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Which Delta SkyMiles Credit Card is Right For You?

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Delta and American Express offer a wide portfolio of co-branded credit cards, each with a different look, benefits, bonus, and annual fee. With so many cards to choose from, it's not a question of whether or not Delta has a credit card that's right for you – it's which one.

No matter the card you choose, your first step should be ensuring you're eligible for a big welcome bonus offer when adding one of these cards to your wallet. And if you are eligible … now is a great time to apply: Last month, Amex rolled out limited-time welcome offers on nearly all the Delta cards

But there's a lot more to consider beyond a big mileage bonus. How much can you spend responsibly to unlock those bonus miles? Are you gunning for Delta Medallion status? What about extra perks like lounge access? Which cards are worth their annual fee?

Let us walk you through the basics of all of the Delta credit cards to help you make a decision on the right card for you.

Read more: Did Delta Actually Make Earning Elite Status … Easier in 2024?

 

 

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

  • bonus_miles_full
  • Earn 2x SkyMiles per dollar spent on Delta purchases
  • Earn 2x SkyMiles per dollar spent at restaurants worldwide (including takeout and delivery in the U.S.)
  • Earn 1x SkyMiles per dollar spent on all other eligible 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*

 

Learn more about the *delta blue*.

 

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

  • bonus_miles_full
  • Check your first bag free on every Delta flight – savings of at least $70 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 gold*

 

Learn more about the *delta skymiles gold card*.

 

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

  • bonus_miles_full
  • Check your first bag free on every Delta flight, savings of at least $70 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*

 

Learn more about the *delta skymiles platinum card*.

 

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card

  • bonus_miles_full
  • Check your first bag free on every Delta flight – savings of at least $70 on each round-trip flight, per person
  • Priority boarding (even with a basic economy ticket)
  • Get unlimited complimentary Delta Sky Club access when flying Delta, through Jan. 31, 2025. Beginning Feb. 1, 2025, you'll be limited to 15 Sky Club visits per year, unless you spend $75,000 or more on your card in a calendar year.
    • You also get four free guest passes and can bring up to two guests in at a time. After that, each guest visit will cost an additional $50.
  • Complimentary access to the American Express Centurion Lounges when you are flying Delta on a ticket purchased with your Reserve card
  • Get a economy, Delta Comfort Plus, and first class 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 (beginning Feb. 1, 2024)
  • Earn 1 MQD for every $10 you spend on your card
  • Earn 3x SkyMiles per dollar spent on Delta purchases
  • Earn 1x SkyMiles per dollar spent on all other eligible purchases
  • Up to a $200 Delta Stays credit: Earn up to $200 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 $240 Resy Credit: Get up to $240 in statement credits each year (doled out in $20 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
  • Complimentary space-available upgrades, even for non-Medallion members. A great way to improve your upgrade chances.
  • Get 15% off SkyMiles award tickets with TakeOff 15 when booking on delta.com or through the Fly Delta app
  • Hertz President's Circle Status: Receive complimentary top-tier Hertz President's Circle elite status upon enrollment.
  • Enjoy 20% off in-flight purchases such as food & drinks in the form of a statement credit
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $650 annual fee (See rates & fees)

 

*delta reserve card*

 

Learn more about the *delta reserve card*.

 

Get Started With Gold

The *delta skymiles gold card* is a great choice for casual Delta flyers looking to earn SkyMiles and take advantage of perks like free checked baggage and priority boarding.

You might be wondering why not start with the Delta Blue Card. Well, thanks to the Delta Gold Card's $0 introductory annual fee in the first year (and then $150 each year after that), you can test drive a card with more perks for the same cost. If after a year, you're not getting your money's worth out of the Delta Gold Card, you can downgrade it to the $0 annual fee version instead.

Unlike the Blue card, the Delta SkyMiles 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 … and you don't even need to pay for your flight with your Delta Gold card to get free bags.

You'll also get priority boarding, a discount on in-flight purchases, a 15% savings on award bookings, and up to $100 in statement credits each year for hotel bookings made with Delta Stays. You can also earn a $200 credit toward any Delta purchase if you spend $10,000 on the card in a calendar year.

