If you fly often – or even occasionally – with Delta Air Lines, the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card is worth a serious look.
American Express and Delta have four different co-branded credit cards, ranging from a basic, free card with no benefits to a top-tier card that gets you lounge access and helps you earn Delta Medallion status. But if you ask us, the Delta SkyMiles Gold card is the best choice for the vast majority of travelers.
It’s got some great perks that can quickly outweigh the card’s annual fee – most importantly, free checked baggage on each and every Delta flight. The card has a $0 introductory annual fee and then just $99 each year after that (see rates & fees). And it’s currently offering a welcome bonus of 40,000 SkyMiles after spending $1,000 in the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $50 back in statement credits for purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card in the first 3 months of card membership.
We’ll break down all the benefits on the Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card and everything you need to know about holding the credit card.
Click Here to learn more about the Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card.
- Full Benefits of the Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card
- Who Should Get the Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card?
- Delta SkyMiles Gold vs. Delta SkyMiles Platinum Card?
- Our Take on the Delta Gold SkyMiles American Express Card
Full Benefits of the Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card
Welcome Offer Bonus
You can currently earn 40,000 SkyMiles after spending $1,000 in the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $50 back in statement credits for purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card in the first 3 months of card membership.
Free Checked Luggage
When you hold the Delta SkyMiles Gold card, you’ll get a free checked bag on every Delta flight for you and up to eight other passengers, so long as they’re booked on your reservation.
Considering that checking a bag on a Delta flight costs $30 (or $60 for a round-trip flight), this benefit alone can save you a ton of money if you check a bag when you travel. One hitch: Your Delta Gold Card will not cover the fee if your bag weighs more than 50 pounds.
Best of all, you don’t even need to pay with your Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card to get the free luggage benefit. You’ll get a free bag just for holding the card and having it attached to your SkyMiles account when you book. That’s great, as it means you can pay for your airfare with another top travel rewards credit card that will earn you more points or get you travel insurance.
When you hold the Delta Gold Card, you get early boarding in the Main Cabin 1 priority boarding zone. So do up to eight other passengers booked on the same reservation.
This is the boarding zone that boards immediately after Delta Comfort+ and Sky Priority passengers.
If you are booked on a Delta basic economy ticket, holding the Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express card is a great way to beat basic economy. Even with a basic economy fare, you will board with the Main Cabin 1 travelers – giving you a much better chance at securing overhead bin space. Additionally, you’ll still get that free checked bag even flying basic economy.
Delta passengers ticketed in Basic Economy who don’t have a Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card in their wallet will be the last to board the plane.
$0 Introductory Annual Fee (Then $99 Each Year After That)
The card has a $0 introductory annual fee and then it is just $99 each year after that.
But even in year two and beyond, you can easily come out ahead on that annual fee if you check a bag on at least two round-trip flights a year. Since each bag costs $30 each way, that’s $120 total in savings – more than zeroing out the card’s $99 annual fee. See rates & fees.
Earn 2x SkyMiles at Restaurants, U.S. Supermarkets & on Delta Purchases
When you use your Delta SkyMiles Gold Card to pay at restaurants, U.S. supermarkets & on Delta purchases, you will earn 2x Delta SkyMiles for every dollar you spend on these categories. And there’s no limit to how many bonus SkyMiles you can earn.
Other cards may earn more, like the (non-Delta) American Express® Gold Card and the 4x it earns at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets. But if you’ve got the Delta Gold card in your wallet, 2x is a decent return.
You’ll also earn 1x Delta SkyMiles for every dollar you spend on all other categories.
Related reading: The Best Ways to Earn Delta SkyMiles in 2021
Earn a $100 Delta Flight Credit
Every year that you hold the Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card and spend $10,000, you’ll receive a $100 Delta flight credit good for future travel on any Delta flight. And since the annual fee on the Delta Gold Card is only $99, you can easily offset the cost of the card by spending $10,000 each year.
Get 20% Back for Delta In-Flight Purchases
When you use your Delta Gold card to pay for in-flight purchases like food & drinks, you’ll receive 20% off in the form of a statement credit. This will not work for in-flight wifi, however.
In addition to the other benefits mentioned above, the Delta Gold SkyMiles American Express Card also includes the following benefits:
- No foreign transaction fees (see rates & fees)
- Complimentary ShopRunner Membership
- Extended warranty and purchase protection for purchases made with your Delta Gold Card
Who Should Get the Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card?
The Delta Gold Card is perfect for occasional (or even frequent) Delta flyers who check a bag, may buy Delta basic economy fares, and don’t care about premium perks like airline status or lounge access.
Just looking to up your SkyMiles balance to book some nearly free travel or hop on the next great Delta SkyMiles flash sale? Look no further.
Chasing Delta Medallion Status? The Delta Gold Card won’t do you much good. Both the Platinum and Reserve versions of the cards offer waivers for Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs) for spending $25,000 on the card in a calendar year. They also offer Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQMs) boosts for spending on your card, another critical building block of Delta status. The boosts will be achieved after spending $25,000 with the Platinum Card, and $30,000 on the Reserve card in a calendar year.
The Gold doesn’t offer either. After eliminating the ability to purchase a day pass, it no longer offers an option to get you into the Delta Sky Club, either.
But if you don’t care about Delta Sky Club access or chasing Delta Medallion Status, the Delta Gold SkyMiles card is a great option.
Delta SkyMiles Gold vs. Delta SkyMiles Platinum Card?
First and foremost, the Platinum version of the card offers a voucher for a free companion ticket on a flight within the continental U.S. starting in your second year of card membership. That perk alone can easily justify the higher annual fee for some travelers.
Additionally, the Platinum card will provide up to a $100 credit once every four years to cover the membership cost for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. Membership in either program is good for five years.
You’ll also be able to buy your way into the Delta Sky Club with the Platinum Card – something that’s no longer available for Gold cardholders. Single access passes will cost $39 per visit.
Finally, by spending $25,000 on the Platinum card in a calendar year, you’ll get a Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs) waiver – one of the key ingredients for building status with Delta. You’ll still need to meet the Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) waiver, but it can certainly help you gain some level of Delta status.
Our Take on the Delta Gold SkyMiles American Express Card
Huge Delta fan or not, the Delta Gold Card is one of the best travel rewards credit cards that waives the annual fee for the first year of card membership. In our mind, it’s one of the best co-branded airline credit cards, period.
It allows you to earn a big SkyMiles welcome bonus without paying anything out of pocket in your first year. It essentially lets you try it before you buy it.
And critically, even if you decided to cancel your Delta Gold card before your second year of card membership, the bonus SkyMiles you earned would be yours to keep. They would not be clawed back once you closed the card.
But one thing to consider with the Delta SkyMiles Gold card is that it isn’t necessarily the best option for your everyday spending. There are cards that are more rewarding for your everyday spending, like the non-Delta American Express® Gold Card.
Earning points that are not tied to one specific airline is typically a better idea in the long run. It helps keep your points diversified and they will simply lose value at a slower rate.
But if you want a card that will cover the cost of checked bags and allows you to earn a ton of Delta SkyMiles that won’t cost you anything out of pocket in year one, you simply won’t find a better option than the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card.
Click Here to learn more about the Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card.
The Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card is a great option for those getting started – or continuing to fly – with Delta Air Lines. It’s a great way to earn a ton of Delta SkyMiles without having to pay an annual fee in year one.
You won’t earn a ton of additional perks with the card. But free checked luggage is a valuable benefit that could save you hundreds of dollars. And other perks like the ability to earn a $100 Delta credit each year that you spend $10,000 on the card just sweeten the deal.