Why this is the month to get a new Delta card

Jun 24, 2021

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I’ve had a Delta Air Lines credit card since 2015, even though I often fly on other airlines. So I can attest that it’s possible to get value from having a Delta credit card even if you aren’t always loyal to that airline.

But you can undoubtedly get even more value from Delta credit cards if you frequently fly with Delta. After all, some Delta cards offer perks such as free checked bags, a boost toward Delta elite status and even access to Delta Sky Club lounges that can benefit those loyal to the airline.

If you want Delta-specific perks for an upcoming trip or simply need to boost your SkyMiles balance, this month is an excellent time to apply for a Delta card. Today I’ll discuss these offers so you can decide whether one of these cards is a good fit for you.

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In This Post

Comparing Delta credit cards

Welcome bonus Annual fee Notable perks
Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card Earn 10,000 miles after spending $500 in purchases in your first 3 months of card membership. None (see rates & fees) 20% back on inflight purchases
Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card Earn 70,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021. $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99 (see rates & fees) First checked bag free on Delta flights; priority boarding; 20% back on inflight purchases
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 your first three months of card membership.   Offer ends 11/10/2021. $250 (see rates & fees) Earn 10,000 MQMs at $25,000 and $50,000 in calendar year spending (up to 20,000 per year); MQD waiver based on calendar year spending; TSA PreCheck or Global Entry fee credit (Up to $100); annual companion pass; priority boarding; first checked bag free on Delta flights

 

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card Earn 80,000 bonus miles and 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $5,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months of card membership.   Offer ends 11/10/2021. $550 (see rates & fees) Delta Sky Club access; Centurion Lounge access; MQD waiver based on calendar-year spending; earn 15,000 MQMs at $30,000, $60,000, $90,000 and $120,000 in calendar year spending, up to four times; annual companion pass; complimentary upgrades for non-Medallions

 

Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card

Earn 70,000 bonus miles, and a $50 statement credit after spending $2,000 in purchases the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99 (see rates & fees) First checked bag free on Delta flights; priority boarding; 20% back on inflight purchases
Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles, 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs), and a $100 statement credit after spending $3,000 in purchases in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/21.

$250 (see rates & fees) Earn 10,000 MQMs at $25,000  in calendar year spending (up to 20,000 per year); MQD waiver based on calendar year spending; TSA PreCheck or Global Entry fee credit(Up to $100); annual companion pass; priority boarding; first checked bag free on Delta flights

 

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card

Earn 80,000 bonus miles, 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs), and a $200 statement credit after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/21.

$550 (see rates & fees) Delta Sky Club access; Centurion Lounge access; MQD waiver based on calendar year spending; earn 15,000 MQMs at $30,000, $60,000, $90,000 and $120,000 in calendar year spending; annual companion pass; complimentary upgrades for non-Medallions

 

Any of the cards in the above table can help you earn more Delta SkyMiles. However, now I’ll take a closer look at three consumer Delta SkyMiles cards that I believe provide the most value to Delta flyers.

Related: 5 things you need to know about Delta SkyMiles

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card
(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

Welcome bonus: Earn Earn 70,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months card membership, Offer ends 11/10/2021. Based on TPG’s valuation of Delta miles at 1.1 cents each, this bonus is worth up to $770.

Earning rates:

  • 2 miles per dollar spent on purchases at restaurants, at U.S. supermarkets and made directly with Delta.
  • 1 mile per dollar spent on other purchases.

Annual fee: $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99(see rates and fees).

Related: 9 Delta SkyMiles sweet spots worth saving up for

Who should apply for the Delta Gold Amex?

The Delta Gold Amex is excellent for occasional Delta flyers who can benefit from a complimentary first checked bag and priority boarding on Delta flights. These benefits apply to you and up to eight companions traveling with you on the same reservation. You can even use these benefits when flying on a Delta Air Lines basic economy ticket. Best of all, these perks are tied to your Delta SkyMiles account once you have the Delta Gold Amex. So you don’t even have to use that card to purchase your ticket to receive the perks.

