Review of the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card by American Express

Brendan Harkness

Brendan Harkness | Reviews

Mar 28, 2018 | Updated Apr 18, 2018

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The Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express is designed for people who fly with Delta frequently every year. If you’re already spending about $3,000 or so on air travel, you might find the rewards and benefits of this card to be very valuable.

Cardholders will get 2X miles per dollar on purchases from Delta from this card, but as basic Delta members another 5X miles per dollar will be included. That can end up being the equivalent of about 8.75% cash back, depending on how you redeem those miles.

There are two signup bonuses to take advantage of, providing 70,000 bonus miles and a $100 statement credit. You’ll also be able to earn Medallion Qualifying Miles to help you reach an elite Delta membership tier.

Some of the perks include an annual companion ticket certificate, starting after your first year. You’ll get your first checked bag free on Delta flights, and Priority Boarding can save you a headache in the terminal. Access to Delta Sky Clubs is available at a reduced price, which should make your trips more comfortable. And a 20% discount on eligible in-flight purchases provides another way to cut costs.

The Platinum Delta SkyMiles is one of several Delta co-branded cards from Amex. It’s the middle option, not too expensive but not too cheap either. All of these cards provide 2X miles per dollar with Delta, but their annual fees and extra benefits will vary.

Card Annual Fee
Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card $95 (waived the first year)
Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card (this review) $195
Delta Reserve Credit Card $450

One of these cards may be right for you. Keep reading to find out if it’s the Platinum Delta SkyMiles.

American Express offers many credit and charge cards. Some offer points or cash back, some are designed for travelers, and some are co-branded with other airlines and hotels.
Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card by American Express
Apply Now

Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card by American Express

For People with
Excellent Credit

  • Annual Fee: $195
  • Interest Rate: 17.24%–26.24% Variable
Quick Card Facts
  • 2X miles per $1 spent on purchases made directly with Delta
  • 1X mile per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Spend $25,000 in a year, get 10,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs)
  • Spend $50,000 in a year, get another 10,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs)
  • Complimentary Delta Sky Club® Access for a discounted fee of $29
  • An annual companion certificate for a Domestic Main Cabin round trip, after your first year
  • First checked bag is free on Delta flights
  • Travel perks like priority boarding and in-flight savings
  • Redeem miles with Delta or 15 airline partners
  • $195 annual fee

Our Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

We give this card 4 out of 5 Stars because it provides frequent Delta travelers with a good value, but the annual fee seems to be a bit on the high side.

Why we like this card

  • Earn miles for Delta purchases
  • Redeem miles for Delta flights or with an airline partner
  • Start with basic Delta member status and work your way up to an elite tier
  • Several time and money saving perks
  • Access to Delta Sky Club lounges for a reduced fee
  • No foreign transaction fees

Why this card could be better

  • You’ll need to pay an annual fee, which might seem a bit high for the value you get
  • You won’t get automatic Medallion status with Delta, you’ll need to earn it (basic member status is included)
  • Your miles won’t be worth as much if you can’t find a saver award flight

The Platinum Delta SkyMiles Card could be a great card to help manage your travel spending. But there are also a couple other Delta credit cards, along with other cards for other airlines. See some of those alternatives below.

Insider Advice: Using This Card as Part of Your Credit Card Strategy

  • Only get this card if you spend a lot with Delta, probably around $3,000 per year. Otherwise, a different airline or travel credit card is a better choice.
  • Use this card to earn miles for purchases made directly from Delta. For other purchases, you’ll be able to get more rewards value by using another card in addition to this one.
  • Get both signup bonuses (70,000 miles and a $100 statement credit) by spending $3,000 and making a purchase from Delta in the first 3 months.
  • If you’re planning to pay for a trip using miles, be aware that they’ll take 8-12 weeks to show up in your Delta account.
  • Look for saver award routes to get a better value for your miles.
  • Enjoy access to Delta Sky Clubs for a discounted rate of $29.
  • Get one Miles Boost offer by spending $25,000 in a given year, and another one by spending another $25,000 that year.
  • Gain Medallion member status with Delta to get much more value out of this card, by earning MQMs and using your MQD Waiver.
  • Use your annual companion flight certificate every year (beginning after your first year of cardmembership).

The Rewards

You’ll be able to earn the equivalent of up to about 8.75% cash back with this card as a basic Delta member. However, what you get will depend on how you earn and redeem your miles. And if you can upgrade your member status to an elite tier, you’ll be able to earn even more than that.

Earning

  • 7X or more SkyMiles per dollar for purchases made directly with Delta (enter your SkyMiles number when making purchases)
    • 2X SkyMiles per dollar for using the Platinum Delta SkyMiles card
    • 5X or more SkyMiles per dollar for being a Delta SkyMiles member
  • 1X SkyMile per dollar on all other eligible purchases
  • Signup bonus: 70,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
  • Signup bonus: $100 statement credit after making your first Delta purchase within 3 months after account opening
  • Miles Boost: 10,000 bonus miles and 10,000 MQMs for spending $25,000 or more in a calendar year
  • Miles Boost: an additional 10,000 bonus miles and 10,000 MQMs for spending a total of $50,000 or more in a calendar year

You’ll start off earning 7X miles per dollar when spending with Delta. The card itself provides 2X miles, but you’ll also become a basic Delta member when you’re approved. That comes with 5X miles for Delta purchases. And if you’re able to raise your status and become a Medallion elite member, you’ll be able to earn even more miles per dollar.

Each mile will be usually worth around 1.25 cents, give or take a little bit. At that value, you’d be earning the equivalent of about 8.75% cash back when spending with Delta, and 1.25% cash back for other purchases.

Your signup bonus of 70,000 miles would be worth $875, if you redeem those miles at the 1.25-cent value.

Any miles you earn will be posted to your Delta SkyMiles account within 8 to 12 weeks after the end of each month. So if you’re planning to pay for a trip using miles keep this delay in mind.

The Platinum Delta SkyMiles card is clearly designed for spending primarily with Delta. That includes most Delta products. For other purchases it would probably be better to use a different card. If you want to earn more rewards on other spending that you can transfer to Delta, check out the Amex Premier Rewards Gold Card (Review).

Eligible Delta purchases are those for which Delta is the merchant of record. That covers most of the situations that you would expect:

  • Purchases through delta.com, phone reservations, or ticket counters
  • Delta Sky Club membership or passes
  • Pre-purchased meals and in-flight purchases of food, alcohol, and audio headsets on Delta-operated flights
  • Delta Vacation® packages (but not other all-inclusive packages)

Other purchases that are not provided specifically by Delta will not be eligible for the 7X category. For example, WiFi bought in-flight is not included because this is provided by a third party (called Gogo).

Redeeming

The primary way to redeem your miles will be for Delta Award Flights. But you’ll also be able to use those miles with a number of airline partners, listed below. There are no blackout dates on award miles.

Your miles will be worth about 1.25 cents each for most redemptions, although this will vary quite a bit. Cheaper fares generally provide a better comparative value, but not always. And Delta also provides saver award routes, where you can find better deals typically around 1.4 cents per mile or more.

There are quite a few airline partners you can redeem with, giving you what should be plenty of options in most situations. You can book award flights with most of the partners online at delta.com, but in several cases you’ll need to contact Delta Reservations.

Book Online
Aeroflot Aerolineas Argentinas Aeromexico Air France Alitalia
China Airlines China Eastern China Southern Garuda Indonesia GOL
Great Lakes Hawaiian Airlines KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Jet Airways Mandarin Airlines
Korean Air Saudia Airlines Middle East Airlines Tarom Airlines Shanghai Airlines
Virgin Atlantic Vietnam Airlines WestJet Virgin Australia

Xiamen Airlines

Contact Delta Reservations by Phone
Air Europa Air Tahiti Nui Czech Airlines Kenya Airways

You can redeem your miles with Delta or any of the partners in the same way. When looking for flights, just make sure the option to search both Delta and Partner Airlines is selected. This option will appear after you select “Miles” in the advanced search. It will probably be selected by default, but it’s good to check.

Selecting Delta & Partner Airlines.

Selecting Delta & Partner Airlines

Let’s go through a normal point redemption example. Say you want to book a round-trip ticket from Asheville, North Carolina, to El Paso, Texas. It’s right on the border, so easy access to tacos.

