Delta Air Lines and MasterCard Worldwide on Sept. 15 announced they are launching cobranded Delta SkyMiles Debit MasterCards for consumers and businesses.

 The two companies have started the first phase of the agreement, through which they will work over the next several months to build a national network of financial institutions to offer the debit cards to existing and prospective Delta customers through local bank branches across the country. 

Atlanta-based SunTrust Bank, whose existing Delta debit porfolio will be converted to Delta Sky Miles MasterCards, will be the first to issue the cards.

 Besides enabling cardholders to earn airline miles when making purchases, the Delta SkyMiles debit card will provide other benefits, such as hundreds of merchant-funded discounts and purchase protections, including extended warranty and satisfaction guarantees, the companies said in a news release.

 The card will be made available as a Platinum Debit MasterCard, World Debit MasterCard or Debit MasterCard BusinessCard.

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