Which Delta Credit Card is Right for You? | Thrifty Traveler

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Which Delta Credit Card is Right for You?

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Getting started with miles and points is all about picking the right card to fit your budget and travel goals, and picking among the suite of co-branded Delta credit cards from American Express is no exception.

Depending on which card you grab, you can earn up to 50,000 SkyMiles. But there's much more to consider than just a big mileage bonus. How much can you spend responsibly to unlock that huge bonus? Do you care about accelerating your path to Delta Medallion status? What about extra perks like Delta Sky Club access? Which Delta credit card is right for you?

We'll walk through the basics of all of the Delta credit cards to help you make a decision on the right Delta card for your wallet. 

Read more: The 15 Best Ways to Earn SkyMiles in 2022

 

The Basics of Delta Credit Cards

Before we dive in to compare these cards, let's go over the ins and outs of what you get from each of them.

 

Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card

  • Earn 10,000 SkyMiles after spending $500 in the first three months of card membership.
  • Earn 2x SkyMiles per dollar spent on Delta purchases. 
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Receive a 20% savings in the form of a statement credit after you use your Card on eligible Delta in-flight purchases of food, beverages, and audio headsets.
  • No Annual Fee (see rates & fees)

 

delta blue card

 

Click Here to learn more about the Delta SkyMiles Blue American Express Card. 

 

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

  • Earn 40,000 SkyMiles after you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first three months of card membership.
  • 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 both restaurants and U.S. supermarkets
  • Earn 2x SkyMiles per dollar on eligible Delta purchases and 1x mile for all other eligible purchases.
  • Earn a $100 Delta flight credit if you spend $10,000 on the card in a calendar year.
  • 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 for the first year (then $99 per year). See rates & fees.

 

Delta Credit Card Offers

 

Click Here to learn more about the Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card.

 

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

  • Earn 50,000 SkyMiles & 5,000 MQMs after you spend $2,000 in purchases in the first three months of card membership.
  • 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 domestic main cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon card renewal – one of this card's best benefits!
  • Earn 2x SkyMiles per dollar spent at both restaurants and U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 3x SkyMiles per dollar spent on eligible Delta purchases, and at hotels.
  • 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.
  • Get 20% off in-flight purchases such as food & drinks in the form of a statement credit
  • Get into the Delta Sky Club when you're flying Delta by paying $39 (and bring up to two guests for $39 each)
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $250 annual fee. See rates & fees.

 

Delta Credit Card Offers

 

Click Here to learn more about the Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card.

 

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card

  • Earn 50,000 SkyMiles & 10,000 MQMs after you spend $3,000 in purchases in the first three months of card membership.
  • 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)
  • Complimentary Delta Sky Club access when you are flying Delta. You'll also get two, one-time guest passes each year to the Delta Sky Club.
  • Complimentary access to the American Express Centurion Lounges when you are flying Delta on a ticket purchased with your Reserve card. You can also bring up to two guests in with you for a fee of $50 each.
  • Get a domestic main cabin or first-class round-trip companion certificate each year upon card renewal.
  • Earn 3x SkyMiles per dollar spent on Delta purchases.
  • 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.
  • Complimentary space-available upgrades, even for non-Medallion members. A great way to improve your upgrade chances.
  • Status Boost: Get a leg up on earning Delta Medallion Status by earning 15,000 Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQMs) after spending $30,000 in a year – or do it four times to earn up to 60,000 MQMs.
  • Enjoy 20% off in-flight purchases such as food & drinks in the form of a statement credit.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $550 annual fee. See rates & fees.

 

delta reserve card

 

Click Here to learn more about the Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card. 

 

Get Started With Gold

We recommend the Delta Gold card for Delta flyers just getting up to speed with points & miles. Yes, even above the no-annual-fee SkyMiles Blue Card.

That's because the card has a $0 introductory annual fee, and then $99 each year after that.

While the no-annual-fee Blue card may seem like the better deal at first blush, there can be serious value with the Gold card that easily outweighs its nominal annual fee. Unlike the Blue option, the Delta Gold card gets you some decent perks to save money like free baggage (for you and up to eight other passengers booked through your SkyMiles account on the same itinerary). Considering bags cost at least $30 each way, those savings can add up fast. You can also earn a $100 credit toward any Delta purchase if you spend $10,000 on the card in a calendar year. 

You can keep earning points with 2x miles for every $1 you spend on Delta purchases, at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets. And don't forget the initial bonus: You'll earn 40,000 SkyMiles after spending $1,000 within the first three months. 