We’ll look at three different flight classes. As you’ll see, for this particular example your miles will be worth slightly more for lower class fares.

Main Cabin

A main cabin ticket for this flight would cost $606. Or you could get it for 48,000 miles, along with an $11.60 fee.

You could get those miles by spending $6,858 with Delta, earning at the 7X rate. Then you could redeem them for the flight.

In this example your miles would be worth about 1.26 cents each. And the overall cash back equivalent that you’re getting is about 8.8%, after you count the extra fee, which is pretty good.

Total spend: $6,858 + $11.60 = $6,869.60

Cash back equivalent: $606 is about 8.8% of $6,869.60

Delta Comfort+

If you booked a Delta Comfort+ class seat instead, you’d wind up with a similar deal overall. That seat would cost $729, or 59,000 miles plus an $11.60 fee.

It would take $8,429 in spending to earn that many miles, at the 7X rate.

In this case your miles are worth about 1.24 cents each, about the same as above. And the cash back equivalent you’d get is around 8.6%.

Total spend: $8,429 + $11.60 = $8,440.60

Cash back equivalent: $729 is about 8.6% of $8,440.60

First Class

If you’re flying high, a seat will cost $944. It’s also available for 77,500 miles, with an $11.60 fee once again.

These miles would require $11,072 in Delta purchases to get, earning at the 7X rate.

Your miles are worth about 1.22 cents each for this redemption, a bit lower than before. The cash back equivalent here is about 8.5%, also lower than above.

Total spend: $11,072 + $11.60 = $11,083.60

Cash back equivalent: $944 is about 8.5% of $11,083.60

How to Offset the Annual Fee

You’ll need to pay a $195 annual fee with this card, so you should aim to earn enough miles to offset that fee each year. How much would you need to spend to do that?

The amount you need to spend will depend on the rate at which you earn miles (7X or 1X), and the value you get when you redeem them. Assuming you’re getting 1.25 cents per mile, here’s how much you’d need to spend at each rate:

Required Spending to Offset Annual Fee
At the 7X rate $2,229
At the 1X rate $15,600

So the minimum required spending at the 1.25-cent value would be $2,229. If you manage to redeem at a higher value, it won’t take as much spending. And if you redeem at a lower value, it will take more spending.

You’ll want to spend more with the card than this, of course, so you actually profit from the rewards rather than just offset the annual fee.

Remember that you’ll also get two pretty good signup bonus offers. Those two deals could provide about $975 in value together, which would offset the annual fee for five years. And you can earn even more miles through the Miles Boost offers.

The Benefits

Basic Delta Member Status

Cardholders will become basic Delta members, which provides 5X miles per dollar spent on Delta-marketed flights. That’s in addition to the 2X miles per dollar you’ll earn with this card, so basic members will get a total of 7X miles per dollar when spending with Delta.

Take note that partner flights will provide miles at a different rate.

Many co-branded airline and hotel credit cards will include membership in some sort of program, usually at the most basic level. Check with the co-branded company for details about any membership you might receive.

Medallion Member Status with Delta

You’ll have three different ways to reach a higher Medallion member status with Delta using this card.

You can earn:

  • Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs): based on how far you travel with Delta, and your fare class
  • Medallion Qualification Segments (MQSs): based on the number of flights you take
  • Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs): based on your annual spending with Delta and certain partner airlines

Higher status levels will come with more miles per dollar on Delta purchases, complimentary ticket upgrades, and lots of perks like preferred seats, fee waivers, and priority check-in. There are four different elite member tiers you can reach, and you must fulfill both the first and second requirement. We’ve included the basic member level here for comparison.

Membership Tier First Requirement Second Requirement Miles Earned
Basic 5X miles per dollar
Silver 25,000 MQMs or 30 MQSs $3,000 MQDs or MQD Waiver 7X miles per dollar
Gold 50,000 MQMs or 60 MQSs $6,000 MQDs or MQD Waiver 8X miles per dollar
Platinum 75,000 MQMs or 100 MQSs $9,000 MQDs or MQD Waiver 9X miles per dollar
Diamond 125,000 MQMs or 140 MQSs $15,000 MQDs or MQD Waiver 11X miles per dollar

The MQD Waiver is described below.

