Delta Credit Cards
$99, waived first year
Gold: 60,000 Delta miles ($2,000 initial spend) plus 10,000 miles after your first anniversary.
Platinum: 80,000 Delta miles ($3,000 initial spend) plus 20,000 miles after your first anniversary.Reserve: 80,000 miles plus 20,000 MQMs ($5,000 initial spend) plus 20,000 miles after your first anniversary.
30,000 Delta miles, plus $50 credit for Delta purchase in first three months
$1,000 initial spend
($450 net value, .45/$)Signup Bonus Chart
2x Delta Purchases (Gold)
3x Delta Purchases (Platinum & Reserve)
2x Restaurants (except Reserve)
2x US Supermarkets (Personal Gold & Platinum)
3x Hotels (Platinum)
2x US Shipping & Advertising (Business Gold)
1.5x on purchases of $5,000+ (Business Platinum)
1x Everywhere Else
No Foreign Transaction Fee
If you fly Delta more than a couple of times per year, you probably want to get one of their credit cards, to take advantage of the free checked bag and early boarding benefits. Most people will want to get the Gold version. But, if you are confident that you can take advantage of the annual companion certificate, need to earn some extra qualifying miles for Delta elite status, or are thinking about paying for a Delta Lounge membership, you might want to get the more expensive Platinum and/or Reserve version instead.
Because it is hard to use credit card travel benefits during the pandemic, Amex has made some temporary changes to their cards.
- You'll earn 4x points on grocery spending in May, June, and July. There is no cap. This benefit is only available on the personal cards.
- All MQMs earned in 2020 will be carried over until 2021.
- You might receive a statement credit when you renew your card between April and December. This is available for some people, but not everyone. For the personal Delta Reserve, the credit is $100. For the Delta Reserve Business, the credit is $125. For the Delta Platinum, the credit is $50. For the Delta Platinum Business, the credit is $75.
Delta Credit Card Options
There are seven different Delta credit cards. Each of the following cards comes in both a personal and a business version. Other than possibly different signup bonuses, the business versions and personal versions are nearly identical.
Gold Delta Skymiles card. This Delta Gold card is the default for people who are interested in a Delta card to take advantage of its ongoing benefits. $99 annual fee, waived the first year. Business version (Amex Webpage, Signup Bonus Chart).
Platinum Delta Skymiles card . The Platinum version has a $250 annual fee. There are two main reasons you might want to pay extra for this card. Every year, when you renew the card, you'll get a companion certificate that allows two people to fly for nearly the price of one (as long as you can still get access to a qualifying fare). And the card provides the opportunity to earn Delta qualifying miles that can help you achieve the next level of Delta status. You can earn up to 20,000 bonus MQMs each year. Personal version (Amex Webpage, Signup Bonus Chart). Business version (Amex Webpage, Signup Bonus Chart).
Reserve Delta Skymiles card. The Reserve version has a $550 annual fee. It can earns even more qualifying miles than the Platinum version, and lets you use your companion certificate for premium cabin seats. But its most important advantage, over the Platinum version, is that it provides free access to the Delta Sky Club and Amex Centurion Lounges and 2 one-time Sky Club guest passes. Personal version (Amex Webpage, Signup Bonus Chart). Business version (Amex Webpage, Signup Bonus Chart),
In addition, there is a personal version of the:
Blue Delta Skymiles card. Delta's no-annual-fee card doesn't provide much in the way of benefits or a signup bonus, and therefore isn't particularly interesting. Amex Webpage
Collecting the Signup Bonus
- It is worth signing up for these cards just for the signup bonus. Even 30,000 Delta miles and a $50 statement credit is worth $450-500. Promotional oofers of up to 75,000-100,000 miles are worth much more.
- Some signup offers include statement credits. They apply to Delta purchases that you make within the first 90 days. If you don't need to buy a ticket during that period of time, you can use the credit to buy a Delta gift card online, and essentially "bank" the money to use on a later flight.
