending $3,000 within the first 6 months.

Earn 40,000 miles after you spend $2,000 in your first 6 months.

Bonus Earning Categories

3x points on restaurants worldwide (including takeout and delivery in the U.S.), eligible travel purchases, and transit

2x miles on Delta purchases, at restaurants (including takeout and delivery in the U.S.), and U.S. supermarkets

Top Redemption Options

Transfer to airline or hotel partners or redeem via AmexTravel.com

Redeem for Delta and alliance partner flights

Top Travel Protections and Benefits

  • Car rental insurance, baggage insurance, and trip delay
  • CLEAR Plus fee reimbursement
  • LoungeBuddy credit
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Car rental insurance
  • Delta Air Lines-related benefits include a free checked bag, priority boarding, and award ticket discount
  • No foreign transaction fees (rates & fees)

Top Shopping Protections and Benefits

Purchase protection, extended warranty, Amex Offers

Annual Fees and Authorized Users

$150

No authorized user fees

$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $150 (rates & fees)

No authorized user fees (rates & fees)

The Value of a Welcome Offer

A welcome offer is a unique opportunity to earn a rewards bonus during a specified period after you receive approval for a card. Earning rewards quickly means you can also redeem them sooner for that special travel goal.

The Amex Green card and Delta Gold card each come with a generous welcome offer that can be earned once minimum spending requirements have been met.

Check for the most current welcome bonuses, the associated requirements, and overall card information, in the following card snapshots:

American Express® Green Card
U.P. Rating 
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

This card can provide a great way to accumulate Membership Rewards points on eligible travel, transit, and at restaurants.

All information about American Express® Green Card has been collected independently by Upgraded Points.

Apply With Confidence

Know if you're approved with no credit score impact

If you're approved and accept this Card, your credit score may be impacted.

This card can provide a great way to accumulate Membership Rewards points on eligible travel, transit, and at restaurants.
Earn 40,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases on your American Express® Green Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
40,000 points
$880
$150
See Pay Over Time APR
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

The American Express® Green Card is an excellent all-around travel rewards card thanks to earning 3x Membership Rewards® points on eligible travel and transit purchases and at restaurants, access to American Express transfer partners, and a reasonable annual fee.

Pros
  • 3x points per $1 spent at restaurants worldwide, on all eligible travel purchases, and transit purchases
  • Up to $189 per calendar year in statement credits after you pay for a CLEAR® Plus membership with the Card.
  • Up to $100 in statement credits annually when you purchase airport lounge access through LoungeBuddy with the Card.
Cons
  • $150 annual fee
  • No elite benefits like airport lounge access or hotel elite status
  • Earn 40,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases on your American Express® Green Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on travel including airfare, hotels, cruises, tours, car rentals, campgrounds, and vacation rentals.
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® Points on transit purchases including trains, taxicabs, rideshare services, ferries, tolls, parking, buses, and subways.
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on eligible purchases at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery in the US.
  • $189 CLEAR Plus Credit: Receive up to $189 per calendar year in statement credits when you pay for your CLEAR Plus membership (subject to auto-renewal) with the American Express® Green Card.
  • $100 LoungeBuddy: No airport lounge membership? No problem! Purchase lounge access through the LoungeBuddy app using the American Express® Green Card and receive up to $100 in statement credits annually.
  • Payment Flexibility: When it comes to paying your bill, you have options. You can always pay in full. You also have the flexibility to carry a balance with interest or use Plan It® to split up large purchases into monthly payments with a fixed fee, up to your Pay Over Time Limit. You may be able to keep spending beyond your limit – you’ll just need to pay for any new purchases in full when your bill is due.
  • Trip Delay Insurance: If a round-trip is paid for entirely with your Eligible Card and a covered reason delays your trip more than 12 hours, Trip Delay Insurance can help reimburse certain additional expenses purchased on the same Eligible Card, up to $300 per trip, maximum 2 claims per eligible account per 12 consecutive month period. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Coverage is provided by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG Company.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees: No matter where you’re traveling, when you use your American Express® Green Card there are no foreign transaction fees.
  • $150 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: See Pay Over Time APR
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None
Rewards Center

American Express Membership Rewards

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express CardTerms Apply / Rates & Fees
U.P. Rating 
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

This card provides bonus SkyMiles on all purchases, along with a free checked bag, priority boarding, and discounted award flights.