After earning a particular status level, it will be valid for the remainder of the year plus the next calendar year. After reaching Silver status, any MQMs you earn above the qualification threshold will roll over to the next year.

Medallion Qualification Dollar Waiver

Cardholders can bypass the MQD requirement described above by spending a certain amount with the card in a calendar year.

To qualify for an MQD Waiver for Silver, Gold, or Platinum status, you must spend at least $25,000 on eligible purchases with the card in a year.

To qualify for an MQD Waiver for Diamond status, you must spend at least $250,000 on eligible purchases with the card in a year.

First Checked Bag Free

You and up to eight traveling companions will get your first checked bags free when flying with Delta. The first checked bag will normally cost $25 per person, so this perk has the potential to save you quite a bit of money if you fly often.

There are some terms and restrictions, however:

  • You must include your SkyMiles number in your reservation when booking the flight.
  • This waiver only applies to flight segments which originate on a Delta or Delta Connection carrier.
  • You must check-in with Delta.
  • This waiver only applies to bags that are not overweight or oversize.

This is a common benefit to find on airline credit cards. The Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier actually goes a step further and provides free first and second checked bags.

Annual Companion Certificate at Renewal

This benefit only begins after you’ve used the card for one year. In your renewal month, you’ll receive a companion certificate you can use for the purchase of select adult round-trip fares on Delta flights. Then you will get another certificate once per year on every renewal month going forward.

As you’d expect, there are a number of terms and restrictions you’ll need to abide by:

  • The certificate is valid for one round-trip Main Cabin companion ticket.
  • You must purchase a primary ticket and companion ticket on the same reservation, for the same flight, date, and time.
  • The certificate is valid for published flight routings within the 48 contiguous United States.
  • U.S. residents outside the 48 contiguous states must originate flights from there to the contiguous states to be eligible.
  • The trip must be booked and completed by the expiration date on the companion certificate.
  • The certificate is eligible on Delta, Delta Connection carrier, and Delta Shuttle flights only.
  • A maximum of $75 in applicable government-imposed taxes and fees will apply, depending on the number of flight segments included.
  • This offer may not be combined with any other offers or discounts (but the first checked bag waiver will still apply).
  • Companion certificates are eligible for Medallion Complimentary Upgrades on certain flights.

Additional terms will apply. If you’re not sure if your companion certificate will be eligible for a certain reservation, contact Delta’s customer support.

Several other cards offer companion tickets. Besides the other Delta cards, you’ll also find it on the British Airways Visa Signature® Card (Review) and the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Card, for example.

Priority Boarding

You and up to eight passengers on the same reservation will receive Zone 1 Priority Boarding on Delta flights. You must include your SkyMiles number on the reservation.

Priority Boarding is available on Delta and Delta Connection carrier operated flights. It is not available on Delta Shuttle flights.

This type of perk is available on some airline and travel cards, but not all. The other two Delta cards each have it, but the the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier does not.

Discounted Delta Sky Club® Access

The cardholder and up to two guests can enter Delta Sky Clubs for a discounted fee of $29 per person. Children under two years of age can enter for free.

Club perks include a healthy menu, complimentary alcohol and WiFi, meeting spaces and office equipment, showers, and a place to relax.

  • The entry fee must be paid with the Platinum Delta card.
  • Cardholders must be 21 or over to access any Club with a self-service bar, unless accompanied by a parent or legal guardian accessing the Club in the same discounted way, or as a Club member.
  • Sky Club access is not transferable to any other airport lounges.
  • The particular amenities you get may vary by Club location.
  • Meeting rooms can be reserved in advance for a fee.

If you travel a lot and airport lounge access is important to you, there are some other credit cards that offer lounge access for no fee. The Hilton Honors Ascend Card (Review), for example, provides 10 annual passes to Priority Pass Select lounges. That card has a $95 annual fee. And the Amex Platinum Card (Review) includes unlimited free access to a variety of different lounge brands, but it’s made for serious travelers with a $550 annual fee.

20% Savings on In-Flight Purchases

Cardholders get a 20% discount on eligible in-flight purchases made on Delta-operated flights. The purchases must be made using the Delta SkyMiles card. This discount will be applied as a statement credit, six to eight weeks after the transaction is posted to the account.

Eligible in-flight purchases are those provided or serviced by Delta:

  • food
  • alcoholic beverages
  • certain pre-purchased meals provided by Delta

The discount will not apply to purchases of in-flight wireless internet access, associated services, or charitable contributions. That’s because these services are provided by a third party, not Delta.

Many airline cards will offer an in-house discount like this. The JetBlue Plus Card actually offers a 50% discount on eligible inflight purchases.

Lowest Hotel Rates Guarantee

If you book a qualifying room through amextravel.com and find the same exact offer being advertised elsewhere for a lower price, you can be reimbursed for the difference.

To be eligible for reimbursement:

  • You must submit your claim before your stay, before the date of check-in.
  • It must be the same room, in the same hotel, for the same dates, the same number of adults and children, before taxes and fees.
  • It must be an online advertisement available to the general public.

You’ll find this particular benefit on many Amex credit cards.

Other Benefits

This card comes with several other benefits, along with some shopping and travel protections that could come in useful too. They include:

  • Complimentary ShopRunner membership, which comes with free two-day shipping and returns at select online retailers
  • Entertainment Access, with invitations to exclusive live events around the world
  • Preferred Seating at select events
  • Purchase Protection to cover eligible items against damage and theft
  • Baggage Insurance Plan to cover your eligible lost, stolen, or damaged bags
  • Dispute Resolution Service for help dealing with merchants when you have a problem
  • Zero-Liability Protection so you won’t be held responsible for unauthorized charges

Check out the full set of benefits for the Amex Platinum Delta SkyMiles Card. And be sure to see your Guide to Benefits for more details.

The Costs & Fees

Purchase APR Balance Transfer APR Cash Advance APR
17.24%–26.24% Variable 17.24%–26.24% Variable 26.74% Variable
Annual Fee Foreign Transaction Fee Balance Transfer Fee Cash Advance Fee
$195  0% 3%; Min:$5 3%; Min:$5
Penalty APR Late Fee Returned Payment Fee
29.99% Variable Up to $38 Up to $38

There’s nothing too complicated about the costs and fees for this card. You’ll need to pay a $195 annual fee, which you can offset with about $2,229 in spending, as described above.

If you carry a balance from month to month you’ll be charged interest. There is no zero percent intro APR. But if you always pay off your balance in full each month you’ll be able to avoid interest on purchases, and it will be better for your credit utilization. That will be good for your credit and it will help keep you out of credit card debt, too.

There are no foreign transaction fees to pay. That’s a nice feature to have on any travel card.

Customer Support

Phone Support

Amex Customer Support 1-800-528-4800
Pay Bill by Phone 1-800-472-9297
Check Application Status 1-800-567-1085
Credit Bureau Unit 1-800-874-2717

If you have an issue with your card or account, you can call the phone number above or the number on the back of your card. American Express has good customer support compared to most credit card issuers, so you can usually expect to have your problem resolved fairly quickly.

Every year J.D. Power conducts their Credit Card Satisfaction Survey, and in 2017 Amex came in first, right ahead of Discover. They’ve always come in either first or second, in fact, ever since the first survey in 2007.

A phone call might be a good idea if you have complicated questions about your card. But if you have a simpler question you might find it easier to use their web support option, described next.

Web Support

Amex Twitter @AskAmex

You’ll be able to learn pretty much everything you need to know about the Delta Platinum SkyMiles from Amex’s card page. You may need to check the card terms and conditions for some information, however, such as to find the Miles Boost offers.

Amex has a Twitter account dedicated to customer support, @AskAmex. You can contact them there for generic questions, but be sure not to reveal your personal or account information on Twitter.

Cardholders of any Amex card can also access their live web chat. This could be easier than calling them on the phone for help because you won’t have to wade through a phone tree. There’s also a screen sharing feature, which will let a customer service rep guide you to certain information or through a procedure online.

The Bottom Line

The Platinum Delta SkyMiles Card from American Express is a good option for frequent Delta flyers. If you spend around $3,000 or more on air travel per year, this card might be a good way to lighten the load on your wallet.