- The normal offer for the Reserve version of the card usually much less valuable. You might get a few more miles, but the annual fee is much higher. If you were getting the card for its SkyClub access and/or MQM earning capabilities, it can make sense.
- You can only earn the signup bonus once per lifetime. With Amex cards, you are normally not entitled to earn the signup bonus, if you've ever had the card before. However, you may eventually receive a targeted offer that bypasses this limitation, allowing you to earn the bonus an additional time.
- However, you can earn signup bonuses for each one of these cards. Over a period of time, you can receive up to three significant signup bonuses from the Gold, Platinum, and Reserve cards. If you have a any kind of small business, you can sign up for the three business versions as well. By doing so, you can earn hundreds of thousands of Delta points. Unlock Extra Reward Points with Business Credit Cards.
- You may want to wait until you receive a better than normal offer. Since Amex will normally only let you receive the signup bonus once per lifetime, and frequently offers promotional signup offers, it can be worthwhile to postpone signing up, so you don't waste your bonus on a less valuable offer.
- You probably don't want to bother with the Blue version. Even though it has no annual fee, its normal signup bonus is only 10,000 miles. There is a limit to how many Amex cards you can have at any one time, as well as limitations on the total number of cards you can apply for during any time period. You are usually better off focusing on cards that have better signup bonuses, earning rates, or ongoing benefits.
Delta Companion Certificate
Every year, when you renew the Platinum and Reserve versions of the card, you'll receive a companion certificate that is good during the following year. This is one of the better airline companion certificates that you can get from a credit card. Guide to the Delta Airlines Companion Certificate
When you book two tickets with the certificate, one passenger only needs to pay the taxes. The Delta companion certificate can only be used for round trip flights within the contiguous United States. The certificate from the Platinum card can only be used for coach tickets, the certificate from the Reserve card, can be used for any class of service.
While you don’t have to pay a special higher fare on the initial ticket, the certificate only works with a limited number of fare classes. Once the plane starts to fill up, you will no longer be eligible to use the certificate on that flight. When tickets prices are higher than normal, and using the certificate would be most attractive, companion fares often won’t be available. Nevertheless, many people will wind up flying on Delta flights where the certificate can be used, and can save significant amounts of money.
Other Notable Benefits
- Free checked bags. The first checked bag is free for up to nine passengers, even on basic economy fares. Get Free Checked Bags with Airline Credit Cards.
- Priority boarding. Zone 1 boarding makes it easier to find space in the overhead bins.
- 20% inflight purchase discount. Good for food, beverages, and audio headsets.
- $100 Delta flight credit if you spend $10,000 in a calendar year (Gold only).
- $100 TSA credit (Platinum only), once every five years.
- Discounted Sky Club Access (Platinum only) You can purchase Sky Club day passes for $39 each, for up to three passengers, rather than the normal price of $59.
- Access to Amex Offers. Amex continuously provides discount offers to their cardholders. Most of the offers are in the form of "Spend $x, get $y back", but there are also "x% off your entire order" and "Earn an extra Membership Reward point on your purchases" offers. In order to take advantage of the offers, you need to go to the Amex website, find the ones you are interested in, and then "add them" to your card. Then, each offer will be automatically applied when you use your card to make the corresponding purchase. Amex Offers Website.
- Free ShopRunner membership. As with all Amex cards, you are entitled to a complimentary ShopRunner membership, which provides free two-day and return shipping from around 150 of the largest online retailers. ShopRunner Website
- Exclusive access to entertainment events. Amex sponsors cardmember-only events around the country, and all provides early access to tickets to some shows.
Extra benefits with the Reserve card
- Free access to the Delta Sky Club, when flying on Delta-marketed flights. Only for the primary cardholder. Additional guests available for $39 each. Unlike a Delta Sky Club membership, which retails for $495, your don't have partner lounge privileges.
- Two free Sky Club lounge passes, per year.
- Free access to Amex Centurion Lounges. But only if you are flying on a Delta-marketed flight. Only for the primary cardholders, up to two guests are $50 each.
- Up to 4 status boosts per year (rather than two). Plus you can "gift" your status boosts to another member.
- Qualify for upgrades without status. You can get first class and Comfort+ upgrades, but you get them after anyone with Delta status gets upgraded first. That also means that you'll need to wait until the day of departure. As with other upgrades, you might be able get an upgrade for a single companion. If you have some level of status, you'll get a boost for upgrades versus other passengers within the same Medallion Tier and fare class group.
Earning MQMs with the Platinum / Reserve versions
Both the Platinum and Reserve card let you earn "qualifying miles" that can help you qualify for Delta elite status. This can be very helpful for frequent Delta flyers that need an assist to qualify for the next higher level of status.
- The "qualifying miles" you earn from these cards don't get added to your point balance for redeeming frequent flyer tickets. They only help you achieve status during the year you earn the points.
- You can earn up to 20,000 MQMs with the each version of the Delta Platinum card. You'll get 10,000 MQMs for every $25,000 you spend in a calendar year, with a maximum of 2 "boosts".
- You can earn up to 50,000 MQMs with each version of the Delta Reserve card. You'll get 15,000 MQMs for every $30,000 you spend, with a maximum of 4 boosts. This is a better ratio of MQMs to dollars. However, since the Reserve card doesn't have good bonus categories (other than Delta flights), you'll earn fewer redeemable miles with every dollar spent.
- When you sign up for a new Platinum or Reserve card, you often get some bonus MQMs. The number of MQMs varies with other aspects of the current offer.
- You can gift the MQMs you earn from the Delta Reserve to another person. For example, if you needed more MQMs than you could receive from your own cards, you could earn more from your spouses's card.
- It is possible to earn up to 6 "mileage boosts" by upgrading a Platinum card to the Reserve card during the year. Since Amex limits the number of credit cards you can have at any one time, this allows you to reduce the number of cards you need to hold onto, while maximizing the number of MQMs you earn./li>
- If you spend at least $25,000 on the Platinum and Reserve cards, you'll get a MQD waiver. There will be no minimum spending requirement for earning status, just the mileage requirement. However, you need to spend $250,000! per year to waive the requirement for Diamond status. Spending on the Gold card no longer provides an MQD waiver.
- You are better off making your Delta Airlines purchases with a card that earns a high reward rate for all your airfare spending. 2-3x Delta miles are better than what you'd earn from most general-purpose reward cards, but not as good as what you'd earn from a card that offers high bonus rewards on airfare purchases.Best Credit Cards for Travel Spending.
- Bonus rewards for other categories are good, but not as good as the rewards available from the best cards for those categories. Best Credit Cards for Restaurant Spending. Best Credit Cards for Grocery Spending. Best Credit Cards for Travel Spending.
- You usually don't want to use these card for your everyday spending. You'll earn higher rewards from a good general-purpose reward card. That is true even for the 1.5x miles on large purchases available on the Business Platinum version. Get a Great General Purpose Reward Card and Use It for All of Your Spending.
- However, if you are planning on earning the MQM bonuses from the Platinum or Reserve cards, it can be worthwhile to use these cards for some of your spending. If so, you can try to minimize the impact by using the cards for their various bonus categories, such as grocery stores on the personal cards, or large purchases on the Business Platinum card.
Getting Rid of the Card
You can cancel your card without losing your Delta miles. They are treated like any other miles in your account.
If you have the personal version of the Delta Platinum or Delta Reserve card, you should probably wait to get rid of your card until after you have received your annual companion certificate. If it is more than a month after your anniversary date, you will need to downgrade to the Blue card, rather than cancelling to receive a pro-rated portion of your annual fee. The downside is that you'll be tying up an Amex credit card slot for another year.
If you hold onto one of the business cards, you could download to the Gold card, but you don't want to do that if you haven't already collected its signup bonus.
If you are collecting signup bonuses, it is often worth it to cancel right after your anniversary fee. You'll get a refund of the annual fee. Then you can signup for whatever version you want for the following year and collect its signup bonus (and your Amex referral buddy can collect their referral bonus).
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