Credit Card showdown: Delta SkyMiles Gold vs. Delta SkyMiles Gold Business

Feb 14, 2020

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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers- Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card.

Delta and American Express have teamed up to offer airline credit cards for more than 20 years and the partnership is still going strong. In September 2019, the pair announced sweeping changes to their lineup of credit cards, with new benefits (and higher annual fees) that went into effect on Jan. 30, 2020. Along with those changes came exciting new welcome offers for all their cobranded cards that include some of the highest mileage bonuses we’ve ever seen on these products.

If you’ve been thinking about applying for a Delta credit card, the combination of higher welcome offers and new perks might make now the perfect time to sign up. The next question becomes, which Delta credit card is right for you? As with any rewards credit card, consider the welcome offer, the annual fee and how much use you will get out of a specific card’s perks — both travel-related and otherwise.

Given their similar bonuses, earning structures and benefits, one pair of cards you might be considering is the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card and the Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card.

Deciding between the two comes down to more than whether you need a personal credit card or a business one (though that should also be a consideration). Here’s a snapshot of how the two cards compare.

Details Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card
Welcome offer Up to 70,000 miles – 60,000 after $2,000 in spending in the first three months; 10,000 after first anniversary Up to 70,000 miles – 60,000 after $2,000 in spending in the first three months; 10,000 after first anniversary
Annual fee $0 first year, $99 after that (see rates & fees) $0 first year, $99 after that (see rates & fees)
Earning 2x on Delta

2x at restaurants

2x at U.S. supermarkets

1x everywhere else

2x on Delta

2x at restaurants

2x on U.S. shipping

2x on advertising in select media

1x everywhere else

Delta benefits Free checked bag

Priority boarding

20% off inflight purchases

Free checked bag

Priority boarding

20% off inflight purchases

Other benefits Trip delay coverage

Lost baggage coverage

Secondary car rental insurance

No foreign transaction fees (see rates & fees)

ShopRunner membership

Trip delay coverage

Lost baggage coverage

Secondary car rental insurance

No foreign transaction fees (see rates & fees)

 

Now for a more detailed look at their benefits.

In This Post

Annual fee

First, the bad news: American Express raised the annual fees of many of its credit cards along with the benefits revamp in January. The Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card now costs $99 per year (see rates and fees). The good news: This fee is waived the first year.

Likewise, the $99 annual fee for the Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card (see rates & fees) is waived the first year.

So travelers can take advantage of either card and its benefits at little to no cost for the first year.

(Photo by Ethan Steinberg/The Points Guy)
The welcome offer alone might be enough miles to get you into a Delta One seat. (Photo by Ethan Steinberg/The Points Guy)

Welcome offer

After the changes in card benefits went into effect Jan. 30, 2020, Delta and American Express came out with exciting new welcome offers. These are available through April 1, 2020.

The Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card is offering new cardholders up to 70,000 bonus miles. You earn 60,000 bonus miles after spending $2,000 on purchases with your card in the first three months, and then 10,000 miles after your first anniversary. According to our most recent valuations, Delta SkyMiles are worth 1.2 cents apiece, which puts this bonus around $840.

The Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card is offering the same deal. Earn 60,000 bonus miles after spending $2,000 on purchases with your card in the first three months, and then 10,000 miles after your first anniversary.

Earning

Here’s where the two cards start to diverge slightly. The Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card earns 2x miles per dollar on Delta purchases as well as at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets.

(Photo courtesy of Delta)
Use your new card to earn bonus miles on dining. (Photo courtesy of Delta)

The Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card also earns 2x miles per dollar on Delta purchases and at restaurants, but instead of groceries, cardholders can score 2x on U.S. shipping purchases and on U.S. advertising in select media.

None of these bonus categories is capped, so a decision between these two cards will depend on whether you will spend more on groceries or on shipping and advertising for your business.

Delta benefits

When it comes to day-of-travel perks on Delta itself, the two cards are virtually identical. Along with up to eight companions on the same reservation, holders of either card can check a bag for free and enjoy priority boarding, even when flying basic economy. They also get a 20% statement credit refund for inflight purchases of food, beverages and audio headsets (but not Wi-Fi).

If you spend $10,000 in purchases on either card in a calendar year, you will receive a $100 Delta flight credit that can be used toward a Delta flight purchase, meaning airfare or a Delta Vacations package but not incidental fees like checked bags or lounge passes.