You’ll be getting 7X miles per dollar, and you can increase that by increasing your membership tier. This is pretty typical for airline credit cards, and you can generally expect to get a cash back equivalent of around 8.75% when spending with Delta, which isn’t too bad.

The other perks should be able to save you quite a bit of money — the more you travel, the more opportunities you’ll have to use them. The free first checked bag could add up to quite a lot over the course of a year, as could the 20% in-flight discount. And the Medallion member tiers will provide a variety of nice perks in addition to the extra miles.

There are many airline cards out there, designed for different levels of spending and different airlines too. Check out some other cards designed for flying with Delta, other airlines, or travel spending in general.

How to Apply for the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Card

You can apply for this card by simply clicking the Apply Now button below. American Express will check your credit reports with the three major credit bureaus when you apply.

Many applicants will get an instant decision in just a few seconds. But in some cases it may take longer. You can check the status of your application any time after you apply.

Some applicants will also get an instant card number, which will let you use the card immediately after being approved, before it arrives in the mail. Your eligibility for an instant card number will depend on if Amex can instantly verify your identity. You may not have access to your full credit line until confirming that you’ve received the physical card.

Qualifications and Requirements

  • Must be 18 to apply
  • Personal identifying information, including SSN, email address, and phone number
  • Total annual income, and source of income
  • Delta SkyMiles number (if already a member)
Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card by American Express
Apply Now

Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card by American Express

For People with
Excellent Credit

  • Annual Fee: $195
  • Interest Rate: 17.24%–26.24% Variable
Quick Card Facts
  • 2X miles per $1 spent on purchases made directly with Delta
  • 1X mile per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Spend $25,000 in a year, get 10,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs)
  • Spend $50,000 in a year, get another 10,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs)
  • Complimentary Delta Sky Club® Access for a discounted fee of $29
  • An annual companion certificate for a Domestic Main Cabin round trip, after your first year
  • First checked bag is free on Delta flights
  • Travel perks like priority boarding and in-flight savings
  • Redeem miles with Delta or 15 airline partners
  • $195 annual fee

Alternatives to the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Card

Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card

The Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card is the cheaper alternative for flying with Delta, with a fee of $95 that’s waived the first year. You’ll actually get many of the same rewards and benefits, with a few important differences.

Rewards

  • 7X or more SkyMiles per dollar for purchases made directly with Delta (enter your SkyMiles number when making purchases)
    • 2X SkyMiles per dollar for using the Platinum Delta SkyMiles card
    • 5X or more SkyMiles per dollar for being a Delta SkyMiles member
  • 1X SkyMile per dollar on all other eligible purchases
  • Signup bonus: 50,000 bonus miles for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
  • Signup bonus: $50 statement credit after making a Delta purchase within the first 3 months

So the rewards program is pretty similar, still providing 7X miles for Delta purchases. However, you’ll notice that there are no Miles Boost opportunities with this card, like you’ll get with the Platinum Delta. And you also won’t be earning any MQMs with these offers.

Overall, this is the main difference between these two cards. If you don’t care about Medallion status with Delta or won’t spend enough to get the Miles Boosts, you can probably get a better value overall from the Gold Delta card because the annual fee is much lower.

Benefits

The benefits and perks of these cards are pretty much exactly the same. You’ll get discounted access to Delta Sky Clubs, Priority Boarding, your first checked bag free, and the 20% discount on in-flight purchases.

For the most part, the only difference is that the Gold Delta card doesn’t have a Baggage Insurance Plan, while the Platinum Delta does include that benefit. This probably won’t be a major deciding factor for most people.

Costs & Fees

The Gold Delta SkyMiles costs $95 per year, and that fee is waived for the first year. That’s $100 less than the Platinum Delta card, quite a difference.

This card is designed for less spending than the Platinum Delta, making it a better choice for people who don’t travel as much. You’ll be able to offset the annual fee on this card with $1,086 in spending, assuming you earn at the 7X rate and redeem in the way described above.

If you don’t spend enough to make the Platinum Delta card worth the fee, the Gold Delta might be right for you. But if you spend even more than that, you’ll want to check out the next card in line.

