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Blue Delta SkyMiles vs. Gold Delta SkyMiles: Which Offers More Miles?

Blue Delta SkyMiles vs. Gold Delta SkyMiles: Which Offers More Miles?

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This article was last updated Nov 06, 2019. Terms and conditions may have changed. For the most accurate information, please consult the issuer website.

The Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express is the only $0 annual fee option that earns Delta miles with every purchase. But it comes with fewer benefits than the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express, including key perks like priority boarding and free checked luggage.

But which card is better for your wallet? Here’s the short answer:

  • You can earn more miles from the Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express over the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express. With the Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express, you Earn 2 miles per dollar at US restaurants. Earn 2 Miles per dollar spent on purchases made directly with Delta. Earn 1 mile on every eligible dollar spent on other purchases. With the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express, you Earn 2 Miles per dollar spent on purchases made directly with Delta. Earn 1 mile on every eligible dollar spent on purchases.
  • If you fly Delta enough to benefit from priority boarding and free checked bags, the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express is your best choice. Checking luggage on two round-trip flights alone will save you $120. And priority boarding gets you access to that precious overhead bin space first.
  • The Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express offers higher miles per $1 spent for dining.
  • Both cards come with car rental insurance and purchase protection, but neither offers much in the way of trip delay/cancellation or baggage coverage.

Below we offer more details on each card, breaking down the pros and cons.

Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express vs. the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

Benefits Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express
Rewards Earn 2 miles per dollar at US restaurants. Earn 2 Miles per dollar spent on purchases made directly with Delta. Earn 1 mile on every eligible dollar spent on other purchases. 2 miles for every dollar spent on eligible purchases made directly with Delta and 1 mile for every eligible dollar spent on purchases.
Free checked luggage No First checked bag free
Priority boarding No Priority boarding
Foreign transaction fees 2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars. None
Annual fee $0 $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.

Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

Pros

Higher miles in key spending categories. Cardmembers not only earn more miles per $1 spent on Delta purchases, but also for U.S. restaurants. By spending $500 a month on dining, you would earn 12,000 points a year, or $120 in Delta travel rewards at a value of 1 cent per mile.

No annual fee. Although other no-fee reward cards are becoming more common, Delta was the first airline to offer one that earns actual miles. Even if you don’t fly Delta regularly, there is a lot of upside to holding a card that earns miles with no costs to justify.

Solid non-travel perks. Receive a 20% statement credit when using the card for in-flight purchases of food, beverages and audio headsets. The card also comes with purchase protection and exclusive access to ticket presales and card member-only events, including Broadway shows, concert tours and family and sporting events.

Cons

No airline benefits. Unlike other Delta-branded cards, the Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express doesn’t offer you a free checked bag, nor does it come with priority boarding. You can’t buy a discounted Delta Sky Club® day pass with this card and it doesn’t help you earn Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQMs) that go toward elite status.

Meager travel benefits. The card only comes with rental car insurance and access to the Global Assist Hotline.

Foreign transaction fees. The Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express is the only Delta card that charges foreign transaction fees, at 2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars. While that doesn’t sound like much, it can add up. If you spent $1,000 on the card during a vacation abroad, it would cost you $27.

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

Pros

Free checked bag and priority boarding. These are two great perks for frequent Delta flyers. When you submit your Delta SkyMiles® number during booking, the free checked bag benefit applies to you and up to nine people traveling with you on the same reservation. If you were traveling with three other people each checking one bag, you would save $240 in one round-trip, or $30 for each person, each way.

With priority boarding, you and your party of up to nine on the same reservation can board with Main Cabin 1 priority boarding after Medallion elite and Delta Comfort+® flyers, but before everyone else in the main cabin and basic economy.

Discount lounge passes. Although you can’t get free Delta Sky Club access, you can still get in at a discount price. After presenting your card and a same-day boarding pass, you can buy a one-time pass for yourself and up to two guests, for $29 each. The regular price for a one-time pass is $59, so using the card to get into a Delta Sky Club will save you $30.

Another payment option. With this card, you can use the Pay with Miles feature, which allows you to use a mix of cash and miles to pay for airfare. For example: if your flight costs $250, you could apply 20,000 Delta SkyMiles to pay $200 of the airfare and pay the remaining $50 in cash.

Cons

Low miles per dollar spent. Compared with the Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express, one downside of the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express is you only earn higher miles on Delta-related spending. You won’t earn more miles in popular spending categories, such as non-Delta travel and restaurants.

No help with elite status. This is the only Delta credit card with an annual fee that doesn’t allow help you earn MQMs that go toward elite status. Both the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express and the Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express offer bonus award miles and MQMs — based on distance flown and your fare class — for meeting spending goals. If you fly enough to earn Medallion elite status and want the boost toward status with spending, the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express may not offer the best overall value.

