CREDIT CARDSCREDIT CARDSBLUE DELTA SKYMILES REVIEW: IDEAL FOR LOYAL BUT INFREQUENT FLYERS

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 Lambarena Author AvatarClaire Tsosie Author Avatar
Feb 1, 2024 9:20 a.m. PST
Edited by
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3.5

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.

Pros
  • No annual fee
Cons
  • No free checked bags
  • Requires good/excellent credit
Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card Image
Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card
Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

20.99%-29.99% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

Rec. credit score


Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

20.99%-29.99% Variable APR

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Rewards rate

    1x-2x

  • Bonus offer

    Earn 10,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 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

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

More details from American Express
View Rates and Fees
  • Earn 10,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months.
  • No Annual Fee.
  • Earn 2X Miles per dollar at restaurants worldwide, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
  • Earn 2X Miles per dollar spent on Delta purchases, and 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases.
  • Pay with Miles: 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 after you use your Card on eligible Delta in-flight purchases of food and beverages.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Terms Apply.

Compare to Other Cards

ANNUAL FEE
$0
REGULAR APR
20.99%-29.99% Variable APR
Rates & Fees
INTRO APR
N/A
RECOMMENDED CREDIT SCORE
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
$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® Blue American Express Card

The Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card 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.

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.

Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card: Basics

To view rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card, see this page.

Card type: Airline.

Annual fee: $0

Welcome offer: Earn 10,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months. Terms Apply.

Rewards:

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

  • 2 miles per dollar spent at restaurants worldwide, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.

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

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:

  • 20% savings on eligible in-flight purchases.

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

Foreign transaction fee: None.

Benefits and perks

$0 annual fee

Most airline credit cards charge annual fees in exchange for miles-earning potential. With the Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card, any rewards you rack up are entirely in the "gains" column, as long as you don't carry a balance.

Decent ongoing rewards

Many co-branded airline credit cards earn elevated rewards only on flights or other eligible spending with that airline. The Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card, on the other hand, earns double miles not just on eligible Delta purchases, but also when you use the card at restaurants worldwide, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S. That makes it easier to rack up miles quickly.

In-flight savings

With this card, you can get a 20% savings in the form of a statement credit on eligible in-flight purchases, including food and beverages on Delta-operated flights. When you use your card for these purchases, you'll receive a statement credit within eight to 12 weeks after the transaction posts. Unless you do a lot of spending at 30,000 feet, this perk isn't exactly lucrative — but it's still a nice benefit, and can certainly make a pricey in-flight nosh a little more affordable.

How it compares with other Delta cards

Of all the Delta cards, the $0-annual-fee Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card is the most basic. It lacks key benefits the other cards offer, such as free checked bags and priority boarding. But if you want to earn Delta SkyMiles without paying an annual fee, it's a solid option. For more analysis, read NerdWallet's comparison of Delta credit cards.

Here's how the Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card stacks up with the others on key benefits.

  • 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

No free checked bags

It's not surprising that the Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card doesn't offer a free checked bags benefit. Usually, you have to pay an annual fee for that kind of perk. If you regularly check bags, one of the other Delta cards could be a better deal just from this benefit alone.

No priority boarding or lounge access

Unlike the other Delta cards, the Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card doesn't offer priority boarding. That means you might end up in one of the final boarding groups, unless you're eligible for pre-boarding or early boarding — for example, if you need assistance boarding, are active duty U.S. military with ID or are traveling with car seats or strollers.

You also can't purchase single-visit passes to Delta's Sky Club lounges, like you can with the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card and the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card. These passes cost $39 apiece and aren't available to the general public, so you won't be able to purchase them with the Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card.

🤓Nerdy Tip

Effective 1/1/24, Sky Club access will no longer be available for Platinum cardholders.

No 0% APR offer

Many no-annual-fee travel cards come with 0% APR offers, but the Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card doesn't: The ongoing APR is 20.99%-29.99% Variable APR.

If you're looking for a travel card that gives you some breathing room for paying down a major purchase, consider the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card instead. The card comes with a lengthy introductory offer: 0% intro APR on Purchases for 15 billing cycles and 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 billing cycles for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days, and then the ongoing APR of 18.24%-28.24% Variable APR. It also earns 1.5 points per dollar on all purchases, and points are worth 1 cent each when redeemed for travel. There's also a sign-up bonus.

Check out the best credit cards NerdWallet offers for more good options.

How to decide if it's right for you

If you love Delta but you're dead set against paying an annual fee, the Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card 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 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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