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Which Delta Air Lines Credit Card is Best for You?

Which Delta Air Lines Credit Card is Best for You?

*Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

This article was last updated Dec 04, 2018. Terms and conditions may have changed. For the most accurate information, please consult the issuer website.

Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines is the second-largest carrier in the world, based on its revenue in 2017, according to Forbes magazine. As such, it’s only natural that the carrier would be a popular choice for travelers, especially for members of its SkyMiles loyalty program.

SkyMiles members can fly to 304 destinations in 52 countries. If you add the SkyTeam airline alliance members into the mix, that expands to nearly 1,100 destinations in more than 170 countries. So of course you’d want to have a credit card that helps you maximize your SkyMiles benefits.

All Delta credit cards have similar benefits, including no travel blackout dates, miles never expiring and no limits on how many you can earn. You can use miles to pay for flights and seat upgrades, plus shop for merchandise in the SkyMiles Marketplace. You can also donate, gift and transfer miles or spend them on unique SkyMiles Experiences.

We’ll show you all your Delta card options, review their pros and cons and help you choose the best one for you. Terms apply to American Express credit card offers. See americanexpress.com for more information.

Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card

  • 10,000 bonus miles. Earn 10,000 bonus miles after you spend $500 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.

  • Earn 2X Miles per dollar spent on Delta purchases and at restaurants, now worldwide. Earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases.

  • NEW! No foreign transaction fees.

Highlights
  • Earn 10,000 bonus miles after you spend $500 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • No Annual Fee.
  • NEW! Earn 2X Miles per dollar at restaurants, now worldwide.
  • Earn 2X Miles per dollar spent on Delta purchases.
  • Earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases.
  • NEW! 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.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees

See additional details for Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card

More Info


Best for: If you want a starter credit card that comes with a few benefits — at a $0 annual fee — this is the one for you.

What we like

Savings in the air. You get a 20% discount, issued as a statement credit, when using the card for select in-flight purchases.

Payment flexibility. This card allows you to either carry a balance with interest under the Pay ItSM or Plan It® functions or pay off in full every month.

Purchase benefits. Cardmembers receive purchase benefits including extended warranty, purchase protection and access to ticket presales and cardmember-only events such as Broadway shows, concert tours and family and sporting events.

Things to watch out for

Low welcome offer. The welcome offer lets new cardmembers the ability to earn 10,000 bonus miles. Earn 10,000 bonus miles after you spend $500 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. That’s not enough miles to redeem for a roundtrip flight on Delta.

Earn fewer miles in popular categories. Earn 2X Miles per dollar spent on Delta purchases and at restaurants, now worldwide. Earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Cardmembers earn the lowest points per $1 for spending on hotels, supermarkets and gas. And you won’t earn the higher dining points for restaurants outside the U.S.

No help for elite status. This card doesn’t come with a way for you to earn bonus miles needed to achieve and maintain SkyMiles Medallion elite status.

No airline benefits. The card won’t qualify you for things such as a free checked bag or priority check-in and boarding. As of Nov. 15, 2018, you can no longer buy a day pass for SkyClub airport lounge access, although existing passes can be used until their expiration date.

International travel cost. Every time you use this card outside of the country, you’ll pay a foreign transaction fee of None

 

Check out our review of the Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card here.

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card

  • 40,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.

  • NEW! Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases. Earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases.

  • Enjoy your first checked bag free and Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding on Delta flights.

Highlights
  • Earn 40,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • NEW! With Status Boost™, earn 15,000 MQMs after you spend $30,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to four times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • NEW! Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free and Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding on Delta flights.
  • NEW! Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases.
  • Earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases.
  • Complimentary access into the Delta SkyClubs® for you when travelling on a Delta flight.
  • NEW! Enjoy complimentary access to The Centurion® Lounge when you book your Delta flight with your Reserve Card.
  • 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 Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $550  annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees

See additional details for Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card

More Info

Best for: This card is for those who count themselves among Delta’s top flyers. You probably already have elite Medallion status and you want a card that enhances your experience in the air and on the ground.

What we like

Welcome offer. 40,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. You can use those miles to fly from Los Angeles to London in coach class.

