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Delta serves up a nice selection of co-branded credit cards, ranging from no annul fee to over $500 per year. Go with an inexpensive card if you don’t fly often, or pick a premium card to get luxury perks for more frequent trips.
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The information related to Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card, Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card, Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card, and The Business Platinum Card® from American Express have been collected by Credit Card Insider and have not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of these products.
Earlier this week, I flew Delta Air Lines to Puerto Rico — and somehow ended up with Zone 1 boarding. I felt like a total superstar since I didn’t have to fight for overhead bin space or get jostled on the way to my seat.
Wondering what it’d be like to get Zone 1 treatment all the time, I decided to compare four Delta credit cards I might qualify for. Here’s what I discovered.
Before diving into Delta’s credit cards and their benefits, you’ll need to get familiar with the airline’s rewards program.
In addition to earning Delta SkyMiles, Delta’s cards can help you attain Medallion status.
When you achieve this elite status, you’ll get benefits like complimentary upgrades, waived change fees, and priority check-in and boarding.
To get there, you’ll need to earn a combination of the following:
Here are the four tiers of Medallion status, along with their requirements:
|25,000 MQMs or 30 MQSs||50,000 MQMs or 60 MQSs||75,000 MQMs or 100 MQSs||125,000 MQMs or 140 MQSs|
|$3,000 MQDs or MQD Waiver||$6,000 MQDs or MQD Waiver||$9,000 MQDs or MQD Waiver||$15,000 MQDs or MQD Waiver|
While you can earn MQMs, MQMs, and MQDs by flying with Delta, you can also earn MQMs and MQDs by spending money on your co-branded Delta credit card.
Depending on which Delta card you get, you could earn some MQMs for spending a certain amount in the first three months, or in the first year.
As for MQDs, Delta will waive the requirement (listed in the table above) if you spend $25,000 or more on your Delta card during a calendar year. That is, if you’re trying to get Silver, Gold, or Platinum status; for a Diamond status waiver, you must spend a whopping $250,000.
Now that you’ve got your head around Delta’s elite statuses, you’re ready to explore the range of Delta credit cards — all issued by American Express.
Here’s what the three most popular options (the Gold, Platinum, and Reserve cards) have in common:
The differences you’ll have to look out for when comparing the Delta Gold vs. Platinum vs. Reserve vs. Blue? Annual fees, introductory bonuses, MQMs, and Delta Sky Club (airport lounge) access. Here’s a breakdown.
Three of the cards above have business versions: Read about the Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card (Review), Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card (Review), and Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card (Review) here. If you’re wondering how to qualify for a business credit card, it’s not as hard as you might think.
Delta’s credit cards are all solid, but our favorite cards for flying Delta include both co-branded and general travel rewards cards. Our top picks are:
After that, you’d need to take at least two Delta flights — with checked bags — per year to make up for the annual fee.
If you don’t think the card’s worth it after the first year, you can cancel it and keep the miles. Or you could downgrade to the no-annual-fee Blue card, and keep the line of credit open, too.
So, if you’re planning to head anywhere on a ticket that’s more than a couple hundred bucks, this card will certainly cover its annual fee.
This card earns Membership Rewards points, which you can convert to Delta SkyMiles at a 1:1 ratio. You won’t get a free bag or priority boarding, but you will have more flexibility when deciding where to spend your rewards.
Here are the details:
The Amex Platinum is an excellent general travel card for flying Delta, particularly because of its wide-ranging lounge access and ability to transfer points to Delta SkyMiles. You won’t find those features on other high-end travel cards.
Plus, you’ll get 5X points per dollar when you book airfare directly with Delta (or a multitude of other airlines), and if you make use of the airline fee and Uber credits, the effective annual fee will actually be lower than that of the Delta Reserve.
For another high-end general travel card, consider the Chase Sapphire Reserve® (Review). There are also more premium airline credit cards to consider — if you fly American Airlines, check out the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® (Review), and if you fly United Airlines, the United Club℠ Infinite Card (Review).
Lastly, if you want to earn rewards on dining, you could also check out these other credit card offers:
Overall, Delta credit cards — while designed for different levels of commitment and annual spending — make the most sense for people who fly the airline frequently. If you’re a casual Delta flyer, or would prefer to earn broader rewards, we’d recommend scoping out all the best travel credit cards before making your decision.
The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card (Review) is Delta’s premium consumer card, and it’s designed for those with excellent credit. This range is just a touch less clear-cut; FICO considers scores of 760 and up very good, while its exceptional range begins at 800 (more about credit score ranges here).
Keep in mind that these are loose recommendations. Even if you meet the suggested score threshold, you could still be denied based on other factors, like your income. On the same note, you could still be approved if your credit scores fall a bit short of the general recommendation.
Flights will typically grant you a value of 1 to 1.5 cents per point, depending on the flight, though you’ll sometimes find an even better deal if you’re a patient shopper. That’s about normal for an air miles credit card.
Generally, you’ll get the best redemption value by redeeming for flights with Delta or one of its SkyTeam airline partners.
There are a few ways to gain access to Delta Sky Club airport lounges. Our favorite, of course, is to apply for a credit card that provides lounge access as a benefit. If you’re a serious enough traveler that you think you’d benefit from lounge access, then a credit card that provides it deserves a place in your wallet anyway.
These cards are your best bet for free cardholder access:
Credit cards aside, there are lots of ways to get into Delta Sky Club lounges, but they aren’t always as straightforward. Passengers flying Delta One or SkyTeam Premium Cabin (both luxury-leaning business class fares) get Delta Sky Club access, as do passengers who’ve achieved Gold, Platinum, or Diamond Medallion status with Delta.
You could always just buy a Delta Sky Club membership, too. Just note that buying a membership outright would cost you nearly as much annually as the SkyMiles Reserve card, which grants you Sky Club access, plus a plethora of additional benefits you wouldn’t get with a barebones membership.
For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.
Susan is a freelance writer who specializes in turning complex financial topics into engaging and accessible articles. She's been writing about personal finance for six years, and was previously the senior writer at The Penny Hoarder and a staff writer at Student Loan Hero. Her personal finance writing has also appeared in publications like MarketWatch and Lifehacker.
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