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Credit card review: Delta SkyMiles Blue American Express Card

Feb. 27, 2020
7 min read
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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with the latest credit cards information and benefits. It was originally published on Aug. 5, 2019.


Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card overview

The Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card is a solid option for a no-annual-fee credit card (see rates & fees). Featuring 2x miles per dollar on spending at restaurants and eligible Delta purchases, this card lacks several premium features, but is worth a spot in your wallet if you're an occasional Delta flyer and want to avoid annual fees. Card Rating*: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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

(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

If you want a Delta credit card, you can choose between luxury at a price and a card that's easier on your wallet. If you want a card chock full of perks, including complimentary access to any Delta Sky Club around the world, you should consider the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card — with its $550 annual fee (see rates and fees).

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But if you're looking for a Delta-branded Amex card that has no fee and still allows you to earn miles toward rewards bookings, the Delta SkyMiles Blue American Express Card may be a better pick. Today we're going to review what you get with this no-annual-fee Delta card (see rates and fees). Let's get started.

Related reading: The best no-annual-fee credit cards for 2020

Welcome offer

New cardholders will earn 10,000 bonus miles after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first six months of account opening. TPG valuations make that worth $141. It's not the most generous offer on the market, but those miles can go toward award travel or seat upgrades and not cost you anything in annual fees.

Earning

The Delta Blue card offers a good variety of ways to earn miles beyond Delta purchases. Here's the breakdown (terms apply):

  • 2x miles at restaurants
  • 2x miles on purchases made directly with Delta
  • 1x mile on all other purchases
  • 20% savings on Delta inflight purchases of food, beverages and audio headsets (but not Wi-Fi)

For a no-annual-fee airline card, the restaurant bonus category is decent. The other Delta credit cards don't allow you to earn extra points on categories beyond purchases on Delta, so this is a great offer. For example, the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card — the card considered an upgrade from the Delta Blue — only allows users to earn 2x miles on eligible Delta purchases and it comes with an introductory annual fee of $0 for the first year, then $99 (see rates and fees).

Redeeming

Delta is part of the SkyTeam alliance, which includes 19 member airlines flying to more than 1,150+ destinations, so finding a route on which to redeem your miles shouldn't be an issue.

You can't redeem your SkyMiles for statement credit or cash back, but you can put them toward flights, upgrades, Delta vacations, car rentals and gift cards, among other things. The best values for your miles are redemptions for flights and flight upgrades.

Related reading: Guide to maximizing Delta SkyMiles award tickets

Delta often offers great SkyMiles Deals. Recently, the carrier was offering round-trip tickets to Tokyo for 30,000 SkyMiles. We've seen 12,000 - 15,000 mile deals to the Caribbean. You can easily rack up 30,000 miles with your welcome bonus and miles earned from regular spending and cash those in for an award ticket to paradise.

Delta Air Lines Jet in Salt Lake City in September of 2015. Photo by Clint Henderson/ThePointsGuy.
Delta Air Lines Jet in Salt Lake City (Photo by Clint Henderson/ThePointsGuy)

Perks

The perks from the Delta Blue are solid, though don't expect to find things such as checked bag fee waiver and the like that you'll see on the more premium Delta cards. But then again, it is a no-annual-fee credit card. Here's what you can expect:

  • Car rental loss and damage insurance
  • 24/7 access to Global Assist® Hotline
  • Extended warranty (up to one year) on purchases made with card
  • Purchase protection from accidental damage or theft up to 90 days after purchase
  • Exclusive access to ticket presales and events
  • Two-day shipping on ShopRunner
  • Pay It, Plan It
  • 20% savings on Delta inflight purchases of food, beverages and audio headsets (but not Wi-Fi)

Competition

Among no-annual-fee airline credit cards, the American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card is a clear competitor. Instead of earning 2x points on dining, you'll earn 2x points on groceries. The AA card offers a similar 10,000-mile welcome bonus, but also comes with a $50 statement credit after spending at least $500 within the first three months. Both are great options; it comes down to what airline you'd like to earn miles with.

(Photo by Eric Helgas for The Points Guy)
(Photo by Eric Helgas for The Points Guy)

Another good no-annual-fee option that doesn't lock you into a more restrictive type of award currency is the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card. You'll earn 1.25x miles per dollar on all purchases. When it comes to redeeming, you can transfer to various travel partners or use your miles to cover travel purchases made on the card at a rate of 1 cent per mile.

Beyond no-annual-fee cards, you also may want to consider the following:

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card: This card — with an introductory annual fee of $0 for the first year, then $99 (see rates and fees) — Earn 65,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first six months of account opening. Offer ends 11/9/22.

American Express® Gold Card: If you love food and travel, this card may be the one for you. You'll earn 4x points on dining at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000; then 1x). By having a straight-up Amex card, you'll be able to transfer your Membership Rewards points to three airline alliances: Oneworld, SkyTeam and Star Alliance via a variety of airline partners — opening up your travel options even further. But note that this card comes with a $250 annual fee (see rates and fees).

Related reading: Best travel credit cards

Bottom line

For a no-annual-fee airline credit card, the Delta Blue offers generous earnings outside of Delta purchases, which isn't common for cards like this. It's missing the perks that the other Delta cards offer, such as a free checked bag and priority boarding on Delta flights, but those cards all come with annual fees.

So if you're looking to earn SkyMiles at no cost out-of-pocket cost, the Delta SkyMiles Blue American Express Card is definitely one card to consider.

Additional reporting by Carissa Rawson.

Feature photo by The Points Guy.

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

Featured image by (Photo by The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

TPG featured card

Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

1 - 3X points
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases

Intro offer

Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points60,000 points
For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

Annual Fee

$95

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent, Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

    Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points
    60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent, Good

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases