Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card – Full Review [2020]

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Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card – Full Review [2020]

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.

"An Entry-Level SkyMiles Card for Frequent Delta Flyers"

This card provides 2x miles on all Delta purchases, restaurants worldwide, and at U.S. supermarkets, along with a free bag, priority boarding, and discounted Sky Club lounge access.

Apply Now (at Amex's secure site)

Frequent Delta flyers will love the Delta Gold 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

Cons

  • $99 annual fee
  • Earn rate for Delta flights is relatively low compared to other travel cards

Delta Gold Card — Snapshot

The Ideal Cardholder

Delta Domestic First Class Meal
The Delta Gold card is perfect for frequent Delta flyers who can easily take advantage of the benefits. Image Credit: Delta Air Lines

The Delta Gold card is an excellent option for travelers who regularly fly with Delta and can make use of the card’s perks and benefits. Here is a detailed look at some of the top benefits of the Delta Gold card.

Free Checked Bags

With your Delta Gold card, you’ll receive your first checked bag free for you and up to 8 travel companions. Given that checked bags can start at $30 per direction, this benefit alone can save you $30 to $270 per flight depending on the number of people flying with you.

Priority Boarding

Thanks to your Delta Gold card, you and up to 8 traveling companions will receive Main Cabin 1 priority boarding. So even if you’ve purchased a Basic Economy ticket, you’ll be able to board with other Main Cabin 1 passengers, instead of last.

Discount on Inflight Purchases

Cardholders receive 20% off in the form of a statement credit on inflight purchases of food, alcoholic beverages, and audio headsets. So if you regularly purchase food and beverages for yourself when you fly, the savings here can really add up.

Keep in mind that the 20% discount does not apply to other inflight purchases like inflight wireless internet access.

Hot Tip: In order to receive the checked baggage and priority boarding benefit, you do not need to pay with your Delta Gold card. But you will need to pay with your card in order to receive the 20% savings on inflight purchases.

Great Card if

  • You travel often
  • You regularly fly Delta
  • You do not want to pay for checked bags

Don't Get if

  • You don’t travel often or don’t fly with Delta
  • You want a card that earns transferable rewards
  • You want a card with no annual fee

Delta Gold Card — Fees

  • Annual Fee
    • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99.
  • Foreign Transaction Fees
    None
  • Interest Rates
    • 15.74% to 24.74% variable
  • Late fees
    • 29.24% variable
    • Up to $40
  • Cash Advance APR
    • 25.24% variable
    • Fee: Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater.
  • Additional Info

Best Way to Maximize Delta SkyMiles

Delta American Express Gold Card
Book Delta flights with your Delta Gold card to really help rack up the miles. Image Credit: American Express

Delta Purchases

Obviously, if you have a Delta Gold card, you’ll want to make sure you’re using it to purchase all of your Delta flights so that you can earn 2x miles per $1 spent.

U.S. Supermarket and Restaurant Purchases

Your Delta Gold card will also earn 2x miles per $1 spent on all U.S. supermarket and restaurant purchases. These bonus categories give you a great opportunity to earn more miles because it’s likely that you spend more money throughout the year on supermarket and restaurant purchases than you do on Delta flights.

Everyday Spending

Finally, you’ll earn 1x mile for every $1 you spend on all other purchases. This earn rate certainly isn’t the best option for non-bonused spending, but if you’re trying to rack up as many Delta SkyMiles as possible for a free flight, using your Delta Gold card for non-bonused purchases will help you get there quicker.

Amex Offers

Since the Delta Gold card is an American Express card, each month you’ll receive dozens of Amex Offers that will give you discounts or deals with different companies.

You can add any offers that seem enticing to you, and then when you shop with that merchant and pay with your Delta Gold card, you’ll earn additional Delta SkyMiles or a statement credit.

Refer-a-Friend Bonus Rewards

If you know someone who might like to have the Delta Gold card, you can refer them to apply and, if they’re approved, you’ll receive 5,000 Delta SkyMiles for doing so — up to 55,000 Delta SkyMiles each year. To refer a friend, simply visit the Amex referral page and sign in to your account.

Delta Dining Program

When you link your Delta Gold card to SkyMiles Dining you can earn up to 5x miles per $1 spent at eligible restaurants. This is in addition to the 2x miles per $1 you’ll earn when you pay for your meal with your Delta Gold card.

Lyft Rides

If you link your Lyft account to your Delta SkyMiles account, you will earn 1x mile per $1 spent on Lyft rides, and 2x miles per $1 spent on all rides to and from an airport.

Delta SkyMiles Shopping Portal

Through SkyMiles Shopping, you can earn extra Delta SkyMiles when you shop online at one of the hundreds of stores listed through the platform.

