For many savvy frequent fliers, the only way to travel is with frequent flier miles. The fastest way to accumulate said miles is by wisely using a credit card partnered with your airline of choice.
For those who prefer to fly with Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL), the American Express Gold Delta SkyMiles card is a strong choice to quickly acquire Delta SkyMiles and fly from point A to point B on the cheap.
Who should apply for the American Express Gold Delta SkyMiles card?
American Express' (NYSE:AXP) Membership Rewards program is already among the best in the business, but for Delta fliers, the AmEx Gold Delta SkyMiles card is the way to go.
With the American Express Gold Delta SkyMiles card, you'll earn five miles per dollar spent on Delta flights; two miles per dollar on other Delta purchases such as in-flight meals, drinks, entertainment, or seat upgrades; and one mile per dollar spent on all other purchases.
For the regular Delta flier, this card packs a lot of punch. However, if you prefer to fly on another airline or you travel infrequently, then this card is probably not for you. American Express is also known for its high credit requirements, so a blemish or two on your credit report could make it hard for you to qualify for the card.
The sign-up bonus is pretty strong as well
The American Express Gold Delta SkyMiles card currently comes with a 30,000-mile bonus if you spend $1,000 with the card in the first three months after activation.
It's easy to get excited at the mileage bonus and splurge on an item you can't afford. Fight that temptation. A much better plan is to only use the card for purchases you'd make anyway -- such as gas or groceries -- and let the $1,000 accumulate naturally and slowly. This way you can pay off the card each month and avoid interest charges.
What will the American Express Gold Delta SkyMiles card cost you?
The American Express Gold Delta SkyMiles card carries a $95 annual fee, but AmEx will waive the fee for your first year. After that, though, you're on the hook for the charge.
If you do end up carrying a balance on the card -- which is never recommended -- expect to pay an annual interest rate between 15% and 20% on purchases and over 25% on cash advances. Those interest rates are pretty steep, so it behooves you to pay off your balance every month.
Used responsibly, the American Express Gold Delta SkyMiles is a solid day-to-day credit card for frequent travelers who prefer to fly on Delta. The card offers a generous sign-up bonus, and American Express will waive the first year's annual fee.
However, if you don't fly often or prefer using a different airline, other cards feature rewards programs with a broader range of benefits.
And, as with any credit card, it is always in your best interest to pay off your balance in full every month!