No companion certificate. The card is also the only one in the Delta card family with an annual fee that doesn’t offer a companion certificate. The Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express offers a domestic main cabin companion certificate every year you have the card, while the Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express offers a domestic first class, Delta Comfort+ or Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate every year. If you take a flight on Delta at least once a year with a friend or family member, the companion certificate can offer better value than the benefits of the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express.

Is there another no-annual fee alternative?

If you don’t fly Delta regularly, the The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express is a good $0 annual fee alternative to the Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express. This card offers 2x points at US supermarkets, on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1x), 1x points on other purchases. Plus, you can also earn a 20% Membership Rewards® bonus after using the card a minimum of 20 times a month.

The Membership Rewards points you earn on the card transfer directly to Delta SkyMiles at a 1:1 ratio, and can be used toward reward travel immediately. Also use your points to pay for air travel at amex.com, gift cards, merchandise, entertainment or a statement credit. The card comes with car rental insurance, Global Assist Hotline access and purchase protection.

However, you only earn higher points for supermarkets — and only up $6,000 a year. Since this isn’t an airline card, it doesn’t come with priority boarding, airport lounge access or a free checked bag.

The information related to The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express has been collected by CompareCards and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

What other Delta SkyMiles credit cards are available?

If Delta is your primary airline and you plan to fly it regularly, you could benefit even more from a higher tier Delta SkyMiles card. American Express offers two: the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express and the Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express.

With a $195 Annual Fee ($250 if application is received on or after 1/30/2020), the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express offers upgraded benefits for frequent flyers. One of the biggest is help with receiving and maintaining elite status. The welcome offer allows new cardmembers to earn 75,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) when you spend $3,000 in the first three months, plus earn a $100 statement credit when your purchase with the card in the first 3 months. Offer expires 10/30/19..

Cardmembers can also earn 10,000 bonus miles and 10,000 MQMs after spending $25,000 or more on the card in a calendar year. Earn another 10,000 bonus miles and 10,000 MQMs after spending $50,000 on the card in a calendar year.

Other perks include: a free checked bag and Main Cabin 1 priority boarding for you and up to nine others traveling on the same reservation; a discounted rate of $29 per person to use the Delta Sky Club lounge; a 20% in-flight discount when you use the card to buy food, beverages, and audio headsets; car rental loss and damage insurance; Global Assist hotline; purchase protection and entertainment access.

For the card’s $450 Annual Fee ($550 if application is received on or after 1/30/2020), the Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express helps you keep elite elite status two ways: The welcome offer allows cardmembers to Earn 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles and 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. You also earn 15,000 MQMs and another 15,000 bonus miles after spending $30,000 on the card in a calendar year. Earn another 15,000 MQMs and another 15,000 bonus miles after spending $60,000 on the card in a calendar year.

There’s also a free checked bag and priority boarding for the cardholder and up to nine companions on the same reservation, access to the priority airport screening checkpoint line where available and a 20% discount on pre-purchased meals and in-flight purchases of food, alcoholic beverages and audio headsets when using the card. Every time the card is renewed, you receive a free domestic first class, Delta Comfort+ or Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate.

Other perks include car rental loss and damage insurance, access to both the Global Assist Hotline and a separate Concierge staff available as a personal resource, purchase protection and entertainment access.

However, you only earn higher points on Delta-related spending. That leaves out popular spending categories, such as non-Delta travel and restaurants.

The information related to the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express and Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express has been collected by CompareCards and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

The bottom line

On the surface, it would seem that the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express is the better deal because of myriad benefits that make travel easier. But the Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express, with its $0 annual fee, has its own charm, including higher miles for spending on restaurants.

Neither card offers help with elite status, comes with an annual companion certificate or has many travel benefits.

In a perfect world, you could carry both cards. Use the Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express to get extra miles for restaurant spending, then use the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express for its free bag, priority boarding and discount SkyClub access.

If having airline perks aren’t important but higher miles for restaurant spending is, consider the Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express. Go with the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express if you don’t mind paying an annual fee and earning lower miles on non-Delta spending in exchange for more airline perks.

If you already have the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express and want a card that lets you earn miles at U.S. restaurants, the Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express is a good companion card. For the $0 annual fee and the bonus category, this card can work very well as a partner to your Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express by giving you more miles for spending and a free checked bag with priority boarding.

Before you apply, be sure to look at your overall application strategy. When you apply, American Express will do a hard credit pull, which temporarily lowers your credit score and could put you up against other bank rules, such as limiting the number of times you can qualify for a welcome bonus on the same card.

Read Which Delta Air Lines Credit Card is Best for You?


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