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delta gold vs platinum

The Delta Gold vs Platinum Cards: Which is Right for You?

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When it comes to the suite of different Delta credit cards, two of them stand above the rest as the best options for most travelers: The Delta Gold vs Platinum SkyMiles cards.

But even between these two popular Delta cards, there are some key differences and factors for each traveler to consider, from a big SkyMiles bonus to annual companion certificates to the yearly fees. The card_name might be a slam dunk for you while the card_name just doesn't make sense for your travels – or vice versa.

Thrifty Tip: Already had the SkyMiles Gold Card? You're still eligible to earn the bonus on the Platinum SkyMiles card … but not if you upgrade your card!

With bigger bonuses out on Delta cards and an excellent new benefit that gets cardholders 15% off when using SkyMiles, it's time to put these cards head to head. We'll help you decide which one is best for you.

But before we break down the differences between these cards, let's take a look at what each one brings to the table.

 

 

Current Offers on the Delta Gold vs Platinum Cards

 

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

  • bonus_miles_full
  • Check your first bag free on every Delta flight – savings of at least $60 on each round-trip flight, per person
  • Priority boarding (even with a basic economy ticket)
  • Earn 2x SkyMiles per dollar spent at restaurants worldwide (including takeout and delivery in the U.S.) and U.S. supermarkets 
  • Earn 2x SkyMiles per dollar on eligible Delta purchases
  • Earn 1x SkyMiles per dollar spent on all other eligible purchases
  • Up to a $100 Delta Stays credit: Earn up to $100 in statement credits each year when you make a Delta Stays prepaid hotel or vacation rental booking on the Delta Stays platform.
  • Earn a $200 Delta flight credit if you spend $10,000 on the card in a calendar year
  • Get 15% off SkyMiles award tickets with TakeOff 15 when booking on delta.com or through the Fly Delta app
  • Get 20% off in-flight purchases such as food & drinks in the form of a statement credit
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 introductory annual fee – then $150 each year after that (See rates & fees)

 

Delta Credit Card Offers

 

Learn more about the card_name

 

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

  • bonus_miles_full
  • Check your first bag free on every Delta flight, savings of at least $60 on each round-trip flight, per person
  • Priority boarding (even with a basic economy ticket)
  • Get a main cabin round-trip companion certificate to destinations throughout the U.S. (including Hawaii, Alaska, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico) as well as many destinations in Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America, Each year upon card renewal
  • MQD Headstart: Get a head start on earning Medallion status with an automatic 2,500 Medallion Qualifying Dollars (MQDs) each year
  • Earn 1 MQD for every $20 you spend on your card
  • TakeOff 15: Get a 15% discount on SkyMiles award tickets when booking on delta.com or through the Fly Delta app
  • Earn 2x SkyMiles per dollar spent at restaurants worldwide (including takeout and delivery in the U.S.) and U.S. supermarkets
  • Earn 3x SkyMiles per dollar spent on eligible Delta purchases and at hotels
  • Earn 1x SkyMiles per dollar spent on all other eligible purchases
  • Up to a $150 Delta Stays credit: Earn up to $150 in statement credits each year when you make a Delta Stays prepaid hotel or vacation rental booking on the Delta Stays platform
  • Up to a $120 Rideshare Credit: Get up to $120 in statement credits (doled out in $10 monthly installments) a year when you use your card to pay for a ride with Uber, Lyft, Curb, Revel, or Alto
  • Up to a $120 Resy Credit: Get up to $120 in statement credits each year (doled out in $10 chunks each month) when you use your card to pay for eligible purchases on Resy, Amex's restaurant reservation platform. This is also a use-it-or-lose-it benefit: Any unused balance won't roll over to the following month.
  • Get up to a $100 credit to cover the cost for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck once every 4.5 years for the application fee for TSA PreCheck® and every 4 years for Global Entry
  • Join the complimentary upgrade queue: Even if you don't have Delta Medallion status, your Platinum Card makes you eligible for complimentary upgrades to Delta One (within the U.S.), first class, and Delta Comfort Plus on tickets purchased
  • Hertz Five Star Status: Get complimentary Hertz Five Star elite status upon enrollment.
  • Get 20% off in-flight purchases such as food & drinks in the form of a statement credit
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $350 annual fee  (See rates & fees)

 

delta skymiles platinum american express card

 

Learn more about the card_name

 

Annual Fee

One of the biggest differences between the Gold and Platinum versions of the Delta SkyMiles credit cards from American Express comes down to the upfront cost. That alone can be a make-or-break for many travelers weighing the Delta Gold vs Platinum SkyMiles cards.

The Platinum version has an annual fee of $350 each year, which is not waived for your first year of card membership.

The Gold card, meanwhile, has an introductory annual fee of $0 in year one – that's right, you won't pay anything for your first year with the card. After that, you'll pay just $150 a year to keep your Gold Card open.