However, if you want access to the Delta Sky Club or work towards earning status with Delta, this card won't help you out. That's because Gold cardholders can no longer buy single access Sky Club passes. It also no longer qualifies for a Medallion Qualifying Dollar (MQD) waiver, which makes it easier to earn Delta status by spending on your card.

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

 

Delta Credit Card Offers

 

Click Here to learn more about the Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card. 

 

Pile Up Points With Platinum

Think of this card as the Gold Delta SkyMiles card on steroids. 

You'll earn 2x SkyMiles per dollar spent at both restaurants and U.S. supermarkets, and 3x SkyMiles per dollar spent on eligible Delta purchases, and at hotels. Plus, the bonus is bigger: You'll earn 50,000 SkyMiles & 5,000 MQMs after spending $2,000 in the first three months.

But the biggest differentiator between the Gold and Platinum versions of the card is the Delta companion certificate, which you earn every year you renew the Platinum card (starting in your second full year with the card). This is good for buy-one, get-one domestic round-trip airfare in economy in the continental U.S. While you won't get this certificate in year one, that's a great perk for a relatively inexpensive card.

The card will even offer up to a $100 credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry once every four years – and since membership in either program is good for five years, you're set. That's another nice perk that can help offset the cost of the annual fee.

Today, it's the only Delta card that allows you to buy single access Delta Sky Club passes for $39. This benefit used to be available for Gold cardholders but it was removed back in January 2020.

While a $250 annual fee may seem a bit steep at first blush, it’s pretty easy to squeeze more than that in savings out of the companion certificate.

That makes Delta’s Platinum Card a solid choice for moderate Delta flyers, anyone looking to build on their SkyMiles account or achieve Delta Medallion status.

 

delta american express

 

Click Here to learn more about the Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card. 

 

Reserve: The Card for Big Spenders & Frequent Delta Travelers

This Delta credit card is all about gaining status on Delta. And it's not for everyone.

It has good benefits like complimentary access to Delta Sky Clubs and an annual companion certificate on any Delta flight, including first class. It also has all the usual card perks you get from other Delta products, like free baggage, priority boarding, and more.

You'll also get complimentary access to American Express Centurion Lounges when you are flying Delta on a ticket purchased with the card, plus up to two guests for a fee of $50 each. You will also get up to a $100 credit to cover the cost for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck once every four years. The Reserve card also comes with a companion ticket – but this one can also get you BOGO seats in first class, too.

But the real value of the Delta Reserve Card is in the chase for status … and you need to spend a lot of money to make that happen.

With status boost, you can get 15,000 MQMs by spending $30,000 throughout the year. That’s almost enough to automatically get Delta Silver Medallion Status without taking a single flight. You can repeat that by spending $60,000, $90,000 and $120,000, earning as much as 60,000 MQMs. Combined with the Medallion Qualifying Dollar (MQD) waiver on the card – allowing you to skip Delta MQD requirements for Silver, Gold, or Platinum status by spending $25,000 a year on a Delta Reserve or Platinum Card – that's enough to spend your way to Gold Medallion Status without taking a single flight. 

 

delta american express

 

If this is all making your head spin and you don’t understand or care about status with Delta, move along.

If you don't value status, or can't spend that much money to unlock it, this card isn't really worth the annual fee of $550. If lounge access is what you're after, you'd be much better off with a non-Delta card: The Platinum Card® from American Express. It will get you better lounge access (including Delta Sky Clubs), and all-around better benefits for a $695 annual fee (see rates & fees).

Read: Delta Reserve vs The Amex Platinum Card: Which is Right for You? 

However, if you fly enough on Delta to get value out of status, there’s no better way to get there fast than with the Delta Reserve Card.

 

delta reserve card

 

Click Here to learn more about the Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card. 

 

Bottom Line

Whether you’re just learning how points and miles work or a seasoned business traveler, American Express has a Delta credit card that can help you travel more, and more comfortably. It’s important to learn the ins and outs of each offer before applying, as each card is not for everyone.

 

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.

5 Responses

  • Every time I apply for any AMEX card, I always get a notification that I am not eligible for the welcome bonus, even though I’ve never had that card before. Anyone else?

    • Yes, it’s called pop-up jail, and it’s due to the previous Amex cards you’ve opened/closed. I’ve heard putting some spend on Amex cards can help get out of jail.

    • Hi Brett. Unfortunately, there is no such card. The Platinum will let you buy access into the lounge for $39 each time, and the Reserve (and Amex Platinum) will get you complimentary access. However, all of those cards have annual fees.

  • One omission from the Reserve Card section is that Amex will charge you $175/yr for every additional card for additional card holders. This fee made me decide to keep my Platinum card, rather than upgrade.

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