4 reasons why the Amex Platinum may be the ideal credit card for Delta flyers

Jul 26, 2021

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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, 5 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 has presented a strong value proposition, thanks to some non-travel perks such as up to $200 in annual Uber Cash (which can also be used for Uber Eats and only for U.S. services), up to $240 in annual digital entertainment statement credits, etc. (enrollment is required for some benefits). There’s also been several 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.

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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. The most you’ll earn with a Delta card is 3x miles on eligible Delta purchases.

Related: Why this TPG staffer is chasing Delta elite status during the pandemic

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 continued 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.

You can book Delta One awards for very low rates by transferring your Membership Rewards points to Virgin Atlantic (Photo by Ethan Steinberg/The Points Guy)
You can book Delta One awards for very low rates by transferring your Membership Rewards points to Virgin Atlantic. (Photo by Ethan Steinberg/The Points Guy)

While Delta might be your preferred airline, having transferable points helps you for many reasons, a few of which are below:

Transferable points such as Membership Rewards points could even be a financial safety net for unplanned expenses, emergencies and more. As long as you have Membership Rewards, you have Delta miles whenever you need them. But if a different opportunity arises, you’re ready for that, too.

Related: Travel is back. Now, points and miles devaluations are (likely) coming

You can transfer points to Delta … or not

This is tangential to the above point. 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, which 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. But 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. Transfers only go one way — you can’t convert Delta miles back into Amex Membership Rewards points if you change your mind.

Related: Best sweet spots with Delta SkyMiles

Access Sky Clubs, Centurion Lounges and a $200 airline fee credit

The Amex Platinum can get you Delta Sky Club access when you’re flying Delta. It can also grant you Amex Centurion Lounge access regardless of your carrier. Currently, the Amex Platinum allows two free guests. That policy changes on Feb. 1, 2023 — you’ll then be charged $50 per guest ($30 for children) unless you spend $75,000 on your card in a calendar year.

The American Express Centurion Lounge at Las Vegas' McCarran International Airport. (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)
The American Express Centurion Lounge at Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport. (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card can also give you Sky Club access when traveling on a Delta-operated or Delta-coded flight. And it can get you into Amex Centurion Lounges when flying Delta with a ticket purchased on a U.S.-issued American Express card. You can bring two guests for $50 each.

The Amex Delta Reserve comes with a $550 annual fee (see rates and fees).

Both the Amex Platinum and the Delta Reserve offer lounge benefits for authorized users:

  • The Amex Platinum charges $175 for up to three cards (then $175 each) (see rates and fees).
  • The Delta Reserve charges $175 for each card (see rates and fees).

In other words, the Amex Platinum gives you much more value when adding authorized users. If you find your travel party ducking into Sky Clubs and Centurion Lounges with regularity, the Amex Platinum blows the Delta Reserve away.

Related: Which US airline lounges are currently open?

Finally, there is an up-to-$200 airline fee statement credit per calendar year on the Amex Platinum. Enrollment required.

While it is definitely harder to use that credit if you aren’t interested in flying, certain cases 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:

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

Related: Delta now makes it even easier to earn elite status without flying — but is it worth it?

Bottom line

The Amex Platinum currently has a welcome offer of 100,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on the card in your first six months of card membership. Plus, you’ll earn 10x points on eligible purchases at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during your first six months of card membership. 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 $695 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.

Official application link: The Platinum Card from American Express

For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles Reserve Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum card, please click here.

Additional reporting by Stella Shon and Joseph Hostetler.

Featured photo by The Points Guy.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

WELCOME OFFER: 100,000 Points Terms Apply.


CARD HIGHLIGHTS: Delta Sky Club and Centurion lounge access, up to $200 annual airline fee credit and up to $200 in Uber Cash 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.

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on the Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Plus, earn 10x points on eligible purchases on the Card at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
  • $200 Hotel Credit: Get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®.
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 in statement credits each month when you pay for eligible purchases with the Platinum Card® at your choice of one or more of the following providers: Peacock, Audible, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. Enrollment required.
  • New! American Express has expanded The Centurion® Network to include 40+ Centurion Lounge and Studio locations worldwide. Now there are even more places your Platinum Card® can get you complimentary entry and exclusive perks.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • $200 Uber Cash: 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 available to Basic Card Member only.
  • $300 Equinox Credit: Get up to $25 back each month on select Equinox memberships. Enrollment required.
  • $179 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $179 back per year on your CLEAR® membership.
  • $695 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
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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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