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Earlier this week, I flew Delta Airlines 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 and status 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 5,000 MQMs for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months, and 10,000 to 30,000 more for meeting certain spending thresholds over the following 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.
Consider applying for the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express if you want to:
After that, you’d need to take at least two Delta flights — with checked bags — per year to make up for the annual fee (Rates & Fees).
Consider the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express (Review) if you:
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 flights 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 cards to consider — if you fly American Airlines, check out the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®, and if you fly United Airlines, the United MileagePlus® Club Card (Review).
Lastly, if you want to earn points on dining (as with the Blue card), you could also check out these other 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.
For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express, please click here.
For rates and fees of the The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express, please click here.
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