How to Maximize the Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card

Strategize your spending to earn the welcome bonus and the annual Delta flight credit.
Ramsey Qubein
By Ramsey Qubein 
Edited by June Casagrande

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The Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card is a great tool for travelers who want to earn SkyMiles for their spending and enjoy other perks for a mid-range annual fee of $0 intro for the first year, then $150. Terms apply.

Some travelers may find that SkyMiles are difficult to use because the number of miles required for flights changes based on travel dates and Delta’s mileage cost, and for some flights, this can be outrageously high. But for Delta fans and flyers who know how to get good value out of the SkyMiles program, this card provides solid value.

  • Welcome bonus: Earn 40,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.

  • Annual fee: $0 intro for the first year, then $150.

  • Earn 2x SkyMiles on Delta, dining and U.S. supermarket purchases.

  • Earn 1x SkyMile on all other purchases.

  • 15% off award travel booked with Delta.

  • SkyMiles don't expire.

  • Terms apply.

Plus, this card comes with a lot of other perks that can offer great value if put to good use. Here’s how to maximize the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card.

Earn up to 120,000 bonus points with our favorite American Express cards
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Ways to get the most out of the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

Use your card for flights and food

With this card, you earn 2 SkyMiles for every dollar spent with Delta. This includes flights, upgrades, overweight bag fees and lounge memberships, among others, so long as the expenses are purchased directly through Delta. You also get double miles for spending at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets. You earn 1 mile per dollar spent on everything else. Terms apply.

Get a free checked bag for up to nine travelers

When flying, cardholders receive a free checked bag on Delta flights — even if you buy a restrictive basic economy ticket, you can still enjoy priority boarding and a free bag.

With this perk, you can recoup the cost of the annual fee after just a few trips. Let’s say you fly solo and check a bag. After two roundtrips ($30 per bag in each direction), you will recoup the cost of the annual fee.

The real kicker is that you can use this bag fee waiver for up to eight companions traveling on the same reservation. Just one big family trip with lots of checked bags could cost hundreds of dollars in bag fees. Not so with this card. Terms apply.

Spend $10,000 on the card in a year to get a $200 flight credit

If you put more than $10,000 on this credit card within the calendar year, you'll get a $200 credit that you can use on Delta. This perk is like getting a rebate on your annual fee. Terms apply.

If you expect to spend more than that and would rather be rewarded with credits toward elite status with Delta, two pricier co-branded American Express cards might be a better fit. The $650-annual-fee Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card will give you the following welcome bonus: Earn 60,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $5,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.

The $350-annual-fee Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card offers this welcome bonus: Earn 50,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.

Get free shipping on purchases

The Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card comes with free ShopRunner membership, which gives you free two-day shipping and returns on certain items from over 100 online retailers when paying with the card. Enrollment is required. Terms apply.

Get complimentary rental car insurance

If you pay for a qualifying car rental with this card and decline the collision damage waiver offered at the rental car counter, you’ll be covered for damage or theft to your vehicle. This is secondary coverage, meaning it relies on your personal insurance plan first before providing any support. Terms apply.

There is a lot of confusion around what rental car insurance is worth paying for and what comes with your credit card; learn the basics before you rent a car.

Shop with peace of mind

The Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card comes with two valuable perks to protect your purchases. The extended warranty benefit tacks on up to a year of coverage to manufacturers’ warranties of five years or less on qualifying items. Another benefit: When you use the card to buy an eligible item, you're covered for up to 90 days from the purchase date if it gets stolen or breaks. Terms apply.

Worry less about your luggage

If your bags are lost or damaged when you fly, this card protects checked bags for up to $500 and carry-on bags for up to $1,250. When filing a claim, it is important to have a record of what was inside the bag to assure you are fully compensated. Terms apply.

Get live help on the go

When you travel more than 100 miles from your home address, cardmembers have access to a Global Assist Hotline that’s standing by at all hours to assist in an emergency. This includes things like medical referrals, lost luggage assistance, or advice on how to handle a lost passport or credit card. Terms apply.

Know your elite benefits

Do you already have elite status in the Delta SkyMiles program? Then, you may already be getting a free checked bag and other perks that come with this card. So compare your elite benefits with this card’s benefits to make sure you’ll get your money’s worth. You’ll find that this card still makes sense if you want to earn bonus SkyMiles with a lower annual fee and you value the non-Delta benefits like no foreign transaction fees and baggage protection.

Some Delta SkyMiles elites may find greater value in the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card because it gives higher priority on the upgrade list within your Medallion tier. Terms apply.

Final thoughts on maximizing the card's benefits

The Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card is a great pick for regular Delta flyers who can’t justify a higher annual fee card. Perks like the free checked bag, ShopRunner membership, rental car coverage and purchase protections can more than cover the card’s annual fee if you take full advantage of them. Terms apply.

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

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 2024, including those best for:

Cards for Delta from our Partners
Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card

on Chase's website

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate


5x on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries, 2x on all other travel purchases, 1x on all other purchases.


Intro offer


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

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

on Capital One's website

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate


Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day. Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options.


Intro offer


Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel.

See more cards for delta
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