Amex Delta Credit Cards: Comparing the Benefits and Perks

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If you’re a frequent Delta Air Lines flyer, chances are you’ve considered one of their branded credit cards.

Perhaps you’ve heard of the opportunity to earn more Delta SkyMiles or get free perks such as a free checked bag, priority boarding, or those in-flight discounts on food and beverage purchases.

However, even once you’ve decided to secure a Delta-branded credit card for all those familiar reasons, you realize that American Express has more than a half dozen different Delta-branded cards from which to choose.

So how do you determine which Delta Air Lines card is right for you?

If you have all the information you need, a decision can be made quickly — and that’s just what we have in mind today. Here’s a dive into the benefits of each Delta-branded credit card to help you compare each of these cards and assist in determining which is the best for your situation.

The Best Delta-Branded Personal Credit Cards

When comparing Delta-branded credit cards, the process becomes easier when we divide the available personal credit cards into 3 categories — solid value, premium, and business.

The cards that have solid value come with flight benefits and discounts, a faster path to elite status, and double earnings on Delta purchases.

For those frequent Delta flyers who want luxury perks, Delta has a premium card that fits their travel lifestyle.

Then, for those who own a business, whether big or small, American Express offers 3 solid business card options.

Let’s first look at each of the 3 personal Delta-branded cards and how they compare.

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

If you’re ready for your first Delta credit card, the Delta Gold might check all the boxes. Plus, the card has $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95, so you can try the card on for size without any risk (for rates and fees of the Delta Gold card, click here).

You’ll also be earning plenty of SkyMiles and receive flight benefits such as a free checked bag and priority boarding.

Top Reasons to Get the Delta Gold

  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95 (for rates and fees of the Delta Gold card, click here).
  • Generous welcome bonus of redeemable miles.
  • Earn 2 miles per dollar on Delta, 1 mile per dollar on all other purchases.
  • Free checked bag, priority boarding, and 20% discount on in-flight purchases.
  • Discounted Sky Club access for $29 per visit, per person, for the cardholder and up to 2 guests.
  • Ability to pay for flights using miles (Pay with Miles).
  • Spending $25,000 on the card waives MQD requirement for elite status qualification up to Platinum level; $250,000 spending waives MQD for Diamond status

Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

If you’re looking for a few more perks and benefits, aspire to have Delta elite status, or have use for the complimentary annual companion ticket, having the Delta Platinum may be more your style.

Top Reasons to Get the Delta Platinum

  • Generous welcome bonus including Medallion Qualification Miles and bonus redeemable miles.
  • Earn 2 miles per dollar on Delta, 1 mile per dollar on all other purchases.
  • Free checked bag, priority boarding, and 20% discount on in-flight purchases.
  • Discounted Sky Club access for $29 per person, per visit, for the cardholder and up to 2 guests.
  • Main Cabin companion ticket certificate at each card renewal.
  • Ability to pay for flights using miles (Pay with Miles).
  • Spending $25,000 on the card waives MQD requirement for elite status qualification up to Platinum level; $250,000 spending waives MQD for Diamond status
  • A faster path to elite status with up to 20,000 MQM by spending on the card.

Delta Reserve® Card from American Express

A true Delta loyalist may find themselves frequently waiting for their next Delta flight and may have considered, or purchased, a Delta Sky Club membership. For informational purposes, a single yearly lounge membership currently costs $545.

With Delta Reserve, you’ll no longer be paying for a Sky Club membership, plus, you’ll get a whole lot more value for less money. That’s because this premium Delta-branded card comes with complimentary Sky Club access, a first class companion ticket at card renewal, and even upgrade priority over other same-status members.

Here are the key reasons to consider the top shelf Delta Reserve.

Top Reasons to Get the Delta Reserve

  • Generous welcome bonus that includes both Medallion Qualifying Miles towards elite status and bonus redeemable miles.
  • Earn 2 miles per dollar on Delta, 1 mile per dollar on all other purchases.
  • Free checked bag, priority boarding, and 20% discount on in-flight purchases
  • Complimentary Delta Sky Club Access for the cardholder, discounted $29 access for up to 2 guests.
  • Domestic first class, Delta Comfort+, or Main Cabin companion ticket certificate at each card renewal.
  • Ability to pay for flights using miles (Pay with Miles).
  • Spending $25,000 on the card waives MQD requirement for elite status qualification up to Platinum level; $250,000 spending waives MQD for Diamond status
  • A faster path to elite status with up to 30,000 MQM by spending on the card.
  • Upgrade priority.

