This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Limited Time Offers up to 80,000 miles are available on Delta Amex cards through July 2, 2019 – view offers details here

If you’re serious about award travel, you need to maximize every tool in your arsenal to ensure your rewards account balance is as high as possible. One of the first steps is calibrating the credit cards in your wallet. If you don’t have a good credit card strategy, you could lose out on a ton of extra miles through bonus spending categories, ultimately hindering you in the quest to meet your award-travel goals.

The road to choosing the best credit card for Delta flyers may not be as straightforward as you think. For instance, due to its branding, the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express may seem like the obvious choice. But when you break it down, the Platinum Card® from American Express is a better option for return on spending, earning 5x Membership Rewards points on airfare purchases booked directly with the airline or through American Express Travel (which can be transferred to Delta at a 1:1 ratio) compared with 2x SkyMiles for Delta purchases on the Gold Delta card. And then there’s also the Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express, which has its own unique perks and features. Let’s take a look at the details of all three cards and how they compare.

The Best Delta Credit Cards of 2019 are:

American Express Cobranded Cards

Delta partners solely with American Express for its cobranded cards and, in my opinion, these options offer nice-to-have but not essential benefits. The Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express, the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express and the Delta Reserve Credit Card from American Express all offer priority boarding and a first checked bag free for you and companions (for a total of up to nine traveling on the same reservation).

Keep in mind there are also business versions of all three cobranded cards: the Gold Delta Business SkyMiles Amex, the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business Amex and the Delta Reserve for Business Amex. These have largely the same benefits of their personal credit card counterparts, but if you have a small business and want to separate expenses, a business credit card can be a strong option. Plus, if you’re trying to stay under 5/24 (Chase’s rule that limits credit card approvals), it’s helpful that Amex business credit cards don’t count toward your 5/24 standing.

Comparing Value and Perks

Gold Delta SkyMiles Amex

Bonus Offer Bonus Value** Perks Annual Fee Total Value
60,000 miles after you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months. Plus, a $50 statement credit after making a Delta purchase in the first 3 months. Offer ends 7/2/19. Terms Apply. $720 First bag checked free

2x miles on Delta purchases

20% inflight savings

$95* (see rates & fees) $720

Platinum Delta SkyMiles Amex

Bonus Offer Bonus Value** Perks Annual Fee Total Value
75,000 miles and 5,000 MQMs after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months. Plus, a $100 statement credit after making a Delta purchase in the first 3 months. Offer ends 7/2/19. Terms Apply. $900 Annual companion certificate for main-cabin travel

Earn 10k MQMs and 10k miles after spending $25,000 in a calendar year, and another 10k of each after spending $50,000 in a year

First bag checked free

Main Cabin Priority 1 boarding

2x miles on Delta purchases

$195 (see rates & fees) $705

Delta Reserve Amex

Bonus Offer Bonus Value** Perks Annual Fee Total Value
75,000 miles and 5,000 MQMs after you spend $5,000 in the first three months. Offer ends 7/2/19. Terms Apply. $900 Complimentary Delta Sky Club access when you fly Delta, discounted rates for up to 2 guests

Annual companion certificate for first class, Comfort+ or main cabin

Earn 15k MQMs and 15k miles after spending $30,000 in a calendar year, and another 15k of each after spending $60,000 in a year

2x miles on Delta purchases

$450 (see rates & fees) $450

Gold Delta SkyMiles Business Amex

Bonus Offer Bonus Value** Perks Annual Fee Total Value
70,000 miles after you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months. Get a $50 statement credit after making a Delta purchase in the first 3 months. Offer ends 7/2/19. Terms Apply. $900 First bag checked free

2x miles on Delta purchases

20% inflight savings

Main Cabin Priority 1 boarding

$95* (see rates & fees) $900

Platinum Delta Business Amex

Bonus Offer Bonus Value** Perks Annual Fee Total Value
80,000 miles and 5,000 MQMs after you spend $6,000 in the first 3 months. Offer ends 7/2/19. Terms Apply. $960 Annual companion certificate for main-cabin travel