Keep your status. The card comes with a way to help you keep your Medallion elite status. Earn 15,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) and 15,000 bonus miles after spending $30,000 on the card in a calendar year. And you can earn another 15,000 MQMs and another 15,000 bonus miles after spending $60,000 on the card in a calendar year.

Relax in the lounge. Get away from the traveling masses with a free membership in the Delta Sky Club, valued at $745 a year for an executive membership or $495 a year for an individual one.

Upgraded experience. The card’s benefits include a free checked bag and priority boarding on Delta flights. Cardmembers receive a 20% savings in the form of a statement credit on pre-purchased meals and in-flight purchases of food, alcoholic beverages and audio headsets charged to the card.

Take a friend. You get a free domestic First Class, Delta Comfort+® or Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate every year your card is renewed.

Call me. This card not only comes with American Express’ Global Assist Hotline, but it also has its own dedicated concierge service to help with tasks such as arranging details for a special event or seeking expert advice in choosing a gift.

Things to watch out for

The costs. There is a $550 annual for this card.

Pass limits. That annual companion pass that comes with this card? You can only use it in the 48 contiguous states.

Skimpy benefits. For a card with a $550 annual fee, it’s surprising that it doesn’t come with travel coverage outside of baggage insurance and car rental loss and damage insurance. Cards in the luxury category usually come with amenities such as trip interruption/cancellation insurance, baggage/trip delay reimbursement and emergency evacuation and transportation help.

Status costs. While the card has a way for you to earn elite status, you have to spend nearly $100,000 to get the MQMs you need to get it.

Lounge limits. While you get free Sky Club access, you’ll have to pay $39 each for up to two guests.

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card and Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card

  • Earn 35,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.

  • Earn 2X Miles on Delta purchases, at restaurants worldwide and at U.S. supermarkets and 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases.

  • Check your 1st bag free on every Delta flight*

Highlights
  • Earn 35,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free and Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding on Delta flights.
  • NEW! Get ready for your next trip - spend $10,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year and receive a $100 Delta Flight Credit to get you there sooner.
  • Earn 2X Miles on Delta purchases, at restaurants worldwide and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases.
  • 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.
  • Enjoy a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees

See additional details for Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

More Info

Best for: With such a high annual fee, you may not be ready to upgrade to the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, but still want a card that gives you extra dividends when you travel on Delta. If you own a business and travel regularly on Delta, the Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card can help you earn miles and maintain your livelihood. The Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card is an option for those who want a personal card.

What we like

Welcome Offer. With the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, earn Earn 35,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Use those miles to fly coach from Baltimore to Honolulu.

With the Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card, 40,000 earn 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in the first 3 months.

Reasonable costs. The Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card starts with a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99. You’ll pay a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99 annual fee with the Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card.

Save on airfare. Every time you use 5,000 bonus miles to book a flight on Delta.com, you’ll get $50 off your ticket under the card’s Pay with Miles feature.

A chance for elite status. If you don’t meet your Medallion Qualification Dollar (MQD) threshold — based on how much you spend on Delta and its partner airlines — during a qualification year (between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31), you can still earn platinum, gold or silver Medallion status. The MQDs requirement for platinum, gold, or silver Medallion status for the qualification year will be waived if you spend $25,000 or more on the cards.

Easier travel. Both cards come with a free checked bag and priority boarding for the cardmember and up to nine companions on the same reservation, along with a 20% discount on in-flight spending. Once you’re at the airport, both cards give you and up to two guests access to the Delta Sky Club airport lounge at a discounted rate of $39 per person.

Manage this. Use tools that come with the Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card to oversee your business’ spending, such as extra cards for employees; a designated account manager; the American Express® Business App that lets you upload receipts and notes on your desktop or mobile device; transfer transactions to your QuickBooks account; set account alerts; and receive online statements and a yearly spending summary.

You’re covered. The Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card covers you when you need help with benefits including a baggage insurance plan, car rental loss and damage insurance, purchase protection and extended warranty. Both cards give you access to the Global Assist® Hotline; however, the Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card also comes with Relationship Care® Service, which answers business owners’ questions or concerns about their American Express Card.

