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.

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Our Take

3.9

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

Annual fee

$0

Regular APR

15.74% - 24.74% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score

Quick FactsView rates and fees

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • No annual fee

Cons

  • No free checked bags
  • Requires good/excellent credit

Compare to Other Cards

NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
Annual fee

$0

Annual fee

$0 intro for the first year, then $99

Annual fee

$250

Regular APR

15.74% - 24.74% Variable APR

Rates & Fees

Regular APR

15.74% - 24.74% Variable APR

Rates & Fees

Regular APR

15.74% - 24.74% Variable APR

Rates & Fees

Intro APR

N/A

Intro APR

N/A

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score

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Full Review

The is the only card in the AmEx-Delta Air Lines portfolio with a 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.

To view rates and fees of the , see .

Card type: .

Annual fee: 

Welcome offer: 

Rewards: 

Delta miles at 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 or more in value from your Delta miles.

Benefits: 

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APR: .

Foreign transaction fee: None.

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It's relatively rare to find an that doesn't charge an annual fee in exchange for miles-earning potential. With the , any rewards you rack up are entirely in the "gains" column, as long as you don't carry a balance.

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 earns double miles not just on eligible Delta purchases, but also when you use the card at restaurants worldwide.

With this card, you can get a 20% savings in the form of a statement credit on eligible in-flight purchases, including food, beverages and audio headsets 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.

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Of all the Delta cards, the -annual-fee 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

Here's how the  stacks up with the others on key benefits.

It's not surprising that the  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.

Unlike the other Delta cards, the  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.

Other Delta cards also allow you to purchase single-visit passes to Delta's Sky Club lounges for $29 apiece. (Starting Jan. 30, 2020, these passes will be $39 apiece and available on fewer cards.) Such passes aren't available to purchase for the general public, and you won't be able to purchase them with the .

Many no-annual-fee travel cards come with 0% APR offers, but the doesn't: .

If you're looking for a travel card that gives you some breathing room for paying down a major purchase, consider the instead. The card earns 1.5 points per dollar on all purchases. Points are worth 1 cent each when redeemed for travel. There's also a sign-up bonus.

Check out the  for more good options.

If you love Delta but you're dead set against paying an annual fee, the 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 with broad merchant acceptance and no foreign transaction fees will be a better option.

To view rates and fees of the , see . To view rates and fees of the , see . To view rates and fees of the , see . To view rates and fees of the , see .