Earn 10k MQMs and 10k miles after spending $25,000 in a calendar year, and another 10k of each after spending $50,000 in a year

First bag checked free

Main Cabin Priority 1 boarding

2x miles on Delta purchases

$195 (see rates & fees) $765

Delta Reserve for Business Amex

Bonus Offer Bonus Value** Perks Annual Fee Total Value
80,000 miles and 5,000 MQMs after you spend $6,000 in the first 3 months. Offer ends 7/2/19. Terms Apply. $960 Complimentary Delta Sky Club access when you fly Delta, discounted rates for up to 2 guests

Annual companion certificate for first class, Comfort+ or main cabin

Earn 15k MQMs and 15k miles after spending $30,000 in a calendar year, and another 15k of each after spending $60,000 in a year

2x miles on Delta purchases

$450 (see rates & fees) $510

Gold Delta SkyMiles Card from American Express

Benefits

  • Get a first bag checked for free on Delta flights
  • Priority boarding
  • 20% off inflight purchases
  • Earn 2x miles on Delta purchases, and 1 miler per dollar on everything else

Annual Fee: $95; waived the first year

Bonus: 60,000 miles after you make $2,000 in purchases in the first 3 months, plus a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase in the first 3 months.

Further Reading:

APPLY HERE: Gold Delta SkyMiles Card from American Express

Platinum Delta SkyMiles Card from American Express

Benefits

  • Annual companion certificate each year upon card renewal for main cabin round-trip travel
  • Earn 10,000 MQMs toward status and 10,000 redeemable miles when you spend $25,000 on the card in a calendar year. Earn an additional 10,000 MQMs and 10,000 redeemable miles when you spend $50,000 in a calendar year.
  • Earn 2x miles on Delta purchases, and 1 miler per dollar on everything else
  • Get a first bag checked for free on Delta flights
  • Priority boarding
  • 20% off inflight purchases

Annual Fee: $195

Bonus: 75,000 Delta miles and 5,000 MQMs after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months. Earn a $100 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase in the first 3 months.

Further Reading:

APPLY HERE: Platinum Delta SkyMiles Card from American Express

Delta Reserve Card from American Express

Benefits

  • Annual companion certificate each year upon card renewal for first-class, Comfort+ or main cabin round-trip travel
  • Complimentary Delta Sky Club access when you fly Delta, plus discounted rates of $29 per person for up to 2 people
  • Earn 15,000 MQMs toward status and 15,000 redeemable miles when you spend $30,000 on the card in a calendar year. Earn an additional 15,000 MQMs and 15,000 redeemable miles when you spend $60,000 in a calendar year.
  • Earn 2x miles on Delta purchases, and 1 miler per dollar on everything else
  • Get a first bag checked for free on Delta flights
  • Priority boarding
  • 20% off inflight purchases

Annual Fee: $450

APPLY HERE: Delta Reserve Card from American Express

Gold Delta SkyMiles Business Card from American Express

(Photo by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy)

Benefits

  • Get a first bag checked for free on Delta flights
  • Priority boarding
  • 20% off inflight purchases
  • Earn 2x miles on Delta purchases, and 1 miler per dollar on everything else

Annual Fee: $95; waived the first year

Bonus: 70,000 miles after you make $4,000 in purchases in the first 3 months, plus a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase in the first 3 months.

APPLY HERE: Gold Delta SkyMiles Business Card from American Express

Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business Card from American Express

Benefits

  • Annual companion certificate each year upon card renewal for main cabin round-trip travel
  • Earn 10,000 MQMs toward status and 10,000 redeemable miles when you spend $25,000 on the card in a calendar year. Earn an additional 10,000 MQMs and 10,000 redeemable miles when you spend $50,000 in a calendar year.
  • Earn 2x miles on Delta purchases, and 1 miler per dollar on everything else
  • Get a first bag checked for free on Delta flights
  • Priority boarding
  • 20% off inflight purchases

Annual Fee: $195

Bonus: 80,000 Delta miles and 5,000 MQMs after you spend $6,000 in the first 3 months. Earn a $100 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase in the first 3 months.