Among the benefits that were recently eliminated with these cards were the ability to purchase discounted one-time Delta Sky Club day passes and to waive the Medallion Qualification Dollar requirements toward elite status through spending. So if you were planning to utilize either of these perks, you might be better off with one of the more premium cards listed below.

License expiration date: NoneMedia: All uses except broadcast permitted Territory: Worldwide Employee Names: Robert Farris (IFS - ATL) Talent Names: Aaron Nedrick, Yessy Rivera, Gary Phillip Moss These images are protected by copyright. Delta has acquired permission from the copyright owner to the use the images for specified purposes and in some cases for a limited time. If you have been authorized by Delta to do so, you may use these images to promote Delta, but only as part of Delta-approved marketing and advertising. Further distribution (including providing these images to third parties), reproduction, display, or other use is strictly prohibited.
Both cards get you day-of-travel perks when flying Delta. (Photo courtesy of Delta)

Other benefits

The cards’ other main benefits are mostly the same, too. Neither charges foreign transaction fees. Among their travel protections are lost luggage insurance up to $500 for checked bags and $1,250 for carry-ons, secondary car rental insurance, and purchase protection as long as 90 days out up to $1,000 per item and $50,000 per calendar year plus extended warranties.

The personal card will also get you a complimentary ShopRunner membership with two-day shipping from hundreds of online merchants.

Business or personal

Because these two cards are so similar, your most significant consideration will likely be whether you would prefer a personal or business credit card. Even without a business of your own, you might still qualify for the business card. Banks like Amex realize employees and freelancers also need these types of cards for several reasons.

Using a business credit card makes it easy to separate personal and work purchases. Doing so might also help raise your personal credit score in the long run.

An added plus: Business cards usually do not count toward issuers’ limits on the number of credit cards they will let any one person open, such as Chase’s 5/24 rule, or Bank of America’s constraints. So applying for a business credit card instead of a personal one could be a good way to keep on earning bonuses and rewards. Just make sure you are not giving up any benefits you value that come with the personal card.

Other options

These cards are solid earners with valuable day-of-travel perks and relatively low annual fees, but if you are truly a Delta loyalist, you might want to consider one of the airline’s more premium cards.

For example, the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card is currently offering 60,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. (Offer Expires 10/28/2020) The card racks up 3x miles on Delta purchases and those made directly with hotels, then 2x at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets. It now includes a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck fee credit (every four years for Global Entry, every 4.5 years for TSA PreCheck) worth up to $100. Cardholders who spend $25,000 in a calendar year can earn 10,000 MQMs toward Medallion status and if you hit $50,000, you earn a total of 20,000 MQMs.

The Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card continues to offer spending-based Medallion Qualification Dollar (MQD) waivers toward elite status. If you’re going for Silver, Gold, or Platinum Medallion status, you can waive the MQD requirements by spending $25,000 on the card in a calendar year; Diamond takes $250,000 in spending. The card’s annual fee is $250. (see rates & fees) 

Interior photos of the Terminal B Delta Air Lines Sky Club at Hartsfield Jackson International airport on Thursday, September 22, 2016. © 2016, Chris Rank, Rank Studios
If you want more premium perks like access to Delta Sky Clubs, you might be better off with a more-premium card. (Photo by Chris Rank, Rank Studios)

The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card now costs $550 per year (see rates & fees) but offers outstanding benefits like access to both Delta Sky Clubs and Amex Centurion lounges and spending-based status boosts that can net you up to 60,000 MQMs for spending $120,000 in a calendar year. The card also earns 3x miles on Delta purchases. It comes with two one-time guest passes for Delta Sky Clubs. It now includes the same Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit as with the Platinum version, as well as the ability to waive the airline’s MQD requirements toward Medallion status through spending.

Both the Platinum and Reserve cards offer perks frequent travelers will find useful, including those elite boosts, Global Entry refunds, and lounge access with the Reserve version. Plus, they are better earners on Delta purchases than the airline’s Gold cards.

Bottom line

With historically high welcome offers, a waived annual fee the first year, and new bonus earning opportunities, both the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card and the Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card are great choices for infrequent Delta flyers who still want to enjoy elite-style perks when traveling and rack up the miles for award flights on everyday purchases. However, you might be better off getting a higher-end Delta card to boost your earning further and help you earn Medallion status.

For more information, read our Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card Review and our Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card Review.

For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles Gold Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles Platinum Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles Reserve Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles Gold Business Card, please click here.

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WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,600

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

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Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

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