Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express Review

Matt is a Certified Financial Planner® and investment advisor based in Columbia, South Carolina. He writes personal finance and investment advice, and in 2017 he received the SABEW Best in Business Award.

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American Express and Delta have a long-standing credit card co-branding partnership that has evolved into a series of four credit cards aimed toward Delta travelers. The Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express is a step above the no-annual-fee Blue version but is significantly less expensive than the Platinum and Reserve versions that are designed for more frequent travelers. With that in mind, here’s a rundown of the benefits of the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express.

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express
Our Bottom Line

The best card for most Delta travelers, given the balance of a premium rewards program and low annual fee.

What we Like:
  • Big welcome bonus
  • Free first checked bag
Key Scores:
4.0 5 Perks
4.0 5 Fees
4.0 5 APR
Perks 4.0/5
Fees 4.0/5
APR 4.0/5
  • Annual Fee: $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Regular APR: 17.24%-26.24% Variable
  • Intro APR: Purchases: N/A Balance Transfers: N/A
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: None
Highlights
  • Earn 30,000 bonus miles after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in purchases within your first 3 months and a $50 Statement Credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months.
  • Earn 2 miles on every eligible dollar spent on purchases made directly with Delta.
  • Earn 1 mile for every eligible dollar spent on purchases.
  • Check your first bag free on Delta flights – that’s a savings of up to $240 for a family of 4 roundtrip.
  • Receive Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding on Delta flights, stow your carry-on bag and settle in sooner.
  • Enjoy a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Terms Apply.
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Rates & Fees

This offer is no longer available on our site and card details may be out of date. Check out the best travel credit cards for other cards to consider.

What I Like

30,000 miles welcome bonus -- You'll earn 30,000 bonus miles after spending $1,000 within three months.

$50 statement credit with Delta purchase -- You'll receive $50 back in the form of statement credit when you make a Delta purchase within your first three months.

Premium rewards -- The card earns 2 Delta SkyMiles® per $1 on Delta purchases (made directly with Delta) and 1 mile per $1 on everything else. This is actually a better rewards rate than it may seem, as experts generally value SkyMiles® at about $0.015-$0.02 each.

Free checked bag on Delta flights -- Cardholders get a free checked bag on all Delta flights for themselves and as many as eight additional people traveling on the same reservation.

Priority (Group 1) boarding on Delta flights -- If you aren’t familiar with Delta’s boarding process, this means you’ll board after first class and the “Sky” boarding group, but before the general main cabin (groups 2 and 3).

No foreign transaction fees

Why you can trust me

I’m a Certified Financial Planner® and have written over 4,000 articles providing personal finance and investment advice to people like you. But that’s not all. I know all of the Delta American Express credit cards very well, and in fact, the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express was one of the first major credit cards I ever applied for -- it’s in my wallet as I write this.

What could be improved

There are a few key drawbacks to the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express that are worth mentioning.

Annual fee -- Most obviously, this card is not free. There is a $95 annual fee, which is waived for the first year. While this is cheap compared with some more premium travel cards, there are some travel-oriented cards with lower (or even no) annual fees that earn rewards at a similar rate.

Delta-centric card -- Additionally, this is a Delta-specific product. If you fly a variety of airlines, or want the option to choose, you’ll find a lot less value in the card’s benefits than you would if you were an exclusive Delta flyer.

Missing premium travel rewards -- Finally, this card does not offer some of the benefits that premium travel cards do. For example, frequent travelers may prefer a card that offers things like airport lounge access or the ability to earn Medallion Qualification Miles (MQM), the miles that you need to earn elite status.

Is it worth the $95 annual fee?

For people who fly Delta even once or twice a year, it’s not difficult to make the value case for this card. The most valuable benefit of the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express, by a wide margin, is the free checked bag benefit.

Consider this example. Let’s say that you and your spouse take two trips on Delta airplanes per year. The free bag benefit is worth $30, per person, each way. So, $30 savings for two people, on two trips, on two flights per trip translates to $240 in free checked bags. As you can imagine, if you travel more than twice per year or take more people with you, this benefit could be far more valuable.

