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Avid Delta flyers have many options when it comes to credit cards. Before even counting business cards, Delta offers four tiers of co-branded consumer credit cards, ranging from no annual fee to $450 a year.
Falling right in the middle of the spectrum is the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express. The card has a $195 annual fee and comes a set of attractive perks such as an annual companion certificate, along with a Medallion Qualification Dollar (MQD) waiver for status levels up to Platinum and a Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) boost. Let’s take a deeper dive into what this card offers to see how it stacks up.
Who Is This Card For?
Although it’s always a good idea to diversify your loyalty portfolio, it goes without saying that this card will make the most sense for those who regularly fly Delta, as the majority of its perks are specific to the airline.
This card is especially attractive for those chasing Delta elite status as it comes with a Miles Boost feature which offers 10,000 bonus miles and 10,000 bonus MQMs for spending $25,000 in a calendar year, and another 10,000 miles and 10,000 MQMs after spending $50,000 in the same year. These MQMs can be stacked with ones earned through other Delta Amex cards, meaning it’s possible to reach Gold Medallion status without setting foot on a plane. Delta will also waive its MQD requirement up to Platinum status if you spend $25,000 — you’ll need to spend $250,000 if you’re going for Diamond.
If you’re only after essentials like priority boarding and free checked bags, you might want to consider the Platinum card’s cheaper sibling, the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express. Keep in mind there is also a business version of the Platinum card, the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express.
The welcome bonus of the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Card is unique in the sense that it’s basically three different bonuses in one. You’ll get a $100 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your card within the first three months. After you spend $1,000 in purchases within the first three months, you’ll earn 5,000 MQMs and 35,000 bonus miles, worth $420 based on TPG’s latest valuations. This calculation ignores the bonus MQMs that are included, as they are a bit more challenging to quantify and can be worth nothing if you aren’t interested in qualifying (or aren’t able to qualify) for Medallion status.
We have seen higher welcome bonuses for this card in the past, but they’ve always had higher minimum spend requirements. The current $1,000 requirement is relatively low for a travel rewards card.
The Platinum Delta SkyMiles card has the same earning rates as the Gold Delta SkyMiles card: 2 points per dollar on Delta purchases and 1 point per dollar on everything else.
While these earning rates are fairly common among the major US carriers’ cards, they’re not the most rewarding. Earning 5x Membership Rewards points on airfare purchases (which can be transferred to Delta at a 1:1 ratio), the Platinum Card® from American Express is a better option for booking flights with Delta and other airlines.
While Delta’s SkyMiles program doesn’t have the best reputation among points and miles buffs due to its many devaluations and lack of transparency with award ticket costs, there are still some great ways to get value out of the program. For example, Delta has pretty frequent flash sales, offering deals like transcontinental awards from 10,000 SkyMiles round-trip and flights to Europe from 32,000 SkyMiles round-trip.
There are also great sweet spots for flying international partner airlines with SkyMiles, especially for flying between multiple non-US destinations. All SkyTeam partners, such as Air France and Korean Air, are available for award redemptions, as well as some non-alliance partners like Virgin Australia and Air Tahiti Nui. Just note that many partner awards don’t show on Delta’s website so you’ll want to use ExpertFlyer or another SkyTeam website such as Flying Blue to find availability.
The card makes up for its lackluster earning rates with its perks. While those chasing Delta elite status will benefit the most, there are plenty of perks to excite even occasional flyers.
- Annual Companion Certificate — Receive a companion certificate each year after your account renewal. The certificate is good for round-trip, main cabin domestic travel, and is free save for taxes and fees.
- Miles Boost — Earn 10,000 bonus miles and 10,000 bonus MQMs after spending $25,000 in a calendar year, and another 10,000 miles and 10,000 MQMs after spending $50,000 in the same year.
- MQD Waiver — If you’re considering going for Silver, Gold or Platinum status, you can get the MQD requirement waived by spending $25,000 during the calendar year. The waiver requirement for Diamond status is $250,000.
- First Checked Bag Free — Get a first checked bag free on Delta flights for you and up to eight companions traveling on the same reservation.
- Priority Boarding — Get Zone 1 priority boarding for you and up to eight companions traveling on the same reservation.
- 20% In-Flight Savings — Pretty straightforward, receive 20% back in the form of a statement credit after you use your card on Delta in-flight purchases (not including Wi-Fi).
- Ability to Purchase Sky Club Access — Although Delta eliminated single visit passes, card holders and up to two companions can still get club access on a $29 per-visit basis.
Fortunately, benefits like the checked baggage allowance and priority boarding are tied to your Delta SkyMiles account so you don’t need to book your flights with the card to utilize them.
In addition to the Delta-specific benefits, the card also carries travel protections like secondary collision damage waiver, lost baggage reimbursement and travel accident insurance, as well as purchase protection benefits like extended warranty and return protection. The card also doesn’t have any foreign transaction fees.
Which Cards Compete With the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Card?
The most direct competitor of this card is the Gold Delta SkyMiles Amex. It offers many of the same Delta perks and has a lower annual fee of $95 (waived the first year). The biggest differences between the two cards are that the Gold card doesn’t come with a companion certificate or the shortcuts to elite status. The card also doesn’t come with the 10,000 bonus miles you get when you spend $25,000 on the Platinum Delta card in a calendar year.
If it’s just a high return on Delta spend you’re after, go with the regular Platinum Card from American Express. As previously mentioned, the card earns 5x Membership Rewards points on airfare purchases which can be transferred to Delta at a 1:1 ratio. The card also grants you free access into Delta Sky Clubs (among other lounges) when traveling with the airline, but it won’t help you earn elite status and will require you to fork over a $550 annual fee.
The Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express can be a great addition to your wallet if Delta is your carrier of choice. Its $195 annual fee may seem high when compared to the fairly similar and cheaper Gold Delta card, but you get more benefits in return. Although I think the ability to fast-track Delta elite status is where the Platinum card shines the most, the annual companion certificate is also extremely valuable and can help you more than offset the card’s higher annual fee. Just remember that to maximize your SkyMiles-earning strategy, you’ll probably want to pair this card with some non-Delta-branded options from Amex that offer higher bonus spend categories.
The information for the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
With great travel benefits, 2x points on travel & dining and a 50,000 point sign up bonus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for those looking to get into the points and miles game. Here are the top 5 reasons it should be in your wallet, or read our definitive review for more details.
- Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Chase Sapphire Preferred named "Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption" - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, June 2018
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- No foreign transaction fees
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
- No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards