Editorial Review

Gold Delta SkyMiles Card Review: Loyalty Gets Rewarded

Earn 2 miles per dollar on Delta tickets and 1 mile per dollar on everything else, with no blackout dates when you redeem. Free checked bags add value.

Claire TsosieJuly 3, 2019

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THIS PAGE MAY BE OUT OF DATE

This page includes information about one or more products not currently available on NerdWallet:

  • 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As a result, offers described on this page may be out of date.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 NerdWallet’s Best Credit Cards page for updated offers.

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

on American Express's website

Rates & Fees
Annual Fee

$0 for the first year, then $95

Regular APR

17.99% - 26.99% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

recommended credit score

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

Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express

Annual Fee

$0 for the first year, then $95

Annual Fee

$195

Annual Fee

$450

Regular APR

17.99% - 26.99% Variable APR

Rates & Fees

Regular APR

17.99% - 26.99% Variable APR

Rates & Fees

Regular APR

17.99% - 26.99% Variable APR

Rates & Fees

Intro APR

N/A

Intro APR

N/A

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score

Full Review

The Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express doesn’t offer the most versatile redemption options, but if you’re regular Delta flyer, it's a relatively low-cost way to rake in a lot more SkyMiles. Plus, you can start saving for your next trip with the welcome bonus: 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. Here's what you should know before applying.

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express: The basics

Card type: Airline.

With the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express, Delta travelers can earn more miles with every flight. Here's how it works:

  • You earn 2 miles for every dollar spent on eligible purchases made directly with Delta and 1 mile per dollar spent on all other purchases.

    • When you purchase airline tickets through Delta with this card, you'll earn a minimum of 7 miles per dollar spent, confirms American Express spokesman William Tsang. That's 5 miles from your general SkyMiles membership and 2 extra miles for making a Delta purchase on your card. You could earn up to 13 miles per dollar spent on flights if you have Diamond Medallion status, he adds, but for in-flight purchases, you'll just get 2 miles per dollar spent with the card.

  • NerdWallet values Delta SkyMiles at an average of 1.4 cents each for domestic travel and 2.7 cents internationally.

  • You'll get extra perks, including priority boarding and your first bag checked free.

  • The annual fee is $0 for the first year, then $95

Ultimately, this is an ideal card for a Delta enthusiast who plans to spend more than about $700 a year on Delta flights — or who checks a bag at least four times a year — and is happy with being a general member in the SkyMiles program and not upgrading to a higher loyalty tier.

Where the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express shines

The Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express rewards loyalty with flexibility. Here are a few highlights:

No blackout dates on Delta flights. While some of Delta’s SkyTeam alliance transfer partners have blackout dates, Delta flights don’t, which makes it easier to book trips with miles. Remember that Delta limits the number of award seats per flight, though, so you may want to book early for peak season.

Free checked bags: The first bag is free for you and up to eight other people traveling on your reservation. This benefit alone can make up for the annual fee with just a couple round-trip flights per year.

Good welcome offer. 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. Because one-way tickets start at 10,000 miles, that may be enough to pay for your next trip, and then some. This makes it one of the more generous bonuses on the market.

Miles don’t expire. Delta is the only major U.S. airline with miles that never expire, according to the airline’s website. In contrast, United miles expire after no activity (flights or earning) for 18 months, Southwest miles expire after no activity for 24 months, and British Airways expire after no activity for 36 months. This may not be the only reason to get this card, but it’s a valuable perk.

How to get the most out of your Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

You may save a lot with the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express by swiping and redeeming as you normally would – but if you want to maximize your miles, here are some things to keep in mind:

Always use your card to purchase Delta flights. It seems obvious, but if you don’t use the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express to buy Delta flights, you’re missing out on its most valuable feature.

Travel on Saver days. Delta has three types of award traveling days: Saver Award, Peak Award and Standard Award days. Saver days are the least expensive, while Peak days are the most expensive. If you want to make your miles stretch further, keep your plans flexible and look for opportunities to travel on Saver days.

When redeeming miles, look for one-way trips. Not all loyalty programs give you the freedom to redeem miles for one-way tickets, but SkyMiles does. And in many cases, two one-way tickets end up being less expensive than one round-trip ticket.

Where the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express falls short

The Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express isn’t for everyone. Here are a few reasons you may want to go with a different offer.

You won't automatically qualify for any of the Medallion statuses. The SkyMiles program has five loyalty tiers, ranging from general membership to Diamond Medallion status, and each level offers additional perks. Even though the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express has the word “gold” in its name, it doesn’t get you that coveted SkyMiles gold membership status – it just gets you a general membership.

Note that you need a certain number of Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQMs, measured in distance) or Medallion Qualifying Segments (MQSs, measured in arrivals and departures) as well as Medallion Qualifying Dollars (MQDs, measured in dollars spent on personal Delta flights) to gain membership into the next awards tier. None of these are the same as regular SkyMiles, which can be redeemed for free flights.

 With the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express, you’ll likely be stuck in general SkyMiles membership, the lowest tier of the loyalty program, unless you spend at least $3,000 on Delta flights for yourself within a year and earn 25,000 MQMs or 30 MQSs.

You’ll earn rewards slowly if you don’t fly Delta that often. If you don’t spend more than $700 on Delta flights each year or you never check bags, this card likely won’t be worth its annual fee. If you're thinking about spending less, consider a travel card with a lower annual fee or options that better suit your traveling preferences. Use our calculator to help you determine whether the fee makes sense for you:

You aren’t eligible for the welcome bonus if you already have an American Express card. If this is the case, look into travel rewards cards with other issuers that offer bonuses you can qualify for.

You can also check out NerdWallet’s roundup to help you find the best credit card for your needs.

Should you get the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express?

The Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express won't help you save on any domestic airline you choose, but it will help you earn awards flights with Delta and other international SkyTeam partners. On top of an attractive welcome bonus, the card also offers a good long-term value. If you can't imagine flying on any other airline, consider applying.

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