Just what you get in exchange for that annual fee differs, and we'll take a look at that shortly. However, the Delta SkyMiles Gold card waives the $150 annual fee in the first year (see rates & fees).

Regardless of any other benefits, that makes it the clear winner in this category.

Read more: The Best for Delta Fans: A Full Review of the Delta SkyMiles Gold Card.

 

Delta gold vs platinum

 

Winner: The Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

 

Welcome Bonuses on Delta Gold vs Platinum Cards

While the card carries a much heftier annual fee, in a vacuum, the welcome offer bonus on the Delta SkyMiles Platinum Card is stronger.

 

delta skymiles platinum american express card

 

Winner: The Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

 

Although the annual fee is more and you'll have to pay it in year one, you will simply earn more SkyMiles with the current offer on the Delta SkyMiles Platinum Card.

 

Companion Certificate

Perhaps the biggest and most important difference between the Gold and Platinum versions of the Delta SkyMiles cards is the annual Delta companion certificate issued to Platinum Delta SkyMiles cardholders.

You'll get the pass after you’ve held the card for a year, so you can't use it immediately after opening your account. After your first card renewal, you’ll get this companion certificate good for one main cabin, roundtrip fare in the continental U.S. – sorry, buy one get one (BOGO) flights to Hawaii or Alaska are out. Simply pay for your ticket and you can bring your companion at no additional cost.

But there is an important restriction to keep in mind when using this great perk. The companion certificate only works for fare classes L, U, T, X, and V in the main cabin. That means basic economy fares are off-limits, as are some of the cheapest-priced economy fares. Many Delta flyers have had some difficulty putting these companion tickets to use, though Delta recently made it easier by adding a calendar view to find more dates that work.

 

delta gold vs platinum companion ticket
Look for the fare class to make sure your ticket qualifies for a free companion.

 

Make sure to read our full guide to using the Delta companion certificate – including some great tips to find the fares that work!

Still, utilizing this pass can be a great way to save money on airfare. And it should be fairly easy to get much more out of this perk than the card's $250 annual fee. And since the Gold version of the card does not offer a companion certificate, it makes the Platinum card the clear winner here.

 

delta skymiles platinum american express card

 

Winner: The Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

 

15% Off When You Use SkyMiles

Having either of these Delta credit cards in your wallet automatically unlocks a brand new benefit: A 15% discount (or more) anytime you're redeeming Delta SkyMiles for an award ticket.

Delta calls it TakeOff 15. This marquee new benefit for Delta Amex credit cards officially rolled out in early February 2023 after several weeks of leaks and rumors. It's available on both the SkyMiles Gold and SkyMiles Platinum Card as well as the top-tier Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card.

  • The TakeOff 15 discount is automatically applied while searching and at checkout when you book an award ticket with SkyMiles so long as you are logged into a Delta account with a SkyMiles credit card
  • This 15% discount only applies to Delta and Delta Connection-operated flights – not flights operated by partner carriers like Air France, KLM, and other SkyTeam alliance airlines
  • There is no limit to how many times you can use this discount
  • You only get a 15% discount on the mileage rate – not any taxes and fees
  • While it doesn't work if you change an existing booking, travelers can easily cancel an existing SkyMiles award ticket and rebook to take advantage of the TakeOff 15 discount
  • Per the terms and conditions, you must use your eligible Delta credit card to pay those taxes and fees
  • The benefit does not apply to Pay with Miles or Miles + Cash bookings.
  • The benefit also does not apply to seat upgrades made with SkyMiles after the purchase of your original flight

 

delta takeoff 15

 

Read more: It’s Live! Delta’s New Credit Card Benefit for 15% Off Award Flights

It's a great new benefit that goes further than what you'll find on any other major airline … with a catch. While it's not black and white, we've seen signs that Delta has increased award rates to book tickets with SkyMiles after introducing this TakeOff 15 discount.

Regardless, having either one of these Delta cards will get you the lowest award rates when using SkyMiles thanks to this new discount. And there's no difference between the Gold and Platinum card: They both get an identical 15% discount.

Winner: Tie.

 

Earning More SkyMiles

Once you've earned the big welcome offer bonus, these two cards still earn SkyMiles differently.

The Gold Delta SkyMiles card earns 2x SkyMiles per dollar at restaurants, including delivery and takeout, U.S. supermarkets, and on purchases with Delta.

Just like the Gold Card, the Platinum Delta SkyMiles card will earn 2x SkyMiles on both restaurants and U.S. supermarkets like the Gold card. But it also earns 3x SkyMiles per dollar spent on Delta purchases and at hotels – giving it a slight edge in this category.

Both cards will also provide you with 20% off in-flight purchases such as food & drinks in the form of a statement credit.

