Editorial Review

Gold Delta SkyMiles Card Review: Worth the Fee for Delta Fans

Earn 2 miles per dollar on Delta purchases and 1 mile per dollar on everything else — and new bonus categories are coming soon. Free checked bags add value.

Claire TsosieOctober 8, 2019

At NerdWallet, we strive to help you make financial decisions with confidence. To do this, many or all of the products featured here are from our partners. However, this doesn’t influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

Our Take

3.6

NerdWallet rating 

The Bottom Line: A solid, cost-effective card for those who fly Delta frequently, or those who could choose to do so.

American Express Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card

on American Express's website

Rates & Fees
Annual Fee

$0 intro for the first year, then $95

Regular APR

17.49% - 26.49% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score

Quick FactsView rates and fees

Annual Fee
$0 intro for the first year, then $95
Annual Fee
$0 intro for the first year, then $95
Intro APR
N/A

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Free checked bag

  • Priority boarding

  • Miles don't expire

Cons
  • Has annual fee

  • Best for frequent Delta Air Lines flyers only

  • American Express isn’t accepted as widely as Visa or Mastercard internationally

Alternate Pick: More flexible rewards

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Use rewards to pay for any travel expense

A general-purpose travel credit card like the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card gives you more flexibility than a card that locks you in to a single airline. This card earns 2 miles per dollar spent on all purchases. Miles can be redeemed for credit against any travel expense. Book travel however you want, then use miles to pay for it. There's a great sign-up bonus, and the annual fee is $0 for the first year, then $95.

Read our review

Compare to Other Cards

Annual Fee

$0 intro for the first year, then $95

Annual Fee

$0

Annual Fee

$95

Regular APR

17.49% - 26.49% Variable APR

Rates & Fees

Regular APR

15.74% - 27.74% Variable APR

Rates & Fees

Regular APR

17.74% - 24.74% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

Intro APR

0% APR for 12 months on purchases and qualifying balance transfers

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score

Full Review

For travelers who regularly fly Delta Air Lines, the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express hits all the right notes for an annual fee of $0 intro for the first year, then $95: It features a strong welcome offer, free checked bags and priority boarding. And starting Jan. 30, 2020, it will add two more bonus categories, making it a better card for certain everyday purchases.

The card will soon stop offering access to Delta Sky Club lounges — you can use it to purchase a single-visit pass for $29 until Jan. 30, 2020, when that benefit will disappear — but its other perks still make it a keeper for many Delta fans. The free checked-bag benefit, for example, can easily offset the annual fee for those who travel with luggage.

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express: Basics

Nerd tip: Delta and American Express have announced major changes to their lineup of co-branded credit cards, to take effect Jan. 30, 2020. Read about the changes here.

To view rates and fees of the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express, please visit this page.

Card type: Airline.

Annual fee: $0 intro for the first year, then $95. (Starting Jan. 30, 2020: $99.)

Bonus offer: Earn 60,000 Bonus Miles after you use your new Card to make $2,000 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. Offer expires 10/30/2019. Terms Apply.

Rewards: 

  • 2 miles per dollar spent on eligible purchases made directly with Delta.

  • 1 mile per dollar spent on all other purchases.

  • Terms apply.

Starting Jan. 30, 2020, you'll also earn:

  • 2 miles per dollar spent at restaurants.

  • 2 miles per dollar spent at U.S. supermarkets.

  • Terms apply.

Benefits: 

  • First checked bag is free for you and up to 8 other passengers traveling on the same reservation.

  • Priority boarding.

  • 20% savings on eligible in-flight purchases.

  • Starting Jan. 30, 2020: $100 Delta flight credit, good for future travel, after you spend $10,000 in eligible purchases in a calendar year.

  • Terms apply.

NerdWallet values Delta SkyMiles at an average of 1.4 cents each for domestic travel. With strategic redemptions, these miles can also be worth more.

Why you should get the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

Solid welcome offer, plus a bonus for big spending

The Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express starts off with a strong welcome offer: Earn 60,000 Bonus Miles after you use your new Card to make $2,000 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. Offer expires 10/30/2019. Terms Apply. That could be enough to cover your next flight.

Starting Jan. 30, 2020, you’ll also get an extra $100 Delta flight credit after spending $10,000 in a calendar year. Terms apply. If you’re using this card for big travel purchases or everyday spending, that could be a relatively easy bar to clear.

Good ongoing rewards (coming soon)

The Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express currently offers sub-par ongoing rewards — 2 miles per dollar spent on Delta purchases and 1 mile per dollar spent on all other purchases — but that will change. Starting Jan. 30, 2020, the card will also earn 2 miles per dollar spent at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets, in addition to the 2 miles per dollar spent on Delta purchases. Terms apply. Those additions might give you a reason to use the card for more than just airfare and free checked bags.

