Delta SkyMiles Gold Amex card review: Perfect for casual Delta travelers
Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card overview
The Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card provides valuable elite-like benefits at an affordable price point for casual Delta flyers. These benefits, which include a first checked bag free and priority boarding for you and up to eight travel companions on your reservation when flying Delta, can easily justify opening and keeping this card, especially for infrequent flyers looking to save on Delta travel. Card rating*: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
*Card rating is based on the opinion of TPG’s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
Delta offers multiple card options, but Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card is probably the best option for the occasional Delta flyer. It packs in a lot of perks for a low annual fee — $0 for the first year, then $99 after that (see rates and fees).
And now through March 29, the card’s welcome bonus is an impressive 70,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in your first six months of card membership. This bonus is worth $987, based on TPG’s most recent valuations, and can be a great way to offset some (or all) of the flight costs for your next trip.
Here’s everything you need to know about the card and why it might be worth getting.
Official application link: Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card
Delta SkyMiles Gold Amex welcome offer
The Delta Gold Amex currently has one of the best welcome offers we've seen it offer: 70,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in your first six months of card membership. TPG’s valuations peg Delta SkyMiles at 1.41 cents each, making this welcome bonus worth roughly $987. This offer ends March 29.
Due to Amex’s once-per-lifetime restriction on welcome bonuses, you won’t be eligible for this offer if you already have this card or had a previous version in the past. Amex may also consider other factors, including the number of American Express cards you have opened and closed, when determining your welcome offer eligibility.
Luckily, Amex will notify you if you aren’t eligible for the welcome offer and will allow you to withdraw your application before doing a hard pull on your credit. So, don’t ignore any messages that appear after you submit your application.
Related: Here’s a tip to prevent your Amex welcome bonus from being taken back
Earning miles on the Delta SkyMiles Gold Amex
With the Delta Gold Amex, you’ll earn Delta SkyMiles on purchases charged to your card as follows:
- 2 miles per dollar on purchases made with Delta.
- 2 miles per dollar on dining at restaurants , including takeout and delivery in the U.S.
- 2 miles per dollar at U.S. supermarkets.
- 1 mile per dollar on other eligible purchases.
Based on TPG’s valuation of Delta miles at 1.41 cents each, this means you’ll get an effective return of about 3% on eligible Delta, restaurant and supermarket purchases, and you’ll get about 1.5% in value on other purchases. That’s not bad, but not great, either.
Redeeming miles on the Delta SkyMiles Gold Amex
The most obvious way to redeem Delta SkyMiles is to book award flights on Delta and its partners. Since Delta uses a dynamic award pricing system, though, redemption rates fluctuate widely. This means you can’t really aim for a set amount of miles to book a specific award. That said, there are still some sweet spots in the Delta SkyMiles program.
For example, one of the best ways to redeem Delta SkyMiles is to book a SkyMiles deal. Delta frequently has mileage flash sales with significantly discounted economy and even Delta One award flights.
You can also redeem Delta SkyMiles to fly on Delta partner airlines, including SkyTeam alliance partners like Air France and Korean Air and non-alliance partners like Virgin Atlantic and WestJet — though it’s worth noting that Virgin Atlantic is slated to join SkyTeam next year.
Furthermore, you can redeem SkyMiles for many things other than flights — including premium drinks in Delta Sky Clubs. Most of these redemptions yield a lower return than when redeeming for flights.
Related: Everything you need to know about maximizing Delta SkyMiles award tickets
Delta SkyMiles Gold Amex Benefits
The Delta Gold Amex offers two solid benefits: a first checked bag free and Main Cabin 1 priority boarding.
In particular, you’ll get a first checked bag free when you check in with Delta for flights that are both Delta-marketed and Delta-operated.
As for boarding, Main Cabin 1 is actually the seventh out of 10 boarding groups, behind premium flyers and most elite-status tiers, but it’s still ahead of the pack at the back of the plane.
What you might not realize, though, is that both of these perks are available for you and up to eight other passengers traveling on the same reservation as you — that’s a total of nine possible baggage fee waivers and priority boarding places.
What’s more, unlike some other airline credit cards, Delta ties these benefits to your Delta SkyMiles account rather than your card. So, you don’t need to pay for your Delta flights with your Delta Gold Amex to access these perks. Instead, you can use one of the top cards for airfare purchases, which may allow you to earn more rewards on your flights or secure more comprehensive credit card travel protections for your trip.
On top of bags and boarding privileges, Delta Gold Amex cardholders also get the following benefits:
- 15% off award redemptions for Delta flights (when paying taxes and fees with this card).
- 20% back in the form of a statement credit when you use your card to buy eligible pre-purchased meals and inflight purchases of food, alcoholic beverages and audio headsets on Delta-operated flights.
- $100 Delta flight credit after you spend $10,000 or more on your card in a calendar year.
- Secondary collision damage waiver* when you pay for rental cars with your card (Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company. Car Rental Loss or Damage Coverage is offered through American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc.).
- Baggage insurance plan* when you book flights entirely with your card (Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company).
- Extended warranty protection* and purchase protection* for purchases made with your card (Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company).
- Complimentary ShopRunner membership. (enrollment is required)
- No foreign transaction fees (see rates and fees).
* Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Enrollment is required for select benefits.
Related: Choosing the best credit cards for Delta flyers
Which cards compete with the Delta SkyMiles Gold Amex?
If getting your first checked bag free and priority boarding when flying Delta for a low annual fee are your main motivators, the Delta Gold Amex is probably your best option. However, if you have a different goal, another card may be a better fit.
- If you want flexible rewards: The American Express® Gold Card earns American Express Membership Rewards points that can be transferred to Delta and other loyalty programs. While it doesn't have perks specific to Delta and has a $250 annual fee (see rates and fees), it does earn bonus points on flights booked directly with an airline as well as on restaurant and supermarket purchases. For more information, check out our full review of the Amex Gold Card.
- If you want to earn Delta Medallion elite status: The Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card offers the same Delta benefits as the Delta Gold Amex but also gives you a Medallion Qualification Dollar waiver toward tiers up to Platinum Medallion. For more information, check out our full review of the Delta Platinum Amex.
- If you want Delta Sky Club access: With the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, you'll get complimentary Sky Club access for you as well as two one-time guest passes. But with that access comes a higher annual fee of $550 (see rates and fees). For more information, check out our full review of the Delta Reserve Amex.
For additional options, check out our full list of best travel credit cards and best American Express cards.
Read more: The best Delta credit cards
Is the Delta SkyMiles Gold Amex worth it?
To get value out of this card, you’ll want to ensure that you can maximize perks such as first checked bag free and inflight purchase discounts to add at least $99 in value each year. Even if you only fly the airline a few times a year, that shouldn’t be hard to do, though — and the annual fee is even waived for the first year for new cardmembers.
Related: What credit score do you need to get Delta SkyMiles cards?
Although it might not have the most lucrative earning rates, the Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card can still be worth picking up for travelers thanks to its welcome bonus and Delta-specific perks. In particular, as long as you would otherwise pay a first checked bag fee to Delta at least four times each year, you’ll come out ahead with this card.
Apply here for the Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card with a 70,000-mile bonus. Offer ends March 29.
For rates and fees of the Delta Gold Amex, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Gold Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta Reserve Amex, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta Platinum Amex, please click here.
Additional reporting by Emily Thompson, Ryan Wilcox, Chris Dong, Benét J. Wilson, Benji Stawski, Eric Rosen and Christina Ly.