Adding Other Delta Credit Cards

Depending on how often you fly with, or how loyal you are to, Delta Air Lines, adding another Delta co-branded credit card could make sense to further boost your SkyMiles earning.

Consider the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card that earns 3x miles per $1 spent on Delta purchases, and comes with other great perks like Delta Sky Club access, an annual companion certificate, and upgrade priority on Delta flights.

Since the Delta Reserve card does not include any bonus categories other than Delta purchases, you could use the Delta Reserve card to earn 3x miles per $1 on your Delta flights, and your Delta Gold card to earn 2x miles per $1 at U.S. supermarkets and restaurants.

Adding Membership Rewards Cards

Delta is an American Express Membership Rewards transfer partner, so points earned from Membership Rewards cards can be transferred over to your Delta SkyMiles account.

Best Way to Redeem Delta SkyMiles

Delta Award Flights

The best way to use your Delta SkyMiles miles is for award travel to one of the 1,000+ destinations around the world served by Delta or one of the SkyTeam alliance partners. While Delta doesn’t publish an official award chart anymore, there are some excellent award redemptions that you can play for, like one-way awards within the U.S. for as low as 5,000 SkyMiles.

Hot Tip: For more examples of great ways to redeem your Delta SkyMiles, check out our post on the 13 Best Ways to Redeem Delta SkyMiles for Max Value.

Delta “Pay With Miles”

Delta’s “Pay With Miles” allows Delta cardholders to use their SkyMiles, starting with at least 5,000 miles, to discount the price of Delta tickets. This gives you more flexibility by reducing the cost of your Delta tickets or allowing you to use miles when you don’t have quite enough to cover the full ticket.

When you redeem your miles this way, they’ll be worth a fixed 1 cent per mile. So using 5,000 Delta SkyMiles will take $50 off the price of any Delta flight.

SkyMiles Experiences

Delta also gives you the option to redeem your SkyMiles towards an experience package. Experience packages can include items like sports tickets or other entertaining activities. However, redeem your SkyMiles this way will offer less than 1 cent per point in value, so you’re better off saving your miles for award flights.

Delta Gift Cards

You can also redeem your Delta SkyMiles for gift cards, but doing so only earns you a rate of 0.9 cents per mile. So, unless you’re planning on giving the gift card to a friend or family member, you’d be much better off using Delta’s “Pay With Points” feature or booking an award ticket.

Magazines

Through Mags for Miles, you can subscribe to many different magazines for as lows as 100 miles. This is definitely not the best way to redeem your miles, but if you only have a handful of miles remaining in your account, and have no other use for them, then you might as well get something out of them.

Bottom Line: Considering all of your redemption options, we highly recommend that you use your Delta SkyMiles for award flights with Delta or one of its SkyTeam alliance members. 

Alternative Cards to the Delta Gold Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Perhaps on of the most popular travel rewards card on the market, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card offers benefits like 2x points per $1 spend on dining and travel, 5x points per $1 on Lyft rides, no foreign transaction fees, and flexible redemption options (including transfer partners).

For just a $95 annual fee, you’ll be able to start earning Chase Ultimate Reward points, one of the most valuable loyalty currencies available. Chase Ultimate Reward points can be redeemed for incredible value through its select transfer partners.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

If you’re looking to take a step up from the Delta Gold card, then the Delta Platinum card might be a perfect fit. Both cards earn 2x miles per $1 at U.S. supermarkets and restaurants, but the Delta Platinum card earns 3x miles per $1 on Delta purchases and 3x miles per $1 on eligible hotel purchases.

The Delta Platinum card also offers a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit, an annual companion certificate, and allows you to spend your way to Delta elite status.


We’ve also compared each of the co-branded Delta credit cards in the post below:


Frequently asked questions

Why get a Delta Gold card? Is it worth it?

The Delta Gold card is a great option for those who like to travel with Delta, and plan to do so at least a few times each year.

In addition to the points you earn, you will get a free checked bag, priority boarding, and 20% off inflight purchases on each flight.

What are the Delta Gold card benefits?

This credit card earns 2x miles per dollar on Delta flights, 2x at restaurants worldwide and U.S. supermarkets, and 1x miles everywhere else.

You’ll also receive 1 free checked bag and priority boarding for up to 8 people on your reservation, plus 20% off inflight purchases. Other benefits include car rental insurance, purchase protection, extended warranty protection, and no foreign transaction fees.

When do Delta SkyMiles expire?

Delta SkyMiles never expire as long as your account remains open and in good standing.

What is the Delta Gold card's annual fee?

The Delta Gold card charges a $99 annual fee.

Does the Delta Gold card charge foreign transaction fees?

The Delta Gold card does not charge foreign transaction fees, so you can use it during overseas travel without worry.

How much are Delta SkyMiles worth?

