Updated Sep 09, 2021 | Published Jan 16, 2020 • 12 min read
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The Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card earns 2X SkyMiles on purchases with Delta Air Lines and features a plethora of travel-focused benefits. If you’re a Delta enthusiast, this could be a great pick. If not, you’re better off with a general travel card.
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It earns 2X SkyMiles per eligible dollar spent on Delta purchases, restaurants, and U.S. supermarkets, and 1X mile on everything else. You can redeem those SkyMiles for flights on Delta or its SkyTeam partners, plus a wide variety of other rewards.
The Delta SkyMiles Gold card comes with a strong introductory offer, too: 70,000 bonus miles for spending $2,000 in the first 3 months (offer expires 11/10/2021).
And there are plenty of other benefits, like Main Cabin 1 priority boarding and waived fees on your first checked bags.
You have to pay an annual fee after the first year (Rates & Fees) to get all this, but if you already spend a lot with Delta, or you’re ready to commit to a single airline, then this rewards card could easily be worth the price.
The Delta SkyMiles Gold is one of four co-branded consumer airline cards available from Delta and American Express.
2X miles per dollar on Delta purchases, restaurants, and U.S. supermarkets rewards loyal flyers while making it easy to earn miles with everyday purchases
Redeeming for flights provides a solid value of around 1–1.5 cents per SkyMile
Miles can also be redeemed for flights with SkyTeam partners
Good welcome bonus: 70,000 bonus miles for spending $2,000 in the first 3 months (offer expires 11/10/2021)
First checked bag free on Delta flights
Main Cabin 1 priority boarding on Delta flights for the cardholder and up to eight other passengers with the same itinerary
20% back on eligible in-flight purchases, like food and drinks (excludes WiFi)
No foreign transaction fee
SkyMiles never expire
Why It Could Be Better
Annual fee: $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99
Benefits are good, but not exceptional
Amex network is less widely accepted than Visa and Mastercard, a downside for global travelers
Insider Advice: Getting the Most Out of Your Card
Book Delta flights: The most obvious way to amass miles with your Delta SkyMiles Gold card is by purchasing Delta airfare. You’ll earn 2X miles per dollar spent, in addition to the 5X you get from being a SkyMiles member.
Eat: Food is a necessity, and this card lets you take advantage of that by giving you 2X SkyMiles at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets. Supermarket categories typically exclude stores like Target and Walmart, however, so keep that in mind if that’s where you prefer to shop.
Get the welcome bonus: Meet the intro bonus requirements and get a big reward to help offset the card’s annual fee.
Redeem for airfare: Airline cards nearly always provide the best redemption value if you redeem for airfare, and the Delta SkyMiles Gold is no exception. Redeem for airfare with Delta or a partner airline to maximize the value of your SkyMiles.
Enjoy priority boarding and free checked bags: As long as your itinerary is tied to the same SkyMiles number as this card, you’ll get Main Cabin 1 priority boarding for you and up to eight other passengers, and the fee for each passenger’s first checked bag will be waived.
The Delta SkyMiles Gold card’s reward structure is very normal for an airline card.
The spending categories are simple to understand, and like with most airline credit cards, the value of each mile you earn will depend on how it’s redeemed.
Assume you’ll get somewhere between 1 to 1.5 cents in value when redeeming for airfare through Delta or a partner airline. That’s a cash back equivalent of up to 3% from the card alone, which is good. But you’ll also earn 5X SkyMiles per dollar on Delta purchases just for being a SkyMiles member. This can up your cash back equivalent even more, to about 7–10.5%.
You’ll be hard-pressed to get anything better, but you can nearly always expect something in that range if you’re redeeming for flights, and that kind of consistency can be appealing.
2X SkyMiles per dollar for:
Eligible purchases made directly with Delta Air Lines
1X SkyMile per dollar on other eligible purchases
70,000 bonus miles for spending $2,000 in the first 3 months (offer expires 11/10/2021)
You’re probably already spending quite a bit with Delta if you’re considering this card, so you aren’t likely to have trouble taking advantage of the Delta category.
The 2X miles you earn on Delta purchases with this card are in addition to the5X miles per dollar you get with a basic, free SkyMiles membership. So, when you use this card with Delta, you’re actually getting 7X miles per dollar — but only those two extra miles are coming from the card itself. Anyone can get the other five. (And you can earn more miles per dollar as a Delta Medallion member.)
The restaurant and supermarket categories are arguably even easier to use. Grab your groceries at your local supermarket to get 2X SkyMiles per dollar, but bear in mind that this category won’t encompass big box stores like Walmart and Target.
When you’re too tired to cook with the groceries you bought, go ahead and eat out — you’ll get 2X SkyMiles at restaurants, too. So the card makes it easy to earn SkyMiles no matter where you eat.
