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Is the Gold Delta SkyMiles AmEx Worth Its Annual Fee?

Dec. 30, 2019
Airline Credit Cards, Travel, Travel Credit Cards
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The Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express is getting a face lift come January 2020, and we’re here to shake down the changes for you — and the potential value.

With all of these anticipated changes, is the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express worth its annual fee? Let’s dig deep to find out.

How much is the annual fee?

The annual fee on the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express is currently $0 intro for the first year, then $95, though this will be increasing to $99 in January 2020. This fits within the standard range of many airline travel reward credit cards.

» Learn more: 4 things to know about the Gold Delta AmEx

Do you plan to fly with checked bags?

One of the top perks of the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express is free checked bags; without this fee waived, you could expect to pay $30 for your first bag and $40 for each additional bag per Delta’s baggage fees. Terms apply.

This benefit extends not only to the primary cardholder, but also up to eight other travelers on the same reservation — meaning you can enjoy up to a $540 value per round-trip flight. Those savings could add up quickly.

Even if you only plan to fly two round-trip flights with Delta annually and check bags each time, you’ll be in the green.

Will you meet minimum spending requirement?

What should you do after you after getting the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express? Start spending (smartly).

The welcome bonus for this is definitely worth pursuing to maximize your cardholder benefits: 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.

» Learn More: 5 things to do after getting the Gold Delta AmEx

Additional card perks

Priority boarding

Say so-long to the days of gate checking your carry-on due to lack of overhead bin space. Priority boarding means you — and up to eight travel companions on the same reservation — receive complimentary priority boarding with the first Main Cabin group. Terms apply.

20% off inflight purchases

Use your Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express on certain inflight purchases and qualify for a 20% credit on your AmEx statement after the transaction posts to your account. Terms apply. Typical eligible items include food, beverage and audio headsets; Wi-Fi access is not included.

‘Pay With Miles’ benefit

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express holders have the benefit of purchasing Delta flights with their Delta miles. Terms apply. This is different from redeeming miles for an award ticket in that you don’t have to worry about award availability or mileage costs — you’ll simply reduce the cash price of your ticket by about $50 for every 5,000 miles.

This means that your welcome bonus is worth $300 in Delta flights. As an added bonus, your Delta miles don’t expire and there are no blackout dates when using them this way. And the portion you pay in cash will still earn Delta miles.

$100 flight credit eligibility

Starting in January 2020, if the purchases on your Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express total $10,000 or more in a calendar year, you’ll receive a $100 Delta credit on your account that can be used toward a Delta flight purchase. Terms apply.

‘Plan It’

Depending on your creditworthiness, cardholders can create up to 10 active payment plans (for a fee) on qualifying purchases of $100 or more. Terms apply. While you will get dinged with a fixed monthly finance charge, this optional benefit can make affording all of your travel whims more of a possibility.

No foreign transaction fees

For the frequent international traveler, those pesky credit card fees can add up. With the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express, you can safely make purchases abroad without accumulating any extra charges.

Keep in mind that AmEx cards are not as commonly accepted worldwide as Visa or Mastercard, though, so it may be smart to have a backup.

» Learn more: NerdWallet’s best cards with no foreign transaction fees

How to earn points on the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

Starting in January 2020, you can maximize your points earnings by using your Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express to earn 2 miles per dollar spent at U.S. supermarkets (not including superstores or warehouse clubs), eligible restaurants and on Delta purchases.

All other eligible purchases will earn you 1 Delta mile per dollar spent. Terms apply.

The bottom line

Even if you only plan to fly with Delta twice annually, the perks of the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express can easily outweigh the cost. Frequent travelers can take advantage of the priority boarding opportunities and free checked bags. You’ll also acquire Delta miles more quickly, which you can cash out by purchasing Delta flights, as well as gift cards, merchandise, cruises, car rentals and hotel rooms (although typically for a lower return per mile).

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 2020, including those best for:

Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice:
Find the best airline credit card for you
7 reasons to get the Gold Delta AmEx
Earn more points and miles with these 6 strategies

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