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The Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express and the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express frequently offer elevated welcome bonuses. Given that Amex only allows you to earn the welcome bonus on a given card once per lifetime, it’s important to take advantage of these elevated offers when they come around. However, you may be wondering if the Platinum Delta Amex is worth the higher annual fee when compared to the Gold version, so today we’ll compare the two cards and identify which offers the better value proposition the first year and subsequent years.

First, let’s review the key benefits on each card:

Benefit

Gold Delta Amex

Platinum Delta Amex

Welcome Bonus (Miles)

30,000 bonus miles after you make $1,000 in purchases on your new card within your first 3 months, plus a $50 statement credit after making a Delta purchase in the first 3 months. Terms Apply.

35,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you make $1,000 in purchases on your new card within your first 3 months, plus a $100 statement credit after making a Delta purchase in the first 3 months. Terms Apply.

Earning Rates

2 miles per dollar spent on Delta purchases; 1 mile per dollar spent everywhere else

2 miles per dollar spent on Delta purchases; 1 mile per dollar spent everywhere else

Baggage

Free checked bag on Delta flights (including up to 8 companions)

Free checked bag on Delta flights (including up to 8 companions)

Delta Perks

Discounted Sky Club access; priority boarding; 20% off inflight purchases

Discounted Sky Club access; priority boarding; 20% off inflight purchases

Companion Ticket

N/A

Free coach companion ticket every year at card renewal

Miles Boost

N/A

10,000 bonus miles and 10,000 MQMs after spending $25,000 in a calendar year; additional 10,000 bonus miles and 10,000 MQMs after spending $50,000 in a calendar year

As you can see, there are a number of identical benefits. You’ll earn the same number of SkyMiles per dollar spent on the two cards, and the checked bag fee waiver is also the same. There’s also no difference when it comes to traveling on Delta; you’ll still enjoy priority boarding and 20% off inflight purchases (though all Delta travelers now get free inflight entertainment).

Neither card imposes foreign transaction fees (Gold Delta – see rates & fees), (Platinum Delta – see rates & fees), and both can grant you a waiver on the Medallion Qualification Dollar (MQD) threshold when you spend $25,000 in a calendar year. Note that this MQD waiver only applies up to Platinum Medallion status — waiving the MQD requirement for top-tier Diamond Medallion requires spending an outrageous $250,000 on Delta cobranded cards in a calendar year.

However, there are some notable differences between the two cards, so let’s take a closer look:

Welcome Bonus

The bonus can be especially valuable when put toward international business-class flights.

The first major difference between the Gold Delta SkyMiles and the Platinum Delta SkyMiles cards involve the increased bonus.

With the Gold card you’ll earn 30,000 SkyMiles after you spend $1,000 in the first three months, as well as a $50 statement credit after making a Delta purchase in the same three-month time frame. The bonus is worth $360 based on TPG’s most recent valuations, $410 if you add in the Delta statement credit.

On the Platinum Delta Amex you’ll get a welcome bonus of 35,000 miles and 5,000 MQMs after you make $1,000 in purchases on your new card within your first three months. You’ll also earn a $100 statement credit after making a Delta purchase in the first three months. The 35,000 miles are worth $420, and the statement credit brings your total bonus value up to $520.

This calculation ignores the 5,000 bonus MQMs that are currently included on the Platinum Delta card, as they are a bit more challenging to quantify. MQMs can be worth nothing if you aren’t interested in qualifying for Medallion status, but they can also be worth hundreds of dollars if they help you level up to the next tier.

Still, the Platinum Delta Amex comes out ahead of the Gold Delta Amex in terms of the bonus miles alone: $420 to $360, a difference of $60 before you even factor in the Delta statement credit. However, that doesn’t take into account another key distinction between the cards.

Annual Fee

The Gold Delta SkyMiles Amex carries an annual fee of $95, though this is waived for the first year (see rates & fees). The Platinum Delta SkyMiles, on the other hand, incurs an annual fee of $195 (see rates & fees), more than double that of the Gold version. In addition, this fee isn’t waived for the first year (see rates & fees).

Of course, there are two other key benefits on the Platinum version that may lead you in that direction.