How many checked bag fees do you need to incur after your first year to come out ahead with the Delta Gold Amex? The annual fee after your first year is $99 (see rates and fees) and Delta’s checked bag fees start at $30. So you’ll only need to check four bags each year to come out ahead. Plus, you’ll get a $100 Delta flight credit each year after you spend $10,000 on your card during that calendar year.

This card is ideal if you can use the Delta perks, including checked baggage and priority boarding benefits. And, if you don’t have better-earning cards for airfare, on dining at restaurants  and groceries — or you’re working toward the annual $100 Delta flight credit — the Delta Gold Amex may also be a good choice for some of your everyday spending.

See the full Delta Gold Amex card review for more information.

Official application link: Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card
(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

Welcome bonus: 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 11/10/2021. Based on TPG’s valuation of Delta miles at 1.1 cents each, this bonus is worth up to $990.

Earning rates:

  • 3 miles per dollar spent on eligible purchases directly with Delta and directly with hotels worldwide.
  • 2 miles per dollar spent on purchases at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets.
  • 1 mile per dollar spent on other purchases.

Annual fee: $250 (see rates and fees).

Related: How to redeem Delta SkyMiles for maximum value

Who should apply for the Delta Platinum Amex?

The Delta Platinum Amex is most useful for frequent Delta flyers who need a slight boost toward earning Delta elite status. However, the card may also make sense if you can maximize a domestic round-trip companion certificate each year.

One of the Delta Platinum Amex’s main perks is its Medallion Qualification Dollar waiver. Based on this waiver, you can still qualify for Platinum, Gold and Silver Medallion status if you have earned the required Medallion® Qualification Miles or Medallion Qualification Segments and make at least $25,000 in eligible purchases within the qualification calendar year on your card. You can also earn an MQD waiver for Diamond Medallion status if you have earned the required MQMs or MQSs and make at least $250,000 in eligible purchases within that qualification year on your card.

Another primary benefit of the Delta Platinum Amex is Status Boost, which allows you to earn 10,000 MQMs after spending $25,000 or more on your card in a calendar year. You can earn an additional 10,000 MQMs after you spend $50,000 on your card in a calendar year, for a total of 20,000 MQMs.

Related: How to earn Delta Medallion elite status without flying in 2021

Delta Platinum Amex cardholders also get a domestic round-trip companion certificate after each account anniversary.

You must pay the taxes and fees on the companion ticket and purchase an adult round-trip L, U, T, X or V fare to use this companion certificate (meaning it isn’t available for use on every single flight). Depending on how you use this certificate, it could easily justify the card’s annual fee.

The Sky Deck at Delta’s Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC) Sky Club. (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Delta Platinum Amex cardholders can pay $39 per person per visit to enter a Delta Sky Club with up to two guests or immediate family when flying a same-day Delta or Delta partner airline flight. Delta Platinum Amex cardholders also get a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck (Up to $100) application fee reimbursed when charged to the Delta Platinum Amex. You can get a Global Entry application fee reimbursed every four years or a TSA PreCheck application fee reimbursed every 4.5 years.

However, the earning rates on the Delta Platinum Amex aren’t particularly compelling. So, you may already have cards in your wallet that provide better earnings. As such, you’ll have to decide if the companion certificate, MQD waiver, ability to earn MQMs, ability to purchase Delta Sky Club access and other perks justify adding the Delta Platinum Amex to your wallet.

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

See the full Delta Platinum Amex card review for more information.

Official application link: Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card

Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card
(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

Welcome bonus: Earn 80,000 bonus miles and 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $5,000 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 up to $880.

Earning rates:

  • 3 miles per dollar spent on eligible purchases made directly with Delta.
  • 1 mile per dollar spent on other purchases.

Annual fee: $550 (see rates and fees).

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

Who should apply for the Delta Reserve Amex?

