You just got a new management consulting job on contract, and you’ll be required to travel frequently. Your home is near Atlanta, the largest hub for Delta Air Lines, so you will fly them frequently.
With the new gig, you see a great opportunity to make some additional miles on your flight purchases and everyday spending while getting reimbursed from your company.
The Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express is a great first choice to help you reach your goals and earn some award flights!
Card Summary Table
- Card Bonus & Info (Partner Content)
- Card Provider
- Card Type(s):
- Card Focus:
- Annual Fee
- $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
- Rewards Center
- Foreign Transaction FeesNone
- Typical UsersFrequent Travelers
- Customer Service Number
- Login Link
- PartnersWhile the card provides no extra partners on its own, you will have access to the range of Delta partners. These include all SkyTeam alliance members as well GOL, Alaska, Virgin (Atlantic and Australia), Hawaiian, WestJet, and Great Lakes.
- Interest Rates
- 17.24% - 26.24% Variable
- Late fees ?
- 29.99% Variable
- Balance Transfers
- 17.24% - 26.24% Variable
- Cash Advance APR
- 26.74% Variable
The Ideal Cardholder
The Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express Bonus and Earnings Categories
You can earn the above sign up bonus when you sign up for the card and spend the required amount in the allotted time.
Like most airline cards, the points you earn for flights with Delta Air Lines are 2x per dollar, and then you’ll earn 1 point per dollar for all other purchases.
The card costs $95 per year, but the annual fee is waived in the first year.
Credit Card Benefits
As a card holder, you will be granted some limited elite status perks: one free checked bag and a discounted Sky Club membership.
The Sky Club lounge membership discount is actually good for up to two more friends or family as well. You can each get a one-day pass for $29, but you must have a same-day ticket with any airline.
You also qualify for a 20% savings on in-flight purchases with Delta, including meals, beverages, and entertainment. It does not work for in-flight WiFi, which is provided by a third party.
While you don’t earn any Medallion Qualifying Dollar (MQD) or Miles (MQM) with the card, it does come with a MQD waiver.
If you spend over $25,000 in a year on the card, you can earn status on Delta as long as you have earned enough MQM to warrant the elite status. This is useful if you fly on partners frequently to earn MQM.
When earning miles on the card, they will deposit directly into your SkyMiles account to be used for awards flights once you have earned enough.
Unfortunately, Delta isn’t the best for researching redemptions. They don’t have an award chart on their site anymore, but they do state that the minimum redemption can be made for 10,000 miles.
Other Fringe Card Benefits
In addition to the elite status benefits above, you will receive car rental and travel accident insurance with the SkyMiles credit card. Purchase protection and extended warranty are also included.
You will get a roadside assistance and global assistance hotline to call when you need it in an emergency.
Finally, you’ll have access to the American Express Entertainment Access portal, where you can purchase tickets and other unique experience items.
Good Combinations With the Delta Miles Credit Card
Delta is a partner with American Express Membership Rewards, so any of the Membership Rewards cards will earn points that are eligible to transfer to Delta at a 1:1 ratio.
It may be good to get a card like the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express or The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express.
The Platinum Card® from American Express would also make a good combination. The card is great for its benefits, which include complimentary access to Delta Sky Clubs.
You also now earn 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel and 5X Membership Rewards® points on eligible hotels booked on amextravel.com.
Drawbacks of Using the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express
In general, the Gold Delta SkyMiles doesn’t offer very many benefits in return for its $95 annual fee. You will not earn any qualifying points or miles, nor find elite status easier to earn (with exception of the MQD waiver).
The card is pretty basic, and is only really useful for those who fly Delta frequently.
As far as airline credit cards go, you’ll probably get more value out of the Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select MasterCard if you’re looking for one in this price category.
Final Thoughts and Card Summary
The card offers some good entry level benefits for Delta flyers, but there are some higher level Delta cards that may be much more beneficial.
Nonetheless, for a frequent Delta flyer, earning a bonus 2x miles for every dollar spent will be nice. With the 1x everywhere else, you’ll also see your SkyMiles balance slowly increasing.
Great Card If
- You’re a frequent Delta flyer
- You want access to Sky Club for up to 3 people (yourself included)
- You need a card with some additional insurances
Don't Get If
- You don’t fly Delta enough to make up the $95 annual fee
- You want more benefits out of your airline rewards card
U.P. Pro Tips
Always try to purchase Delta flights with your Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express. See whether your work has a policy on purchasing work travel with personal cards, and if not then cash in!
