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Benefits of Delta Air Lines Credit Cards

Delta Air Lines and American Express offer four credit cards, ranging from a basic version with no annual fee to a $450 card packed with perks.
Nov. 1, 2019
Airline Credit Cards, Credit Cards
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  • Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express
  • Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express

As a result, offers described on this page may be out of date. See our best credit cards page for updated offers.

Delta Air Lines offers four credit cards for consumers, with annual fees ranging from $0 to $450. Issued by American Express, the cards come with a host of benefits worth considering if you’re a frequent — or even infrequent — Delta customer. They range from core features you would expect on any airline card to “nice-to-have” perks and protections. And, the higher the annual fee, the more benefits you’ll get.

The four cards:

Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

Annual fee: $0
Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

Annual fee: $0 intro for the first year, then $95
Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

Annual fee: $195 ($250 if application is received on or after 1/30/2020)
Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express

Annual fee: $450 ($550 if application is received on or after 1/30/2020)

» MORE: Which Delta Air Lines credit card should you get?

Frequent-flyer miles

All four cards earn miles in Delta’s frequent-flyer program, known as Delta SkyMiles. SkyMiles are worth an average of 1.4 cents each when redeemed for domestic travel, according to NerdWallet valuations.

» MORE: Delta Air Lines SkyMiles program: The complete guide

1. Spending rewards

  • All four cards earn 2 SkyMiles per dollar spent on Delta purchases.
  • The Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express also earns 2 miles per dollar at U.S. restaurants.
  • All other spending earns 1 SkyMile per dollar spent.

2. New-cardholder bonuses

Each card gives new cardholders the opportunity to earn a bonus by meeting a spending requirement in the first few months. In general, the higher the fee, the bigger the bonus:

  • Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express: Earn 10,000 bonus miles after spending $500 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.
  • Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express: Earn 30,000 bonus miles after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in purchases within your first 3 months and a $50 Statement Credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months. Terms Apply.
  • Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express: Earn 75,000 Bonus Miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer Expires 10/30/2019. In addition, earn a $100 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months. Terms Apply.
  • Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express: Earn 75,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $5,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer Expires 10/30/2019. Terms Apply.

» MORE: NerdWallet’s best airline credit cards

Airport perks

Free checked bags, early boarding privileges and access to Delta’s airport lounges can make your trip a lot more pleasant. The Delta cards that charge annual fees offer these benefits in some form. The no-fee Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express doesn’t.

3. Free checked bags

  • Annual-fee cards: The first checked bag is free for you and up to eight other people traveling on your reservation also get a free bag. (Terms apply.) This can be a big money-saver, since a single checked bag would otherwise cost $60 round trip. 
  • No-annual-fee card: No free checked bags.

4. Early boarding

  • Annual-fee cards: You’ll get to board the plane early — before general boarding begins — to get settled and claim space in the overhead bins for your carry-on, a perk many travelers prize.
  • No-annual-fee card: No early boarding privileges.

5. Lounge access

  • Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express: Complimentary access to Delta SkyClubs.
  • Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express and Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express: Cardholders can purchase day passes for $29 (terms apply). Delta used to sell day passes to anyone for $59, which is the industry standard price, so the cardholder price was roughly a 50% discount. Delta no longer sells the $59 passes, but holders of these two cards can still purchase them at the discount price. 
  • Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express: No SkyClubs access.

» MORE: How to choose an airline credit card

Deals in the air

6. In-flight savings

All Delta cards offer the same 20% statement credit for such in-flight purchases as food, alcoholic beverages and audio headsets on Delta-operated flights. In-flight wireless Internet access is excluded. Terms apply.

Progress toward elite status

7. MQM miles

The miles earned from spending on airline credit cards can be redeemed for free flights, but they don’t typically count toward gaining elite status in the airline’s frequent-flyer program. In general, you earn elite status only by flying on the airline, and progress toward that status is measured using a separate points system. In Delta’s case, you earn “Medallion Qualification Miles,” or MQMs, when you fly.  

However, the two priciest Delta cards allow bigger spenders to earn MQMs (as well as extra SkyMiles) when they hit certain thresholds:

  • Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express: Earn up to 20,000 bonus miles and 20,000 MQMs for making $50,000 in eligible purchases in a calendar year. Terms apply. 
  • Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express: Earn up to 30,000 bonus miles and 30,000 MQMs for making $60,000 in eligible purchases in a calendar year. Terms apply. 

Travel perks and protections

8. Foreign transaction fees

Many credit cards charge a fee on purchases outside the U.S. Three of the four Delta cards don’t:

  • Annual-fee cards: No foreign transaction fees.
  • No-annual-fee card: 2.7% foreign transaction fee. That’s a hair lower than the industry standard of 3%. 

» MORE: NerdWallet’s best no foreign transaction fee credit cards

9. Insurance and assistance

Because these are airline cards, their travel-protection benefits are notable. Most come from the American Express network, instead of being exclusive to these cards. They include:

  • Baggage insurance.
  • Car rental loss and damage insurance.
  • Travel accident insurance.
  • Roadside assistance.
  • Global assist hotline.

More about these cards

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