The primary way in which the Delta Reserve Amex stands out is complimentary lounge access when flying Delta. If you fly Delta frequently, this can provide significant value. When flying on a same-day Delta-marketed or Delta-operated flight, you’ll have complimentary Delta Sky Club access.

You can also bring up to two guests or immediate family members with you into a Delta Sky Club lounge for $39 per person per visit. Plus, you get two one-time guest passes for Delta Sky Club admission upon account opening and each year upon account renewal. And you’ll also get complimentary access to American Express Centurion Lounges on a same-day Delta flight with a ticket purchased with a U.S.-issued American Express card.

Delta’s Comfort+ cabin. (Photo by Chris Dong/The Points Guy)

Delta Reserve cardholders also get a domestic round-trip companion certificate after each account anniversary. However, unlike with the Delta Platinum card’s companion certificate that’s only valid in economy, this one allows you to bring a companion on a domestic round-trip in first class, Delta Comfort+ or main cabin for free — you’ll only need to pay the taxes and fees on the companion ticket and purchase an adult round-trip ticket in an eligible fare class.

Depending on how you use this certificate, it could easily justify the card’s annual fee.

Related: Why I’m keeping the Amex Delta Reserve even while I fly less

Like the Delta Platinum Amex, the Delta Reserve also offers an MQD waiver that will allow you to qualify for each tier of Delta elite status if you’ve earned the required MQMs or MQSs but not the required MQDs. You’ll get the MQD waiver when you make at least $25,000 in eligible purchases within the qualification calendar year on your card for Platinum, Gold and Silver status, or $250,000 for Diamond status.

The Delta Reserve also offers the Status Boost benefit, which allows you to earn 15,000 Medallion Qualification Miles after spending $30,000 or more on your card in a calendar year. Then, you can earn an additional 15,000 MQMs after you spend $60,000, $90,000 and $120,000 on your card in a calendar year. You can earn at most 60,000 MQMs through the Status Boost benefit each calendar year.

Cardholders also get a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee credit when they charge an application fee to the card (up to $100). Cardholders are eligible for a Global Entry fee credit every four years or a TSA PreCheck fee credit every 4.5 years. Plus, non-Medallions get access to complimentary upgrades. And, Amex’s travel protections cover select flights purchased with your Delta Reserve.

See the full Delta Reserve Amex card review for more information.

Official application link: Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card

Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card

Welcome bonus: Earn 70,000 bonus miles, and a $50 statement credit after spending $2,000 in purchases the 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 up to $820 (including the statement credit).

Earning rates:

  • 2 miles per dollar spent on purchases at restaurants, eligible U.S. shipping purchases, advertising in select media, and Delta purchases.
  • 1 mile for every dollar spent on other purchases.

Annual fee: $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, $99 (see rates and fees).

Who should apply for the Delta Gold Business Amex?

The Delta Gold Business American Express Card is great for people who want to earn SkyMiles and access Delta perks but may not fly enough with Delta specifically to take on a higher annual fee.

The annual fee after your first year is $99 (see rates and fees), which is much less than the Delta SkyMiles Platinum Business American Express Card or the Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business American Express Card.

One of the perks associated with this card is a $100 Delta flight credit after spending $10,000 in a calendar year. It also features priority boarding, inflight discounts, baggage insurance and car rental insurance.

One of the better perks is that you and up to eight other travelers on the same reservation will get your first checked bag free. If you travel frequently, this could easily save you $60 a trip, which definitely adds up in the long run.

See the full Delta Gold Business Amex Card review for more information.

Official application link: Delta SkyMiles Gold Business American Express Card

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card

(Photo by The Points Guy)

Welcome bonus: Earn 90,000 bonus miles, 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs), and a $100 statement credit after spending $3,000 in purchases in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/21.

Based on TPG’s valuation of Delta miles at 1.1 cents each, this bonus is worth up to $1,090 (including the statement credit).

Earning rates:

  • 3 miles per dollar spent on Delta purchases and eligible hotel purchases.
  • 1.5 miles per dollar spent on single eligible purchases of $5,000 or more (up to 50,000 miles a year).
  • 1 mile per dollar spent on all other eligible purchases.

