Fast-track toward Delta Medallion status: Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card review

Sep 17, 2021

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Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card overview

The Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card is a good choice for Delta loyalists who need a little help reaching their elite status goals. This card offers valuable perks, including a domestic companion pass each year after renewing your card, the ability to purchase Sky Club access when flying Delta on a per-visit basis, and your first checked bag free on Delta flights. Card rating*: ⭐⭐⭐½

*Card rating is based on the opinion of TPG’s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.

Editor’s note: This post has been updated with the current card information. 

Even as travel demand increases, many Delta loyalists will still travel far less this year than usual. And although Delta rolled over all Medallion® Qualification Miles from 2020 into 2021 and is now offering an elite-qualifying boost on Delta-marketed and Delta-operated flights, some Delta loyalists may struggle to earn or retain their desired Medallion status this year.

Luckily, select credit cards can help you earn airline elite status. And one of the best credit cards for Delta loyalists to earn elite status is the Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card.

The Delta Platinum Amex offers a limited-time elevated welcome offer and a set of attractive perks for Delta loyalists in exchange for a $250 annual fee (see rates and fees). In particular, the card provides an annual companion certificate, a Medallion Qualification Dollar waiver, a Medallion Qualification Miles boost and many other perks.

In this credit card review, I’ll take a closer look at the Delta Platinum Amex so you can decide whether it’s a good fit for you.

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In This Post

Who is this card for?

(Photo courtesy of Delta)

The Delta Platinum Amex makes the most sense for travelers who regularly fly Delta. After all, Delta flyers will be the ones who get the most out of the card’s perks.

The Delta Platinum Amex is an excellent fit if you’re chasing Delta Medallion elite status but will likely come up a bit short on MQMs or MQDs. You can earn bonus MQMs and an MQD waiver when you hit specific spending thresholds with your card within a calendar year.

You’ll also get other Delta-related perks with the Delta Platinum Amex. But, if you primarily want priority boarding and your first checked bag free on Delta flights, you’ll likely be better off with the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card. Likewise, if you’re looking for lounge access while flying Delta, you may prefer the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card or The Platinum Card® from American Express. I’ll discuss each of these cards in more detail later in this review.

Related: How my 3 Delta American Express cards changed the way I travel

Current welcome offer

The Delta Platinum Amex currently offers 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

Based on TPG’s valuation of Delta miles at 1.1 cents each, this bonus is worth about $990. However, you likely won’t be eligible for this welcome offer if you have the Delta Amex Platinum or have had it before. Amex may also consider the number of American Express cards you’ve opened and closed and other factors when deciding whether you’re eligible to earn the welcome bonus.

Luckily, Amex will notify you if you aren’t eligible to earn a welcome bonus. Specifically, if you aren’t eligible for the welcome bonus, Amex will display a message soon after submitting your application. So, don’t ignore any messages or warnings that appear after you hit submit.

Related: A complete guide to Amex one-bonus-per-lifetime restrictions

Main benefits and perks

Delta 767 business class suites
(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

The Delta Platinum Amex offers many perks for Delta flyers. But cardholders chasing Delta elite status will benefit the most since the card offers the potential to earn MQMs and snag an MQD waiver through spending. This section will take a closer look at all of the Delta Platinum Amex’s perks and benefits.

MQD waiver

As a Delta Platinum Amex cardholder, you can earn an MQD waiver when you hit specific spending thresholds on your card. Earning an MQD waiver will help if you’ve accumulated the required MQMs or Medallion Qualification Segments for a particular status tier but haven’t reached the necessary MQD threshold.

To earn an MQD waiver, you’ll need to make $25,000 of eligible purchases on your card during the calendar qualification year for Silver, Gold or Platinum Medallion status. But if you’re working on getting Diamond Medallion status, you’ll need to make $250,000 of eligible purchases with your card during the calendar year to snag an MQD waiver.

