CREDIT CARDSCREDIT CARDSDELTA SKYMILES GOLD AMEX REVIEW: PRICEY FOR WHAT YOU GET

Delta SkyMiles Gold AmEx Review: Pricey for What You Get

You'll earn decent rewards, and free checked bags can add value — but the card is more expensive than its competitors and lacks some perks you'd expect to find at this level.
Claire Tsosie Author Avatar
Feb 29, 2024 11:06 a.m. PST
Edited by
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4.8

NerdWallet rating
The bottom line:

It can deliver value to Delta devotees, but thanks to its increased annual fee, it's not the no-brainer it used to be.

Pros
  • Free checked bag
  • Early boarding
  • Rewards don't expire
Cons
  • Has annual fee
  • Requires good/excellent credit
Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card Image
Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card
Annual Fee

$0 intro for the first year, then $150

Regular APR

20.99%-29.99% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

Rec. credit score


Annual Fee

$0 intro for the first year, then $150

Regular APR

20.99%-29.99% Variable APR

  • Annual fee

    $0 intro for the first year, then $150

  • Rewards rate

    1x-2x

  • Bonus offer

    Earn 70,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months. Terms Apply.

  • Intro APR

    N/A

  • Ongoing APR

    APR: 20.99%-29.99% Variable APR

    Cash Advance APR: 29.99%, Variable

    Penalty APR: 29.99%, Variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    N/A

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

More details from American Express
View Rates and Fees
  • Earn 70,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months.
  • Enjoy a $0 introductory Annual Fee for the first year, then $150.
  • Card Members get 15% off when using miles to book Award Travel on Delta flights through delta.com and the Fly Delta app. Discount not applicable to partner-operated flights or to taxes and fees.
  • ENHANCED! $200 Delta Flight Credit: After you spend $10,000 in purchases in a year, you can receive a $200 Delta Flight Credit to use toward future travel.
  • Earn 2X Miles on Delta purchases, at U.S. Supermarkets and at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery in the U.S.
  • Earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Receive Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding on Delta flights; board early, stow your carry-on bag and settle in sooner.
  • NEW! $100 Delta Stays Credit: Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card Members can earn up to $100 back annually on eligible prepaid Delta Stays bookings on delta.com.
  • Want even more flexibility? Take up to $50 off the cost of your flight for every 5,000 miles you redeem with Pay with Miles when you book on delta.com.
  • Receive a 20% savings in the form of a statement credit on eligible Delta in-flight purchases after using your Card.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • With Send & Split®, you can send money and split your Card purchases with any other Venmo or PayPal user, directly from the Amex App. Enroll today.
  • Terms Apply.

Compare to Other Cards

ANNUAL FEE
$0 intro for the first year, then $150
REGULAR APR
20.99%-29.99% Variable APR
Rates & Fees
INTRO APR
N/A
RECOMMENDED CREDIT SCORE
ANNUAL FEE
$0
REGULAR APR
20.99%-29.99% Variable APR
Rates & Fees
INTRO APR
N/A
RECOMMENDED CREDIT SCORE
ANNUAL FEE
$350
REGULAR APR
20.99%-29.99% Variable APR
Rates & Fees
INTRO APR
N/A
RECOMMENDED CREDIT SCORE
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Detailed review: Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

For travelers who regularly fly Delta Air Lines, the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card has some useful features.

In exchange for its healthy annual fee — $0 intro for the first year, then $150 — the card features a decent welcome offer, complimentary checked bags and priority boarding, as well as bonus rewards in everyday spending categories, not just on airfare.

Still, it's more expensive than other airline credit cards in its class, and those competitors tend to offer more in exchange for their lower fees. For example, there's no credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry, like you might expect at this price point. And while the card's checked-bag benefit can potentially help defray the cost of its annual fee, that's no longer a given, depending on how you normally travel.

🤓Nerdy Tip

The Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card also no longer offers access to Delta Sky Club lounges. (Previously, you were able to use the card to purchase a single-visit pass for $29.)

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 $150.

Bonus offer: Earn 70,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months. Terms Apply.

APR: The ongoing APR is 20.99%-29.99% 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 1.2 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 1.2 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.

  • $200 Delta flight credit when you spend $10,000 with the card in a calendar year.

  • $100 annual credit for Delta Stays that can be used to book a prepaid hotel stay or vacation rental through delta.com.

  • Terms apply.

Benefits and perks

A welcome offer, plus a bonus for big spending

The Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card starts off with a generous welcome offer: Earn 70,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months. Terms Apply.

You’ll also get an extra $200 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.

Decent 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.

But a caution here: Depending on your travel plans, the math may not be in your favor. Let's say you generally take one round-trip flight with a companion every year, and both of you check one bag apiece. Because Delta Air Lines charges $30 for your first checked bag (each way), you'd owe $120 total. But the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card will cost you more than that in Year Two and beyond.

If you travel solo with the same frequency and number of bags, the math is even worse. You might be better off just paying for the checked bag.

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.

  • $200 Delta flight credit (when you spend $10,000 in purchases in a calendar year).

  • $100 Delta stays credit toward prepaid hotels or vacations through Delta.

  • 15% off when using miles to book award travel on Delta flights through delta.com and the Fly Delta app.

  • 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).

  • Fee credit for TSA Precheck or Global Entry, once every four years.

  • 15% off when using miles to book award travel on Delta flights through delta.com and the Fly Delta app.

  • $150 Delta stays credit toward prepaid hotels or vacations through Delta.

  • $120 Resy credit when you enroll, up to $10 each month.

  • $120 rideshare credit when you enroll, up to $10 each month.

  • 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 four one-time guest passes annually. (15 visits annually as of Feb. 1, 2025.)

  • Fee Credit for TSA Precheck or Global Entry, once every four years.

  • 15% off when using miles to book award travel on Delta flights through delta.com and the Fly Delta app.

  • $240 Resy credit when you enroll, up to $20 each month.

  • $200 Delta stays credit toward prepaid hotels or vacations through Delta.

  • $120 rideshare credit when you enroll, up to $20 each month.

  • Terms apply (see rates and fees).

*Effective 2/1/25, Reserve Card Members will receive 15 Visits per year to the Delta Sky Club. To earn an unlimited number of visits each year, the total eligible purchases on the card must equal $75,000 or more the previous year. To earn unlimited visits in 2025, you’ll need to spend this amount between 1/1/24 and 12/31/24.

Drawbacks and considerations

High annual fee

Other mass-market airline credit cards in this class tend to have annual fees hovering around $100 or less, making them a bit more palatable than what the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card charges. Those competitors, too, offer free checked bag benefits that can easily outweigh their lower annual fees. (The "luggage math" isn't as difficult when traveling with a smaller party.)

If you're looking to avoid an annual fee entirely, while still reaping some Delta-centric benefits, you could consider Delta’s $0-annual-fee option, the Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card — although it doesn't offer any kind of checked-bag benefit. Or 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 doesn't offer free checked bags, but it does earn 1.5 points per $1 on all purchases, meaning it might be a better card for your everyday spending. 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 lounge access or TSA PreCheck/Global Entry credit

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. 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.

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.

🤓Nerdy Tip

Beginning Jan. 1, 2024, Delta is changing the way flyers earn elite status. However, you still will not be able to earn elite status through spending with the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card.

Alternate Pick: More flexible rewards
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.

How to decide if it's 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 could be 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.

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.

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