Also, consider the trade-off of spending money on a meal at the airport before your flight vs. the value of lounge access, which includes free food and drinks for only $29.
You may find the Sky Club lounge turns out to be cheaper!
How To Use the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express: The Upgraded Way
Best Way To Maximize Points
Like all airline credit cards, the easiest way to earn miles will be to use the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express to purchase your flights.
However, if you want extra ways to earn miles, these tips should help you with a few more ideas:
Tip #1: Purchases with the airline don’t have to just be flights. You will earn 2x miles on any purchase charged through Delta, including baggage fees, upgrades, in-flight service, and gift cards.
Tip #2: Although only earning 1x mile, if you use your Delta credit card for places where you would only earn 1x with any other card, you can bank some more miles.
Typical categories that don’t earn bonuses include drugstores, medical-related expenses, random online purchases, and gyms.
Tip #3: Earning elite status with Delta will help you earn extra points. There are four tiers total, and they provide bonuses of 2x, 3x, 4x, and 6x per dollar respectively.
Tip #4: If you also hold any other American Express Membership Rewards cards, or have any existing MR points, you can transfer them to your Delta SkyMiles account at a 1:1 ratio.
This means that with the right combination of AMEX cards plus the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express, you could really maximize the categories and points you can earn.
Just be sure to calculate the value of the points versus the annual fees before diving in! Some good choices would be:
- The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express
- The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express
- Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express
- Gold Card from American Express
Tip #5: Transfer points to Delta from SPG. You will get 1 mile per Starpoint, and if you transfer in 20,000 mile increments you will get a 5,000 mile bonus (adding 25%).
Additionally, SPG and Delta have the Crossover Rewards partnership, allowing you to earn both Starpoints and miles at the same time for using each others’ services.
Best Way To Redeem Points
Redeeming Delta SkyMiles can be difficult if you’re new to the process. They no longer offer an award chart, which makes comparing value that much more difficult.
You also have options outside of flights for redeeming your miles, though they are less valuable. Your most valuable option is to redeem with Delta or one of their partners, which include SkyTeam and more.
Here are some options for redeeming your miles for the highest value:
Option #1: Delta claims their awards start at 10,000 miles one-way. If you can find deals like these, you will be getting pretty good value since their past awards started at 12,500.
Option #2: In general, look for “Lowest Fare” or “Best Match” in order to find the cheapest awards. You may find fares even as low as 7,500 miles.
Option #3: Try to redeem miles in the off-season of travel to your destination; you will tend to find the cheapest fares during this time.
Option #4: South America and Europe had the cheapest first and business class award prices in the past outside of North America, Mexico, and Central America.
Option #5: Look for awards travel on partner airlines; some of them may end up being cheaper than flights on Delta, and you may find better availability.
Option #6: Once you reach Gold Medallion status, you will have the award booking fee waived. You will also get complimentary upgrades, even on award travel!
Option #7: Like most airline awards, your highest value per point will be for business or first class international.
Delta not only partners with SkyTeam, but also a number of other airlines and businesses. However, having the Gold Delta SkyMiles card doesn’t offer any additional partners.
Below are the different partners you will have through Delta SkyMiles.
Airline and Hotel Partners
SkyTeam Alliance Airlines: KLM, Korean Air, Middle East Airlines, Aeroflot, Aerolíneas Argentinas, Aeromexico, China Eastern, China Southern, Czech Airlines, China Airlines, Garuda Indonesia, Kenya Airways, TAROM, Vietnam Airlines, XiamenAir, Air Europa, Air France, Alitalia, Saudia
Car Rental Partners: Hertz, Alamo, Enterprise, National, Europcar
So far in this Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express review, we have discussed all the different types of uses and benefits you can get.
But what is the actual value of having the card each year? You can find out by doing some simple calculations.
A Quick Recap on the Card Stats
For the Delta card, the following applies:
|Annual Fee||Miles for Flights with Delta||Miles for Everything Else|
|$0 year one, then $95/yr||2x||1x|
For fringe benefits that hold a tangible value, you can consider the free checked bag (value of $25 each trip) and discounted Sky Club access ($29 per person).
In point value, you would have to earn 9,500 points each year to make up for the annual fee if you assume redemptions at $0.01 per point. The goal, then, is to earn much more than that!
