4 reasons why the Amex Platinum may be the ideal credit card for Delta flyers
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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with the latest information.
The Platinum Card® from American Express is one of the top cards for frequent flyers, thanks to the 5x bonus category for airfare purchased directly from the carrier or through American Express Travel (on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year). Based on TPG’s valuations, 5x Membership Rewards points per dollar equals a return of 10% — exceeding all other cards for airfare, including the popular Chase Sapphire Reserve.
Even during the pandemic, the card presents a strong value proposition, thanks to some non-travel perks such as an up-to-$200 annual Uber Cash (which can also be used for Uber Eats and only for U.S. services; enrollment required) and a number of temporary credits and Amex Offers. Then, of course, there are the 5x points offered on airfare booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel, along with prepaid hotels.
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There are various reasons why the Platinum Card is a great option for all sorts of air travelers, but it’s an excellent option for Delta travelers. Thanks to Delta’s close partnership with Amex, semiregular travelers on the carrier have more reasons than most to consider adding this card to their wallets.
Here are four reasons why the Amex Platinum is worth an especially close look for semifrequent Delta flyers.
Get an unbeatable return on airfare purchases
As mentioned above, the Amex Platinum can’t be beaten when it comes to the return you’ll get on airfare spending. Even though TPG values both American Express Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards points at 2 cents apiece, thanks to the Platinum Card’s 5x category, you’ll still come out way ahead against the Sapphire Reserve’s 3x on travel (including airfare).
And while you can earn Delta SkyMiles directly with a cobranded Delta credit card, the 5x points you get from the Amex Platinum still puts you ahead. Even Delta’s top card — the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card — only earns 3x miles on Delta purchases.
Earn incredibly flexible transferable points
The Amex Platinum earns transferable Membership Rewards points that can be moved to many airline and hotel partners. We’ve always favored transferable points over airline miles, but that is even more of a necessity during this time of decreased travel and uncertainty. And Delta recently devalued its SkyMiles program, causing partner award rates to skyrocket. So while you could transfer your Membership Rewards points at a 1:1 ratio to Delta SkyMiles, you don’t have to. You have lots of options beyond Delta.
While Delta might be your preferred airline, having transferable points helps you for many reasons, a few of which are below:
- It gives you numerous options to book airlines and hotels you normally might not have on your radar.
- It protects you from loyalty program devaluations.
- It minimizes the risk against bankruptcies and program suspensions.
Transferable points such as Membership Rewards points could even be a financial safety net for unplanned expenses, emergencies and more.
You can transfer points to Delta … or not
As mentioned, you can transfer the Amex Membership Rewards points you earn with the Amex Platinum (and other eligible cards) to Delta instantly at a 1:1 ratio. This is a great way to top off your Delta SkyMiles balance if you need extra miles for a particular redemption.
American Express is Delta’s exclusive partner for its lineup of cobranded credit cards. That partnership was extended through 2029, so it’s a good bet you’ll be able to leverage this benefit for years to come.
However, what’s even better about stashing points with Amex is that you can leverage the power of airline partnerships. For instance, you can transfer Membership Rewards points not only to Delta but also to Virgin Atlantic. With Virgin Atlantic, you’ll have another opportunity to book awards on Delta-operated flights using Flying Club miles.
As with any transferable currency, you should only transfer when you are confident that there is available award inventory as transfers only go one way and can’t be reversed.
Related: Best sweet spots with Delta SkyMiles
Access Sky Clubs, Centurion Lounges and a $200 airline fee credit
If Delta Sky Club access is a priority, you could fork over $550 annually for the Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card (see rates and fees) to enjoy airport lounges when traveling on a Delta-operated or Delta-coded flight.
Most Centurion Lounges have now reopened and are generally superior options in terms of food, beverages and overall comfort. When you’re traveling through airports that don’t have a Centurion Lounge or Sky Club, the Amex Platinum’s Priority Pass Select membership — along with Airspace and Escape lounges — should have you covered. Enrollment required for select benefits.
Finally, there is an up-to-$200 airline fee credit per calendar year on the Amex Platinum. Enrollment required for select benefits.
Eligibility for this offer is limited. Enrollment is required in the Amex Offers section of your account before redeeming.
While it is definitely harder to use that credit in a pandemic if you aren’t flying, there are certain cases where it may still be beneficial. For instance, it covers checked bag fees on the airline you select each calendar year. If you’re flying Delta (or another U.S.-based airline) and don’t want to shell out for the airline’s cobranded card that has a checked bag fee perk, you can offset the cost through your Platinum Card.
A reason to still consider Delta cobranded cards
While the Amex Platinum is a no-brainer for Delta flyers, there’s one area where four Delta cobranded cards have the advantage. If you’re working toward Delta Medallion elite status, these cards could come in handy.
Delta is arguably the best airline when it comes to earning elite status without flying. You can earn lucrative Medallion Qualification Miles just from spending on the following cards:
- Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card: 10,000 MQMs after spending $25,000 in a calendar year and another 10,000 MQMs after spending $50,000 in a calendar year.
- Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card: 10,000 MQMs after spending $25,000 in a calendar year and another 10,000 MQMs after spending $50,000 in a calendar year.
- Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card: 15,000 MQMs for every $30,000 you spend on the card in a calendar year (up to four times for a maximum of 60,000 MQMs).
- Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card: 15,000 MQMs for every $30,000 you spend on the card in a calendar year (up to four times for a maximum of 60,000 MQMs).
The Amex Platinum is currently offering a welcome offer of 75,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 on purchases in your first six months of card membership. You’ll also earn 10x points on up to $15,000 in combined eligible purchases at U.S. gas stations and U.S. supermarkets during the same first six months of card membership. That’s an additional 9x points on top of the 1x points you earn for these purchases. However, you may be able to do even better by checking the CardMatch tool to see if you’re targeted for an incredible 125,000-point offer (these offers are subject to change at any time).
The card has a $550 annual fee (see rates and fees), but the cost can be easily justified if you take advantage of the many perks available.
The Platinum is a card that has earned a spot on our list of the best cards for Delta flyers, thanks to benefits including Sky Club access when flying Delta, points that can transfer to SkyMiles and more. But if you specifically want to earn MQMs toward elite status through spending and a welcome bonus offer, you’ll still want to consider the other Delta cobranded options.
Additional reporting by Stella Shon.
Featured photo by John Gribben/The Points Guy.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
WELCOME OFFER: 75,000 Points Terms Apply.
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,500
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: Delta Sky Club and Centurion lounge access, up to $200 annual airline fee credit and up to $200 in Uber savings annually (only for use in the U.S.) (Enrollment required for select benefits)
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 75,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $5,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
- Earn 10x points on eligible purchases on your new Card at U.S. Gas Stations and U.S. Supermarkets, on up to $15,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership. That’s an additional 9 points on top of the 1 point you earn for these purchases.
- Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member and Additional Centurion Cards only.
- Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel. Starting January 1, 2021, earn 5X points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.
- 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
- Enjoy complimentary access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
- Receive complimentary benefits through American Express Travel with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts® program at over 1,100 properties. Learn More.
- Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. That’s up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually. Enrollment required.
- $550 annual fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees