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 TsosieOctober 2, 2019

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

  • Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

As a result, offers described on this page may be out of date.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

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 ($250 if application is received on or after 1/30/2020)

Regular APR

17.49% - 26.49% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score

Quick FactsView rates and fees

Annual Fee
$195 ($250 if application is received on or after 1/30/2020)
Annual Fee
$195 ($250 if application is received on or after 1/30/2020)
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 ($250 if application is received on or after 1/30/2020)

Annual Fee

$95

Annual Fee

$550

Regular APR

17.49% - 26.49% Variable APR

Rates & Fees

Regular APR

17.74% - 24.74% Variable APR

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 ($250 if application is received on or after 1/30/2020).

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

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 Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express, please visit this page.)

Card type: Airline.

Annual fee: $195 ($250 if application is received on or after 1/30/2020).

Welcome offer: Earn 75,000 Bonus Miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer Expires 10/30/2019. In addition, earn a $100 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months. 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.

  • Terms apply.

  • After January 30, 2020, you'll earn:

    • 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.

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.

  • After January 30, 2020: 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 bonus miles and 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 bonus miles and 10,000 MQMs after spending $50,000. Terms Apply. (Starting in 2020: You'll still earn the MQMs when you hit these spending thresholds, but you will no longer get the bonus miles.)

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

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

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 Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express does. It starts out with a generous welcome offer: Earn 75,000 Bonus Miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer Expires 10/30/2019. In addition, 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.

Since a portion of that offer comes in Medallion Qualification Miles, or MQMs, it could also get you a little closer to Silver status, which requires 25,000 MQMs. (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. (However, starting in 2020, this benefit will change slightly: You'll still earn the MQMs when you hit these spending thresholds, but you will no longer get the bonus miles.)

How it compares with other Delta cards

In the Delta credit card family, the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express 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 U.S. restaurants.

  • Terms apply.

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

  • No foreign transaction fees.

  • First checked bag free.

  • Priority boarding.

  • Terms apply.

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

  • No foreign transaction fees.

  • First checked bag free.

  • Priority boarding.

  • Companion certificate (main cabin).

  • Terms apply.

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

  • No foreign transaction fees.

  • First checked bag free.

  • Priority boarding.

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

  • Delta Sky Club access.

  • Terms apply.

Why you might want a different card

Weak ongoing rewards, FOR NOW

Currently, the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express offers only 1 mile per dollar spent on non-Delta purchases. Several other cards offer richer rewards rates — and for lower annual fees, at that.

Consider the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® Visa® credit card. With this card, you can earn 2 points per dollar spent on travel and dining purchases, and 1.5 points for every dollar spent on all other purchases. The annual fee is $95. You'll also get up to $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.

Keep in mind, though, that in January 2020, the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express will be adding bonus rewards for spending at hotels, restaurants and U.S. supermarkets. That might change your decision, depending on how much you spend in those categories.

Lounge Access isn't free

The Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express 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 $29 a person — and that will rise to $39 after January 30, 2020. (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 Platinum 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.

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

To view rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, please visit this page.