Annual fee: $250  (see rates and fees).

Related: Delta SkyMiles sweet spots worth saving up for

Who should apply for the Delta Platinum Business Amex?

The Delta SkyMiles Platinum Business American Express Card is a great option for those who frequently travel on Delta. Though the annual fee is higher than the Delta SkyMiles Gold Business American Express Card, the current welcome offer makes this card worth considering.

This card also comes with perks such as a free checked bag for you and up to eight travelers on the same reservation, priority boarding and Sky Club or partner lounge access.

Related: Sharing lounge access with your family

Another perk of this card is the companion certificate that is valid for one domestic, main cabin trip every year you renew this card. You will however have to pay the associated $75 in taxes and fees. Companion certificates can come in handy and you can take your guest into a Sky Club if you purchase a $39 lounge day pass.

Related: Your guide to airline credit card companion tickets

If you don’t already have Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, this card does come with a credit (up to $100) that you can use toward that. If you’re already signed up for a Trusted Traveler program, consider gifting your credit to someone else.

If you’re chasing Medallion status, definitely take a look at the Delta Platinum Business American Express Card. You can earn 10,000 MQMs after spending $25,000 in purchases on your card in a calendar year, up to two times per year.

While the Delta SkyMiles Platinum Business American Express Card does come with some great perks such as the MQMs and companion pass, the Delta SkyMiles Gold Business American Express has nearly the same earning rate, with a lower annual fee.

See the full Delta Platinum Business Amex Review for more information.

Official application link: Delta SkyMiles Platinum Business American Express Card

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card

Amex Delta Skymiles Business Reserve_CCSL
(Photo by The Points Guy)

Welcome bonus: Earn 80,000 bonus miles, 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs), and a $200 statement credit after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/21.

Based on TPG’s valuation of Delta miles at 1.1 cents each, this bonus is worth up to $1,080  (including the statement credit).

Earning rates:

  • 3 miles per dollar spent on Delta purchases.
  • 1.5 miles per dollar spent on eligible purchases after you spend $150,000 in a calendar year.
  • 1 mile for every dollar spent on other eligible purchases.

Annual fee: $550 (see rates and fees).

Related: Best Delta credit cards of 2021

Who should apply for the Delta Reserve Business Amex?

If you’re a dedicated Delta traveler, the Delta Reserve Business American Express Card may be a great choice for you.

This card does have the highest annual fee, at $550 (see rates and fees), than any of the other Delta Business Amex cards. However, you might find that price worth it if you’re looking to access Sky Clubs. A Sky Club membership costs $545 annually, but your access is included if you’re a  Reserve Business Amex cardholder. Unfortunately, this doesn’t allow you access to any of the partner lounges and you’ll still have to pay a fee of $39 per person per location to have up to two guests accompany you. This card will also get you access to Amex Centurion Lounges.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Other perks that might sway you to apply for this card are the two one-time Sky Club guest passes that you’ll receive each year, a domestic companion certificate (note that you’ll have to pay the associated $75 in taxes and fees) and a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit up to $100.

The Delta Reserve Business Amex also comes with the other standard perks among the Delta Business Amex cards, such as inflight discounts, travel protection and shopping protection. It also comes with the Delta Reserve Concierge that is available 24/7 to help with tasks such as restaurant reservations and event planning.

If you are looking to achieve Medallion status, you can earn 15,000 MQMs for every $30,000 spent, up to four times a year.  If you haven’t hit Medallion status, this card can score you complimentary upgrades on certain flights.

See the full Delta Reserve Business Amex review for more information.

Official application link: Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business American Express Card

Bottom line

If you’ve been on the fence about a Delta credit card, this month is an excellent time to finally apply, and the benefits offered by these cards may justify keeping the card in your wallet for many years to come.

Additional reporting by Jordyn Fields.

Featured photo by The Points Guy.

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

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.