The only downside to skipping the Delta Blue and going straight for Gold is that you wouldn't be eligible for the Blue Card's welcome offer later on. Amex recently added restrictions to the welcome offers on all the Delta cards, meaning you can only earn a bonus when opening a more expensive version of Delta's cards – not when moving down the ranks. But given the Blue Card's paltry bonus, that's a minor sacrifice.

When swiping the Delta SkyMiles Gold Card, you'll earn 2x SkyMiles for every $1 you spend on Delta purchases, U.S. supermarket purchases, and at restaurants worldwide (including takeout and delivery in the U.S.). You'll also earn 1x SkyMiles per dollar spent on all other eligible purchases.

However, if you want access to the Delta Sky Clubs or work towards earning status with Delta, this card won't help you there. That's because Gold cardholders can no longer buy single-access Sky Club passes. This card also won't help you earn extra Medallion Qualifying Dollars (MQDs) – the sole metric for earning Delta status nowadays.

Read our full review of the Delta SkyMiles Gold Card!

 

*delta gold*

 

Learn more about the *delta skymiles gold card*.

 

Pile Up Points & A Companion Pass with Platinum

You can think of the *delta skymiles platinum card* as the Gold card on steroids. This card is a great option for frequent Delta flyers and a great starting point for anyone chasing Delta Medallion Status.

In our opinion, this card's single-best benefit is the Delta companion certificate, which you earn every year upon renewing your card (starting in your second full year with the card) is what really sets the Platinum Card apart from the Gold, though. It's good for buy-one, get-one round-trip airfare in economy 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. While you won't get this certificate in year one, it's a great recurring perk that can easily offset the card's $350 annual fee.

Read our guide on the best ways to put these companion certificates to use! 

 

a person holding a Delta SkyMiles platinum American express card

 

Trying to earn Delta Medallion Status – or climb even higher? The Platinum Card isn't the best card for earning status with Delta, but it can give you a serious boost.

With the card's new MQD Headstart benefit, you'll get an automatic 2,500 Medallion Qualifying Dollars (MQDs) just for having the card, each and every year. With Delta's changes to elite status in 2024, the almighty Medallion Qualifying Dollar is the only thing that matters going forward. Getting 2,500 MQDs just for holding the card will put you halfway to Silver Medallion status right from the start.

You'll also earn 1 MQD for every $20 you spend on your card, giving you an extra boost toward status as you keep spending on your Delta Platinum Card.

 

Delta Medallion status MQD requirements 2024

 

But MQDs aren't the only thing you're earning with this card. You'll also be piling up SkyMiles thanks to the card's 2x earning per dollar spent at both restaurants worldwide (including takeout and delivery in the U.S.) and U.S. supermarkets. Plus, you earn 3x SkyMiles per dollar spent on eligible Delta purchases, and at hotels.

The card also comes with a bunch of statement credits to help offset the annual fee including up to a $120 rideshare credit (doled out in $10 monthly installments), up to a $120 annual Resy credit (doled out in $10 monthly installments), up to a $150 annual Delta Stays credit, and up to a $100 statement credit for Global Entry or up to $85 for TSA PreCheck once every four years – and since membership in either program is good for five years, you're set.

One thing that's missing from this card? Lounge access. Part of Delta's unpopular program shakeup last fall included Delta taking away the option for Platinum cardholders to buy their way into Sky Clubs. While that change no doubt stings, there are still many other cards on the market that come with airport lounge access, no matter the airline you're flying.

All told, the Delta SkyMiles Platinum Card is a great choice for those who frequently fly Delta – especially if you can make use of the companion certificate.

Read more: Keep or Cancel? Weighing Changes to the Delta Platinum Card

 

*delta skymiles platinum*

 

Learn more about the *delta skymiles platinum card*

 

Reserve: The Card for Big Spenders & Status Seekers

The *delta reserve card* is all about big perks and getting an even bigger leg up on earning Delta Medallion status. This card comes with all the same benefits you'll get by having the Delta SkyMiles Platinum Card … and then some.