If you want to earn SkyMiles on purchases from merchants that don’t seem like they’re covered by these categories, you may still be able to earn 2X SkyMiles by buying gift cards for your retailer of choice at a supermarket.
Read moreBest Delta Credit Card Offers: Which One Should You Pick?
The Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card has an annual fee of $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99.
You can redeem your SkyMiles for a variety of rewards, including flights and flight upgrades, Delta vacations, car rentals, gift cards, and more.
Because the Delta SkyMiles Gold is an airline travel credit card, it’s probably no surprise that you’ll get the best cash back equivalent if you redeem for airfare.
Redeeming for Airfare
SkyMiles can be redeemed for airfare with Delta and its SkyTeam partner airlines right on the Delta website. You can view both miles and cash prices to compare which flights provide the best overall value.
You can also book airfare with either Miles + Cash or Pay with Miles, two somewhat similar features. Your redemption value will typically be better if you use miles outright, however, so we recommend avoiding these.
Miles + Cash vs. Pay with Miles
Delta's Miles + Cash feature basically allows you to pay for a ticket with both miles and cash (surprise!) by instituting a surcharge to lower a flight's price in miles.
Pay with Miles is different — it lets you book airfare with miles in increments of 5,000, and then pay for the rest in cash.
One distinguishing feature is that Miles + Cash flights are treated as award tickets, so you won't earn any rewards. Pay with Miles fares are treated as typical tickets, however, which means that whatever portion of the price you pay with cash will actually earn SkyMiles.
More often than not, your per-mile redemption value will hover between 1–1.5 cents, like we said above. That’s sometimes a bit less than we like to see, but it’s not bad by any means. It’s just not the best on the market.
Let’s explore a couple of examples.
Here’s a round-trip Basic Economy itinerary from JFK to Seattle and back. The trip spans from Wednesday, March 11, to Wednesday, March 18.
On the left is the cash price. The right is what you’d pay if you were redeeming SkyMiles for the same trip.
Divide the full cash price by the number of miles, and you land right around 1.4 cents per mile, comfortably in that 1–1.5 cent range we mentioned above. That’s not a bad deal. You still have to pay “taxes, fees, and charges,” but this amount is considerably lower when you’re redeeming with miles.
Next, let’s look at a Boston/Atlanta trip in first class.
That gets you about 1.3 cents per mile. Only a bit less, but it’s an example of how your redemption value changes depending on the specifics of your itinerary.
Other Redemption Options
The remaining redemption options (there are quite a few) aren’t particularly valuable.
Here’s a list of several things you can use SkyMiles for outside of airfare:
Airline-related fees, including ticket change fees, award ticket redeposit fees, Same-Day Confirmed fees, and external ticket charges
Delta gift cards
We don’t recommend any of these, because the value of your SkyMiles is usually going to be a lot lower than if you just redeemed for airfare.
Take Delta gift cards for example.
You’ll get the best per-mile value for buying a $1,000 gift card for 111,100 SkyMiles. That’s 0.9 cents per mile, which isn’t very good.
The Delta SkyMiles Gold card features a few good benefits, but they’re relatively average for the card’s fee.
First checked bag free: Use your Delta SkyMiles number when booking your flight to waive the price ($30) of your first checked bag. This benefit extends to up to eight other passengers flying on your itinerary.
Main Cabin 1 priority boarding: Get to your seat and settle in earlier when you reserve with your SkyMiles number. This benefit extends to up to eight other passengers on your itinerary.
20% back on in-flight purchases: Save 20%, in the form of a statement credit, on in-flight purchases like food and alcoholic beverages. Excludes WiFi and associated services.
$100 Delta flight credit: Spend $10,000 in a calendar year to earn a $100 credit good for Delta flight and vacation package reservations.
Global Assist Hotline: Receive assistance with medical and legal referrals, cash wires, passport replacement, missing luggage, and more when you’re more than 100 miles from home.
Entertainment Access: Purchase tickets to your favorite events with exclusive presale access and explore exclusive cardmember events near you.
ShopRunner: Enjoy free two-day shipping at a variety of online retailers with a complimentary ShopRunner membership.
Year-End Summary: Examine your spending throughout the prior year by month and category.
Enrollment required for select benefits; terms and limitations apply.
The Terms & Fees
Balance Transfer APR
Cash Advance APR
15.74% - 24.74% Variable
Foreign Transaction Fee
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99
Balance Transfer Fee
Cash Advance Fee
Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater
Returned Payment Fee
Up to $40
Up to $40
There’s nothing too exceptional about the Delta SkyMiles Gold’s fees.