The value of miles can vary greatly based on how you redeem them. We value Delta SkyMiles at 1 cent each, so we always try to redeem them on flights that offer at least 1 cent per point in value or greater.

How does the Delta Gold card free checked bag work?

When you have the Delta Gold card, you and up to 8 traveling companions will receive a free checked bag when traveling on Delta Air Lines. This could save you anywhere from $60 to $540 per round-trip flight depending on the number of people traveling with you.

In order to receive free checked bags, you do not need to pay with your credit card, but the card must be attached to your Delta SkyMiles number.

Does the Delta Gold card get you in to Delta Sky Clubs?

Unfortunately, the Delta Gold card will not allow you to access a Delta Sky Club. If you want to access a Delta Sky Club you will need one of the following credit cards:

  • Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card — $39 per visit
  • Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card — $39 per visit
  • Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card
  • Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card
  • The Platinum Card® from American Express
  • The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
  • Centurion® Card from American Express
  • Business Centurion® Card from American Express

Which is better, the Delta Gold card or the Delta Platinum card?

Technically speaking, the Delta Platinum card is the better card as it offers better points earning and more benefits than the Delta Gold card, like a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit and an annual companion certificate, and it allows you to spend your way to Delta elite status.

However, this does not necessarily mean that the card is the best option for you. If you have no need for the benefits that the Delta Platinum card offers, or do not fly Delta enough to get much value out of them, then you likely would be better off with the Delta Gold card.

What credit score is needed for the Delta Gold card?

There is no set credit score needed for the Delta Gold card. American Express will make a decision on your application based on your credit report, your stated income, your years of credit history, and the level of credit they may have already extended to you.

However, if your credit score is at least 680 then you should feel good about your approval odds.

Jarrod West

About Jarrod West

Born and raised just outside of Cincinnati, Jarrod became fascinated with using points and miles as the perfect way to visit dream destinations without breaking the bank. Thanks to points and miles, Jarrod was able to spend 3 months traveling Europe financed nearly entirely with points and miles; while flying in premium cabins and staying in 5-star hotels along the way. To date, Jarrod has traveled to 16 countries and 22 US states.

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.

6 comments

  1. graham rumbellow November 2, 2019

    I have an Amex Delta Gold Skymiles card.
    Can you confirm that this card, if I use it to pay for car rental in England next August(2020) for 27 days, will insure it at no charge to me as long as I decline the rental company CDW offer?

    Reply

    • Hi Graham,

      That is what the terms state on the Amex Gold card. But to clarify, we do not represent American Express, so for further information about this card benefit, you should contact them directly.

      Reply

  2. I had applied for Delta American Express card online and spoke with a representative after applying because I wanted to make sure I got the $200 credit for signing up. The rep. stayed on the phone with me for a while and stated the only way to get the $200 credit was to make a purchase of $1,000 or more. So, I made another flight reservation and she assured me it would show up on my statement. Only to find out I was scammed! I could not believe it. I called American Express several times and they were supposed to listen to the call but they never did. I was told they were sorry but they could not do anything. PLEASE HELP!!! DELTA I WANT TO CONTINUE TO FLY WITH YOU BUT UNFORTUNATELY IT WON’T BE WITH THE SKYMILES CARD :(.

    Reply

    • Sorry for your experience, Nina. It sounds like you must have missed the deadline for making your minimum spending requirement and if that is what happened, there is usually nothing that can be done. This is a good reminder for others to note the date one is approved for a card as welcome bonuses are commonly earned by meeting the minimum spending requirement within the first 3 months after card approval. Thank you for sharing your unfortunate experience.

      Reply

  3. Xinwei Wang January 12, 2020

    I applied for the gold card when I purchased my ticket because of the travel benefits. After I completed the purchase, I called Delta to confirm the number of bags. I was told by a very nice lady from Delta that as a gold credit card member, for me, the first bag was free plus two free for an international flight, total of free bags checked in free 50 lb. I had shopped a lot, purchased gifts for relatives and friends overseas, I promised them to bring what they wanted, I sent them pictures of what I bought for them. I have three bags filled up, ready to go. Just to make sure, Today, I called Delta to reconfirm what I heard and I wrote down. What shocked me was the agent on the Delta line told me I could have only two free checked bags and a very small carry on. I paid $200 for the additional bag. I don’t know what to do with the items I bought and feel awful to tell friends and relatives oversea that I cannot take what I bought with me. What a shame.

    Reply

    • Hi Xinwei,

      I’m sorry to hear that the phone agent communicated incorrect information to you. It seems there may have been a mix up in communication. Just so you know for certain going forward, the Gold Delta Skymiles card offers 1 free checked bag, in addition to the 1 free checked bag you receive for an international flight.

      Reply

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