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

Oct 17, 2021

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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 SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card is worth the current $250 annual fee (see rates and fees) to you compared to the introductory annual fee of $0 for the first year, then $99 annually (see rates and fees), for the Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card.

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 three months of card membership. Offer ends Nov. 10.

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months of card membership. Offer ends Nov. 10.

Earning rates

2x on eligible purchases with Delta

2x at restaurants worldwide

2x at U.S. supermarkets

1x on all other eligible purchases

3x on eligible purchases with Delta

3x at hotels (made directly with the hotels)

2x at restaurants worldwide

2x at U.S. supermarkets

1x on all other eligible purchases

Baggage

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

Free checked bag 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 (MQDs) 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 coach companion ticket every year at card 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. In 2021, enjoy a 25% bonus for 12,500 MQMs at each threshold, up to 25,000 MQMs total.

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.

For 2021, the Delta Platinum Amex can earn even more MQMs with an elevated Status Boost benefit in 2021: A full 25% increase in MQM earn at existing Status Boost milestones.

Let’s look more closely at the differences in the welcome bonus and perks for the two cards and see if they outweigh the Delta SkyMiles Amex’s higher annual fee (see rates and fees).

Welcome offer

The Delta Gold Amex offers 70,000 bonus miles after you make $2,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months of card membership. Offer ends Nov. 10, 2021. The full bonus is worth $770, 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 and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months of card membership. Offer ends Nov. 10, 2021. The full bonus is worth $990, based on TPG’s most recent valuations.

The higher annual fee on the Delta Platinum (see rates and fees) is accompanied by a higher welcome bonus, while the Delta Gold Amex has a $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $99 (see rates and fees).

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.

Don’t forget, as well, about the Delta Platinum Amex 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.

(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.

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 premium 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. The Platinum version can qualify for both an MQD waiver toward elite status and let you rack up MQMs through its Status Boost, all based on spending. If you don’t fly Delta enough to qualify for Medallion status even with that boost, though, those MQMs are worthless. In this 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 Delta 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 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 and if the base fare of that ticket is more than $250, go with the Platinum version. The certificate 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 (12,500 MQMs in 2021) that can help you qualify for Medallion status, plus an MQD waiver up to Platinum Medallion so you won’t have to worry about meeting some of the airline’s Medallion spending requirements.

Don’t forget you’ll get an additional 10,000 MQMs by meeting minimum spend requirements from the welcome offer — getting you that much closer to your elite status goals.

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 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 Card with 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 with a 70,000-mile welcome offer after you spend $2,000 in the first three months of card membership — offer ends Nov. 10.
Official application link: Delta SkyMiles Platinum with a 90,000-mile welcome offer and 10,000 MQMs after you spend $3,000 in the first three months of card membership — offer ends Nov. 10. 

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 and Jason Stauffer.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

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
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs 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.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • 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.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
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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