Should you get the Delta Gold or Delta Platinum Amex card?

Feb 10, 2020

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. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here – Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express CardDelta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

Editor’s note: This post has been updated with the current card offers and benefits. It was originally published on Nov. 10, 2019.

Delta Air Lines, through its partnership with American Express, offers one of the most comprehensive airline credit card portfolios on the market, with entry-level, mid-tier and premium credit cards (as well as business credit card versions of each).

Related reading: Choosing the best credit card for Delta flyers

The Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card is a great choice for anyone looking to earn a valuable welcome bonus with a low out-of-pocket cost, but more frequent Delta fliers should do some math to figure out whether the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card could offer the best travel benefits for the cost.

You’ll find differences between these two cards in the annual fee, intro bonus and benefits. You may be wondering if the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card is worth the current $250 annual fee (see rates and fees) when compared to the $99 annual fee (see rates and fees) for the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, which is waived the first year.

Let’s compare these two cards and for the latest card offers and deals, sign up for our free daily newsletter.

In This Post

Delta Gold Amex versus Delta Platinum Amex

 

Benefit

Delta Gold Amex

Platinum Delta Amex

Welcome bonus

Up to 70,000 bonus miles: 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months and an additional 10,000 bonus miles after your first anniversary of card membership. This offer expires on April 1, 2020. Terms apply.

Up to 100,000 bonus miles: 80,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months and an additional 20,000 bonus miles after your first anniversary of card membership. This offer expires on April 1, 2020. Terms apply.

Earning rates

2x miles on purchases with Delta and at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets; 1x mile per dollar spent everywhere else

3x miles on purchases with Delta and hotels (made directly with the hotels); 2x miles on purchases made at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets; 1x mile per dollar spent everywhere else

Baggage

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

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

Key perks

 Priority boarding; 20% off inflight purchases; $100 Delta flight credit after you spend $10,000 or more on your card in a calendar year.

Discounted Sky Club access ($39 per person per visit); priority boarding; 20% off inflight purchases; Global Entry/TSA PreCheck fee credit.

Companion ticket

N/A

Domestic coach companion ticket every year at card renewal

Status Boost

N/A

Earn 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after spending $25,000 in a calendar year. Earn an additional 10,000 MQMs after spending $50,000 in a calendar year.

As you can see, the Delta SkyMiles Platinum card offers better benefits and you can earn more SkyMiles per dollar spent. Also, of these two cards, only the Delta SkyMiles Platinum gets 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 Medallion Qualification Dollar (MQD) requirement for top-tier Diamond Medallion requires spending an outrageous $250,000 on Delta credit cards in a calendar year.

Let’s take a look at differences in the welcome bonus and perks for the two cards and see if they outweigh the higher annual fee.

Welcome bonus

With the Delta Gold Amex, you’ll earn 60,000 bonus miles after you use your new card to make $2,000 in purchases within the first three months of opening your account and another 10,000 miles on your first cardmember anniversary. The full bonus is worth $840, based on TPG’s most recent valuations.

Delta One 767-400ER_Business_MSP-HNL
Delta bonuses can be especially valuable when put toward international business-class flights. (Photo by Darren Murph / The Points Guy.)

With the Delta Platinum Amex, you’ll get a welcome bonus of 80,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months and an additional 20,000 miles after your first cardmember anniversary. The 100,000 miles are worth $1,200, according to TPG’s valuations.

The higher annual fee on the Delta Platinum is accompanied by a higher welcome bonus and the Delta Gold Amex waives its annual fee the first year. In order to earn the full welcome offer you’ll need to renew your card, which means you pay the annual fee again. So the Delta Platinum Amex will cost you $500 (see rates and fees) compared to the Delta Gold (see rates and fees), which will only cost $99 because of the waived annual fee the first year. However, between the two welcome bonuses, it’s close to a break-even comparison, with the Delta Gold coming in at $741 in value ($840 bonus value – $99 annual fees (see rates and fees)) and the Delta Platinum sitting at $700 in value ($1,200 bonus value – $500 in annual fees (see rates and fees).

This doesn’t take into consideration the Delta Platinum’s better earning rates. Given TPG’s valuation of Delta SkyMiles at 1.2 cents each, the Platinum card earns 1.2% more on Delta purchases and 2.4% more on hotel stays book directly with the hotels. So you’d need to spent between $1,708 (all on hotels) and $3,416 (all on Delta spend) in the first two years of having the card to make up the $41 difference. I know I’m splitting hairs here, but you get the idea.

Delta Platinum benefits 

The primary long-term benefits that really set the Platinum Delta Amex apart from the Gold are: the companion certificate, MQD waiver and Status Boost. The Global Entry/TSA PreCheck fee credit is available once every 4-4.5 years and is somewhat offset by the potential to earn a $100 flight credit with the Delta Gold card.

On the card anniversary, Delta Platinum Amex cardholders get an annual coach companion ticket that can be used on certain published round-trip main-cabin 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. Also, you still need to pay the taxes and fees on the ticket and this companion ticket isn’t valid on Basic Economy fares.

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 Delta Gold SkyMiles Card and the Delta Platinum SkyMiles Card is the ability to get a jump start on earning Delta elite status. You earn MQMs by hitting spending thresholds in a calendar year with the Delta Platinum card. There are two separate levels:

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

This is a great way to boost your account balance and also help you qualify for Medallion status each year. In fact, if you open the Delta Platinum card and 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 Delta Platinum card is the more premium of the cards. Its annual fee is more than twice that of the Delta Gold card but has benefits to match. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s always better to go with the Delta Platinum.

When you should stick with Gold

(Photo courtesy of Delta)
(Photo courtesy of Delta)

If you’re really only interested in the short-term benefits of the welcome bonus, you should consider applying for the Delta Gold Amex, rather than the Platinum. Opening the Delta Gold Amex is a great way to boost your SkyMiles account without any upfront investment since the $99 annual fee (see rates and fees) is waived the first year.

Another reason to apply for the Gold version relates to elite status. A big reason to consider the Platinum is the ability to earn MQMs through the Status Boost by hitting spending requirements and by earning an MQD waiver. If you don’t fly Delta enough to qualify for Medallion status, those MQMs are worthless. In that case, the Delta Gold is a better card to keep long term.

Finally, if you have had 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 bonus if you’ve been a previous cardholder.

Read our Delta Amex Gold review.

When you should go Platinum

(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

If you can take advantage of the additional perks and benefits of the Delta Platinum Amex, you should go with that card. For example, 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 more than $250, go with the Platinum version. This will cover your annual fee and if the fare is more than $250, that’s gravy.

Another reason to consider the Platinum card is if you plan to spend at least $25,000 on the card each calendar year. That will earn you 10,000 bonus MQMs that can help you qualify for Medallion status and an MQD waiver up to Platinum Medallion.

Read our Delta Platinum Amex review.

Bottom line

If you fly Delta often, the Delta SkyMiles Platinum Card is 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 Delta SkyMiles Gold Card with a solid bonus and basic benefits.

Delta has been criticized for its devaluations over the past few years and the fact that it doesn’t publish an award chart anymore, but the airline offers regular award flash sales and reasonable redemptions in domestic economy, so there are still some great ways to get value out of the program.

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

Featured photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy

Additional reporting by Jason Stauffer.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

NEW! With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 40,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Plus, earn a $100 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months.
  • New! With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 MQMs after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • New! Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free and Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding on Delta flights.
  • New! Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • New! Earn 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • Receive a 20% savings in the form of a statement credit after you use your Card on eligible Delta in-flight purchases of food, beverages, and audio headsets.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
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.