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

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American Express offers four different Delta SkyMiles credit cards. And they may be on your mind right now, as two of them are out with bigger welcome bonuses of up to 60,000 SkyMiles. Luckily, they’re the two best cards for most Delta flyers: The Gold and Platinum SkyMiles cards.

But even between these two cards, there are some key differences and factors for each traveler to consider. The Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card might be a slamdunk for you while the Delta SkyMiles Gold Platinum American Express Card just doesn’t make sense – or vice versa.

With those new welcome offer bonuses set to expire after Oct. 28, 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.

Read our guide on How SkyMiles Work and How to Make Them Work for You.

 

Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card

  • Earn 50,000 SkyMiles after spending $2,000 in the first three months of card membership. Limited-time offer expires Oct. 28, 2020.
  • Check your first bag free on every Delta flight – savings of up to $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
  • Earn 1x SkyMiles for all other spending.
  • Earn a $100 Delta flight credit if you spend $10,000 on the card in a calendar year.
  • Enjoy 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).

 

Delta Credit Card Offers
 

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

 

Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card

  • Earn 60,000 SkyMiles and 5,000 MQMs after spending $3,000 in the first three months of card membership. Limited-time offer expires Oct. 28, 2020.
  • Get even closer to Delta Medallion Status with Status Boost, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year.
  • Check your first bag free on every Delta flight – savings of up to $60 on each round-trip flight per person (even with a basic economy ticket).
  • 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. 
  • Earn 1x SkyMiles on all other purchases
  • Receive up to a $100 credit to cover the cost for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck once every four years.
  • 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 up to two guests for $39 each)
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $250 annual fee (not waived for the first year of card membership).

 

Delta Credit Card Offers
 

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

 

Annual Fee

One of the biggest differences between the Gold and Platinum versions of the Delta SkyMiles credit cards from American Express is the annual fee.

The Platinum version has an annual fee of $250 each year and it is not waived for your first year of card membership. Already have this card? Read our guide on whether you should renew or ditch your Delta SkyMiles Platinum card.

The Gold version, meanwhile, has an annual fee of just $99. And that is waived for your first year of card membership.

Just what you get in exchange for that annual fee differs – we’ll take a look at that shortly. However, the Gold card provides a free first year and allows you to earn 50,000 SkyMiles free of charge. Regardless of any other benefits, that makes it the clear winner in this category.
 

Delta Credit Card Offers
 

Winner: The Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express. Click Here to learn more about this card.

 

Welcome Offer Bonus on the Delta Gold vs Platinum Cards

Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card: Earn 50,000 miles after spending $2,000 in the first three months of card membership.

Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card: Earn 60,000 SkyMiles & 5,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after spending $3,000 in the first three months of card membership.

If you are trying to build any level of status on Delta, the fact you can earn MQMs with the Platinum card from both the welcome offer and ongoing credit card spending makes it a better option. MQMs are an essential building block toward Delta status.

But be warned: Status with Delta is hardly worth it until you are at least a Platinum Medallion. Blind loyalty can be expensive and ultimately cost you money.
 

Delta Credit Card Offers
 

Winner: The Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card. Although the annual fee is more, it offers more SkyMiles and MQMs towards building Delta status. Click Here to learn more about this card.

 

Companion Pass

Perhaps the biggest and most important difference between the Gold and Platinum versions of the Delta SkyMiles cards is the annual 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 your first card renewal, you’ll get this companion certificate good for one main cabin, round-trip fare in the continental U.S. – sorry, BOGO flights to Hawaii or Alaska are out. Simply pay for your ticket and you can bring your companion at no additional cost.
 

Delta Companion Cert 

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.
 

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

Still, utilizing this pass can be a great way to save money on airfare. 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 in this category.

Thrifty Tip: Make sure to read our full guide to using the Delta companion certificate.
 

Delta Credit Card Offers
 

Winner: The Delta Platinum Card from American Express. Click Here to learn more about this card.

 

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 spent 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.
 

Delta Credit Card Offers
 

Winner: The Delta Platinum Card from American Express. Click Here to learn more about this card.

 

Other Benefits

In January, Delta and American Express made some big changes to all of the co-branded Delta cards. This included a new look and a lot of new benefits.

One great perk is that Platinum cardholders can get into Delta Sky Clubs by paying $39 per person (so long as you’re flying Delta that day). Those day passes are no longer available to Gold cardholders.

But on the Delta Platinum SkyMiles card, the biggest new benefit is a $100 application credit every four years to cover the cost of either Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. Membership in both programs is good for five years.

If you already have Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, that new benefit (and the annual fee increase from $195 to $250) doesn’t do you much good. I love that the Gold card gives you the ability to wipe out your annual fee completely by spending $10,000 in a calendar year – assuming you can use the $100 credit for a Delta flight.
 

Delta Credit Card Offers
 

Winner: The Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express. Click Here to learn more about this card.

 

Our Analysis

By the numbers, The Platinum version wins three categories to the Gold card’s two wins. 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 highest.
 

delta credit card comparison 

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 $250 annual fee may scare many off, that companion certificate can easily wipe it out. 

But if your main objective is earning miles and getting free baggage at a low cost, you should skip the Platinum and go straight for the Delta Gold SkyMiles card.

These limited-time increased welcome bonus offers are valid through Oct. 28, 2020, so don’t wait to take advantage if you’re thinking about it.

Read: The 7 Best Delta Credit Cards for Travelers in 2020

 

Bottom Line

These new highest ever limited time offers on the Delta SkyMiles cards end on Oct. 28, 2020 so don’t wait if you want to take advantage. And 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.

 

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.

3 Responses

  • Hey Jon, you can apply for the Platinum card outright as a new account and be eligible for the bonus. However, upgrading your existing account wouldn’t make you eligible. Assuming you were approved for the Platinum, you could then downgrade your Gold card.

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