Further reading:

APPLY HERE: Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business Card from American Express

Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card

Benefits

  • Annual companion certificate each year upon card renewal for first-class, Comfort+ or main cabin round-trip travel
  • Complimentary Delta Sky Club access when you fly Delta, plus discounted rates of $29 per person for up to 2 people
  • Earn 15,000 MQMs toward status and 15,000 redeemable miles when you spend $30,000 on the card in a calendar year. Earn an additional 15,000 MQMs and 15,000 redeemable miles when you spend $60,000 in a calendar year.
  • Earn 2x miles on Delta purchases, and 1 miler per dollar on everything else
  • Get a first bag checked for free on Delta flights
  • Priority boarding
  • 20% off inflight purchases

Annual Fee: $450

APPLY HERE: Delta Reserve for Business Card

When Delta Amex Cards Make Sense

There’s also a more recently introduced no annual fee card (see rates & fees), the Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express. With this card, you can get 2x miles on Delta purchases, as well as on spending at US restaurants, 1 mile per dollar on everything else and 20% off eligible inflight purchases when you travel with Delta. It’s currently offering a bonus of 10,000 SkyMiles after you spend $500 in the first three months. Unlike the other Delta Amex cards, it does charge a 2.7% fee on foreign transactions (see rates & fees).

Overall, I think the cobranded cards offer a fair value based on their respective annual fees. The ability to earn MQMs on the Delta Platinum and Reserve cards may make them worth the annual fees to some Delta loyalists, especially if they’re big credit card spenders and fall short on paid flights for the year.

Plus, with the Platinum and Reserve cards, you’ll receive a companion certificate for travel on Delta each year after your account anniversary. With the Platinum, you get a domestic companion certificate good for the main cabin, but with the Reserve it’s good for first class, Delta Comfort+ or the main cabin (also with a max of $75 in taxes and fees). Just keep in mind the restrictions, such as that the ticket is only eligible for travel within the 48 contiguous United States (though those who live in Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico or the US Virgin Islands can originate from their home to a destination in the 48 contiguous states).

Additionally, you can use Delta cobranded cards to waive the Medallion® Qualification Dollar (MQD) requirement for Delta elite status. If you spend $25,000 on Delta SkyMiles Amex cards in a calendar year, you’ll get an MQD waiver for status levels up to Platinum, but to get the MQD requirement waived for Diamond Medallion status, you now have to spend an outrageous $250,000 on cobranded cards in a calendar year. Needless to say, we don’t recommend going this route — especially since you can meet the MQD requirement for Diamond status by spending a much lower amount on Delta and partner flights in a calendar year.

When it comes to the Delta Reserve, I personally don’t think Sky Club access justifies the $450 annual fee. In my experience, the lounges are always packed and offer little in the way of complimentary refreshments. That said, the airline continues to charge higher and higher prices to enter its lounges, so if you fly Delta frequently and don’t have any lounge access through another card, this benefit could appeal to you. My recommendation is to only go after the Reserve card if you can put $60,000 on the card in a year to capture 40,000 MQMs, including the introductory bonus.

Additional American Express Options

As previously mentioned, Membership Rewards transfer to Delta at a 1:1 ratio, opening up another avenue in your SkyMiles-earning strategy. However, MR-earning cards aren’t the only Amex options for racking up significant SkyMiles, and you can actually get a much higher return on spending with some non-Delta-branded options from Amex.

Let’s take a look at other cards from the issuer that can be very beneficial to the Delta flyer.

Platinum Card from American Express

(Photo by Eric Helgas for The Points Guy)
(Photo by Eric Helgas for The Points Guy)

Benefits

  • 5x points on all airfare booked directly with airlines.
  • Transfer points to more than 20 travel partners
  • Up to a $200 annual air travel credit
  • Up to $200 in annual Uber credits
  • Up to $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit
  • Terms apply

Annual Fee: $550 annual fee (see rates & fees)

Bonus: 60,000 points after you spend $5,000 in the first three months

Further Reading:

APPLY HERE: Platinum Card from American Express

American Express® Gold Card

Benefits

  • 3x points on all airfare purchased directly from the airline
  • 4x points at restaurants
  • 4x points at US supermarkets on up to $25,000 per year
  • $120 dining credit: up to $10 each month when you pay with the Gold card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House and participating Shake Shack locations
  • Up to $100 annual airline fee credit
  • Terms apply

Annual Fee: $250 (see rates & fees)

Bonus: 35,000 points after you spend $2,000 in the first three months

Further Reading:

APPLY HERE: American Express Gold Card

The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express

Benefits

  • For every billing period in which you use the card for 30 or more transactions, you’ll earn 50% extra Membership Rewards on your purchases.
  • 3x points on the first $6,000 of annual spending at supermarkets
  • 2x points on gas

Annual Fee: $95

Bonus: 15,000 points after you spend $1,000 in the first three months of account opening.

APPLY HERE: Amex EveryDay Preferred

The information for the Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card

Benefits

  • Get a 5,000-mile bonus for every 60,000 Marriott points you transfer to any of its airline partners. (Marriott points transfer to Delta at a 3:1 ratio).
  • 6x points on Marriott stays
  • 3x points at US restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines
  • 2x points on all other purchases
  • $300 Marriott Bonvoy statement credit each cardmember year
  • Free night award every year for properties that cost up to 50,000 points
  • Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold elite status
  • Terms apply

Annual Fee: $450 (see rates & fees)

Bonus: 75,000 points after you use your new card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.

APPLY HERE: Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant

Bottom Line

With the seemingly nonstop devaluations and a lack of transparency when it comes to award travel costs, many award travelers have avoided Delta’s SkyMiles program for the past several years. Still, that’s not to say you can’t find some good value in SkyMiles, such as short-haul flights for just 10,000 miles per ticket and other steals with the flash award sales the airline regularly offers.

However, unless you’re the most die-hard Delta flyer alive and refuse to fly other airlines, I don’t see the cobranded cards as being your best option unless you’re after the introductory bonus or are in desperate need of some last-minute MQMs. The ancillary benefits the cobranded cards offer are nice, but they’re not game-changer. The flexibility offered by the other American Express cards, along with bonus categories that earn you more SkyMiles, makes much more sense for the average Delta flyer.

Related Guides to Check Out

Related video:

Featured photo by @TonyTheTigersSon via Twenty20


This is The Points Guy’s permanent page with the best current cards for Delta flyers, so you can bookmark it and check back regularly for updates. Keep in mind you may see some reader comments referring to older offers below.

For rates and fees of the Amex Gold Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Gold Delta SkyMiles Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Gold Delta SkyMiles Business Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta Reserve Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta Reserve Business Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Blue Delta SkyMiles Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the  Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex Card, please click here.

Know before you go.

News and deals straight to your inbox every day.

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

If you are a Delta flyer who is looking to bank some extra miles this card is a great addition for your wallet. While you'll earn 2 miles per dollar on Delta purchases and 1 mile per dollar on everything else, you'll also have access to other perks like priority boarding, a first bag checked free and discounted Delta  Sky Club access.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 bonus miles after you use your new Card to make $2,000 in purchases within your first 3 months and a $50 Statement Credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months.
  • Earn 2 miles for every dollar spent on eligible purchases made directly with Delta.
  • Earn one mile for every eligible dollar you spend on purchases.
  • Check your first bag free on Delta flights - that's a savings of up to $240 per round trip for a family of four.
  • Settle into your seat sooner with Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding.
  • Enjoy a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
17.99%-26.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.