Learn More(at Amex's secure site)

Apply With Confidence

Know if you're approved with no credit score impact

If you're approved and accept this Card, your credit score may be impacted.

This card provides bonus SkyMiles on all purchases, along with a free checked bag, priority boarding, and discounted award flights.
Earn 40,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $2,000 in eligible purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
40,000 Bonus Miles
$480
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $150.
20.99%-29.99% Variable
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

Frequent Delta flyers will love the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card. The card offers great benefits that will help save you money, effectively mimics low-level elite status with Delta SkyMiles, and helps you earn miles even faster, all for a low annual fee. Let’s dive into the benefits to see if the Delta Gold card is a good fit for your needs.

Pros
  • $100 Delta Stays Credit: You can earn up to $100 back annually on eligible prepaid Delta Stays bookings on delta.com.
  • Receive a $200 Delta Flight Credit to use toward future travel after you spend $10,000 in purchases in a year.
  • Card Members get 15% off when using miles to book Award Travel on Delta flights through delta.com and the Fly Delta app. Discount not applicable to partner-operated flights or to taxes and fees.
Cons
  • Moderate annual fee
  • Earn rate for Delta flights is relatively low compared to other travel cards
  • Earn 40,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $2,000 in eligible purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Enjoy a $0 introductory Annual Fee for the first year, then $150.
  • Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card Members get 15% off when using miles to book Award Travel on Delta flights through delta.com and the Fly Delta app. Discount not applicable to partner-operated flights or to taxes and fees.
  • $200 Delta Flight Credit: After you spend $10,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can receive a $200 Delta Flight Credit to use toward future travel.
  • Earn 2X Miles on Delta purchases, at U.S. Supermarkets and at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery in the U.S. Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • You can check your first bag free on Delta flights, saving up to $70 on a round-trip Delta flight per person. For a family of four that’s a potential savings of up to $280 per round-trip flight.
  • Receive Zone 5 Priority Boarding on Delta flights; board early, stow your carry-on bag and settle in sooner.
  • $100 Delta Stays Credit: Get up to $100 back per year as a statement credit after using your Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card to book prepaid hotels or vacation rentals through Delta Stays on delta.com.
  • Take up to $50 off the cost of your flight for every 5,000 miles you redeem with Pay with Miles when you book on delta.com.
  • Receive a 20% savings in the form of a statement credit on eligible Delta in-flight purchases after using your Card.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • With Send & Split®, you can send money and split your Card purchases with any other Venmo or PayPal user, directly from the Amex App. Enroll today.
  • Terms Apply.
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: 20.99%-29.99% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None
Rewards Center

Delta SkyMiles Frequent Flyer Program

Bottom Line:

Both the Amex Green card and Delta Gold card come with a generous welcome offer that can be earned by meeting minimum spending requirements during the period immediately following card approval.

Earning Potential

Outdoor Cafe
Both of our featured cards earn bonus rewards at restaurants worldwide and takeout and delivery in the U.S. Image Credit: Anastasia Shuraeva via Pexels

The Amex Green card earns flexible Membership Rewards points, while the Delta Gold card earns Delta SkyMiles. Every purchase made with either card earns 1 point or 1 mile per dollar spent, and potentially much more for bonus category purchases.

Here are the ways to earn the most rewards on each of our featured cards:

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Earning Category

Amex Green Card

Delta Gold Card

Travel

  • 3x points on airfare, hotels, cruises, tours, car rentals, campgrounds, and vacation rentals
  • 3x points on transit, including trains, taxicabs, ride-share services, ferries, tolls, parking, buses, and subways
  • 1x points on all other travel

2x miles on Delta Air Lines purchases

1x miles on all other travel

Restaurants 

3x points on restaurants worldwide, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.

2x miles at restaurants worldwide, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S. 

Supermarkets

1x points

2x miles at U.S. supermarkets

All Other Purchases

1x points

1x miles

Although there are similarities in the bonus categories for each card, your actual spending mix will determine which is the better card for earning rewards.

And, while the amount of rewards you earn is important, redeeming those rewards will ultimately determine the actual value you receive.

If you’re a Delta flyer, you may prefer earning SkyMiles that can be redeemed for Delta flights, even if your bonus earnings are mostly 2x rather than 3x with the Amex Green card. And, while earning Membership Rewards points may not seem conducive to a Delta-centric objective, they may provide better value for Delta flyers.

It can be important to consider earning potential and redemption options to find the card that fits your situation. We’ll look at redemption options next.

Bottom Line:

The Amex Green card earns well on travel and transit. The Delta Gold card earns well on Delta purchases and at U.S. supermarkets. Both cards earn bonus rewards at restaurants worldwide and on takeout and delivery in the U.S.

Redemption Options

Delta Plane at Sunrise DTW
Rewards earned on either of our featured cards can be redeemed for flights. Image Credit: Christine Krzyszton

Once you’ve earned a stash of points or miles with the Amex Green card or Delta Gold card, you’ll have some exciting options at redemption time.

Here are all the ways you can redeem the rewards earned on either card:

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Redemption Options

Amex Green Card

Delta Gold Card

Travel

  • Transfer points to airline and hotel partners to redeem for award flights and free hotel nights
  • Redeem for travel via AmexTravel.com
  • Redeem miles for Delta or alliance partner award flights and Delta Vacations
  • Redeem miles on Delta using Pay With Miles for eligible flights

Additional Redemption Options

Gift cards, shopping on Amazon and with select retailers, statement credits

Experiences, flight upgrades, fees, Sky Club membership, premium drinks, magazines, charitable donation

When we compare redemption options, the Amex Green card is most likely to result in the best value.

Let’s look at 2 examples: Spending $24,000 in 3x bonus categories on the Amex Green card earns you 72,000 Membership Rewards points. Spending $24,000 in 2x categories on the Delta Gold card earns you 48,000 Delta SkyMiles. These are the highest-percentage bonus categories available for each card.

We value Membership Rewards points at approximately 2.2 cents each and Delta SkyMiles at 1.2 cents each. Using this valuation, you could earn approximately $1,584 worth of travel for the $24,000 spent on the Amex Green card or $576 worth of travel for the same amount of spending on the Delta Gold card. (These values are only estimates, as the actual value you receive depends on the redemption you select.)

However, you may realize the greatest potential value in redeeming rewards when you transfer Membership Rewards to airline or hotel partners. Delta Air Lines is also one of the Amex Green card’s transfer partners. The Delta Gold card does not offer the option to transfer to other airline or hotel programs.

You should review the best ways to redeem Membership Rewards points and ideas for the best Delta SkyMiles redemptions to learn more about the potential value of each type of reward.

Bottom Line:

The Amex Green card has the edge at redemption time, with the ability to transfer Membership Rewards to airline and hotel partners for the greatest potential overall value. The Delta Gold card earns miles that must be redeemed via Delta Air Lines.

Travel Protections and Benefits

Car on a Road
Car rental insurance can be expensive, but you may get free premium protection with these cards. Image Credit: Viktor Lundberg via Pexels.

Travel protections can provide peace of mind and economic relief should something happen during your trip. These benefits can save you money on travel-related purchases or make your journey more comfortable. 

Here are the travel protections and benefits you get with the Amex Green card and the Delta Gold card:

  • Car Rental Insurance — Reserve and pay for the entire rental with your card, and decline the rental agency’s collision-damage-waiver/loss-damage-waiver insurance to receive secondary car rental coverage. Secondary coverage means a claim must be filed first with any other applicable insurance provider. Both cards also have access to Premium Protection for a fee ($12.25 to $24.95), which covers the rental period up to 42 days.
  • Baggage Insurance — If your baggage is lost, stolen, or damaged, you could receive up to $1,250 per covered person per trip. Terms, conditions, and limits apply.
  • Global Assist Hotline — Receive 24/7 assistance during your travels to arrange emergency transportation, translation services, medical or legal referrals, and more.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees — Use your card abroad or for any foreign transaction and you won’t be charged additional foreign transaction fees.