Other travel credit cards out there can be much more lucrative for racking up points on your everyday spending. That's why we tell travelers not to swipe your favorite airline's co-branded credit card day in and day out: You can do much better with another, more flexible card like the (non-Delta) American Express® Gold Card.

But if a Delta card is all you've got, there's a clear winner in this category.

 

delta skymiles platinum american express card

 

Winner: The Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

 

Free Bags When You Fly Delta

Both cards still get you – and up to eight others booked on your reservation – a free checked bag on every Delta-operated flight.

And we mean every Delta flight. Whether it's a regional hop operated by Delta Connection, a Delta flight to a bigger city, or a trip to Europe with Delta, you get your first checked bag free. Only bags with partner carriers like Air France or KLM will incur a cost.

Considering checking a bag costs at least $30 each way, those savings can add up fast. Best of all, you don't need to pay for your flight with your Delta card to get that benefit.

Read more: You May Not Have to Pay With Your Airline Card to Get Free Baggage

Neither card gets you an edge here. But given the far lower upfront cost in annual fees, the Delta Gold Card is your best bet if free bags are what you're after.

 

Delta gold vs platinum

 

Winner: The Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card from American Express

 

Delta Sky Club Access

A few years back, Delta and American Express made some big changes to all of the co-branded Delta cards. It included a new look and a lot of new benefits. But one change could matter to anyone looking to hop into the Delta Sky Club before a flight.

After a recent increase, Platinum cardholders can get into Delta Sky Clubs by paying $50 per person (so long as you're flying Delta that day). Those day passes are no longer available to Gold cardholders, period.

 

delta sky club austin

 

Read our full guide to getting into the Delta Sky Club!

Other credit cards like the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card or The Platinum Card® from American Express can get you into Sky Clubs (and many other lounges) for free, though those cards come with much heftier annual fees.

But if you're looking for a way to get into the Sky Club every now and again, Delta's Platinum Card is your only option between these two cards.

 

delta skymiles platinum american express card

 

Winner: The Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

 

Other Benefits

On the Delta Platinum SkyMiles card, one great benefit added a few years back is a credit of up to $100 to cover the cost of either Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. This credit is available every four years – but since membership in both programs is good for five years, you're set.

Yet one benefit I love even more is on the Delta SkyMiles Gold card. If you spend $10,000 in a calendar year, you'll get a $100 Delta flight credit to use towards future travel. This is available in year one (when you won't have an annual fee), and every year thereafter. This opens an avenue to offset the cost of your $99 annual fee.

 

Delta gold vs platinum

 

Winner: The Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card from American Express

 

Delta Gold vs Platinum: Which Wins?

By the numbers, The Platinum version won four categories here to the Gold card's three wins, with one tie. But every cardholder can – and should – weigh these individual categories differently.

At the end of the day, your decision should be based on which categories you value the highest.

 

delta gold vs platinum card

 

For example, if you think you can easily take advantage of the companion certificate offered by the Platinum version each year after the first year, that should be your choice. While the $350 annual fee may scare many off, the companion certificate you get starting in year two can easily wipe it out. Benefits like these are why we always encourage travelers to do the math before ruling out cards with a higher annual fee. 

But if your main objective is earning miles and to avoid paying Delta baggage fees, you should skip the Platinum and go straight for the Delta Gold SkyMiles card, which offers both at a much lower price point.

Read more: The 7 Best Delta Credit Cards for Travelers in 2023

 

Bottom Line

For the majority of Delta flyers, the Platinum or Gold SkyMiles cards are your best bet. Which one is the right pick is ultimately up to you and your travel goals. But at the end of the day, you can't go wrong with either one.

And remember: American Express allows you to eventually get both of them and earn the bonus on each.

 

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

7 Responses

  • This was wonderfully helpful. We have the gold card and the $100 bonus in travel credit each year makes up for the companion pass earned on the platinum card. It is the frugal way to go with the most important benefits of free bags, priority boarding and money off in flight purchases….all for no cost if you comp out the $99 annual fee with the $100 bonus. The platinum card really doesn’t beat that. But, if you like the Delta lounge experience (which I do, platinum lets you experience it, although there is a $39.00 charge per person (Yikes).

  • Great comparison…for me the platinum wins out because those charges count towards the MQD waiver, whereas gold by themselves do not.

  • Thanks for this article. I have two questions:

    Is there a difference in whether you get free upgrades based on whether you have a platinum or gold card?

    And is there a difference for Sky Priority?

    • Neither cards are going to help you with free upgrades. That is determined by having elite status with Delta. The same goes for having Sky Priority.

    • Platinum, hands down. The Gold does not offer an MQM boost – you can currently earn 10K bonus MQMs after spending $25k, for a total of 20K MQMs each year. And the Gold Card also does not offer an MQD waiver when you spend $25K a year on your card, as the Platinum card does.

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