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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 SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express is worth the higher $195 annual fee (see rates & fees) when compared to the $95 annual fee — which is waived the first year — that comes with the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express (see rates & fees). Today we’ll compare the two cards and identify which card might be better suited for you.

Gold Delta Amex vs. Platinum Delta Amex

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

Benefit

Gold Delta Amex

Platinum Delta Amex

Welcome Bonus

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.  Terms Apply.

Earn 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) and 35,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months and earn a $100 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your 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, the two Delta cards offer 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 get free inflight entertainment).

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 credit cards in a calendar year.

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

Welcome Bonus

The higher annual fee on the Platinum Delta is accompanied by a higher welcome bonus. With the Gold Delta Amex, you’ll 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. The bonus is worth $360 based on TPG’s most recent valuations, $410 if you maximize the Delta statement credit.

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

On the Platinum Delta Amex, you’ll get a welcome bonus of 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) and 35,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months and earn a $100 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months. The 35,000 miles are worth $420 according to TPG’s valuations, $520 if you maximize the Delta statement credit.

Platinum Delta Benefits 

There are two primary benefits that really set the Platinum Delta Amex apart from the Gold: the companion certificate and the mileage boost.

While this doesn’t apply right off the bat, at the renewal of the card, cardholders of the Platinum Delta Amex get an annual coach companion ticket 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 who travel on paid domestic Delta tickets with a companion at least once a year.

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)

The other 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 get an MQD waiver and you’ll only be 5,000 MQMs short of Silver Medallion status.

Which Delta Credit Card Should You Get?

The Platinum Delta is obviously the more premium of the cards, with an annual fee twice as large as the Gold Delta and benefits to match. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s always better to go with the Platinum Delta.

When You Should Stick With Gold

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

If you’re really only interested in the short-term benefits of the welcome bonus, you should consider applying for the Gold Delta Amex rather than the Platinum. The bonus by itself appears to favor the Platinum Delta Amex. However, 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.

Another key reason to apply for the Gold version relates to elite status. One of the primary reasons the Platinum is considered more premium is its ability to earn MQMs through the miles boost by hitting spending requirements. If you don’t fly Delta enough to qualify for Medallion status, those MQMs are worthless. In that case, you’ll get more value with the Gold and its lower annual fee.

Finally, if you have at the Platinum in the past, you should go with Gold. Amex only allows you to earn one bonus per card in a lifetime, so you won’t be eligible for the Platinum’s bonus if you’ve been a previous cardholder.

When You Should Go Platinum

If you’ll fully take advantage of the additional perks and benefits of the Platinum Delta Amex, you should go with that card.

Take at least one round-trip domestic flight in coach on Delta with a friend or family member every year? 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.

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

Another reason to consider the Platinum version is if you plan to spend at least $25,000 on the card each calendar year. For one, that’ll get you some bonus MQMs that can help you qualify for Medallion status and an MQD waiver up to Platinum Medallion. However, you’ll also be earning enough SkyMiles to offset the cost of the higher annual fee.

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 after the first year.

Bottom Line

At the end of the day, these are both good cards from Delta and Amex. If you fly Delta often, the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card represents a great way to boost your SkyMiles account while giving you a few excellent perks. However, even infrequent Delta flyers will get value from the Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card with a solid bonus and basic benefits.

Delta sometimes gets a bad reputation after its fair share of devaluations over the last few years and the fact that it doesn’t publish an award chart anymore. But recent years have seen the airline offer regular award flash sales and even reasonable redemptions in domestic economy, so there are still some great ways to get value out of the program.

Additional reporting by Madison Blancaflor.

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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Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

This card comes with several great perks for Delta flyers like a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year, first checked bag free, priority boarding and discounted Delta Sky Club access for you and up to 2 guests.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) and 35,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • In addition, earn a $100 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months.
  • Earn 2 miles per dollar spent on purchases made directly with Delta. Earn 1 mile for every eligible dollar spent on purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your card.
  • Receive Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding on Delta flights; board early, stow your carry-on bag and settle sooner.
  • Check your first bag free on Delta flights - that's a savings of up to $240 per person round trip for a family of four.
  • $195 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
17.74%-26.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$195
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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