Companion Ticket

Traveling together is much sweeter when your companion is free. (Photo by undrey/Getty Images)
Traveling together is much sweeter when your companion is free. (Photo by undrey/Getty Images)

While this doesn’t apply right off the bat, card holders of the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Card do get an annual coach companion ticket at the renewal of the card that can be used on certain published round-trip economy tickets within the contiguous United States. This is automatically deposited into your SkyMiles account when you pay the annual fee, and it’s typically valid for a little over a year from the date of issuance. Unfortunately, you do still need to pay the taxes and fees on the ticket. Nevertheless, it can be a fantastic value for those of you who travel on paid domestic Delta tickets with a companion at least once a year.

Miles Boost

The final key difference between the Gold Delta SkyMiles Card and the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Card is the ability to earn bonus miles and bonus MQMs through spending in a calendar year on the latter of the two. There are two separate thresholds:

  • Spend $25,000: Earn 10,000 bonus miles and 10,000 MQMs
  • Spend $50,000: Earn an additional 10,000 bonus miles and 10,000 MQMs

This can be a great way to boost your account balance and also help you qualify for Medallion status each year. In fact, if you open the Platinum card now and can hit the $50,000 threshold by the end of the year, you’ll earn enough MQMs for Silver Medallion status and get an MQD waiver. That’s right, you could end up with Delta elite status without ever setting foot on a Delta plane.

So Which Should You Get?

Delta Platinum Medallion Bag Tag featured
If elite status is within reach, go for the Platinum Delta Amex.

Given these key differences, it may not be immediately apparent which card offers the better value proposition. Just like any decision involving travel rewards credit cards, there are trade-offs. Here are some scenarios where one card likely makes more sense than the other:

1. If you’re solely interested in the welcome bonus, go with the Gold version.

The bonus by itself appears to favor the Platinum Delta Amex. However, in the first year, the $195 annual fee actually makes the Gold Delta Amex a better option. Opening the Gold version is a great way to boost your SkyMiles account without any upfront investment, since the $95 annual fee is waived the first year. When it comes due, you can decide whether or not the perks like Zone 1 boarding and a free checked bag on Delta flights make the card worth keeping.

2. If you don’t qualify for Delta elite status, go with the Gold version.

Another key reason to apply for the Gold version relates to elite status. Placing a value on MQMs is exceedingly difficult, unless you don’t qualify for Medallion status. In this case, the calculations are easy: The MQMs are worth nothing. I have several friends based in Atlanta who travel on Delta just a few times a year and don’t come close to earning elite status. For them, the higher annual fee of the Platinum version simply isn’t worth it, as the 10,000 MQMs with the welcome bonus simply don’t have any tangible benefit.

3. If you fly with a companion on a paid Delta economy ticket with a base fare of over $195 every year, go with the Platinum version.

This category really considers the long-term value proposition of the two cards and ignores the bonus and the first year of membership since the companion ticket perk of the Platinum version doesn’t kick in until you renew the card. If you take at least one round-trip domestic flight in coach on Delta with a friend or family member every year, and if the base fare of that ticket is over $195, then go with the Platinum version. This will cover your annual fee in its entirety, and any additional fare above and beyond $195 is just gravy.

4. If you plan to spend at least $25,000 on the card each calendar year, go with the Platinum version.

Another reason to consider the Platinum version is if you plan to spend at least $25,000 on the card each calendar year. Sure, that’ll get you some bonus MQMs that can help you qualify for Medallion status and an MQD waiver up to Platinum Medallion, but it’s the regular redeemable miles that come into play here, especially in comparison to the Gold version. This is another scenario that really plays out after year one.

Let’s say that you spend $25,000 in a calendar year. On the Gold version, that doesn’t come with any type of bonus, but the Platinum card will grant you 10,000 SkyMiles (plus 10,000 MQMs) when you reach that threshold. Based on TPG’s most recent valuations, those redeemable miles alone are worth $120, which more than covers the higher annual fee.

5. If you’ve had one in the past, apply for the other.

This is the result of American Express tightening its application restrictions back in 2014. In the past, you could cancel a card and then reapply for it 12 months later and earn another welcome bonus. However, the Terms & Conditions page for both the Gold and Platinum Delta Amex cards now includes the following language:

“Welcome bonus offer not available to applicants who have or have had this product.”

As a result, if you’ve had one of these cards before, you aren’t eligible for the bonus on that card again. You should apply for the other one if you are interested in a Delta credit card.

Bottom Line

The Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express represents a great way to boost your SkyMiles account. Even though the program has seen its fair share of devaluations over the last few years (and doesn’t even publish an award chart anymore!), there are still some great ways to get value out of the program.

Featured photo by Hanson Lu on Unsplash

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

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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 30,000 Bonus Miles after you use your new Card to make $1,000 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.

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