Editorial Review

Platinum Delta SkyMiles Review: One Big Perk Pays the Fee

Every year you continue as a cardholder, you get a certificate good for a companion's round-trip fare. Checked-bag benefits and priority boarding deliver additional value.

Claire TsosieApril 2, 2020

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THIS PAGE MAY BE OUT OF DATE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:

  • The Platinum Card® from American Express
  • Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card
  • Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card
  • Capital One® Venture® 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As a result, offers described on this page may be out of date.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: Do you fly Delta Air Lines with someone at least once a year? If so, then this card should pay for itself. If not, look for a cheaper alternative.

American Express Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Annual Fee

$250

Regular APR

15.74% - 24.74% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score

Quick FactsView rates and fees

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • No foreign transaction fee

  • Annual Companion Certificate (Terms Apply)

Cons

  • Has annual fee

Alternate Pick: Flexible rewards

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Use miles on any airline

This card gives you 2 miles per dollar spent on all purchases, and you can redeem miles for any travel purchase. Book however you want, with no blackout dates or restrictions, then use miles to pay for it. Start with a great bonus: Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel. Annual fee: $0 intro for the first year, then $95.

Read our review

Compare to Other Cards

American Express Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

American Express Platinum Credit Card

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Annual Fee

$250

Annual Fee

$550

Regular APR

15.74% - 24.74% Variable APR

Rates & Fees

Regular APR

N/A

Rates & Fees

Intro APR

N/A

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score

Full Review

In terms of value, the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card soars above other airline credit cards — even with its steep annual fee of $250.

That's because after your first year it comes with an annual companion certificate — a rare and valuable perk that covers the cost of a round-trip domestic economy ticket for someone flying with you. Such a benefit could save you hundreds of dollars a year, regardless of how much you spend with the card.

For Delta Air Lines devotees, this certificate alone is reason enough to pounce on this card. But if you're on the fence, here's what you need to know.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card: Basics

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

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

Card type: Airline.

Annual fee: $250.

Welcome offer: Earn 40,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Plus, earn a $100 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months. Terms Apply.

Rewards:

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

    • 3 miles per dollar spent directly with hotels.

    • 2 miles per dollar at restaurants.

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

    • 1 mile per dollar on all other eligible 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: 

  • Annual companion certificate upon renewal (good for one round-trip domestic flight in main cabin for someone traveling with you, less some taxes and fees).

  • 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.

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

  • Terms apply.

Miles Boost bonuses: Earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after spending $25,000 or more in eligible purchases on your card in a calendar year, and another 10,000 MQMs after spending $50,000 that same calendar year. Terms Apply.

Why you might want the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Companion certificate

This card’s most valuable feature, by a long shot, is its annual companion certificate, which becomes available when you renew your card membership every year.

The certificate gets you one main cabin round trip for someone traveling on the same itinerary as you within the 48 contiguous states. The only expenses you'll have to cover for that flight are taxes and fees, but those are capped at $75. Those living in Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands can also use it to cover flights originating in their home state or territory to the mainland and back, as long as their address is on their account.

Used strategically, this certificate could save you over $1,000 each year, especially if you tend to travel during peak season when flights get expensive.

A way to work toward elite status

Not all airline cards help you get closer to elite status — which gets you several perks reserved for loyal flyers — but the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card does. It starts out with a generous welcome offer: Earn 40,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Plus, earn a $100 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months. Terms Apply. With that bonus, you could book an ambitious round-trip international flight.

Big spenders can also earn additional miles, including MQMs. After spending $25,000 or more in eligible purchases on your card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs. After hitting $50,000 in spending that same year, you'll get another 10,000 MQMs. Terms Apply.

How it compares with other Delta cards

In the Delta credit card family, the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card is the second-most-premium option. It offers plenty of rich benefits, but doesn't carry the highest annual fee. If you're looking for a Delta card with a different mix of benefits, you have plenty of options. Check out NerdWallet's comparison of Delta credit cards for more information.

Here's how these cards stack up at a glance. (Table shows current earning rates and benefits. See this article for changes taking effect in January 2020.)

  • 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 might want a different card

A LOWER ANNUAL FEE

The Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card has a $95 and it earns points in similar categories. You get 2 points per dollar spent on travel and dining purchases, and 1.5 points for every dollar spent on all other purchases. It also offers $200 in travel credits, including up to a $100 reimbursement for a Global Entry or TSA Precheck application, and up to $100 in airline incidental credit, for purchases such as seat upgrades, checked bags and day passes to lounges. This card won't get you into a Delta Sky Club, but it could help you cover the cost of staying in a different lounge. There's also a great bonus offer: Receive 50,000 bonus points – a $500 value – after you make at least $3,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.

Lounge Access isn't free

The Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card is full of razzle-dazzle, but its lounge benefits are a little underwhelming. With its relatively high annual fee, you might expect at least a few one-time lounge passes to be included. Instead, the card only allows you to purchase day passes to Delta's Sky Club lounges for $39 a person. (To be sure, you wouldn't be able to purchase day passes at all if you didn't have a qualifying Delta card; the airline stopped offering these to the general public in late 2018.)

If lounge access is your top priority, go with another Platinum card instead — namely, The Platinum Card® from American Express. It offers access to more than 1,200 airport lounges worldwide, including Delta's Sky Club lounges (when you're flying Delta), along with a bevy of other benefits. The annual fee is $550, but for perpetual travelers who can take advantage of everything it offers, it could be worth the cost. Terms apply.

Is the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card right for you?

For those who can't make good use of its companion certificate benefit and rewards categories, the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card likely isn't a good fit. But if you can use the certificate to cover one big trip each year, and if the rewards and benefits you'd get on the card outweigh the annual fee, it should be at the top of your list.

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 Platinum Card® from American Express, please visit this page.

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