Related: Why you should care about Delta’s Pay with Miles feature

Earn MQMs with the Status Boost perk

If you’re looking to earn some extra MQMs, the Delta Platinum Amex‘s Status Boost perk can help. Typically, Status Boost allows you to earn 10,000 bonus MQMs after spending $25,000 in a calendar year and another 10,000 MQMs after spending $50,000 in the same year. If you acquire both of these bonuses, you’ll typically be just 5,000 MQMs short of Silver Medallion status.

However, the Status Boost perk is 25% more lucrative in 2021. Instead of earning 10,000 MQMs at each of these two thresholds, you’ll earn 12,500 MQMs. So, you can earn a total of 25,000 MQMs after making $50,000 of eligible purchases on your Delta Platinum Amex in 2021. As such, you can snag Silver Medallion status in 2021 without taking a single flight if you spend $50,000 on your card this year. However, this offer ends on Dec. 31.

Related: How to earn Delta Medallion elite status without flying

Annual companion certificate

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

The other primary benefit offered by the Delta Platinum Amex is an annual companion certificate.

You’ll receive this perk each year after your account renewal. The Delta companion certificate is valid for round-trip, main cabin domestic travel booked in fare classes L, U, T, X or V. All you’ll need to pay for the companion ticket is taxes and fees. If you use this certificate for expensive flights, you can easily cover most (or all) of the card’s annual fee.

Related: What happens if you’ve used your companion certificate for a canceled flight?

Other perks

The Delta Platinum Amex also offers several other benefits you may find helpful:

Fortunately, Delta ties benefits such as the checked baggage allowance and priority boarding to your Delta SkyMiles account. So, you don’t need to book flights with your Delta Platinum Amex to get access to these perks.

Related: 4 reasons why the Amex Platinum might be the ideal credit card for Delta flyers

How to earn miles

Hands holding credit card and coffee to go
(Photo by Popartic/Getty Images)

You’ll earn Delta SkyMiles when you make eligible purchases with the Delta Platinum Amex. In particular, you’ll earn Delta miles with your card as follows:

  • 3x miles on purchases made directly with Delta and at hotels.
  • 2x miles on purchases made at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets.
  • 1x miles on other eligible purchases.

Since TPG’s valuations peg the value of value Delta miles at 1.1 cents each, you’ll get an effective return of 3.3% on purchases with Delta and at hotels, 2.2% on purchases at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets, and 1.1% on other purchases. Though a loyal Delta traveler may enjoy earning bonus SkyMiles on these purchases, none of these returns are close to the best you can do in these categories.

For starters, if you have one of the best credit cards for booking flights, you’ll likely want to use it. And other cards top each of the Delta Platinum Amex’s other bonus categories: hotels, restaurants, supermarkets and everyday spending. But, you may want to put purchases on the Delta Platinum Amex even when it doesn’t provide the best return if you’re working toward a spending threshold to earn bonus MQMs or the aforementioned MQD waiver.

Related: 9 Delta SkyMiles sweet spots worth saving up for

How to redeem miles

Delta A220-300
(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Delta’s SkyMiles program doesn’t have the best reputation among points and miles buffs. After all, Delta has devalued its miles many times over the years. And Delta doesn’t publish an official award chart. So, award costs can skyrocket overnight. But there are still some great ways to get value out of the Delta SkyMiles program.

For example, Delta has frequent flash sales. In the past, we’ve seen deals like domestic awards from 2,000 SkyMiles one-way, awards to Alaska for as little as 5,000 SkyMiles round-trip, transcontinental awards from 10,000 SkyMiles round-trip and flights to Europe from 16,000 SkyMiles round-trip.

Earlier this year, I even booked a Delta One award from New York to Bogota for 24,000 miles round-trip. But even if you don’t snag one of these great deals, it’s still possible to get substantial value from SkyMiles. For example, I recently snagged a last-minute award on Delta’s first COVID-19-tested flight to Italy open to tourists for 60,000 Delta miles and $55.25 round-trip in main cabin economy from New York-JFK to Milan (MXP). You can also use Delta miles to upgrade existing tickets.

