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Credit Cards

American Express and Delta Air Lines introduce Buy now, Pay later option for flight fares

Delta flights of $100 or more can now be paid for over time using your Amex credit card.

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Angel Di Bilio | iStock Editorial | Getty Images

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

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 U.S. 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 1,400 airport lounges in more than 140 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 $200 hotel credit when booking with The Hotel Collection. Hotel Collection requires a minimum two-night stay.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

On the American Express secure site
  • Rewards

    Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year, 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel, 1X points on all other eligible purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $8,000 on eligible purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Apply and select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu.

  • Annual fee

    $695

  • Intro APR

    None

  • Regular APR

    See Pay Over Time APR

  • Balance transfer fee

    N/A

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit Needed

    Excellent/Good

  • See rates and fees, terms apply.

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card

On the American Express secure site
  • Rewards

    Earn 12X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton portfolio; 6X points for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations; 4X Points for each dollar on U.S. Online Retail Purchases; 3X points for other eligible purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 in purchases on the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.

  • Annual fee

    $150

  • Intro APR

    None

  • Regular APR

    20.99% - 29.99% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    N/A

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

See rates and fees, terms apply.

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

On the American Express secure site
  • Rewards

    Earn 2X Miles on Delta purchases, at U.S. Supermarkets and at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and 1X Mile per dollar on all other eligible purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 40,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.

  • Annual fee

    $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $150

  • Intro APR

    None

  • Regular APR

    20.99% - 29.99% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    N/A

  • Foreign transaction fees

    None

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

See rates and fees, terms apply.

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, over 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:

Bottom line

Amex's Plan It capability for flexible payment with Delta Air Lines is a convenient service for consumers looking to cover the cost of their flights in smaller payments over time. Before using BNPL, however, be aware of the drawbacks and make sure you read the fine print detailing any associated fees.

And it's worth noting that if you're eager to fly for less, you may consider earning airline miles with an airline credit card.

Catch up on Select's in-depth coverage of personal financetech and toolswellness and more, and follow us on FacebookInstagram and Twitter to stay up to date.

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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