Editorial Review

Platinum Delta SkyMiles Review: One Big Perk Pays the Fee

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

Claire TsosieAugust 13, 2019

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  • Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

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Our Take

3.8

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

Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

Annual Fee

$195

Regular APR

17.74% - 26.74% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score

Quick FactsView rates and fees

Annual Fee
$195
Annual Fee
$195
Intro APR
N/A

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 for the first year, then $95.

Read our review

Compare to Other Cards

American Express Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card

Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

Annual Fee

$195

Annual Fee

$0 intro for the first year, then $95

Annual Fee

$550

Regular APR

17.74% - 26.74% Variable APR

Rates & Fees

Regular APR

17.74% - 26.74% Variable APR

Rates & Fees

Regular APR

N/A

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

In terms of value, the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express soars above other airline credit cards — even with its steep annual fee of $195.

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.

Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express: Basics

  • Card type: Airline.

  • Annual fee: $195.

  • Offer for new cardholders: Earn 50,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer Expires 8/15/2019. Additionally, Receive 50% back in the form of statement credits on purchases made directly with Delta with your Card within the first 3 months, up to $500 back. Terms Apply..

  • Rewards:

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

    • 1 mile per dollar spent on all other eligible purchases.

  • Spending bonuses: Earn 10,000 bonus miles and 10,000 MQMs after spending $25,000 or more in eligible purchases on your card in a calendar year, and another 10,000 bonus miles and 10,000 MQMs after spending $50,000. Terms Apply.

Delta SkyMiles are worth an average of 1.4 cents apiece for domestic travel and 2.7 cents each for international travel, according to NerdWallet's valuations. With strategic redemptions, these miles can also be worth far more.

Use the calculator below to find out whether the card's benefits outweigh the annual fee based on your spending.

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

For many Delta flyers, the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express is in the Goldilocks zone of airline cards: It has just the right combination of luxury and affordability. Here are some of its best benefits.

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 each 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.

Big bonuses. The Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express pulls out all the stops with its generous welcome offer: Earn 50,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer Expires 8/15/2019. Additionally, Receive 50% back in the form of statement credits on purchases made directly with Delta with your Card within the first 3 months, up to $500 back. Terms Apply. With that bonus, you could book an ambitious round-trip international flight.

Since a portion of that offer comes in Medallion Qualification Miles, or MQMs, it could also get you a little closer to elite status. (MQMs are normally earned by flying on Delta, not through everyday credit card spending.)

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 bonus miles and 10,000 MQMs. After hitting $50,000 in spending, you'll get another 10,000 bonus miles and 10,000 MQMs. Terms Apply.

Solid rewards rate. The rewards on this card are relatively generous when you consider that each mile is worth 1.4 cents on average for domestic travel. Keep in mind that you'll earn additional miles directly through Delta when booking flights, too.

Suppose you used your card to purchase airfare through Delta. In addition to earning 2 miles per dollar spent on Delta purchases with your card, you'd also get the standard 5 miles per dollar spent on Delta revenue flights, assuming you had a basic SkyMiles membership. That would get you an impressive 9.8% return.

Loyalty benefits. The loyalty benefits on the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express — including free checked bags and priority boarding —  can make your next trip a little smoother and less expensive. Instead of just offering a first free checked bag for one or two travelers on your itinerary, this 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

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.

Why you might want a different card

The Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express is a top-notch airline card, but it might not be an ideal choice for you. Here's why.

High annual fee. Compared with other airline cards — and its mass-market sibling card, the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express — the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express comes with a high annual fee of $195. That fee can definitely be worth paying, especially if you use the companion certificate every year. But if you tend to fly solo, you might want to get the lower-cost version instead.

The Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express has similarly enticing features, starting with a large 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. The introductory annual fee is $0 intro for the first year, then $95.

Inflexible rewards. Like most airline cards, the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express doesn’t offer particularly flexible rewards. You can’t redeem miles for cash back or travel statement credit, for example. If you don’t fly with Delta often, these miles can be hard to redeem.

If flexibility is important to you, consider going with a card like the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card. With this card, you can earn 2 miles per dollar spent, which can be redeemed to cover several types of travel purchases. The annual fee is $0 for the first year, then $95. There's also a great bonus offer: 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

Complimentary lounge access isn't included. The Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express is full of razzle-dazzle, but its lounge benefits are a little underwhelming. With a relatively high annual fee, you might expect at least a few one-time lounge passes to be included. Instead, the card only offers discounts to Delta's Sky Club lounges. With the card, you can get in for $29 rather than $59, a fairly ho-hum offer.

If lounge access is your top priority, go with another Platinum card instead — namely, The Platinum Card® from American Express. It offers access to hundreds of 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 prolific travelers who can take advantage of everything it offers, it could be worth the cost.

To see how these cards stack up with others, see NerdWallet's list of the best credit card offers right now.

Is thePlatinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express right for you?

For those who can't make good use of its companion certificate benefit, the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express likely isn't a good fit. But if you can use the certificate to cover one big trip each year, and if the 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 Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express, please visit this page.