To sum it up, the other benefits of the card aren’t very unique. Lots of card earn miles, for example, and most travel-oriented credit cards (even those with no annual fee) have no foreign transaction fees. And, while the priority boarding is nice, the need to struggle for overhead bin space is greatly reduced when you don’t have to pay to check a bag.

However, it’s rather easy to justify the $95 annual fee with the free checked bags benefit alone, even if you don’t travel too often.

An overview of Delta SkyMiles®

Delta SkyMiles® are the loyalty points of Delta Air Lines and can be earned in a few different ways. Most obviously, SkyMiles® can be earned by traveling on Delta flights, and they can also be earned through Delta’s retail and service-provider partners, a list of which can be found on Delta’s website.

SkyMiles® can be redeemed in a few different ways as well. Just to name some of the most common ways, SkyMiles® can be used to shop in the SkyMiles® Marketplace, or to buy Delta gift cards. They can be used for flight upgrades. And, they can be redeemed for free air travel.

Many SkyMiles® redemption options allow you to redeem SkyMiles® at a $0.01 valuation. However, because flights cost a different amount of miles depending on the date, it’s possible to find some very good value for flight redemptions. This is the primary reason that most experts generally value SkyMiles® at about $0.015-$0.02 each.

Non-Delta alternatives

A Delta-branded credit card (or any specific airline’s credit card for that matter) is only valuable if you fly that particular airline and therefore get value from the card’s benefits. With that in mind, if you don’t want to commit to a particular airline, there are non-specific airline credit cards you can choose from.

As of Nov. 18, 2019
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card Bank of America® Travel Rewards Visa® credit card
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4.0 stars
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4.5 stars
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Credit Rating Requirement: Good/Excellent Clickable tooltip icon for credit rating info.

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Bonus: 50,000 miles after spending $3,000 on purchases within 3 months, equal to $500 in travel Bonus: 25,000 online bonus points after spending at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days
Rewards Program: Unlimited 2 miles per $1 Rewards Program: Unlimited 1.5 points per $1 on all purchases
Intro APR: Purchases: N/A Balance Transfers: N/A Intro APR: Purchases: 0%, 12 billing cycles Balance Transfers: N/A
Regular APR: 17.49% - 24.74% Variable Regular APR: 16.74% - 24.74% Variable
Annual Fee: $0 intro for first year; $95 after that Annual Fee: $0

Highlights:

  • 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
  • Earn 2X miles on every purchase, every day.
  • Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime; no blackout dates. Plus transfer your miles to over 12 leading travel loyalty programs
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Named ‘The Best Travel Card' by CNBC, 2018
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that

Highlights:

  • Earn unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases, with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees and your points don't expire
  • 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
  • Use your card to book your trip how and where you want - you're not limited to specific websites with blackout dates or restrictions
  • Redeem points for a statement credit to pay for flights, hotels, vacation packages, cruises, rental cars, or baggage fees
  • Comes with chip technology for enhanced security and protection at chip-enabled terminals
  • 0% Introductory APR for 12 billing cycles for purchases. After the intro APR ends, 16.74% - 24.74% Variable APR will apply
  • If you're a Preferred Rewards member, you can earn 25% - 75% more points on every purchase

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On Bank of America's Secure Website.

Is it right for you?

There’s no one-size-fits-all credit card, and that’s especially true when it comes to travel. That’s why American Express offers four different tiers of Delta-branded credit cards.

The best option for you might be one of the others. It certainly is in my case. I carry the Platinum version in my wallet because that’s the one that offers me the most value as a more frequent Delta traveler. All-in-all, however, I think the Delta American Express credit cards are some of the best travel credit cards on the market in terms of the value they provide.

The Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express is a great choice for people who prefer to fly Delta when traveling, and take a few trips a year but wouldn’t consider themselves frequent travelers.

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