Free checked bags

Instead of just offering a first free checked bag for one or two travelers on your itinerary, the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express gives you baggage waivers on the first checked bag for up to nine people on your reservation. That's enough waivers to cover the whole family from "The Brady Bunch," including Alice.

Priority boarding

With this card, you'll also get to board with the Main Cabin 1 boarding group, which gets you early access to that coveted overhead bin space. If you always board with a rolling suitcase or large carry-on, this is a nice perk. But it doesn’t mean you’ll be the first to step on the plane. You’ll still board after a handful of other groups, including first class and Delta Comfort+ travelers and flyers with certain types of elite status.

How it compares with other Delta cards

In the family of Delta cards, the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express is the mass-market option. It offers richer benefits than its $0-annual-fee counterpart, the Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express. But you get fewer benefits than you would with the more premium cards, which are the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express and the Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express. For more analysis about how these cards stack up, read NerdWallet’s comparison of Delta credit cards.

Here’s a quick look at what these cards offer. (The terms below show current benefits. Starting Jan. 30, 2020, these terms will change.)

  • 2 miles per dollar spent on purchases made directly with Delta and at U.S. restaurants.

  • Terms apply.

  • 2 miles per dollar spent on purchases made directly with Delta.

  • No foreign transaction fees.

  • First checked bag free.

  • Priority boarding.

  • Terms apply.

  • 2 miles per dollar spent on purchases made directly with Delta.

  • No foreign transaction fees.

  • First checked bag free.

  • Priority boarding.

  • Companion certificate (main cabin).

  • Terms apply.

  • 2 miles per dollar spent on purchases made directly with Delta.

  • No foreign transaction fees.

  • First checked bag free.

  • Priority boarding.

  • Companion certificate (first class, Delta Comfort+ or main cabin).

  • Delta Sky Club access.

  • Terms apply.

Why you should choose a different card

No lounge access

This card allows you to purchase single-visit passes to Delta Sky Club lounges until Jan. 30, 2020, but after that point, that perk will go away. If you want a card that helps you get into airport lounges, go with another card.

The $95-annual-fee Bank of America® Premium Rewards® Visa® credit card could be a good match. It comes with up to $100 in airline incidental credit for purchases, including day passes to lounges among other travel expenses, and offers up to a $100 reimbursement for a Global Entry or TSA Precheck application. It earns a respectable 2 points per dollar spent on travel and dining purchases, and 1.5 points for every dollar spent on all other purchases. Its airline incidental credit won't get you into Delta Sky Club lounges, but it could help you cover the cost of a couple of day passes to other airport lounges.

Annual fee

If you don’t fly often or never check bags, this card likely won’t be worth its annual fee. Aside from Delta’s $0-annual-fee option — the Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express — you might also want to look into no-annual-fee general travel cards, which offer more versatile points.

The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card could be a good match, for example. It comes with an annual fee of $0 and solid ongoing rewards of 3 points per dollar spent on eating out and ordering in, travel, gas stations, rideshares, transit and popular streaming services, and 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases. Points are worth 1 cent each when redeemed for travel, cash or gift cards. It also comes with a good sign-up bonus: Earn 30,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months - that's a $300 cash redemption value. And you'll get an intro 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 12 months, and then the ongoing APR of 15.74% - 27.74% Variable APR.

No help in reaching elite status

Some airline cards make it a bit easier to reach elite status through spending. Not the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express.

You need a certain number of Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQMs, measured in distance and fare class) or Medallion Qualifying Segments (MQSs, measured in flights you take) as well as Medallion Qualifying Dollars (MQDs, measured in dollars spent on personal Delta flights) to gain membership into the next awards tier. While the bonus miles you earn on this card can be redeemed for free flights, they won't get you closer to elite status. Starting Jan. 30, 2020, the card will also get rid of its MQD waiver, which gave cardholders a shortcut to elite status after meeting certain spending thresholds.

If you want a card that offers a way to get closer to elite status, consider the two higher-end Delta cards in AmEx’s collection, which do just that.

Is the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express right for you?

This card isn’t the right match if you’re looking for lounge access, a pathway to elite status or cards without annual fees. But if you want to earn miles with Delta and can make good use of the card’s priority boarding or free checked bags perks, it’s a valuable choice.

To view rates and fees of the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express, please visit this page.

To view rates and fees of the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express, please visit this page.

To view rates and fees of the Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express, please visit this page.