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.
Aug 18, 2022

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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.

Jump to: Full Review
American Express Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card
Annual fee
$0 intro for the first year, then $99
Regular APR
17.99%-26.99% Variable APR
Intro APR
N/A
Rec. credit score
690-850 (Good - Excellent)
Apply now

on American Express' website

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Free checked bag

  • Early boarding

  • Rewards don't expire

Cons

  • Has annual fee

  • Requires good/excellent credit

Alternate Pick: More flexible rewards
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
NerdWallet rating 
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 $95.

Read our review

Compare to Other Cards

NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
Annual fee

$0 intro for the first year, then $99

Annual fee

$0

Annual fee

$250

Regular APR

17.99%-26.99% Variable APR

Regular APR

17.99%-26.99% Variable APR

Regular APR

17.99%-26.99% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

Intro APR

N/A

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
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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, as well as bonus rewards in everyday spending categories — not just on airfare.

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, see this page.

Card type: Airline.

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

Bonus offer: Earn 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Terms Apply.

APR: The ongoing APR is 17.99%-26.99% Variable APR.

Rewards: 

  • Earn 2X miles per dollar spent on Delta purchases, at restaurants worldwide (plus takeout and delivery in the U.S) and at U.S. supermarkets.

  • Earn 1X mile on all other eligible purchases.

  • Terms apply.

NerdWallet values Delta miles at 1.3 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 1.3 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 might want 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 welcome offer that could be enough to cover your next flight: Earn 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Terms Apply.

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 worldwide (plus takeout and delivery in the U.S) 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 plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.

  • 1 mile per dollar on all other eligible purchases.

  • No foreign transaction fees.

  • Terms apply (see rates and fees).

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

  • 1 mile per dollar on all other eligible purchases.

  • No foreign transaction fees.

  • First checked bag free.

  • Priority boarding.

  • Terms apply (see rates and fees).

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

  • 2 miles per dollar at restaurants plus takeout and delivery in the U.S. 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 (see rates and fees).

  • 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.

  • Fee Credit for TSA Precheck or Global Entry.

  • Terms apply (see rates and fees).

Why you might want a different card

No lounge access

If you want a card that helps you get into airport lounges, go with another card. The Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card could be a good match. It comes with up to $100 a year in statement credit for airline incidentals (enough to cover the annual fee), including day passes to lounges among other travel expenses, and offers up to $100 in statement credit 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. Plus, you'll earn 2 points per dollar on grocery store purchases now through Dec. 31, 2021. 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. If the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card doesn't fit the bill, check out NerdWallet's list of best credit cards for more options.

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 Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card could be a good match, for example. It earns 1.5 points per $1 on all purchases. Points are worth 1 cent each when redeemed for travel. It also comes with a good sign-up bonus and an introductory 0% APR offer.

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® Blue American Express Card, see this page. To view rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, see this page. To view rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card, see this page. To view rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, see this page.

on American Express' website

Methodology

NerdWallet reviews credit cards with an eye toward both the quantitative and qualitative features of a card. Quantitative features are those that boil down to dollars and cents, such as fees, interest rates, rewards (including earning rates and redemption values) and the cash value of benefits and perks. Qualitative factors are those that affect how easy or difficult it is for a typical cardholder to get good value from the card. They include such things as the ease of application, simplicity of the rewards structure, the likelihood of using certain features, and whether a card is well-suited to everyday use or is best reserved for specific purchases. Our star ratings serve as a general gauge of how each card compares with others in its class, but star ratings are intended to be just one consideration when a consumer is choosing a credit card. Learn how NerdWallet rates credit cards.