Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express Review: Great Benefits for Frequent Delta Travelers

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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Through its partnership with Delta, American Express offers a series of four co-branded travel credit cards that allow members to earn Delta SkyMiles®. Perhaps the most interesting is the $195-annual-fee Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express, which offers some extremely valuable benefits -- if you use them.

Here’s a rundown of the card’s perks and whether the cost of the card makes sense to you. I’ll also discuss the rest of American Express’ Delta credit cards and some other alternatives you might want to consider.

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

The big welcome bonus, companion pass, and rewards rate on Delta purchases make the annual fee more than worth it if you fly on Delta regularly.

What we Like:
Key Scores:
5.0 5 Perks
3.5 5 Fees
3.5 5 APR
Perks 5.0/5
Fees 3.5/5
APR 3.5/5
  • Annual Fee: $195 Annual Fee ($250 if application is received on or after 1/30/2020)
  • Regular APR: 17.49%-26.49% Variable
  • Intro APR: Purchases: N/A Balance Transfers: N/A
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: None
Highlights
  • Earn 75,000 Bonus Miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer Expires 10/30/2019.
  • In addition, earn a $100 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months.
  • Earn 2 miles per dollar spent on purchases made directly with Delta. Earn 1 mile for every eligible dollar spent on purchases. Miles don’t expire.
  • Check your first bag free on Delta flights – that’s a savings of up to $240.
  • Receive Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding on your Delta flights, stow your carry-on bag and settle in sooner.
  • Enjoy 20% savings on eligible in-flight purchases in the form of a statement credit with the American Express Delta Card.
  • $195 Annual Fee ($250 if application is received on or after 1/30/2020).
  • 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This offer is no longer available on our site and card details may be out of date.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.

Benefits of the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

There are some excellent travel-related benefits that come with the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express. Here’s a rundown (but not an exhaustive list) of the most significant perks:

The Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express earns two miles per dollar on Delta purchases, and one mile per dollar for all other purchases.

Cardholders get a “companion certificate,” which is essentially a buy-one-get-one-free airline ticket, good for a main cabin (coach) domestic flight. You’ll get one of these per year upon renewal of your card, and this benefit alone can justify the annual fee several times over, depending on the flight you use the certificate for.

In addition to airline miles, the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express allows cardholders to earn Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) toward elite status after meeting certain spending thresholds. Cardholders earn 10,000 MQMs and 10,000 bonus miles after spending $25,000 in a calendar year, and another 10,000 MQMs and 10,000 bonus miles after spending $50,000. For context, Delta SkyMiles® Silver elite status requires 25,000 MQMs, so you can nearly earn elite status through spending alone.

Members and as many as eight other people traveling on the same reservation get one free checked bag each when traveling on a Delta flight.

Members and other travelers on the same reservation get priority (zone 1) boarding on Delta flights.

Reduced-price access to Delta Sky Club airport lounge locations of $29 per visit for the cardholder and up to two guests traveling on a Delta-operated or Delta-coded flight.

20% savings on in-flight purchases, such as food and beverages.

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. In this case, the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express was one of the first major credit cards I ever applied for, and I still use it regularly. In fact, it’s in my wallet as I write this.

Potential drawbacks

There are two main potential drawbacks to consider before applying for the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express.

First, the card has a rather hefty annual fee, which could be tough to justify if you don’t frequently take advantage of the card’s benefits. While this is less than several ultra-premium travel credit cards, it’s significantly more than several of the top travel rewards credit cards, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® and the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card.

As of Oct. 22, 2019
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
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Credit Rating Requirement: Good/Excellent Clickable tooltip icon for credit rating info.

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Bonus: 60,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Worth $750 redeemed for travel through Chase's portal. Bonus: 50,000 miles after spending $3,000 on purchases within 3 months, equal to $500 in travel
Rewards Program: 2x points on travel and dining, 1x points on all other purchases. 25% more points for travel booked through Chase's portal. Rewards Program: Unlimited 2 miles per $1
Intro APR: Purchases: N/A, N/A Balance Transfers: N/A, N/A Intro APR: Purchases: N/A Balance Transfers: N/A
Regular APR: 17.74% - 24.74% Variable Regular APR: 17.49% - 24.74% Variable
Annual Fee: $95 Annual Fee: $0 intro for first year; $95 after that

Highlights:

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel

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. Plus earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels, through January 2020; learn more at hotels.com/venture
  • Named ‘The Best Travel Card' by CNBC, 2018
  • 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
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that

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On Chase's Secure Website.

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On Capital One's Secure Website.

Furthermore, another potential downside is that the card earns Delta SkyMiles, as opposed to cash back rewards or more generic “miles” like some other travel rewards credit cards use. While there are a few other ways to redeem Delta SkyMiles, this generally means that you’ll earn rewards that can only be used for Delta flights and upgrades, especially if you want to get the maximum value from your rewards.

Is it worth the annual fee?

Here’s the most important question to answer. Even if you fly Delta whenever you travel, the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express is only worth applying for if you’re reasonably certain that the value you get from its benefits is worth considerably more than the annual fee.

While the exact welcome bonus you get with the card varies, it’s fair to say that it will justify paying the annual fee for the first year all by itself. Beyond the first year, it gets a little more complicated.

I mentioned that I have the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express, so here’s my example of why the card is a good value to me. In a recent year, here’s a rundown of the value I’ve received from it:

  • I used my annual companion certificate to buy tickets for my wife and I to go to Las Vegas. My ticket cost about $450, and the certificate made her ticket practically free (you still pay a small fee for the free one) -- a value of $450.
  • My wife and I flew three times during the year and each took a checked bag. Based on a cost of $25 per bag each way, the free bags benefit was worth $300 to us. (Note: the fee has since gone up to $30 each way).
  • I spent just over $25,000 on the card during the year (my general practice is to charge most of my living expenses and pay the bill at the end of the month). I earned about 26,000 base miles and triggered the 10,000-mile bonus based on my spending. Most estimates value Delta SkyMiles at $0.017-$0.02 apiece, so based on the low end of the range, I earned about $612 worth of miles. This is in addition to 10,000 MQMs, but these are more difficult to value, so I’ll exclude them from my value calculation.

So, just based on these three benefits, I got $1,362 worth of value from the card in a single year -- more than justifying the annual fee.

Is it right for you?

The short answer is “it depends.” Like any credit card with a hefty annual fee, the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express is only a good value if the benefits you take advantage of outweigh the cost of the card.

For frequent Delta travelers, this can certainly be the case. The combination of the annual companion certificate, free checked bags benefit, and priority boarding can easily have a value of over $1,000 if they are taken advantage of.

The bottom line is that if you travel often, and prefer to fly Delta when you travel, the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express could certainly be a smart choice for you. Less-frequent travelers might find more value from the Blue or Gold versions of the card, while road warriors who travel very frequently might want to consider the Reserve version of the card instead. And, for frequent travelers who don’t necessarily want to commit to Delta-specific benefits, the Platinum Card by American Express could be the better option.

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