Delta Reserve Credit Card

The Delta Reserve Credit Card comes with a $450 annual fee, so it’s meant for people who spend quite a lot with Delta every year.

Rewards

  • 7X or more SkyMiles per dollar for purchases made directly with Delta (enter your SkyMiles number when making purchases)
    • 2X SkyMiles per dollar for using the Platinum Delta SkyMiles card
    • 5X or more SkyMiles per dollar for being a Delta SkyMiles member
  • 1X SkyMile per dollar on all other eligible purchases
  • Signup bonus: 40,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
  • Miles Boost: 15,000 bonus miles and 15,000 MQMs for spending $30,000 or more in a calendar year
  • Miles Boost: an additional 15,000 bonus miles and 15,000 MQMs for spending a total of $50,000 or more in a calendar year

So you’ll have a very similar rewards program as you would with the Delta Platinum card. That includes the Miles Boost offers, although the Reserve’s Boosts are a bit bigger. But you’ll find that the Delta Platinum may actually have a more valuable rewards program, thanks to the signup bonuses, despite having a much lower annual fee.

This seems a bit backwards, but Amex and Delta must have decided that the other perks you’ll get will make this card worth the cost.

Benefits

The Delta Reserve has some upgraded perks, although many of them are the same as what you’ll get with the Platinum Delta. Most of the benefits are similar, but some of them have slightly better terms.

For example, cardholders get complimentary access to Delta Sky Clubs, without needing to pay a fee. But guests will still cost $29 per person. And the annual companion certificate you get will be valid for a round-trip First Class, Delta Comfort+, or Main Cabin ticket.

Delta Reserve cardholders can access the Sky Priority security line at participating airports, to get through faster. This is available for other passengers on the same reservation too. A personal concierge is available as well, ready to help with a wide variety of non-emergency tasks.

Other than that, there aren’t many differences in the extra benefits these cards provide. Overall, it doesn’t seem like much of an upgrade over the benefits you’ll get with the Platinum Delta.

Costs & Fees

The Delta Reserve costs $450 per year, which is about as expensive as most premium travel cards come. For that fee, it seems like it might be tough to get enough out of the rewards and benefits to make this card worthwhile, compared to the Platinum Delta at $195.

You’d need to spend $5,143 with Delta to earn enough miles to offset the $450, redeeming them for 1.25 cents each. That’s a bit more than what you’d need for the Platinum Delta, but not a whole lot.

This card doesn’t offer vastly better rewards or benefits than the Platinum Delta. But if you’re already making $6,000 or more in purchases with Delta every year, you’re probably spending a fair amount of time in airports. That could make the complimentary Sky Club access and Sky Priority security line much more valuable to you than the average traveler, and that might be enough to make this card worthwhile.

Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card

The Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card (Review), issued by Citi, is an example of a card that’s co-branded with a different airline. You’ll find many of the same features, but aimed towards flying with Southwest Airlines.

Rewards

  • 8X points or more for every dollar spent on eligible flights purchased from Southwest Airlines, depending on flight and member status
  • 2X points for every dollar spent on eligible purchases from Rapid Rewards Hotel and Car Rental Partners
  • 1X point for every dollar spent on all other purchases
  • Signup bonus: 50,000 bonus points for spending $2,000 in purchases in the first 3 months after opening the account
  • Anniversary bonus: 6,000 bonus points after your cardmember anniversary, every year
  • Earn tier qualifying points: You’ll get 1,500 tier qualifying points (TQPs) for every $10,000 in eligible purchases, up to 15,000 TQPs per year

So you’ll be getting at least 8X points per dollar with this card, depending on flight class and your member status. More expensive flight classes and higher membership tiers provide more points per dollar.

There are more bonus categories here, including the Rapid Rewards Hotel and Car Rental Partners. This includes hotel brands like Southwest Hotels, Starwood Preferred Guest, World of Hyatt, Marriott Rewards, and more. Car rental partners include Avis, Budget, and Hertz, among others. This will let you earn more points on spending outside of airlines.

In this case your points will typically be worth about 1.5 cents each, although this will vary depending on the particular flight or expense you’re redeeming for. That means you’ll be getting a cash back equivalent of about 12% for flights from Southwest. That’s pretty good, a bit better than the value you’ll get with the Platinum Delta card.

Benefits

You’ll find some airline benefits on the Southwest card that are pretty similar to what you’ll get with the Delta Platinum. With the Southwest card your first and second checked bags are free. And there are also no change fees for switching fares.

Other than that, there aren’t many other valuable perks with the Southwest card. You’ll have the opportunity to reach A-List member status with Southwest by earning tier qualifying points, as shown above. It will take 35,000 TQPs to earn A-List status, or 25 eligible flights. You can get there faster with the TQPs you’ll get from using this card.

Cardholders can also earn a companion pass by taking 100 qualifying one-way flights, or earning 110,000 qualifying points. These qualifying points are earned by spending with Southwest, or with the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Card.

Overall, it seems like the extra perks of the Delta Platinum are quite a bit better. But this is what you’d expect from a card with a higher annual fee.

Costs & Fees

The Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier is cheaper, at $99 per year. Other than that, the other terms are pretty similar.

If you’re earning at the 8X rate, it would take only $825 in spending to earn enough points to offset the fee. That assumes you get 1.5 cents per point.

As you can see, this card is all about spending and flying with Southwest. There are many other airline credit cards out there, co-branded with different airlines. The right one for you will depend on which airline you fly with the most.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (Review) is a general travel rewards card. Unlike the others on this page, this card is designed for travel spending of all kinds, rather than being limited to a single airline. If you travel often but don’t have an allegiance to any one airline, a card like this would typically be a good option.

Rewards

  • 2X points for every dollar spent on:
    • travel
    • dining at restaurants
  • 1X point for every dollar spent on all other purchases
  • Signup bonus: 60,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months
  • Signup bonus: 5,000 bonus points if you make a purchase and add an authorized user to your account within the first 3 months
  • 25% point bonus when you redeem points for airfare, hotel stays, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards

So you’ll be earning points on every travel expense you have, every airline, hotel, and even car rental agency. This makes it more flexible than any of the airline cards we’ve discussed. And you’ll also get points for dining too.

The best way to redeem your points, in most cases, will be through Chase Ultimate Rewards. Points are typically worth 1 cent each, but that 25% point bonus bumps that up to 1.25 cents each. That means you’d be earning the equivalent of 2.5% cash back when spending in the bonus categories, or 1.25% cash back for other purchases.

You can also transfer your points at a 1:1 rate to a number of airline and hotel travel partners, where you may find a better value for them. But the deal you get will depend on which partner you transfer to and how you redeem the points, so there’s no guarantee of getting a great value.

This card won’t provide as high of a cash back equivalent as you can get with an airline card like the Platinum Delta. But that’s the trade-off for being more flexible when it comes to both earning and redeeming points. An airline card will limit your earning and redeeming to that single airline, or its partners.

Benefits

There aren’t that many interesting and valuable benefits to gain from the Sapphire Preferred. For the most part, they just consist of basic shopping and travel protections like you find on many cards.

Cardholders can also access a variety of offers through the Chase Experiences® service. However, you likely won’t find much recurring value here because the deals are pretty location-specific. And if you don’t go see many sports events or live shows, there probably isn’t much here to interest you.

The extra perks for the Sapphire Preferred don’t really compare to the airline-specific benefits you can get with a co-branded card. But they’re not bad as far as general travel rewards cards go.

Costs & Fees

The Chase Sapphire Preferred has a $95 annual fee. You can offset that by spending $3,800 with the card.

That assumes you earn at the 2X rate, and redeem your points through Chase Ultimate Rewards for the 25% bonus. If you happen to find a point transfer deal that could provide a better value, you wouldn’t need to spend quite as much.

There are also no foreign transaction fees, just like the other cards on this page. This is an excellent feature to have on a travel card, because you don’t want to pay extra on trips outside the U.S.

You should look to a general travel card like this if you don’t tend to fly with a particular airline, or stay at a particular hotel. You may not get the same kind of brand-specific benefits, but the reward-earning flexibility could make this card much more profitable for you.

Do you fly with the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Card? How do you like it? Leave your own review, we’d love to hear from you!

Looking for other card options to make your flights cheaper and more comfortable? See our picks for the Best Airline Credit Cards.
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