With the Reserve, you'll get unlimited complimentary access to any Delta Sky Club (when flying Delta) just for having the card – at least for now. Beginning Feb. 1, 2025, you'll be limited to just 15 days of Sky Club visits each year unless you spend a whopping $75,000 per year on your card. This change will be a big blow for frequent Delta flyers and no doubt makes the Reserve Card less valuable but even with the new restrictions you can still visit a Sky Club on both ends of seven roundtrips a year. Plus: You get four complimentary guest passes each year to bring your travel buddy in with you – additional guest visits cost $50 each time.  

 

msp sky club bar seating

 

But it's not just Sky Clubs that you can get into with the Reserve Card: You'll also get unlimited complimentary access to American Express Centurion Lounges and Escape Lounges so long as you're flying Delta on a ticket purchased with the card. Since visits to the Centurion and Escape Lounges won't be capped like they are at the Sky Clubs, we anticipate these lounges to get much busier come 2025, especially now that most Escape Lounges in the U.S. joined Priority Pass

 

lga centurion lounge entrance

 

With the Reserve card, you'll also get a companion ticket – and it's slightly better than the one you'll get with the Platinum card. That's because this companion ticket can also be used for BOGO first class seats as well as Delta Comfort Plus, not just economy.

You'll also get a bunch of statement credits to help offset the annual fee including up to a $120 rideshare credit (doled out in $10 monthly installments), up to a $240 annual Resy credit (doled out in $20 monthly installments), up to a $200 annual Delta Stays credit, and up to a $100 statement credit for Global Entry or up to $85 for TSA PreCheck once every four years – and since membership in either program is good for five years, you're set.

Read our roundup of all the Delta SkyMiles card statement credits

And of course, it comes with all the usual card perks you get from the other Delta cards, like free baggage, priority boarding, and more.

 

Delta SkyMiles Reserve Credit Card

 

Like the Platinum card, the Reserve also comes with a 2,500 MQD boost each year, starting Feb. 1. If you happen to have both cards in your wallet, this benefit will stack for a total of 5,000 MQDs. That's good enough for Silver Medallion status right out of the gate and puts you halfway to Gold.

You can bridge that gap by flying with the airline, booking a Delta Vacations package … or by simply swiping your card. That's because all the spending you do on your Reserve card will earn 1 MQD for every $10 you spend. Combined with the 2,5000 MQD headstart, charging $75,000 to your Reserve card in a calendar year would get you enough MQDs for Gold status without even stepping foot on a Delta plane. That may not make much sense, but this just goes to show how earning status actually got easier for some people with all the changes Delta made.

Here's a look at what you'd need to spend on a Delta Reserve Card in order to climb the different levels of Delta Medallion Status (after factoring in that $2,500 MQD Headstart). Keep in mind: These are the spending requirements without flying or making any other purchases through Delta.

 

Medallion Tier2024 MQDsDelta Reserve Spend
Silver5,000$25,000
Gold10,000$75,000
Platinum15,000$125,000
Diamond28,000$255,000

 

If all this talk about MQDs is making your head spin and you don’t understand or care about status with Delta, move along – this card isn't for you.

If you're simply looking for lounge access, you'd probably be much better off with a non-Delta card, like *amex platinum card* instead. Amex's flagship Membership Rewards earning card will get you better lounge access (including at Delta Sky Clubs until early 2025), and all-around better benefits for a $695 annual fee (see rates & fees). And even though you're not earning SkyMiles with the Amex Platinum, you can transfer them directly to Delta – or one of Amex's more than 20 other transfer partners.

However, if you fly enough on Delta to get value out of status and use the Sky Clubs, having a Delta Reserve Card will certainly help get you there.

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

 

*delta reserve card*

 

Learn more about the *delta reserve card*

 

Bottom Line

Delta offers a handful of SkyMiles credit cards, ranging from the no-annual-fee Blue Card to the top-of-the-line Delta Reserve. Determining which card is right for you will depend on the type of traveler you are and what you're looking for most in a new card.

Just want free bags when you fly Delta? Go with Gold. Could you use a Companion Pass each year? The Platinum Card probably makes sense. And if you're chasing Delta status and want Sky Club access, the Reserve could easily be worth the annual fee.

 

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.

22 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.

  • I’m curious to hear how many of your readers have success with the companion pass. We travel pretty frequently (5-6 round trips a year as a family) but companion passes never seem to be available. As a result, the companion pass benefit isn’t much of a benefit.

    • I just used my companion certificate and saved like $360 or so. Keep in mind that you a) still have to pay the taxes on the free ticket and b) it’s only good for the lower main cabin fare classes (L, T, U, V, and X). If you were trying to buy a ticket in a higher fare class (some routes only have like K or M or Q availability) or in basic economy, it won’t work.

    • I used the companion pass benefit for the first time this year. I was able to use it on the flight I wanted. Not sure I’ll be keeping that card though, with these changes.

    • Yes, the companion pass is kind of a rip off. I have used it, but the time and days you can use it are often inconvenient. For example, you may prefer a round trip leaving at 11 am, but the only ticket you can buy is between 5-7 am. Or, the return trip leaves at 7-8 pm at night and you want to get back by 12 noon. So, it often becomes a real pain to try and use it.

    • Never, it’s an absolute joke… You can only use them if it’s on a Tuesday, raining, and a wolf is standing in your back yard with an owl on it’s back…

  • I recently purchased a Delta ticket for $600, but the flight is for February 2024. Does Delta give you MQD’s credit for the year you buy a ticket or for the year you fly? If the MQD credits are for year when purchased, then it might have been smarter if I had waited until January to buy the February ticket since I don’t need any more MQD’s for 2023.

  • One correction and seeking clarification:
    The Platinum card guest fee is $50, not $39 and ends January 31,2024.

    Re the Platinum Card from AMEX for $695. That limits Sky in visits to six. How is that better?

    • I don’t see anywhere that we have either The Platinum Card from American Express or the Delta SkyMiles Platinum Card listed as allowing guests for $39 (it used to be that price, though). The current guest fee with both cards is $50 and Sky Club access as well as guest access is going away entirely for Delta SkyMiles Platinum cardholders beginning Jan. 1, 2024.

      The Platinum Card from American Express is a better card (in general) for lounge access because you can get into Priority Pass lounges, Amex Centurion Lounges, and Escape Lounges no matter which airline you’re flying with.

  • I have the Delta Platinum, and ironically canceled the Delta Gold 2 weeks ago. The value of the card for my travel patterns hasn’t changed, as airline elite status never mattered in the first place (don’t travel for work, don’t travel enough on leisure to make a dent). As long as it still offers the companion cert, free checked bags, 15% off awards, 3x on flights, and MC1 boarding, it’s absolutely worth it.

    • Starting January 1, Delta will calculate Million Miler status by lifetime flight miles. All existing MQMs will convert 1:1 to this new metric.

  • I have had an AMEX Delta Skymiles Reserve card for over 10 years and an AMEX Delta Skymiles Platinum card for five years. Due to the upcoming changes to the Skymiles program, I called American Express on 09/18/23 and closed/cancelled our AMEX Delta Skymiles Reserve and AMEX Delta Skymiles Platinum account.

    The AMEX Representatives seemed to be busy because I was on hold for almost 15 minutes and that is unusual for AMEX. Maybe AMEX Delta Skymiles credit card customers closing/cancelling their accounts. I had to talk with two AMEX Representatives to finally close the accounts and they were very professional.
    However, before they closed the accounts, the representative asked me; “Sir, is there anything
    American Express can do to retain you as a Delta Reserve or Delta Platinum card customer?”
    My reply: “Ask Delta Airlines! Due to the restructuring of the Skymiles Frequent Flyer Program
    beginning on Jan 1, 2024, it does not make sense to retain this card and I’m sure that thousands of
    other card holders will be closing their accounts as well!”

    I apologize for rambling but we really like flying Delta Airlines. We also liked the AMEX Delta Reserve card and the AMEX Delta Platinum card but the new Skymiles program would require me to spend $60,000 (non airline purchases) using the AMEX Delta Reserve card just to earn 6,000 to obtain Silver Status. I believe American Express will lose many current Skymiles Credit Card Customers and have difficulty attracting new ones. IMHO, Delta Airlines will regret making these changes!

    Oh, and the companion passes never seem to be available!

  • Comments here on the usefulness of the companion pass are very mixed. Is that true for the Reserve card’s companion pass program for business or first class tickets? Do you really save big time when using it, say, for an expensive long-haul international flight? And are such companion tix truly available?

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