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Making the Most of the Delta SkyMiles Gold AmEx Card

Nov. 16, 2016
Airline Credit Cards, Credit Cards
Making the Most of the Gold Delta SkyMiles American Express Card
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If you’re a frequent Delta Air Lines flier, you can use the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card daily as your primary credit card to quickly accumulate reward miles for free flights. Or you can tuck it in the back of your wallet and consider it more of a membership card that provides valuable airport perks, including free checked bags.

Both methods can help you wring value from the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card. Here’s how.

Basics of the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

Rewards:

  • 2 miles on Delta purchases, at restaurants worldwide and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • 1 mile on all other eligible purchases.

Annual fee: $0 intro for the first year, then $99.

Welcome bonus: Earn 35,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Terms Apply.

Interest rate: The ongoing APR is 15.74% - 24.74% Variable APR.

Foreign transaction fees: None.

Rack up miles

Making the most of the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card involves accumulating SkyMiles, Delta’s reward currency.

If your goal is to build up miles to buy a free flight, use your card for as many purchases as you can, especially on dining purchases, at the grocery store and of course on purchases with Delta.

If you’re not locked in to taking mostly Delta flights, a good general travel card might provide greater flexibility, which can lead to a free flight more quickly.

Use built-in airport perks

The Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card comes with some valuable perks.

Free checked bag

Cardholders get their first checked bag free if they use the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card to pay for the flight — as do companions on the same reservation, up to nine people. Bag fees normally cost $30 each way. If you and a partner check bags on one roundtrip per year, you’ll more than make up for the annual fee. One round trip with checked bags for a family of four puts you $145 ahead, without even considering the frequent-flier miles you earn with the purchase. And taken to the limit, nine free checked bags on a roundtrip is worth $540.

» MORE: Airline credit cards that offer free checked bags

Priority boarding

If you don’t frequently check bags, the card still helps by offering Main Cabin 1 priority boarding, which allows you and those on your itinerary to board the plane earlier than most. That means if you have a carry-on bag, you’re more likely to find room in the overhead bin. You have to decide what value that holds. To get priority boarding, just pay for your airfare with the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card.

Discounted purchases

Use the card in flight to get 20% off many onboard purchases such as food, drinks and audio headsets.

Redeem miles wisely

The value of your SkyMiles can vary widely depending on how you redeem them. See our review of the SkyMiles program for in-depth strategies for using rewards.

How to redeem rewards on the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

Redeeming miles for Delta flights is fairly straightforward. Log in to your Delta account and select the flight you want. Delta has no blackout dates. You can stretch your miles if you travel on Saver days, noted on the online portal calendar.

Typically, using rewards to buy merchandise, gift cards and other goods and services is an unwise use of frequent-flier miles or rewards currencies in general. Still, Delta does offer those options if you have SkyMiles burning a hole in your pocket.

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