Things to watch out for

Lower miles for spending. Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card cardmembers Earn 1 Mile on every eligible dollar spent on purchases. Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card cardmembers earn Earn 2X Miles on Delta purchases, at restaurants worldwide and at U.S. supermarkets and 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases.  If you’re looking for more miles per dollar spent on purchases such as hotels, gas and supermarkets, there are better options than these two cards.

  • Earn 40,000 Earn 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in the first 3 months.

  • Earn 1 Mile on every eligible dollar spent on purchases.

  • Priority Boarding and 20% savings on eligible in-flight purchases*

Highlights
  • Welcome Offer: Earn 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in the first 3 months.
  • Additionally, take $100 off your next Delta flight – after you spend $10,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you will earn a $100 Delta Flight Credit to use toward future travel.
  • Earn 2 Miles on every dollar spent on eligible purchases made directly with Delta, on every dollar spent on eligible U.S. purchases for advertising in select media, on every dollar spent on eligible U.S. shipping purchases, on every eligible dollar spent on dining at restaurants. Earn 1 Mile on every eligible dollar spent on purchases.
  • Check or stow your bag with ease: First Checked Bag Free + Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding.
  • Pay no foreign transaction fees when you travel overseas.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99.
  • Terms and limitations apply
  • See Rates & Fees

See additional details for Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card

More Info

Restricted Sky Club access. You can’t get in for free and you can only use the lounge on the day of travel. You’re limited to two guests, who must pay $39 to enter. And starting on Jan. 1, 2019, Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card and Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card cardholders and their guests must be traveling on a Delta-coded or Delta-operated flight to get into the Sky Club.

It costs to earn the highest elite status. There is a way to help you keep your elite Medallion status if you don’t reach your Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs) threshold, based on annual spending, during a qualification year — but it will cost you. First you have to earn the required MQMs or MQSs (based on the number of flights you take). Then you must spend at least $250,000 within a qualification year on the card to get Diamond Medallion status. That’s a lot of money to shell out to keep your status with either of these cards.

Fewer benefits: For a travel-branded card, it’s surprising that the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card doesn’t come with as many travel benefits as its business card counterpart. It only comes with car rental loss and damage insurance, purchase protection and extended warranty.

Check out our reviews of the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card and the Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card

  • Earn 45,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in the first 3 months. Plus, earn a $100 Statement Credit after your first Delta purchase on your new Card in the first 3 months.*

  • 1.5 miles per dollar on single eligible purchases of $5,000 or more (that’s an extra half point per dollar), up to 50,000 additional miles per year. 1 Mile on every eligible dollar spent on other purchases.

  • Priority Boarding & 20% savings on eligible in-flight purchases*

Highlights
  • Welcome Offer: Earn 45,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in the first 3 months. Plus, earn a $100 Statement Credit after your first Delta purchase on your new Card in the first 3 months.
  • Earn 3 Miles on every dollar spent on eligible purchases made directly with Delta and on every eligible dollar spent on purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Status-like benefits: First Check Bag Free on Delta flights + Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding
  • Earn 1.5 miles per dollar on single eligible purchases of $5,000 or more (that’s an extra half point per dollar), up to 50,000 additional miles per year. 1 Mile on every eligible dollar spent on other purchases.
  • Get closer to status with Status Boost™. Spend $25,000 in purchases on the Card in a calendar year and earn 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs); spend a total of $50,000 in eligible purchases on the Card in a calendar year and earn an additional 10,000 MQMs. MQMs are used to determine Medallion Status and are different from the miles you earn toward flights.
  • Terms and limitations apply.
  • See Rates & Fees

See additional details for Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card

More Info

Best for: Delta frequent flyers who want a card to help them manage their business. It comes with a $250 annual fee. It’s less than The Platinum Card® from American Express’s $550 annual fee, but it doesn’t come with many of the same benefits offered by latter card.

