Editorial Review

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

Earn 2 miles per dollar on Delta purchases, at restaurants worldwide and at U.S. supermarkets, and 1 mile per dollar on everything else. Free checked bags add value.

Claire TsosieApril 2, 2020

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

  • Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

  • Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

  • Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card

  • Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card

As a result, offers described on this page may be out of date.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

5.0

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

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

Annual Fee

$0 intro for the first year, then $99

Regular APR

15.74% - 24.74% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score

Quick FactsView rates and fees

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 intro for the first year, then $95.

Read our review

Full Review

For travelers who regularly fly Delta Air Lines, the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card hits all the right notes for an annual fee of $0 intro for the first year, then $99: It features a decent welcome offer, free checked bags and priority boarding. And as of Jan. 30, 2020, it added two more bonus categories, making it a better card for certain everyday purchases.

The card no longer offers access to Delta Sky Club lounges — previously, you were able to use it to purchase a single-visit pass for $29 — 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.

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card: Basics

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

Card type: Airline.

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

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

Rewards: 

  • 2 miles per dollar spent on Delta purchases, at restaurants worldwide and at U.S. supermarkets.

  • 1 mile per dollar spent on all other purchases.

  • Terms apply.

NerdWallet values Delta miles at 1.1 cents each. This is a baseline value, drawn from real-world data on hundreds of economy routes, not a maximized value. In other words, you should aim for award redemptions that offer 1.1 cents or more in value from your Delta miles.

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.

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

  • Terms apply.

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

A welcome offer, plus a bonus for big spending

The Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card starts off with a nice welcome offer: Earn 35,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Terms Apply. That could be enough to cover your next flight.

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

The Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card earns 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. This gives 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 Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card 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 Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card is the mass-market option. It offers richer benefits than its $0-annual-fee counterpart, the Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card. But you get fewer benefits than you would with the more premium cards, which are the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card and the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card. 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:

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

  • No foreign transaction fees.

  • Terms apply.

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

  • No foreign transaction fees.

  • First checked bag free.

  • Priority boarding.

  • Terms apply.

  • 3 miles per dollar spent on eligible purchases made directly with Delta, and on eligible hotel purchases.

  • 2 miles per dollar at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets.

  • 1 mile per dollar on all other eligible purchases.

  • No foreign transaction fees.

  • First checked bag free.

  • Priority boarding.

  • Companion certificate (main cabin).

  • Terms apply.

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

  • 1 mile per dollar on other eligible purchases.

  • No foreign transaction fees.

  • First checked bag free.

  • Priority boarding.

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

  • Complimentary Delta Sky Club access for you, plus two one-time guest passes annually, plus complimentary access to American Express Centurion Lounges when you use the card to book a Delta flight.

  • Credit of up to $100 for the application fee for either Global Entry or TSA Precheck.

  • Terms apply.

Why you should choose a different card

No lounge access

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® 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

Aside from Delta’s $0-annual-fee option — the Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card — 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 20,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months - that's a $200 cash redemption value. And you'll get an intro 0% APR for 12 months on purchases and qualifying balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 13.99% - 25.99% Variable APR.

No help in reaching elite status

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

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.

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 Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card 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 Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, please visit this page.

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

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

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

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