Using the Model Families To Calculate a Card Value
Our model families (the Kennedys, Jetsons, and Hartnells) will be used to easily calculate the value of the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express over the year.
If your yearly spend is somewhat similar to theirs, this will tell you how many miles you could earn.
Each family will put all their spending on the card outside of the “Other” category. This includes travel, food, and gas, which are the most common card categories.
The following table shows a summary of their spend and the points they will earn while using the card:
|Family||Airlines||Everything Else||Total Miles Earned|
*Total miles earned after one year of spending
Putting a Value to the Earned Miles
As you can see, the families will earn anywhere from 25,000 to 52,900 miles after a year of spending with their Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express. This more than meets the necessary 9,500 to make up for the annual fee!
Recall that these miles are earned directly with Delta SkyMiles and will accumulate into your SkyMiles account.
At $0.01 per mile, our families’ miles are worth $250 to $529. However, when redeeming miles on airlines, you can usually get values higher than this (and should always aim to do so).
If you consider our minimum desired $0.02 per mile value, the miles are worth $500 to $1,058, which is pretty good!
Adding the Value of the Fringe Benefits
With a free checked bag each trip, you can earn additional savings (assuming you don’t already have elite status). Existing members already earn free bags, so this benefit becomes worthless.
However, for an infrequent traveler, you can earn $25 in checked baggage value each one-way trip. On a round-trip, then, having the card is worth $50 per person.
If you assume that the model families take four trips each year, you can add $200 per person in value on top of what they already earned in miles. This saves an extra $400 per year!
Similarly, cardmembers can also use the Delta Sky Club for the reduced price of $29 per person. The regular one-day pass costs $59, and a membership costs $450 per year.
Since the daily cost is a savings of $30 over regular passes, we’ll use this figure as the true “value” of the card when considering passes. If the families utilize the passes once for 2 people each trip, the savings become $60 per trip, or $240 for the year.
Alternatives to the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express
Before you decide this is the best card for you, you should consider some alternatives to see if you are really maximizing your value with Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express.
One easy comparison if you want to continue to fly Delta is the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express. This card earns Membership Rewards points, which can be transferred to Delta SkyMiles.
The Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express actually earns 3x points on flights with any airline, which immediately makes it more valuable than the Delta card from a points earning perspective.
Additionally, the card earns 2x points for U.S. gas, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. restaurants. If you add these additional points in, the families can earn 45,000, 71,800, and 85,500 points respectively.
See the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express “Card Math” for details.
When compared to the value of the Delta credit card, the families earn the following difference in miles:
|Family||Total Miles (Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express)||Total Miles (Premier Rewards Gold from American Express)||Total Difference in Miles|
*Difference in miles earned between two American Express rewards cards
At the most basic calculation of $0.01 per mile, the points earned on the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express are over $200 more valuable.
While the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express has a $195 annual fee, it also comes with a $100 airline fee credit you can use to offset it, which lets you consider their annual fees to be equal at $95.
The biggest difference between the two cards is in their fringe benefits. While there are some other benefits to the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express, you will not get free checked bags or discounted club access.
For those who don’t check bags or care about lounge access, the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express is the clear winner. If checked bags and lounge access is used, then the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express may hold more value.
Card Math Conclusion
The card is valuable at the spending levels of our model families, but could be higher depending on how you utilize the card and its benefits.
This value is based off the number of miles you can earn valued at a $0.02 redemption, and adds in the value of the free checked bags and lounge access.
Always be sure to calculate the value of the card with your own numbers, because you may find that another card ends up being more valuable.
However, this Delta credit card will clearly pay for itself over the year if used to its fullest!
The Gritty Details: Everything Else You Need To Know
Check with American Express before signing up for this card, as they sometimes deny your sign-up bonus if you already have other AMEX cards.
The 2x miles offer for Delta purchases is good for more than just flights; it also applies to services with Delta such as upgrades, in-flight purchases, and Sky Club access.
This card likely has a targeted offer, so if you want to try to get more miles then you should look around!
Other Unique Features
Other benefits you will have by being a Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express member are listed here.
No blackout dates – There are no blackout dates for award travel on Delta airlines, but there may be blackout dates on partner travel rewards.
AMEX Entertainment Access/Membership Experiences – In select cities, American Express purchases tickets to events that are available exclusively to cardmembers. To qualify, you must purchase your ticket or experience with an AMEX card.
