Delta SkyMiles Gold AmEx vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred: Sapphire Flies Higher for Most

Delta loyalists will get value from Delta SkyMiles Gold AmEx, but the Chase Sapphire Preferred is better for those seeking flexibility (even some Delta devotees).

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The choice between the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card and the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card comes down to how you travel.

If you primarily fly Delta, the perks from the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card make it worth holding. As you might expect from a co-branded airline credit card, it offers perks, including free checked bags and priority boarding. Terms apply (see rates and fees).

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is a general travel rewards card and can't match those kinds of airline-specific perks. But if you don’t want to tie yourself down to a particular airline, it's a far more versatile and valuable choice.

The card earns elevated rewards on all travel, plus many popular everyday spending categories. It offers extra travel perks, like an annual hotel credit and anniversary bonus that you don’t find on the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card. Plus, you have more flexible redemption options — including hotels — and you'll get 25% more value when you redeem your points through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal.

The choice comes down to whether you prefer to be monogamous to one airline or you want to play the field. But even Delta fans can find great value from the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card for lodging and non-Delta flights. Plus, there’s nothing that says you can’t have both.

How the cards stack up

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Complete card details and application link:

American Express Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card
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Complete card details and application link:

Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card
NerdWallet rating 
Learn More

Welcome bonus

Earn 70,000 Bonus Miles after spending $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021. Terms Apply.

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

Rewards

  • 2 miles per $1 spent on Delta purchases.

  • 2 miles per $1 spent at restaurants worldwide.

  • 2 miles per $1 spent at U.S. supermarkets.

  • 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases.

  • Terms apply.

  • 5 points per $1 spent on all travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

  • 3 points per $1 spent on dining (including eligible delivery services and takeout).

  • 3 points per $1 spent on select streaming services.

  • 3 points per $1 spent on online grocery purchases (not including Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs).

  • 2 points per $1 spent on travel not purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

  • 1 point per $1 spent on other purchases.

  • Through March 2022: 5 points per $1 spent on Lyft.

Annual fee

$0 intro for the first year, then $99.

$95.

Foreign transaction fees

None.

None.

Other benefits

  • First checked bag is free for you and up to 8 other passengers traveling on the same reservation.

  • Priority boarding.

  • 20% savings on eligible in-flight purchases.

  • $100 Delta flight credit, good for future travel, after you spend $10,000 in eligible purchases in a calendar year.

  • Terms apply.

  • A $50 annual credit on hotel stays purchased through Ultimate Rewards®.

  • Each account anniversary, cardmembers will earn bonus points equal to 10% of total purchases made the previous year.

  • 1:1 transfer partners, including United, Southwest, JetBlue, Marriott and Hyatt.

  • Complimentary DashPass subscription for DoorDash for at least one year (must activate by Dec. 31, 2021).

Nerdy tip: Both of these cards have premium versions that charge higher annual fees but offer more perks. They are the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card.

Why you might want the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

Free checked bags

Free checked bags can be a valuable perk, especially since up to eight of your travel companions on the same reservation can also check their bags for free. Without this benefit, you'd pay $30 one way for the first checked bag and $40 for each additional one. So if you and a companion were to take only one roundtrip Delta flight per year and you both checked a bag, you'd owe $120. The annual fee on this card costs you less than that: $0 intro for the first year, then $99. Terms apply.

Nerdy tip: NerdWallet values Delta miles at 1.3 cents each. This is a baseline value, drawn from real-world data on hundreds of economy routes, not a maximized value. In other words, you should aim for award redemptions that offer 1.3 cents or more in value from your Delta miles.

Other Delta perks

Cardholders also enjoy benefits that can smooth out the stresses of air travel: priority boarding, 20% off in-flight purchases and a $100 Delta flight credit if you spend more than $10,000 in a calendar year on the card. Terms apply.

Why you might want the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

More rewards for everyday spending

While the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card offers 2 points per $1 spent at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets, in addition to Delta purchases, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card outshines it in these categories. The card offers 3 points per $1 spent at restaurants and on online grocery purchases, in addition to at least 2 points per $1 spent on all travel, not just Delta purchases.

Higher potential rewards value

Much of your everyday spending is more rewarding with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card — but it gets better. Normally, your points are worth a penny each when redeemed for cash back, but with this card, you can redeem points for travel via the Chase online portal (which is powered by Expedia) at a rate of 1.25 cents per point. That's a lot of bang for your buck.

Flexible redemption options

With the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, you can’t use your rewards to book flights directly with Delta. But you can do so if you go through Chase's online travel portal first. And you're not limited to Delta flights; you can book with a variety of airlines, hotels and car rental companies this way, and at a rate of 1.25 cents per point, as noted above. Or you can transfer your points to any of several airline and hotel travel partners on a 1:1 basis. Partners include Southwest, United, British Airways, Air France/KLM, Marriott and Hyatt, among others. Although Delta isn’t a partner, there’s a workaround: You can transfer points to a Delta partner airline, such as Air France, and book the Delta flight through that carrier.

Nerdy tip: While neither card charges a foreign transaction fee, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card might be easier to use abroad since it runs on the Visa payment network, which has wider international acceptance than American Express.

Which card is right for you?

When you’re planning a trip, do you always check Delta Air Lines first and usually end up booking that airline? If so, the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card is probably an ideal fit for your travel needs. You'll enjoy the perks such as priority boarding and free checked bags, as well as rewards on everyday spending.

But if your go-to flight-booking strategy is to compare prices and schedules across multiple carriers and then choose the one that works best for your budget and circumstances, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card will be a better fit.


To view rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, see this page.

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