Amex Green Card — Additional Travel Protections and Benefits

  • Trip Delay Insurance — If your trip is delayed more than 12 hours, you could receive up to $300 per covered trip for eligible incidentals, including lodging. There is a limit of 2 claims per 12-month period.
  • CLEAR Plus Credit — Pay for your CLEAR Plus application or renewal fee with your card and receive a statement credit for up to $189 each calendar year.
  • LoungeBuddy Credit — Receive a statement credit when you use your card to purchase lounge access via LoungeBuddy, up to $100 in credits each year.

Delta Gold Card — Additional Travel Protections and Benefits

  • Delta Air Lines Flight Benefits — Receive 1 checked bag and priority boarding for you and up to 8 additional travel companions. Plus, receive a 20% statement credit for eligible inflight purchases.
  • Award Flight Discount — Cardholders receive a 15% discount on SkyMiles award flight bookings.
  • Flight Credit Certificate — Spend $10,000 in a calendar year and receive a $200 flight certificate.
  • Pay With Miles — Use miles at a valuation of 1 cent each to pay for eligible flights. For example, using 5,000 miles equals $50 toward the price of a flight.
Bottom Line:

Both the Amex Green card and Delta Gold card come with car rental insurance, baggage insurance, and the Global Assist Hotline. The cards do not charge foreign transaction fees. The Amex Green card additionally offers trip delay insurance, a Clear Plus credit, and a LoungeBuddy credit. The Delta Gold card comes with Delta-related benefits including a checked bag, priority boarding, award flight discounts, an annual flight credit for meeting spending requirements, and the ability to Pay With Miles.

Shopping Protections and Benefits

Shopping protections provide additional coverage should an eligible item you purchased with your card incur a covered loss. Benefits offer savings when making select purchases.

Here are the shopping protections and benefits available on the Amex Green card and the Delta Gold card:

  • Purchase Protection —You could receive up to $1,000 per item, up to $50,000 per calendar year, if an eligible item purchased with your card is stolen or damaged. Coverage is valid for up to 90 days from the purchase date.
  • Extended Warranty — Eligible items purchased with your card that have manufacturer’s guarantees of 5 years or less get a 1-year warranty extension.
  • Amex Offers — Log in to your American Express online card account and select from up to 100 offers that can deliver a statement credit or additional rewards for select purchases.
Bottom Line:

Both the Amex Green card and Delta Gold card come with shopping protections including purchase protection and extended warranty coverage. Plus, each card has access to Amex Offers that can save money or earn additional rewards for select purchases.

Annual Fees and Authorized Users

Before selecting a card, consider any fees associated with card membership. Additionally, you might consider adding authorized users to earn rewards faster. Adding authorized users can also help establish credit for a trusted family member or friend.

The Amex Green card has an annual fee of $150, and the Delta Gold card has a fee of $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $150.

The Amex Green card does not charge a fee to add authorized users. The Delta Gold card also does not charge for up to 99 total additional users.

Final Thoughts

If you’re a Delta frequent flyer with Delta Medallion elite status, you may want to consider the Amex Green card over the Delta Gold card. This is especially true if your elite status includes a free checked bag and priority boarding, as the Delta Gold card may simply duplicate these perks. Plus, earnings on the Amex Green card may result in a greater number of rewards that could be redeemed for Delta flights.

Additionally, rewards earned on the Amex Green card are much more flexible at redemption time than proprietary Delta SkyMiles earned on the Delta Gold card.

The Delta Gold card does provide additional Delta-related benefits, such as 15% off rewards flights, and a 20% statement credit for inflight purchases. The card comes with the Pay With Miles benefit and a $200 flight certificate when you spend $10,000 on the card in a year.

Only you can determine if those benefits would offset the higher earnings and flexible redemption options available with the Amex Green card.