Its annual fee is normal for this type of airline card, as is its lack of foreign transaction fees. Just remember that you may not want to take this card abroad, anyway. It uses the American Express network, which isn’t as widely accepted as Visa or Mastercard.
A 2X mile-per-dollar reward rate on Delta purchases is average for an airline card, but the Delta SkyMiles Gold adds restaurants and U.S. supermarkets, which makes it a lot easier to accumulate rewards than with more narrowly focused co-branded cards.
The introductory bonus delivers a fairly strong return on spend to help you offset the annual fee for a bit.
There are quite a few helpful perks, too. Priority boarding is sure to please regular travelers, and the free checked bag benefit offers hundreds of dollars in potential annual savings. But if you already have access to benefits like these through your airline loyalty status, this card may not be the best choice for you.
All in all, the Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card is a solid airline rewards credit card that appeals exclusively to people who plan to spend a lot with Delta, and those who already do. Its rewards and benefits are both quite good, even if they don’t provide quite as much bang for your buck as, say, the more expensive Delta Reserve.
How to Apply for the Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Credit Card
Easily apply for the Delta SkyMiles Gold by clicking the “Apply Now” button below. You’ll be sent to the American Express website. Submit the secure application, and you’ll probably get an instant decision, either approval or denial, after Amex conducts a hard credit inquiry.
In certain cases, the issuer may not provide an instant decision, and may reach out for more information.
What Credit Scores Do You Need to Get the Delta SkyMiles Gold Card?
The Delta’s Gold card is designed for cardholders with good credit scores — that’s 670 or higher for FICO, and 700 or higher for VantageScore.
You may be approved with lower scores, or you could be denied with very high scores if other factors, like your income, don’t meet the issuer’s standards.
Qualifications and Requirements
Must be 18 to apply
Personal information: Name, date of birth, Social Security number
Address and contact information: Home address, phone number, email address
Financial information: Total annual income, income source
Delta SkyMiles number (optional; you’ll be provided with one upon approval if approved)
Alternatives to the Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card
The Delta SkyMiles Gold is a good card for its primary audience of loyal Delta users. If that doesn’t sound like you, there are plenty of comparable (or better) cards that can help you rack up points or miles while exploring.
Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 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. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two 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.
Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card.*Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
Limited Time Offer: Earn 80,000 Bonus Miles and 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $5,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
Earn up to 60,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $30,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 15,000 MQMs 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.
Receive a Domestic First Class, Delta Comfort+® or Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card.*Payment of the government-imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
Complimentary access into the Delta Sky Club® for you when travelling on a Delta flight.
Enjoy complimentary access to The Centurion® Lounge or Escape Lounge – The Centurion® Studio Partner when you book a Delta flight with your Reserve Card.
Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
The cardholder gets free access to Delta Sky Clubs and Centurion Lounges, a TSA PreCheck/Global Entry application fee credit, an annual companion certificate, and several other perks, including the Delta SkyMiles Gold’s free checked bag and priority boarding benefits.
The Reserve also boasts Status Boost, which helps big spenders and Delta superfans accelerate their progress toward Medallion status.
3X SkyMiles per dollar for purchases made directly with Delta Air Lines
1X SkyMile per dollar for other eligible purchases
80,000 bonus miles and 20,000 MQMs for spending $5,000 in the first 3 months (offer expires 11/10/2021)
The Delta SkyMiles Reserve gives you one more SkyMile per dollar than the Gold, but lacks several categories the Platinum Delta card offers. That may seem surprising, but with premium cards, it’s the benefits that tend to command the spotlight and provide the most monetary value anyway.
Delta Sky Club and Centurion Lounge access: Complimentary access to Delta Sky Clubs, with up to two guests at $39 each (and two annual one-time guest passes); complimentary access to Centurion Lounges, with up to two guests at $50 each
Annual Companion Certificate: A certificate for a Domestic First Class, Delta Comfort+, or Main Cabin round-trip flight.
Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit: A statement credit for the application fee of either Global Entry ($100 every four years) or TSA PreCheck ($85 once every four-and-a-half years)
First checked bag free on Delta flights: For you and up to eight traveling companions
Priority Boarding on Delta flights: Get on the plane more quickly with Zone 1 priority boarding.
20% in-flight discount on Delta flights: A 20% discount on eligible in-flight purchases, like food, beverages, movies, and audio headsets
Complimentary upgrades access: With the Delta SkyMiles Reserve, you’re next in line after Medallion Members to receive complimentary flight upgrades.
Status Boost: Earn 15,000 MQMs for every $30,000 in eligible purchases, up to four times per calendar year.
Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
Enjoy new benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3X points on dining and 2X points on all other travel purchases, plus more.
Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash’s subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on the Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
Plus, earn 10x points on eligible purchases on the Card at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership.
Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
$200 Hotel Credit: Get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®.
$240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 in statement credits each month when you pay for eligible purchases with the Platinum Card® at your choice of one or more of the following providers: Peacock, Audible, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. Enrollment required.
$155 Walmart+ Credit: Cover the cost of a $12.95 monthly Walmart+ membership with a statement credit after you pay for Walmart+ each month with your Platinum Card. Cost includes $12.95 plus applicable local sales tax.
American Express has expanded The Centurion® Network to include 40+ Centurion Lounge and Studio locations worldwide. Now there are even more places your Platinum Card® can get you complimentary entry and exclusive perks.
$200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one select qualifying airline.
$200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member only.
$300 Equinox Credit: Get up to $25 back each month on select Equinox memberships when you pay with your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
$179 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $179 back per year on your CLEAR® membership.
It carries a very high annual fee, like most premium cards, but the Platinum card’s benefits are arguably the best of any travel card on the market.
Its rewards are worth talking about, too.
Not only can you redeem Amex Membership Rewards points for Delta Flights through Amex Travel, but Platinum cardholders can transfer Membership Rewards points to the Delta SkyMiles loyalty program at a 1:1 ratio (and sometimes there are deals). This allows you to use the points earned with the Platinum card alongside any SkyMiles you’ve amassed from being a SkyMiles member. There aren’t many general travel cards that allow transfers to Delta, so the Platinum stands out.
You’ll be charged an excise tax offset fee of $0.0006 per point to conduct this kind of transfer. So if you’re transferring 75,000 points, for example, that’d amount to a fee of $45. Still, there’s a good chance that the transfer will be worth the price if you redeem carefully.
On top of that, Platinum cardholders get complimentary access to Delta Sky Club airport lounges and a host of other airport lounges.
For a serious Delta lover, the Amex Platinum is an excellent pick.
Flights booked directly through airlines or through Amex Travel (on up to $500,000 spent per calendar year, then 1X)
Prepaid hotels booked through Amex Travel
2X Membership Rewards points per dollar on other eligible travel expenses booked through Amex Travel
1X Membership Rewards point per dollar on other eligible purchases
100,000 bonus points for spending $6,000 in the first 6 months; 10X points on eligible purchases at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during the first 6 months
The Platinum card’s rewards program is sure to be a hit among Delta loyalists.
You earn 5X points per dollar on airfare booked directly through airlines, which covers Delta.
Other than that, the only way to earn more than a point per dollar is through American Express Travel bookings. If you spend a lot on travel, though, those categories could still come in handy.
$300 Equinox credit: Pay with your Platinum card to get up to $300 in statement credits annually with Equinox (up to $25 per month), for Equinox All Access, Destination, E by Equinox, or Equinox+ membership fees.
$240 digital entertainment credit: Pay with your Platinum card to get up to $240 in statement credits annually for digital entertainment (up to $20 per month), only for eligible purchases from Peacock, Audible, SiriusXM, and The New York Times.
CLEAR credit: Up to $179 in statement credits annually for CLEAR biometric security, enough for a membership.
Uber Eats Pass: Get unlimited $0 delivery fees and 5% off orders at eligible restaurants for 12 months; must enroll by 12/31/21. Taxes and service fees may apply and do not count toward the order minimum. Eats Pass will start auto-billing 12 months from enrollment, at then-current monthly rate. Learn more.
Uber VIP status: Add your Platinum card to the Uber App to get Uber VIP status where available.
Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit: A statement credit for the application fee of either Global Entry ($100 every four years) or TSA PreCheck ($85 once every four and a half years)
Complimentary elite hotel statuses: Hilton Honors Gold status and Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status
The Hotel Collection: A $100 hotel credit and room upgrades when available for every eligible two-night stay
Fine Hotels & Resorts Program: Daily breakfast for two, room upgrades when available, amenities valued at $100, and more at eligible properties
$100 annual Saks credit: Up to $100 in statement credits each year for Saks Fifth Avenue: $50 from January through June, and $50 from July through December
Global Dining Access by Resy: Resy provides access to exclusive reservations and dining experiences.
Point transfer: To a selection of airline and hotel loyalty programs
Shopping and travel protections: Purchase Protection; Extended Warranty; Return Protection; Baggage Insurance Plan; Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance; Trip Delay Insurance; Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance
No foreign transaction fee
Annual fee: $695
Enrollment required for select benefits; terms and limitations apply.
Sean Messier works to empower individuals with the knowledge required to use credit cards responsibly and to their advantage. His writing- and research-based background has granted him experience in an array of topics, from finance to business and beyond. Sean distills the knowledge accumulated over years of experience in the credit space into consistent, actionable articles, guides, and reviews.
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