Editorial Review

Blue Delta SkyMiles Review: Ideal for Loyal but Infrequent Flyers

If you dig Delta but can't stomach an annual fee, this card may fit the bill, as long as you don't mind the lack of perks like free checked bags.

Melissa LambarenaApril 4, 2019

At NerdWallet, we strive to help you make financial decisions with confidence. To do this, many or all of the products featured here are from our partners. However, this doesn’t influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

Our Take

3.2

NerdWallet rating 

The Bottom Line: This card offers decent ongoing rewards for no annual fee, but you may find other cards more useful or valuable.

Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express"

on American Express's website, or call (866) 512-6673

Rates & Fees

on American Express's website, or call (866) 512-6673

Rates & Fees
Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

17.99% - 26.99% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

recommended credit score

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • No annual fee

Cons
  • No free checked bags

Alternate Pick: More flexible rewards

Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card

Flat-rate earning on all spending

Earn an unlimited 1.5 points per dollar spent on all purchases, for an annual fee of $0. Book travel any way you want, then use points to offset the cost on your statement. The card also has a sign-up bonus: 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases.

Read our review

Compare to Other Cards

Annual Fee

$0

Annual Fee

$0 for the first year, then $95

Annual Fee

$0 for the first year, then $95

Regular APR

17.99% - 26.99% Variable APR

Rates & Fees

Regular APR

17.99% - 26.99% Variable APR

Rates & Fees

Regular APR

17.99% - 25.24% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

Intro APR

N/A

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score

Full Review

The Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express is the only card in the AmEx-Delta Air Lines portfolio with a $0 annual fee. If you’re a less frequent traveler with a preference for Delta, that could make the card an ideal choice.

It's also a decent choice for foodies, and its modest welcome offer can serve as a head start toward your next vacation.

But if you fly Delta multiple times per year or you're in search of a card that offers major travel perks, you'll likely do better with another option.

Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express: The basics

Card type: Airline.

Annual fee: $0

Welcome offer: Earn 10,000 bonus miles after spending $500 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.

Rewards: 

  • 2 miles per dollar spent at U.S. restaurants.

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

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

As a Delta SkyMiles member, you can also earn 5 miles per dollar spent on Delta flights on top of the points you earn with the Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express. Delta SkyMiles are worth an average of 1.4 cents apiece for domestic travel and 2.7 cents for international travel, according to NerdWallet valuations.

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

Foreign transaction fee: 2.7%

Other benefits: 

  • 20% in-flight savings in the form of statement credit after using the card on eligible Delta purchases (food, beverages and audio headsets).

Where the Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express shines

$0 annual fee: It's relatively rare to find an airline credit card that doesn't charge an annual fee in exchange for miles-earning potential. With the Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express, any rewards you rack up are entirely in the "gains" column, as long as you don't carry a balance.

Decent for dining and more: Another issue with co-branded airline credit cards is that some earn elevated rewards only on flights or other eligible spending with that airline. The Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express earns double miles not just on eligible Delta purchases, but also when you use the card at U.S. restaurants. Plus, as a SkyMiles member and a cardholder, you can double-dip on rewards via the SkyMiles Dining program and Delta’s online shopping portal, not to mention Airbnb, participating hotels, car rentals and Lyft.

High rewards valuation: Generally, the industry standard among frequent flyer programs is that 1 point is worth about one penny. But NerdWallet values Delta SkyMiles at an average of 1.4 cents each for domestic travel. SkyMiles redeem for flights, upgrades, gift cards, or unique experiences such as backstage or red carpet events. Plus, miles don't expire. Some other airlines aren't as flexible.

No blackout dates on Delta flights. Delta’s SkyTeam alliance partners may have blackout dates, but you don't have to worry about them when you book flights directly with Delta. You still want to book your flight in advance, though, because Delta limits the number of available award seats per flight.

Where the Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express falls short

No free checked bags. If you frequently fly with Delta and you don’t travel light, you'll get more value from the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express. It has an annual fee of $0 for the first year, then $95, but unlike the Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express, it offers free checked bags, which can easily offset that annual fee.

A poor choice for international travel. The Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express charges a 2.7% foreign transaction fee. Combine that with American Express’ limited merchant acceptance abroad, and you've got a card that's not ideal for international travel. A general travel card like the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card might be a better choice. It charges no foreign transaction fees, and its annual fee is $0. It's a Visa card, so you'll enjoy broad acceptance overseas. And you'll also be eligible for a sign-up bonus: 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases.

For more options, take a look at NerdWallet's roundup of best credit cards to get.

Should you get the Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express?

If you love Delta but you're dead set against paying an annual fee, the Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express is right up your alley.

But if you fly several times a year with the airline, you're better off paying an annual fee for a higher-tier co-branded Delta card. And if you frequently travel internationally, a general travel card with broad merchant acceptance and no foreign transaction fees will be a better option.

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