Is the Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card Worth Its Annual Fee?

The annual companion pass, lounge access and opportunity to earn elite status are high-value perks.

Ramsey QubeinNovember 9, 2020
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Is the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card Worth Its Annual Fee?

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Savvy travelers can score outsized value from the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card, even with its pricey $250 annual fee. Terms apply.

Start off with a generous welcome bonus: Earn 40,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Plus, earn a $100 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months. Terms Apply. We value SkyMiles at 0.9 cent each, making the welcome offer alone worth several hundred dollars in your first year.

So if you’re considering signing up for the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card, make sure you’ll get enough value to offset the annual fee. Here’s how to decide.

The annual fee is worth it if you:

  • Check bags on at least five round-trip Delta flights each year: Cardmembers and up to eight travel companions get a free checked bag and priority boarding on Delta flights when you use the card to pay for your tickets on the same itinerary. Delta normally charges $30 each way to check a bag. If you check bags on just five round-trip flights (any combination of you and your companions), you easily make up this card’s annual fee. Terms apply.

  • Want a fast track to Medallion status: This is one of the few airline credit cards that can fast track you to elite status with less flying and more spending. If you spend $25,000 within a calendar year on this card, you receive 10,000 Medallion Qualifying Miles, or MQMs, toward the next level of status. Also, by spending at least $25,000 on the card, the Medallion Qualifying Dollars, or MQDs, requirement is waived for reaching Silver, Gold and Platinum Medallion status. If these perks put you over the top for earning elite Delta flyer status, you could land a cabin upgrade worth well over $250. Terms apply.

  • Have a travel buddy: Every year on your cardmember anniversary, you’ll get a certificate that lets a companion accompany you for just taxes and fees on one round-trip flight within the contiguous U.S. Terms apply. Note that you won’t earn a companion certificate until your first cardmember anniversary, after which you’ve already been charged not one but two $250 annual fees. But you will continue to earn a companion pass every year you keep the card. Either way, you can get a ticket worth more than what you pay in card fees every year. Terms apply.

  • Don’t already have Sky Club access: Members with the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card can purchase access to a Delta Sky Club lounge for $39 per passenger. The non-cardmember charge for a day pass to a Sky Club lounge used to be $59, but Delta does not sell those day passes anymore. So this perk is even more valuable to cardmembers who value a quieter place to work or relax while they wait for their Delta flight. While it won't save you money directly, it will give you access you wouldn't otherwise have. Terms apply.

  • Travel often overseas: The Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card has no foreign transaction fees. On many cards, these fees can add around 3% on top of every purchase, meaning this card can offer decent savings to frequent international travelers. Terms apply.

  • Want to get TSA Precheck or Global Entry: This card will refund your application fee for TSA Precheck once every 4 1/2 years or your Global Entry application fee once every four years, putting up to $100 back in your pocket. Terms apply.

  • Value the card’s other perks: Priority boarding, 20% back on in-flight food and drink purchases, trip delay insurance and extended warranty protections on purchases can be very valuable to cardmembers who make the most of them. Your monetary value here will vary depending on your situation. Terms apply.

The annual fee is not worth it if you:

  • Carry a balance or incur late fees: Interest charges and late fees can cost you more than the rewards you accrue. If you cannot pay off the balance in full every month, this isn't the card for you.

  • Don’t often fly Delta, dine out (or order takeout), grocery shop or book directly with hotels: Spending in these categories earns you bonus points on the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card, including 3x on Delta and hotel bookings as well as 2x at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets. If you don’t make these kinds of charges often, consider a card with a lower annual fee. Terms apply.

  • Already have a more rewarding card: If you have credit cards that pay even more bonus points for dining, travel or other bonus categories where you spend most, using this card could be costing you points. For example, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and The Platinum Card® from American Express give you more points for some purchases, and their flexible points currencies are more convenient than the sometimes-hard-to-use SkyMiles.

The bottom line

Some travelers will have no problems justifying the $250 annual cost of this card. Checked bag perks, a boost toward Medallion status, an annual companion pass and bonus miles on Delta travel and hotels can make the fee worthwhile. But if these perks don’t align with your spending habits, you can do better elsewhere.

How to Maximize Your Rewards

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