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The Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express offers a quicker way to get Delta SkyMiles and be on your way towards free flights, merchandise and gift cards.
While it likely won't be your go-to card for earning credit card rewards, it does have a place in your wallet if you're a frequent Delta flyer. After all, who doesn't appreciates in-flight discounts, priority boarding, free checked bags, and the opportunity to earn free or discounted flights?
The SkyMiles program is very flexible with the ability to redeem miles for partial flight costs and pay the rest in cash or redeem miles for partner flights. The $95 annual fee is worth it if you fly Delta even occasionally, as the free checked bag perk quickly pays for itself.
As an added bonus, you can get 30,000 bonus SkyMiles and a $50 statement credit once you make $1,000 in purchases during the first 3 months. This is a very low spending threshold for this generous a welcome offer.
The value of SkyMiles depends on how you redeem them, such as using miles for a partial ticket cost or redeeming for a flight on a partner airline.
SkyMiles can be valued at anywhere from 1 cent each to 3 cents each, so the 30,000 bonus SkyMiles have a value of at least $300. You also get a $50 statement credit when you make a Delta purchase within the first 3 months.
This brings the total value of your rewards offer to $350 at a minimum - or at least a 35% return on your spending. Not bad!
Overview of the Gold Delta SkyMiles Card
The Gold SkyMiles card earns SkyMiles for all purchases, with double SkyMiles on Delta spending. Like most airline-affiliated credit cards, you enjoy travel perks like priority boarding and free checked bags, along with savings on in-flight purchases.
The Gold SkyMiles card also comes with one rare benefit: Pay With Miles. If you don't have enough miles for a full Award Ticket, you can redeem miles toward part of the ticket price and pay cash for the rest.
The Gold Delta SkyMiles card has a $95 annual fee, which is waived the first year. Right now, you can get 30,000 bonus SkyMiles after spending just $1,000 during your first three months.
The Delta SkyMiles Rewards Program
The Delta Gold SkyMiles card earns you 2 miles per $1 on Delta purchases and 1 mile per $1 on everything else. And your miles will never expire.
Don't forget; you'll still earn miles from your regular SkyMiles frequent flyer membership. That means when you buy airline tickets through Delta with your Gold SkyMiles card, you will earn at least 7 miles per $1 -- 5 from your general membership and 2 from the card. You can potentially earn up to 13 miles per $1 if you already have Diamond Medallion status.
SkyMiles can be redeemed for flights, flight upgrades, and shopping through SkyMiles Marketplace. This online marketplace has merchandise and you can book hotels or rental cars, or just buy gift cards. You do not get a good value when you redeem for gift cards, with a $100 American Express gift card costing 21,500 miles ($0.46 per mile).
When you redeem miles, there are no blackout dates on Delta flights and you can redeem points for one-way tickets beginning at 10,000 miles. (Quick Update: Some Delta partners do have blackout dates and Delta does limit the number of award seats per flight, however.)
One of the biggest benefits of the Gold Delta SkyMiles card is the ability to redeem miles for the partial cost of a flight if you don't have enough for a full Award Ticket and cover the rest with cash. With the Pay With Miles benefit, your redemption is flexible based on the cost of the ticket.
If your focus is entirely on earning SkyMiles -- and not the other perks of the card -- you may want to consider another card.
For example, the Starwood Preferred Guest AmEx card gives the same amount of bonus points and Delta is a partner.
You can transfer SPG points at a 1:1 ratio for SkyMiles. When you transfer 20,000 SPG points, you get 5,000 bonus points, which is a nice perk. The Starwood Preferred Guest card is a great deal more flexible and you can also use those points for hotel stays along with flights.
The Gold Delta SkyMiles card comes with plenty of travel benefits. Along with the Pay With Miles redemption option explained above, you can enjoy:
- Free checked bag. Your first checked bag on Delta is free, along with up to 8 companions on the same reservation.
- Zone 1 priority boarding on Delta flights.
- Reduced rate at Delta Sky Clubs.
- 20% in-flight discounts.
- No foreign transaction fee. This can save you a great deal while traveling abroad.
- Car Rental Loss and Damage insurance.
- Roadside Assistance.
- Travel Accident Insurance.
On Delta flights, you can use your card for 20% savings on many in-flight purchases, including pre-purchased meals, alcoholic beverages, movies and headsets. With the Priority Boarding benefit, you will be able to settle into your seat sooner with less waiting.
You will also get access to the Delta Sky Club for you and 2 traveling companions for $29 each visit, which is discounted from the usual day pass price of $50.
One of the most popular benefits of the Gold Delta SkyMiles card is the free checked bags perk. You and up to 8 people under your reservation will have the first checked bag fee waived on each flight. This can save you $50 roundtrip per person, and it can more than justify the annual fee.
The card also includes many popular shopping perks. When you use your American Express card for eligible purchases, you will get an extra year added to the original manufacturer’s warranty with the Extended Warranty benefit. You can also enjoy Purchase Protection that covers your purchases from theft or accidental damage for up to 90 days.
The Gold Delta SkyMiles card has no foreign transaction fees, either, so you can use your card to shop outside of the United States without additional fees.
Comparing Delta SkyMiles Cards
There are three main Delta SkyMiles cards to choose from so it's important to consider your spending habits and the costs and benefits of each to decide which best fits your needs.
The Gold, Platinum, and Reserve SkyMiles cards all have a lot in common:
- 2 SkyMiles per $1 on Delta spending and 1 SkyMile per $1 on everything else.
- Pay With Miles to redeem miles toward all or part of your ticket price if you don't have the miles for a full Award Ticket.
- First checked bag free for you and up to 8 companions.
- EMV chip technology
- No foreign transaction fees
- 20% savings on many in-flight purchases
Now we get to the differences.
The Gold SkyMiles card is the most affordable and it's usually the best fit for most travelers with a $95 annual fee (waived the first year). You can use the Gold card as a part-time card to enjoy free checked bags, discounts, and priority boarding.
The Platinum SkyMiles card has a $195 annual fee, which is not waived the first year. The Platinum card helps you earn Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) to achieve or maintain your Medallion status. You earn 10,000 bonus miles for every $25,000 in spending each year plus 10,000 MQMs. Each spending threshold earns you additional bonus miles and MQMs.
The Platinum version also comes with a companion ticket each year and access to the Delta Sky Club for you and 2 travel companions at a reduced rate.
If you spend at least $25,000 per year on the card to qualify for the Miles Boost, this card may be a good deal for you.
The Delta Reserve card, meanwhile, has a $450 annual fee that is not waived the first year.
You can earn even more MQMs and bonus miles and you get a domestic companion ticket each year that can be used for economy or first-class, unlike the Platinum companion ticket. You also get complimentary Delta Sky Club access.
You need to spend at least $60,000 on the Reserve card to earn the most bonus miles and MQMs.
The Bottom Line
The Gold Delta SkyMiles card is usually the best choice for most Delta travelers and it’s a more affordable option than the Platinum or Reserve cards.
The Gold card has the lowest annual fee of the three with free checked bags and Priority Boarding, which are two of the most sought-after perks. Travelers who fly even once a year can more than pay for the annual fee with the free checked bags benefit.