Bottom Line: There are 6 core Delta-branded credit cards — 3 personal credit cards including Delta Gold, Delta Platinum, and Delta Reserve, plus the 3 business versions of each of these cards.

Delta SkyClub at ATL
Receive complimentary Delta Sky Club access with the Delta Reserve. Image Credit: Delta Air Lines

Best Delta Personal Cards — Summary

All of the Delta personal cards we have mentioned have earnings of 2 miles per dollar spent on Delta purchases and 1 mile per dollar on all other purchases. Additionally, all of the personal Delta-branded cards offer a free checked bag, priority boarding, and a 20% discount for in-flight food/beverage.

All personal Delta cards offer a fast track to elite status and the Pay with Miles benefit that allows card members to use their miles towards the purchase of a ticket at 1 cent each in value.

Additionally, when you spend $25,000 in a calendar year on any of these cards, the EQD requirement for elite status is waived for elite levels up to and including Platinum.

Here’s what differentiates the personal Delta-branded cards beyond those core benefits.

Delta Personal Credit CardAdditional Benefits
Delta Gold
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95 (for rates and fees of the Delta Gold card, please click here).
  • Discounted $29 Sky Club visit per person for the member and up to 2 guests.
Delta Platinum
  • Main cabin companion certificate at card renewal.
  • Discounted $29 Sky Club visit per person for the member and up to 2 guests.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Elite Qualification Miles and 20,000 bonus miles by spending on the card.
Delta Reserve
  • Complimentary Delta Sky Club lounge access for the cardholder.
  • Discounted $29 access per person for up to 2 guests.
  • First class, Comfort+ or Main Cabin companion certificate at card renewal.
  • Earn up to 30,000 Elite Qualification Miles and 30,000 bonus miles by spending on the card.
  • Upgrade priority over those without the card.

Bottom Line: There’s a personal Delta-branded credit card for every type of Delta flyer and all have the same earning structure, general flight benefits, and the ability to pay for your flights using miles. However, if you fly frequently with Delta, if elite status is important to you, and you could find value in the complimentary companion certificate each year, the Delta Platinum and Delta Reserve offer these elevated benefits. 

The Best Delta-Branded Business Cards

American Express issues 3 Delta business credit cards that parallel the 3 personal Delta cards when it comes to earnings, benefits, a faster path to elite status, and complimentary companion tickets.

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express

Top Reasons to Get the Gold Delta Business Card

  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95 (for rates and fees of the Gold Delta Business card, please click here).
  • Redeemable miles welcome bonus.
  • Earn 2 miles per dollar on Delta, 1 mile per dollar on all other purchases.
  • Free checked bag, priority boarding, and 20% discount on in-flight purchases.
  • Discounted Sky Club access for $29 per visit, per person, for the cardholder and up to 2 guests.
  • Ability to pay for flights using miles (Pay with Miles).
  • Spending $25,000 on the card waives the MQD requirement for elite status qualification.
  • Free employee cards.

Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express

Step it up with a larger welcome bonus, a main cabin companion ticket certificate each card anniversary, and the opportunity to earn Medallion Qualification Miles.

The Platinum Delta Business offers the same earnings, flight benefits, and discounted Sky Club access as the Gold Delta Business. You’ll also be able to utilize Pay with Miles and spend on the card to waive the MQD requirements for elite status qualification.

Additional Benefits of the Platinum Delta Business

  • Generous welcome bonus including Medallion Qualification Miles and bonus redeemable miles.
  • Main Cabin companion ticket certificate at each card renewal.
  • A faster path to elite status with up to 20,000 MQM by spending on the card.

Delta Reserve® for Business Credit Card from American Express

If your business travels frequently on Delta, the Reserve Delta Business should be on your list for consideration.

