Who Benefits Most From the Gold Delta SkyMiles AmEx?

Rebecca LakeDec 31, 2019

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American Express has a full roster of travel rewards credit cards, including a quartet of co-branded Delta Airlines cards. The Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card offers a solid combination of travel rewards, a low annual fee and valuable card perks.

If you're looking for a new travel rewards option for earning miles, this is one card you might consider. But is it the right choice for your travel needs? Here's a look at who this card could benefit the most.

Delta loyalists

If you prefer Delta to other airlines, the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card could be a natural fit. With this card, you can earn 2 miles per $1 on purchases made directly with Delta, including flights booked on Delta.com, Delta Sky Club membership or passes, Delta Vacations packages, some in-flight purchases and seat upgrades. Delta gift cards are the exception; these purchases don't qualify to earn 2 miles per $1. Terms apply.

How much are those points worth? 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.

You can use those miles to Pay With Miles on Delta flights booked at Delta.com. The minimum to redeem is 5,000 miles, which typically equates to $50 in travel value. This is different from booking a ticket with miles outright, where you’d have to worry about award availability and pricing.

Miles can also be redeemed with Delta’s more than 20 travel partners.

Welcome bonus seekers

A welcome bonus can be a tempting incentive to apply for a new travel rewards card, and the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card doesn't disappoint. New cardmembers are eligible for the following 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.

The value of this bonus is enhanced by the annual fee, which is $0 intro for the first year, then $99. Terms apply.

Everyday spenders

While the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card is chiefly a travel rewards card, it's about to become more attractive for the everyday spender.

Effective January 2020, you now earn 2 miles per $1 at U.S. supermarkets as well as restaurants worldwide. You still earn 1 mile per $1 on all other purchases, with no cap on the total number of miles you can earn. Terms apply.

International travelers

Foreign transaction fees can make trips outside the U.S. more expensive. Fortunately, the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card doesn't charge any foreign transaction fees. Terms apply.

As a cardmember, you also have access to the Global Assist Hotline when traveling more than 100 miles from your home. Terms apply. This card perk gives you 24/7 access to medical, legal, financial or other emergency assistance services if your trip takes an unexpected turn.

Those who love travel perks

In addition to earning miles, the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card comes with some travel extras you might appreciate.

At the top of the list are a first checked bag fee waiver and priority boarding on Delta flights. The fee waiver for your first checked bag can be a money-saver, and priority boarding can make getting to your seat (and storing a carry-on bag) less of a hassle. Note that both of these benefits can extend to up to eight other travelers on your reservation. Terms apply.

You can also save money when you spend on in-flight purchases. Not only can you earn 2 miles per $1 for in-flight spending directly with Delta, but you’ll receive a 20% savings on these purchases as a statement credit. The 20% savings applies to purchases of food, beverages and audio headsets aboard Delta flights. Terms apply.

As of January 2020, there's now another reason to consider the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card. Once you spend $10,000 in a calendar year, you'll be eligible to receive a $100 Delta flight credit. You can earn this credit annually and use it to pay for Delta flights or Delta vacation packages. Terms apply.

It's also worth noting that one key perk is leaving the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card. Effective January 30, 2020, cardmembers no longer have discounted Delta Sky Club access. That's one card benefit you might miss having if you're a regular visitor to the airport lounge while traveling. Terms apply.

The bottom line

The Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card could be a good choice for a regular or semi-regular Delta traveler who wants to earn miles in exchange for a reasonable annual fee. The welcome bonus is competitive, and the minimum spending requirement needed to qualify isn't overwhelming.

With the upcoming rollout of new benefits and features, this card could become even more appealing if you're seeking a card that's equally rewarding for travel and everyday purchases.

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 2021, including those best for:

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