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If you're a Delta Air Lines fan, holding one of the airline's affiliated credit cards can get you some sizable perks. This can include a waived checked bag fee, priority boarding and bonus SkyMiles when buying Delta flights. When it comes to choosing which card is better for you, however, the debate between the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card versus the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card will come down to which annual fee amount you are willing to pay — $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99 or $250.
Frequent international travelers will appreciate that neither card has a foreign transaction fee. Both cards offer perks like a complimentary checked bag and priority boarding, but those are already benefits of Medallion elite status. This means some credit card benefits are only worth it to non-elite status members. Terms apply.
But, if you know how to maximize what's offered, there are more reasons to choose these cards, even if some of its perks are not new to you.
Let’s explore what sets the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card and the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card apart.
» Learn more: The best airline credit cards right now
When to choose the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card
You can't stomach the fee of a premium card
The low annual fee, which is $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99, makes the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card quite attractive.
Stack the 2x miles you can earn at U.S. supermarkets, restaurants worldwide (including takeout and delivery services in the U.S.) and on Delta flights, and you have a real winner. Terms apply.
While this card does not have as many benefits as its Platinum counterpart, it can suit many situations quite nicely. Here are a couple of times when the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card might make the most sense.
If you don't have Medallion status
When flying Delta, this card immediately delivers Medallion status-like benefits so that you will feel rewarded even if you're not an elite member. The $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99 allows a complimentary checked bag for you and up to eight companions on the same reservation.
You can also enjoy priority boarding and a 20% savings on eligible in-flight purchases. Terms apply.
NerdWallet values Delta SkyMiles at 1.2 cents each, and the more you earn, the farther you can go.
You only travel occasionally
Paying a high annual fee for less frequent flyers doesn't always make sense. The Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card delivers some of the benefits of Medallion status without having to fork over too much cash.
Plus, if you spend $10,000 on the card within a calendar year, you will receive a $100 Delta flight credit. Enrollment required. So perhaps you might travel a bit more thanks to what this card offers. Terms apply.
» Learn more: Benefits of Delta Air Lines credit cards
If you dine out regularly
With the bonus miles you earn at restaurants around the globe or for delivery and takeout services in the U.S., this card can expedite your mileage earning. In addition, families will appreciate that their supermarket bills can also deliver extra rewards in the form of frequent flyer miles. Terms apply.
Here’s how the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card and the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card rewards rates differ.
Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card
Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card
Terms apply (see rates and fees).
Terms apply (see rates and fees).
When to choose the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card
You're not ready for the high-end Delta card
While the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card has more benefits, it also has a higher $250 annual fee. This is not the most premium Delta card (that honor goes to the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card), but it still packs in some nice perks.
Sadly, complimentary lounge access is not one of them, but you can purchase a discounted day pass to the Delta Sky Club for $50 per person when flying Delta.
It's nice to earn 3x miles when buying Delta flights and 3x miles when using the card to pay for hotels. In addition, when using the card for in-flight purchases, you will receive a 20% discount, plus it also comes with a fee credit toward TSA PreCheck or Global Entry.
But, there are certain instances where the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card will really prove its worth and can more than cover the annual fee.
If you want higher Medallion status
When it comes to reaching Delta elite status faster, the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card offers a status boost bonus to help. You can earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles each time you spend $25,000 in eligible purchases per calendar, up to two times. MQMs are necessary to get a higher Medallion status, and the ability to earn them without flying can be attractive for many people. Terms apply.
Especially if you have significant expenses coming up, you may want to consider the status boost perk when choosing a card.
» Learn more: Should you pursue airline elite status this year?
You travel with a companion
The annual Delta companion certificate that comes with the renewal of this card lets you bring someone on a round-trip flight with you when traveling in the main cabin within the continental U.S. — you only need to pay the taxes and fees for their ticket.
This can more than offset the annual fee cost, but it only makes sense if you have plans to travel with a companion. Terms apply.
» Learn more: Is Delta a good airline?
Which one should you choose?
In the end, it may just come down to the annual fee. Since the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card has a lower fee, it might make the most sense for you, especially if you don’t plan to take advantage of some of the added perks that come with the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card.
However, more frequent flyers may find the opportunity to get closer to Medallion status by using the card as well as the yearly companion fare certificate worth the $250 annual fee. Terms apply.
Either way, it's always nice to have a chunk of Delta SkyMiles in your account, and both of these cards will help you get there.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2023, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card