Once again, you’ll receive the same earnings as the Gold Delta Business and Platinum Delta Business, the same flight benefits, Pay with Miles, and free employee cards.

You’ll also find elevated benefits such as complimentary Sky Club access, a First Class companion ticket, and higher MQM earning opportunities.

Additional Benefits of the Reserve Delta Business

  • Generous welcome bonus that includes both Medallion Qualifying Miles towards elite status and bonus redeemable miles.
  • Complimentary Delta Sky Club Access for the cardholder, discounted $29 access for guests.
  • Domestic first class, Delta Comfort+, or Main Cabin companion ticket certificate at each card renewal.
  • Upgrade priority.
  • A faster path to elite status with up to 30,000 MQM by spending on the card.
Delta Air Lines First Class
Delta-branded credit cards offer a unique path to Medallion elite status which, in turn, could score you an upgraded seat. Image Credit: Delta

A Faster Path to Elite Status With Delta-Branded Credit Cards

Frequent Delta flyers who wish to achieve Medallion elite status have an opportunity that is second to none among airline-branded credit cards — a faster path by spending on some Delta-branded cards.

Here’s what it takes to earn Delta Medallion elite status and how Delta-branded cards can help you get there faster.

To reach Delta Medallion elite status each year, you must fly a specified number of miles or segments, spend a specified level of dollars on Delta flights (MQD) or spend a specified level on your Delta credit card, thus waiving the MQD requirement.

Medallion Elite LevelMedallion Qualification Miles (MQM) or Segments (MQS) NeededMedallion Qualification Dollars Needed (MQD)
Silver25,000/30$3,000 or spend $25,000 on the credit card to waive this requirement
Gold50,000/60$6,000 or spend $25,000 on the credit card to waive this requirement
Platinum75,000/100$9,000 or spend $25,000 on the credit card to waive this requirement
Diamond125,000/140$15,000 or spend $250,000 on the card to waive this requirement

Spending $25,000 in a calendar year on any of the 6 Delta-branded credit cards will waive the Medallion Qualifying dollar requirement for elite levels up to and including Platinum level. To waive the MQD requirement for Diamond you must spend $250,000 on a card in a calendar year.

Additionally, you can earn Medallion Qualification Miles by spending on these Delta-branded credit cards:

  • Delta Platinum and Platinum Delta Business — Spend $25,000 and receive 10,000 MQM towards elite status; spend a total of $50,000 in a calendar year and earn another 10,000 MQM for a total of 20,000 MQM.
  • Delta Reserve and Reserve Delta Business — Spend $30,000 and receive 15,000 MQM towards elite status; spend a total of $60,000 in a calendar year and earn another 15,000 MQM for a total of 30,000 MQM.

Bottom Line: If Delta Medallion elite status is important to you and you spend at least $60,000 annually, you can reach elite status quickly with as many as 30,000 MQM earned each calendar year with the Delta Reserve or Reserve Delta Business

Additional Benefits — Delta-Branded Credit Cards

All of the credit cards we’ve discussed in this article come with member benefits that may have varying limits depending on the card.

These benefits include:

  • No Foreign Transaction Fees — Use your card worldwide with no foreign transaction fees.
  • Global Assist Hotline — Receive assistance planning for your trip or while you’re traveling for customs information, emergency transportation assistance, weather, currency conversion, or lost luggage assistance.
  • Rental Car Loss/Damage Insurance — Secondary rental car insurance covers damage, theft, and loss of use.
  • Baggage Insurance — Coverage is provided for checked or carry-on luggage that is lost, stolen, or damaged.
  • Travel Accident Insurance — Benefits are paid out if there is dismemberment or death when traveling on a common carrier.
  • Roadside Assistance — Receive service for changing a flat tire, emergency fuel, lockouts, or jump-starting.
  • Purchase Protection — If an eligible item you purchased with your card is damaged or stolen, you’ll have coverage for 90 days.
  • Return Protection — Coverage for an eligible item if the merchant won’t accept a return.

This list is a general overview of additional benefits. To view the actual list and descriptions of benefits/protections for each individual card, including the terms and conditions, you can access the benefit policy guides for all Delta-branded American Express cards here.

