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What credit score do you need to get Delta SkyMiles cards?

June 23, 2021
10 min read
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Now is a great time to add a Delta SkyMiles card to your wallet. After all, you may be looking forward to traveling with Delta this year. Or you might be looking for an extra boost toward earning or retaining Delta Medallion elite status.

But, you may be wondering whether you have a high enough credit score to be approved for a Delta SkyMiles credit card. Of course, it's important to remember that while your credit score is a good indicator of your approval odds, it’s not an absolute science. Credit card issuers also consider many other aspects when deciding whether to approve you for a card.

So let's take a closer look at what it usually takes to get approved for Delta consumer cards, including the Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card, Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card and Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card.

Even better, Amex and Delta are currently offering welcome bonuses across their cobranded credit cards — to the tune of up to 90,000 SkyMiles from one card bonus. For instance, the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card offers a bonus of 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

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Credit score required for Delta cards

(Photo by The Points Guy)

American Express doesn't publish a required credit score for its cards. After all, many other factors go into qualification beyond your score. For example, Amex will likely also consider your income and the age of your credit accounts.

However, you can get an idea of the credit score you might need from consumers who report their credit scores and application results in various online forums. Based on these data points, you'll generally need a credit score of 690 or higher to be approved. But a few consumers reported being approved for a Delta card with a credit score as low as 640. So you may be able to snag a Delta card with a lower credit score if other aspects of your credit portfolio look appealing to Amex.

Related: Why the perfect credit score isn’t necessary

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How many card accounts can I have open?

American Express limits cardholders to at most five Amex consumer or business credit cards. So you likely won't be approved if you already have five other Amex consumer or business credit cards.

Related: TPG reader credit card question: How many credit cards should I have?

Will I be eligible for a welcome bonus?

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

American Express generally restricts eligibility for a card’s welcome bonus to “one per lifetime.” The application terms and conditions for the cobranded Delta cards currently state:

Welcome offer not available to applicants who have or have had this or previous versions of this Card. We may also consider the number of American Express Cards you have opened and closed as well as other factors in making a decision on your welcome offer eligibility.

Luckily, Amex's welcome bonus qualification tool will notify you if you are ineligible for a welcome bonus after you click to apply. If you aren't eligible for the welcome bonus, you can either proceed without a welcome bonus or withdraw your application.

Related: Should I still apply for a card if I can’t earn the welcome bonus?

How to check your credit score

There are many ways to check your credit score for free. Many credit cards even let you check your FICO Score for free. And by checking your credit score regularly, you can see where your score lies on the scale from good to bad and track your score's progress over time. You could also easily open a free account on a site like Credit Karma that can help you keep even better track of your score and its factors.

Related: 8 biggest factors that impact your credit score

Factors that affect your credit score

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Before applying for credit cards, it's essential to understand the factors that make up your credit score. The formula for calculating your credit score isn't exact. But FICO states it uses the following elements and weights in its calculation:

  • Payment history (35%): Whether you've paid past credit accounts on time.
  • Amounts owed (30%): The relative size of your current debt and your existing debt ratio to your available credit, which is also known as your credit utilization.
  • Length of credit history (15%): How long your credit accounts have been established (including the age of your oldest account, the age of your newest account and the average age of all your accounts) and how long it has been since you used certain accounts.
  • New credit (10%): How many new accounts have you opened recently.
  • Credit mix (10%): How many different types of credit accounts you have, such as credit cards, retail accounts, installment loans, finance company accounts and mortgage loans.

Related: 7 things to understand about credit before applying for a new card

What to do if you get rejected

If Amex rejects your application, you should receive a letter in the mail that states why Amex turned down your application. You can use this information to improve your financial situation before applying again. But, you could also call Amex's reconsideration line at 1-800-567-1083 and make your case for why Amex should take a second look at your application.

If you decide to call the reconsideration line, you should explain to the representative that you recently applied for a Delta Amex card. Then you'll want to note that you were surprised to see Amex rejected your application and that you'd like to speak to someone about getting that decision reconsidered. The representative will likely ask for an application reference number or your social security number.

From there, it's up to you to build a case as to why Amex should approve your application. You might have a better chance of success if Amex's reason for rejection was something you've been able to rectify since your application.

Related: How bad is it to get denied for a credit card?

How long to wait before applying again

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If Amex rejected your application, I wouldn't recommend applying again for the same card until you've addressed the reasons Amex gave for your rejection. However, it's generally safe to apply for a different Amex card as long as you don't apply for too many cards within 90 days.

American Express doesn't publish requirements regarding how many applications you can have and how frequently you can submit applications. However, TPG's Ethan Steinberg found data points suggesting the following:

  • You can apply for two cards in a single day. Many reports indicate that at least one application will likely be put on hold as a fraud-prevention mechanism.
  • You may be able to get approved for more than two cards in 90 days. However, the general rule of thumb is that you shouldn’t apply for three or more Amex credit cards within three months.

However, it's generally best to go more slowly. After all, apply for too many cards in a short period of time can look risky to banks. And if you're approved, you'll need to meet minimum spending requirements to earn welcome bonuses on each card.

Related: How does applying for a new credit card affect my credit score?

Other cards to consider

(Photo by John Gribben/The Points Guy)

It's difficult to suggest other cards to consider without knowing why you wanted to apply for a cobranded Delta card in the first place. So, here are some suggestions based on the main reasons travelers usually apply for cobranded Delta cards.

Related: 4 reasons why the Amex Platinum might be the ideal credit card for Delta flyers

You want lounge access when flying Delta: The Platinum Card® from American Express is a better choice for some Delta flyers than the Delta Reserve. Not only do you still get lounge access when flying Delta, but you also get access to Centurion and Priority Pass lounges, regardless of the airline you are flying. The Amex Platinum also offers many other benefits and perks that might make it a better fit than a Delta credit card. Enrollment required for select benefits.

You want free checked bags when flying Delta: Although no other cards specifically offer a checked baggage allowance with Delta, some cards offer annual travel credits or an airline-fee credit that can cover checked baggage fees.

You want to earn Delta SkyMiles: You could get a card that earns American Express Membership Rewards or Marriott Bonvoy points and then transfer these points to Delta SkyMiles as needed.

Related: The best travel credit cards of 2021

Bottom line

Even though I don't fly Delta often, I find the Delta SkyMiles Gold Amex is worth keeping simply for its checked baggage benefit. Likewise, if you need extra help toward Delta Medallion status this year, you may find the Delta SkyMiles Platinum Amex or the Delta SkyMiles Reserve Amex helpful. Luckily, you don't need to have excellent credit to be approved for these cards.

Apply here for the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card, Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card and Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card

Additional reporting by Chris Dong.

Featured image by (Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.