Credit card showdown: Delta Gold Amex vs. Delta Platinum Amex

Mar 20, 2022

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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with the current card offers and benefits. 


With travel quickly ramping back up to pre-pandemic levels, now is a great time to earn some airline miles so you can book trips while conserving your cash.

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

If you decide that now is indeed the time to apply, your next question will likely be: How do you pick which Delta credit card is right for you?

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. However, more frequent Delta flyers should do some math to figure out whether the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card could offer them better travel benefits for its price.

The major differences between these two cards include their annual fees, intro bonuses and other benefits. The question is whether the Delta Platinum Amex is worth the $250 annual fee (see rates and fees) compared to the introductory annual fee of $0 for the first year, then $99 annually (see rates and fees) for the Delta Gold Amex.

Let’s do a deep dive and compare these two Delta cards so you can make your decision based on our analysis and your needs.

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In This Post

Delta Gold Amex versus Delta Platinum Amex

Benefit

Delta Gold Amex

Delta Platinum Amex

Welcome bonus

Earn 70,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.

Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.

Earning rates

  • 2 miles per dollar on eligible purchases with Delta.
  • 2 miles per dollar at restaurants worldwide.
  • 2 miles per dollar at U.S. supermarkets.
  • 1 mile per dollar on all other eligible purchases.
  • 3 miles per dollar on eligible purchases with Delta.
  • 3 miles per dollar on purchases made directly with hotels.
  • 2 miles per dollar at restaurants worldwide.
  • 2 miles per dollar at U.S. supermarkets.
  • 1 mile per dollar on all other eligible purchases.

Baggage

First checked bag free on Delta flights (including up to eight companions on the same reservation).

First checked bag free on Delta flights (including up to eight companions on the same reservation).

Key perks

Priority boarding (including up to eight companions on the same reservation).

20% discount in the form of statement credits on inflight purchases.

$100 Delta Flight Credit after you spend $10,000 on purchases in a calendar year.

Priority boarding (including up to eight companions on the same reservation).

Medallion Qualification Dollar (MQD) waiver after you spend $25,000 in a calendar year up to Platinum; or $250,000 in a calendar year for Diamond.

Discounted Sky Club access ($39 per person per visit).

20% off inflight purchases in the form of statement credits.

Global Entry/TSA PreCheck fee credit (up to $100) once every 4-4.5 years.

Companion ticket

N/A.

Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year at renewal.

Status Boost

N/A.

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

As you can see, the Delta SkyMiles Platinum card offers more (and better) benefits, and you can earn more SkyMiles per dollar spent with Delta and at hotels than with the Gold version of the card.

Of these two cards, only the Delta SkyMiles Platinum entitles you to 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 exorbitant $250,000 on Delta credit cards in a calendar year.

Let’s look more closely at the differences in the welcome bonus and perks for the two cards.

Welcome offer

The Delta Gold Amex offers 70,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022. The full bonus is worth roughly $987 based on TPG’s most recent valuations.

Use your bonus miles to book a seat in Delta One. (Photo by Chris Dong/The Points Guy)

With the Delta Platinum Amex, you can earn a welcome bonus of 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022. The full bonus is worth  $1,269 based on TPG’s most recent valuations.

While you’re getting significantly more value out of the welcome offer on the Delta Platinum Amex, be sure to factor the annual fee into your equation. You’re immediately on the hook for a $250 fee (see rates and fees) by adding the Platinum version to your wallet. Meanwhile, the Delta Gold Amex has a $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $99 (see rates and fees).

Bear in mind too that American Express uses a once-per-lifetime policy for awarding welcome bonuses. As a result, if you’ve held one of these cards before — even if you canceled it years ago — you likely won’t be eligible for these enhanced offers.

Related: The ultimate guide to credit card application restrictions

Delta Platinum benefits

The primary long-term benefits that really set the Delta Platinum Amex apart from the Gold version are the spending-based MQD waiver and Status Boost, plus its annual companion certificate.

The Delta Platinum Amex companion certificate can be put toward a second seat in Main Cabin (L, U, T, X and V fares, but not Basic Economy “E” fares) on a round-trip itinerary on Delta or Delta Connection within the 48 contiguous United States (residents of Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands can travel to/from there as well). You just pay taxes and fees of no more than $75 for the companion. That can amount to huge savings if you put it toward an otherwise expensive ticket.

In addition, the Delta Platinum Amex offers a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck fee credit, which is available once every four to 4.5 years. That benefit is somewhat offset by the potential to earn a $100 flight credit with the Delta Gold card after you spend $10,000 or more on eligible purchases each calendar year — though there’s no spending requirement associated with this perk.

(Photo by Chris Dong/The Points Guy)

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. This is a great way to boost your account balance and also help you qualify for Medallion status each year.

If you like hanging out in Delta SkyClubs occasionally, the Platinum version offers discounted entry fees of $39 per person, per visit. Pay-per-day lounge access isn’t available with the Delta Gold Amex.

(If you are a frequent Delta traveler and want to enjoy complimentary access to the Sky Club, consider going with the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card or The Platinum Card® from American Express.)

Both cards offer similar day-of-travel perks, including priority boarding and a first checked bag free for the primary cardholder and up to eight companions on the same reservation. They also both give a 20% discount in the form of statement credits on in-flight purchases of food, beverages and audio headsets.

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 — with more benefits to match. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s always better to go with the Delta Platinum, though.

When you should stick with Gold

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 annual fee is $0 for the first year, then $99 (see rates and fees).

(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

Another reason to apply for the Gold version relates to elite status. If you aren’t a regular Delta flyer, the additional perks on the Delta Platinum Amex may not be valuable. After all, spending $25,000 on the Platinum version to earn the MQD waiver plus 10,000 MQMs won’t mean much if you only earn another 10,000 MQMs through travel. That’s not even enough for Silver Medallion, Delta’s lowest tier of elite status. Instead, consider the Delta Gold Amex to enjoy a free checked bag, savings on inflight purchases and the nice haul of miles from the welcome bonus.

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

Read our Delta Amex Gold review for more details.

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 extended by the Delta Platinum Amex, you should go with this 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 with a base fare of more than $250, go with the Platinum version. The certificate by itself will cover your annual fee — and if you use it for a ticket where the fare is more than $250, that’s just more money back in your pocket.

Another reason to consider the Delta 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 it will also unlock the MQD waiver up to Platinum Medallion. This can make a sizeable dent in reaching status, and you won’t have to worry about meeting the airline’s spending requirements.

Read our Delta Platinum Amex review for more details.

Bottom line

If you fly Delta often, the Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card is a great way to boost your SkyMiles account while enjoying several excellent perks, such as the annual companion voucher at each renewal. However, even infrequent Delta flyers will get value from the Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card thanks to a solid welcome bonus and basic benefits.

Delta has been criticized for its mileage devaluations over the past several years and the fact that it doesn’t publish award charts anymore. However, 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.


Official application link: Delta SkyMiles Gold Amex.
Official application link: Delta SkyMiles Platinum.

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 John Gribben/The Points Guy.

Additional reporting by Stella Shon, Chris Dong, Eric Rosen, Christina Ly and Jason Stauffer.

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.