Everything Else You Need to Know

For those looking for a Delta SkyMiles credit card with no annual fee, American Express does issue a basic SkyMiles credit card.

The Blue Delta SkyMiles® Card from American Express comes with a welcome bonus (usually around 10,000 SkyMiles after meeting a spending requirement) and earns 2 miles per dollar spent on Delta purchases and at U.S. restaurants. All other purchases earn 1 mile per dollar. The card does not come with any flight benefits.

If you live outside of the United States, particularly in either Mexico or parts of Asia, you may still be able to secure a Delta-branded credit card.

We’ve also written specifically about your options to learn more about the best credit cards for Delta flyers.

Hot Tip: Want to learn more about how credit cards can help you obtain elite status? Check out our informative article. 

Final Thoughts

Delta’s collection of branded credit cards is unique. You won’t find another group of airline-branded credit cards that allows you to earn qualifying miles (the same as flown miles) towards elite status at the rate Delta cards do.

With additional perks such as lounge access, a free checked bag, priority boarding, and the ability to earn double SkyMiles on Delta purchases, a Delta frequent flyer can benefit greatly by having a Delta-branded credit card.

If you’re a frequent flyer and travel on a variety of airlines, spend a lot on travel in general, and value luxury travel perks, however, there are several travel rewards credit cards that should also be considered.


FAQ

Which Delta credit card is the best?

The best Delta-branded credit card for you will be the one that matches up with the annual fee you’re willing to pay, has benefits that you will find useful, and assists you in achieving the elite status that is important to you.

The most popular Delta-branded credit cards are the Delta Gold and Delta Platinum. Both cards offer a nice collection of flight benefits, earning potential, and a fast track to elite status.

How does the Delta companion ticket work?

Delta Platinum, Platinum Delta Business, Delta Reserve, and Reserve Delta Business comes with a companion ticket good for buying 1 paid ticket and receiving 1 free companion ticket.

The cardholder is only responsible for the taxes/fees on the companion ticket, not to exceed $75.

Delta Platinum and Platinum Delta Business cardholders receive a domestic main cabin companion ticket when a main cabin ticket is purchased.

Delta Reserve and Reserve Delta Business cardholders receive a domestic first class cabin companion ticket or can choose a main cabin ticket.

The ticket is good for travel within the 48 consecutive states with consideration for Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Island residents to travel from the address on their SkyMiles account in those locations.

Do Delta SkyMiles expire?

No, SkyMiles never expire!

The miles you earn on your Delta credit card are deposited each month, when your statement period ends, into your SkyMiles frequent flyer account. Once they’re in that account, they’re safe, sound, and never expire.

Is there a Delta credit card with no annual fee?

Yes, there is a basic Delta-branded credit card that has no annual fee. Delta Blue has no annual fee and offers 2 miles per dollar earnings on Delta purchases and at U.S. restaurants.

You won’t receive any flight benefits such as a free checked bag or priority boarding, however. You may want to consider Delta Gold that does offer flight benefits and waives the annual fee for the first year ($0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95; for rates and fees of the Delta Gold card, click here).

Christine Krzyszton

About Christine Krzyszton

Christine, who lives in Northern Michigan, travels about 300,000 miles a year despite her remote location. Her expertise is traveling the world on a weekend with no pre-determined destination in mind, letting the cost of the airfare determine where she will go. She has over four million flown miles and elite status on all three major domestic carriers.

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Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

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Disclaimer: Any comments listed below are not from the bank advertiser, nor have they been reviewed or approved by them. No responsibility will be taken by the bank advertiser for these comments.

2 comments

  1. Greg H · March 7, 2018 · Reply

    Thanks for providing the link for the AMEX Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card! Just got approved and am looking forward to using the bonus miles to help fly the whole family to Florida in June.

    Two questions,
    1) Should you still get Priority Boarding (one of the card benefits) when you book rewards flights with miles?
    2) Do the taxes and fees for a reward flight count as a Delta purchase towards the $100 statement credit?

    • Thank you for the support, Greg! Yes – you’ll still get priority boarding as long as you pay for your award flight taxes & fee’s with the card. And yes, that spend counts towards the $100 statement credit!

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