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Gold vs Platinum Delta SkyMiles Amex: Which is worth the fee?

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The information related to the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.  Some of the offers on this page may not be available.

American Express issues multiple credit cards that earn Delta miles, and depending on your travel needs, one might be a better choice for you over the other. We’re going to take a look at two of the mid-tier Delta SkyMiles® earning cards – the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express and the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express – and how to decide which one is a better choice for you.

We’re going to go into more detail below, but the short answer is:

  • Get the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express if you need a boost on your Medallion Qualifying Miles or have a high-value trip within the US that you would like to take a companion on. With this card you can earn up to an additional 5,000 MQMs after required spend, and you also receive a companion certificate good for one economy trip within the US. It has a $195 annual fee that’s not waived the first year.

  • Get the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express if the only benefits you see use for are free checked bags and priority boarding. You probably need to fly Delta and check bags at least twice per year for this card to be break-even. It has a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.

Here’s a rundown of the major features of each card:

  • Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express:

    • 50,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer Expires 8/15/2019. .
    • In addition, earn a $100 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months.
    • Earn 2 miles per dollar spent on eligible purchases made directly with Delta. Earn 1 mile for every eligible dollar spent on purchases.
    • Check your first bag free on Delta flights – that’s a savings of up to $200 per round trip for a family of four.
    • Settle into your seat sooner with Priority Boarding.
    • Terms Apply.
    • See Rates & Fees
    • This card has a $195 annual fee.
  • Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express:

    • Earn a welcome offer of 30,000 Bonus Miles after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in purchases within your first 3 months.
    • Earn 2 miles for every dollar spent on eligible purchases made directly with Delta and 1 mile for every eligible dollar spent on purchases.
    • Check your first bag free on every Delta flight – that’s a savings of up to $200 per round trip for a family of four.
    • Settle into your seat sooner with Priority Boarding.
    • Enjoy a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
    • Terms Apply.
    • See Rates & Fees

Depending on your spending patterns and travel needs, one of these cards might be better for you than the other. Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of each card.

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express full review

Benefits of Both Cards

These cards have a few overlapping benefits. Let’s take a look at the benefits you will receive regardless of which of these two cards you get.

Pros

  • Reduced Fee Access to Delta Sky Clubs: With both of these cards, you and up to two traveling companions can access the Delta Sky Club for the reduced fee of $29 per person. This will give you access to snacks and beverages, Wi-Fi, satellite TV, newspapers and magazines, personalized flight assistance, private restrooms, and more. The regular price of a day pass is $59:

  • No Foreign Transaction Fees: Considering that American Express cards are not widely accepted around the world, this is not the most noteworthy benefit, but may come in handy in some countries around the world.

  • Priority Boarding: You won’t have to worry about finding available overhead bin space on your next Delta flight because you will receive Priority Boarding with both the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express and the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express.

  • First Bag Checked For Free: If you frequently check bags, you’ll want to have one of these cards. On every flight, your first checked bag is free – which means a savings of up to $50 on each round trip Delta flight. Remember that not all free checked bag benefits are created equal.

Cons

  • Rewards Rate: These cards don’t earn the highest rewards rate, but they may be quite valuable for other reasons.

  • American Express Network: Noted above, American Express cards are not as widely accepted around the world. While not having foreign transaction fees is definitely a pro, the fact that you won’t be able to use this card many places outside the US is a con.

Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

Pros

  • Earn miles that count toward status: Every year, you have the ability to earn up to 20,000 Medallion Qualifying Miles that count toward status. You will earn 10,000 MQMs and 10,000 bonus redeemable miles after spending $25,000 within a calendar year, and a further 10,000 MQMs and 10,000 bonus redeemable miles after spending $50,000 within a calendar year. If you spend exactly $50,000, this amounts to an extra 0.4 redeemable Delta mile per dollar spent, plus the MQMs.

  • Free companion certificate every year on your cardmember anniversary: The companion certificate is valid for the base fare on one round-trip Main Cabin (economy) ticket within the 48 contiguous United States. You are still responsible for paying the taxes on the ticket, which aren’t too bad on domestic flights. The catch is your flight needs to have some of the cheaper fares available to be able to use the certificate, but if you plan ahead you should have good luck with it and can save hundreds of dollars.

Cons

  • High annual fee: The annual fee on this card sits at $195, which is on the high side, and is not waived the first year.

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

Pros

  • Typical annual fee: $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95. This is standard for an airline credit card.

Cons

  • Pretty mediocre ongoing benefits: There are really no special benefits of having this card. Waived checked bag fees, no foreign transaction fees, and reduced fee access to Sky Clubs are really nothing to write home about. Depending on your travel needs, it could still be worth having this card, however.

Which Should You Get?

In short: whichever card makes the most sense for you. The Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express is hands down the best option if you need to earn a few more Medallion Qualifying Miles to meet your status level requirements or if you have use for a companion certificate within the US even though the annual fee on this card is higher.

The Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express might make sense if you travel on Delta a few times a year and always or almost always check bags that you would otherwise be paying for and don’t see yourself able to make use of the companion certificate.

The companion certificate alone could make it worth paying for the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express over the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express even though the annual fee is higher.

View our top no annual fee credit cards here.


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