For more card options that work well for common daily purchases, review our choices for the best cards to use for everyday purchases.

If you’re a Delta loyalist, check out our reviews of the best cards for Delta flyers. Cards that provide a faster path to Delta elite status and Sky Club access may be a better choice for frequent Delta flyers than the Delta Gold card.


For the car rental loss and damage insurance benefit of the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, car rental loss and damage insurance can provide coverage up to $50,000 for theft of or damage to most rental vehicles when you use your eligible card to reserve and pay for the entire eligible vehicle rental and decline the collision damage waiver or similar option offered by the commercial car rental company. This product provides secondary coverage and does not include liability coverage. Not all vehicle types or rentals are covered. geographic restrictions apply. Eligibility and benefit level varies by card. Terms, conditions and limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company. Car Rental Loss or Damage Coverage is offered through American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc.

For the purchase protection benefit of the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, when an American Express® card member charges a covered purchase with their eligible card, purchase protection can help protect their covered purchases for up to 90 days from the covered purchase date if it is stolen or accidentally damaged. The coverage is limited up to $1,000 per occurrence, up to $50,000 per card member account per calendar year. Eligibility and benefit level varies by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company.

For the extended warranty benefit of the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, when an American Express® card member charges a covered purchase to an eligible card, extended warranty can provide up to one extra year added to the original manufacturer’s warranty. Applies to warranties of five (5) years or less. Coverage is up to the actual amount charged to your card for the item up to a maximum of $10,000; not to exceed $50,000 per card member account per calendar year. Eligibility and benefit level varies by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company.

For the baggage insurance plan benefit of the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, baggage insurance plan coverage can be in effect for eligible persons for eligible lost, damaged, or stolen baggage during their travel on a common carrier (e.g. plane, train, ship, or bus) when the entire fare for a common carrier vehicle ticket for the trip (one-way or round-trip) is charged to an eligible account. Coverage can be provided for up to $1,250 for carry-on baggage and up to $500 for checked baggage, in excess of coverage provided by the common carrier (e.g. plane, train, ship, or bus). For New York State residents, there is a $10,000 aggregate maximum limit for all covered persons per covered trip. Eligibility and benefit level varies by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company.

For the global assist hotline benefit of the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, you can rely on Global Assist Hotline 24 hours a day / 7 days a week for medical, legal, financial or other select emergency coordination and assistance services while traveling more than 100 miles away from your home. Third-party service costs may be your responsibility. Eligibility and benefit level varies by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Card Members are responsible for the costs charged by third-party service providers.

For the car rental loss and damage insurance benefit of the American Express® Green Card, car rental loss and damage insurance can provide coverage up to $50,000 for theft of or damage to most rental vehicles when you use your eligible card to reserve and pay for the entire eligible vehicle rental and decline the collision damage waiver or similar option offered by the commercial car rental company. This product provides secondary coverage and does not include liability coverage. Not all vehicle types or rentals are covered. geographic restrictions apply. Eligibility and benefit level varies by card. Terms, conditions and limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company. Car Rental Loss or Damage Coverage is offered through American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc.

The information regarding the American Express® Green Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.

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

Frequently Asked Questions

Which card is better, the Amex Green card or the Delta Gold card?

If you are not a frequent Delta flyer, the Amex Green card is probably the better card. The card has a better overall earning structure and earns flexible rewards that can be transferred to airline and hotel partners, including Delta Air Lines.

But everyone has unique needs, and the better card for you will ultimately be the one that matches your spending mix, redemption preferences, and the related benefits you’d use.

Can I transfer Delta SkyMiles to other airlines?

While you cannot transfer Delta SkyMiles to other airlines, you can redeem them for flights with other SkyTeam alliance partner airlines.

Does the Delta Gold card have lounge access?

No, the Delta Gold card does not come with lounge access. The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card does offer lounge access.

Christine Krzyszton's image

About Christine Krzyszton

Christine ran her own business developing and managing insurance and financial services. This stoked a passion for points and miles and she now has over 2 dozen credit cards and creates in-depth, detailed content for UP.

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