You can also find some great sweet spots when using SkyMiles to fly Delta partner airlines. You can book awards on SkyTeam partners such as Air France and Korean Air using SkyMiles. But SkyMiles also has some non-alliance partners, including Air Tahiti Nui.

Just note that some partner awards don’t show on Delta’s website, including awards on Air Europa, Air Tahiti Nui, Czech Airlines and Kenya Airways. As a result, you’ll want to use ExpertFlyer (owned by TPG’s parent company, Red Ventures) or another SkyTeam website like Flying Blue to find availability before calling to book awards on these partners.

Related: How to earn and maximize 100,000 Delta SkyMiles

Which cards compete with the Delta Platinum?

If you are interested in the Delta Platinum Amex because you fly (or plan to fly) Delta frequently, two primary types of cards can compete: other Delta cards and American Express Membership Rewards cards. This section will look at these types of cards and how they compare to the Delta Platinum Amex.

Delta credit cards

Delta Platinum Amex and Delta Reserve Amex
(Photo by John Gribben/The Points Guy)

The most direct competitor of the Delta Platinum Amex is likely the Delta Gold Amex. After all, the Delta Gold Amex offers some of the same Delta perks but charges a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99 (see rates and fees). However, the Delta Gold Amex doesn’t offer a companion certificate, shortcuts to elite status or trip delay insurance.

The Delta Reserve Amex is another Delta card that competes with the Delta Platinum Amex. In particular, if you frequently want Delta Sky Club access when flying on Delta-marketed or Delta-operated flights, you’ll prefer the Delta Reserve Amex. However, the Delta Reserve Amex has a much higher $550 annual fee (see rates and fees).

Finally, if you have a small business, you may prefer one of the Delta business cards. The Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card is the most similar to the Delta Platinum Amex. And the Delta Platinum Business Amex currently offers a welcome bonus of 90,000 bonus miles, 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles and a $100 statement credit after spending $3,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months of card membership. This limited-time offer also ends on 11/10/21.

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

Amex Membership Rewards cards

(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

If it’s a high return on Delta purchases that you’re after, you should consider The Platinum Card® from American Express. After all, the Amex Platinum Card earns 5x Membership Rewards points on flights booked directly with airlines or on AmexTravel.com (on up to $500,000 in purchases per calendar year). And you can transfer Membership Rewards points to Delta SkyMiles at a 1:1 ratio. But, you can also transfer Membership Rewards points to many other travel partners.

Amex Platinum cardholders also get Delta Sky Club access when traveling on Delta. But although the Amex Platinum offers many perks, it won’t help you earn elite status with Delta. And the Amex Platinum has a massive $695 annual fee (see rates and fees) that may be a bit much for some travelers.

If you can’t justify the annual fee on the Amex Platinum but you like the idea of earning American Express Membership Rewards points instead of Delta miles, the American Express® Gold Card or the American Express® Green Card may be a better fit. After all, both cards would earn three Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on flights booked directly with Delta. These two cards have many different features, though. So check out our Amex Gold review and Amex Green review to learn more about each card.

The information for the Amex Green Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Related: Check to see if you’re targeted for 125K or 100K Amex Platinum offer, or 75K Amex Gold offer via CardMatch

Bottom line

The Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card can be a great addition to your wallet if Delta is your carrier of choice. Its $250 annual fee may seem high compared to the lower-annual-fee Delta Gold Amex, but you get a generous welcome offer and valuable benefits in return.

The ability to fast-track Delta elite status is where the Delta Platinum Amex shines the brightest, but the annual companion certificate can also provide significant value. Just remember that to maximize your overall travel earning strategy, you’ll likely want to pair the Delta Platinum with other cards that offer higher bonus spending categories.

Apply here for the Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card with a 90,000-mile bonus offer and 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs).

For rates and fees of the Delta Platinum Amex, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta Gold Amex, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta Reserve Amex, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum, please click here.

Additional reporting by Benji Stawski and Juan Ruiz.

Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy.

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.