First checked bag free – This is good for a standard-sized bag on domestic flights (international flights offer free checked bags). It is only available to the primary cardholder and cannot be given to an additional cardmember.
However, when the primary cardmember is traveling with a group and has purchased everything with the card, the group may check up to 9 free bags!
In-flight savings – Gold Delta SkyMiles members get a 20% discount on in-flight services provided by Delta, which includes meals, food, beverages, and entertainment. This does not include WiFi, which is provided by a third party.
Medallion Qualifying Dollar (MQD) waiver – If you spend more than $25,000 on the card in a year, you’ll be able to earn Delta status by earning enough Medallion Qualifying Miles (even if you do not make enough MQD to earn Medallion status).
Priority boarding – You will get Zone 1 priority boarding on Delta flights as a cardmember. Simply provide your SkyMiles number with your reservation to earn the benefit. This is also good for up to 9 passengers.
Reduced-price Sky Club access – The cardmember can visit a Sky Club for $29 per visit as long as they have a same-day ticket on any airline. This can be used for up to 2 additional guests.
Return protection – For any purchases that cannot be returned to the vendor, you will be protected for up to 90 days from the date of purchase for up to $300 per item (maximum of $1,000 each year).
Roadside assistance hotline – A 24-hour hotline will dispatch tow trucks or locksmiths to your aid when you need them. The hotline is free, but you’ll pay any third parties that actually provide the service.
This is not available for rental vehicles, motorcycles, cabs, tractors, and commercial trucks.
ShopRunner – This benefit gives you free shipping from a number of online stores.
Car rental insurance – You are covered up to $50,000 on any rental cars as long as you deny the waiver from the rental agency.
Extended warranty – Get an extended warranty of up to one extra year on top of the manufacturer’s warranty.
Purchase protection – You can get up to $1,000 back per item for anything that is stolen or damaged.
Travel accident insurance – In the case of an emergency on a common carrier, you can get covered for losses and damages.
Photo Credits/Credit/Copyright Attribution:
Woman Presenting in Business Meeting: Kzenon/Shutterstock
Man Working in Lounge: Ditty_about_summer/Shutterstock
Different Path Dominoes: Gajus/Shutterstock
The card is solid for those who will travel a few times a year on Delta Air Lines and who don't have frequent flyer status with them.
You earn 2x points for all purchases with Delta and 1x points for all other purchases. Additionally you will get a free checked bag, priority boarding, 20% off in-flight purchases, and discounted lounge passes.
All miles earned go into your SkyMiles account and can be used for rewards travel, which is where the value of the card is earned.
With an annual fee of $95, you will find the card worth it as long as you earn more than 9,500 miles in a year and utilize the other benefits offered.
This credit card earns 2x miles per dollar on Delta flights and 1x miles everywhere else. The miles accrue in your SkyMiles account to be used for rewards travel.
For flights, you will get 1 free checked bag and priority boarding for up to 9 people on your reservation. You will also receive 20% off in-flight purchases, and a discounted lounge pass for up to 3 people.
A variety of insurances are offered on the card, including travel accident, car rental, purchase, return, and warranty insurance. Additionally, you will get access to a roadside assistance hotline and global assist hotline.
This card has no foreign transaction fees, and there are even more benefits when you read your membership agreement.
No, all miles earned accumulate in your Delta SkyMiles account.
The card itself offers no additional partners, but Delta is a member of the SkyTeam Alliance and also has additional airline and hotel partners.
SkyTeam partners include Aeromexico, Czech Airlines, China Airlines, Air France / KLM (Flying Blue), and more.
Delta SkyMiles never expire as long as your account remains open and in good standing.
Miles can take anywhere from 6-8 weeks to post to your account, although it may occur much sooner.
The Delta credit card costs $95 per year.
No, you will have a normal APR based on your credit.
Miles may be worth different values based on your redemption, but you should shoot for getting a minimum value of $0.02 per mile.
You must log in to your Delta SkyMiles account and search for a flight using the "redeem miles" option. This will bring up a list of flights priced by their award cost, and you can select and book a flight from here.
Alternatively, you can call Delta customer service to book awards.
Unfortunately, you cannot get a companion ticket any longer since this offer was discontinued in 2013.
On average you need at least a 680, but a lower score (623+) may still qualify you for the card.