What we like

Let’s fly. The card comes with a welcome offer that allows cardholders to Earn 45,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in the first 3 months. Plus, earn a $100 Statement Credit after your first Delta purchase on your new Card in the first 3 months. Use those bonus miles to bid on a behind-the-scenes dinner at an exclusive restaurant or tickets to NASCAR’s 2019 Daytona 500 on Feb. 17 through SkyMiles Experiences. The card also allows you the chance to earn a $100 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase on the card within your first 3 months.

Get those MQMs. Like Delta’s Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, you have the chance to earn MQMs, based on the distance flown and your fare class. If you spend $25,000 or more per calendar year on the card, you’ll be awarded 10,000 bonus miles and 10,000 MQMs. If you spend $50,000 or more, you’ll earn another 10,000 bonus miles and 10,000 MQMs.

Preferred treatment. Get a free checked bag and priority boarding for you and up to nine others traveling on the same reservation. Use a 20% in-flight discount as a statement credit when using the card to pay for food, beverages and audio headsets.

Points are your business. Add employee cards for free and they all earn points. You can designate an account manager to keep track of spending, use the American Express® Business App to upload receipts and notes via a laptop or mobile phone and connect your account to QuickBooks to handle accounting tasks.

Smoother travel. The card comes with a baggage insurance plan, car rental loss and damage insurance, the Global Assist® hotline, extended warranty and purchase protection.

Things to watch out for

Again, low rewards. 1.5 miles per dollar on single eligible purchases of $5,000 or more (that’s an extra half point per dollar), up to 50,000 additional miles per year. 1 Mile on every eligible dollar spent on other purchases. Similar to all the Delta-branded cards, you can earn more miles per $1 spent on things like dining and hotels with others on the market.

No free lounge access. The card doesn’t come with a Sky Club membership, but you can still get in by paying $29 a person, which allows you to bring up to two guests. And like other Delta-branded cards with lounge access, you’ll only be able to use it on the day you travel, effective Jan. 1, 2019.

Status costs. You’ll need to spend $75,000 per calendar year on the card to earn the MQMs needed that can help you earn elite Medallion status on Delta Air Lines.

Check out our review of the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card here.

 

Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card
Annual Fee $0 $550 $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99 $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99. $250
Regular Purchase APR 15.74%-24.74% Variable 15.74%-24.74% Variable 15.74% - 24.74% Variable 15.74%-24.74% Variable 15.74% - 24.74% Variable
Rewards Earn 2X Miles per dollar spent on Delta purchases and at restaurants, now worldwide. Earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases. Earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Earn 1 Mile on every eligible dollar spent on purchases. Earn 2X Miles on Delta purchases, at restaurants worldwide and at U.S. supermarkets and 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. 1.5 miles per dollar on single eligible purchases of $5,000 or more (that’s an extra half point per dollar), up to 50,000 additional miles per year. 1 Mile on every eligible dollar spent on other purchases.
Welcome Offer 10,000 bonus miles. Earn 10,000 bonus miles after you spend $500 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. 40,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. 40,000 Earn 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in the first 3 months. Earn 35,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Earn 45,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in the first 3 months. Plus, earn a $100 Statement Credit after your first Delta purchase on your new Card in the first 3 months.
Foreign Transaction Fee None None None None None

 

The bottom line

The fact is that even with all the card options offered by Delta, there are others on the market that offer more points for spending on travel, dining, gas and groceries. But they don’t come with benefits that make traveling on Delta a little easier.

Obviously, these are the cards you want if you fly a lot on Delta. They range from basic — the Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card — to luxury — Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card. There are also two options if you’re running a business — the Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card and the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card. Since they all pretty much offer the same miles per $1 spent, you’ll have to look at the other benefits offered by each card and see which one best fits your needs before making that final pick.

So be sure to ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you want to pay an annual fee?
  • Does the card offer enough miles per $1 spent in the categories most important to you?
  • How important is it to have benefits like a free checked bag and priority boarding?
  • Are you willing to spend on the card to keep your elite status?
  • How helpful is the card when it comes to managing your business?
  • Is free or discounted airport lounge access a must-have benefit?
  • Does the card offer enough travel and purchase protections?

Once you answer these questions, you’ll know which Delta Air Lines card is the right one for you — or perhaps you may even decide you want to look at other travel-branded credit cards that may give you more of what you want.


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