Delta offers several co-brand credit cards through their partnership with American Express. The Gold Delta cards are the mid-level entry point of the card portfolio. These cards have an annual fee but also provide some excellent benefits if you’re an occasional Delta flyer.
This review is for the business version of the Gold Delta SkyMiles American Express card. If you decide that you want to sign up for this card, or any of the Delta American Express business credit cards, we’d appreciate if you use our link. We receive Delta SkyMiles for each referral and that helps us keep Your Mileage May Vary HQ going strong.
So what type of benefits does this card provide upon signing up and does it make sense to keep this card for the long run?
$95 per year (fee waived for the first year)
Sign Up Benefits
This card is subject to AMEX’s one sign up bonus per lifetime rule To read more about that, check out this article from Doctor of Credit.) AMEX also has added this stipulation to their cards:
We may also consider the number of American Express Cards you have opened and closed as well as other factors in making a decision on your welcome offer eligibility.
The link we have for this card currently has a 30,000-mile bonus once you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening and a $50 statement credit if you make a Delta purchase within the first three months.
There have been several limited-time increases to the bonus for this card, offering 60,000 or even up to 70,000 SkyMiles. It might make sense to wait to see if one of these offers come back before applying.
Spending Bonus Categories
The Gold Delta SkyMiles Business card earns 2X points on Delta purchases including flights booked on Delta.com, SkyClub membership or passes, Delta Vacations packages, seat upgrades, or in-flight purchases like food, beverages, and audio headsets. The card earns one point per dollar for all other types of spending.
No Foreign Transaction Fees
As you would hope a card that can be used on Delta flights worldwide would, the Gold Delta SkyMiles Business card does not charge any foreign transaction fees.
The primary cardmember and up to nine companions on the same reservation will be invited to board Delta-operated flights before general boarding. This boarding is with Main Cabin 1 that includes the following:
- Silver Medallion® Members
- Delta Corporate Travelers
- Priority Boarding Trip Extra customers
- Gold, Platinum and Reserve Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card Members
- Flying Blue Silver members
- Virgin Australia Velocity Silver members
- GOL Smiles Gold members
- Sky Team® Elite
This advanced boarding sounds great but there are still at least twelve groups of people including Delta Platinum and Gold Medallion members, Delta Comfort+® passengers and SkyTeam® Elite Plus members who will get to board before you. If you book a basic economy ticket on Delta (which I even did once) having the credit card will allow you to board at the same time as if booking a Delta Main Cabin ticket.
Discounted Delta SkyClub Access
You and up to two guests or a spouse/partner and children under 21 can enjoy snacks and beverages, WiFi access, satellite TV, newspapers and magazines, personalized flight assistance, private restrooms and more at Delta Sky Club® for a discounted fee of $29 per person, provided the cardmember and guests are traveling on a Delta flight. Please note that you need to have your Delta AMEX card with you to get the discounted price.
This is the only way you can buy a day pass for the SkyClubs since they discontinued selling them to the public.
Free First Checked Bag
Delta provides a free checked bag for the cardholder and up to nine other people traveling on the same reservation. You don’t have to pay for the ticket with your Gold Delta SkyMiles Business card but the cardholder does have to have their SkyMiles number on the reservation.
This means you’d be able to get the free checked bag benefit while still paying for the ticket with a card like the Sapphire Reserve to take advantage of the better trip delay and lost baggage insurance this card offers.
Now that your first checked bag on Delta costs $35, this benefit alone can save more than the cost of the annual fee on a single round trip for 2 people.
Pay With Miles
This little known benefit allows you to pay for part (of all) of your ticket with your SkyMiles. In essence, this will enable you to use your miles at the value of a penny per point to pay for a cash ticket on Delta. You redeem miles in increments of 5,000 miles for $50. While not the best value for your points, if you find a really cheap cash ticket and don’t want to spend money, this may be helpful. To find out more about this benefit, check out the Delta website.
Use of Miles on Partner Airlines
While you can use your miles to book flights on Delta, you can also use miles to book award travel on SkyTeam and other partner airlines. I was able to book us on Virgin Atlantic premium economy from New York to London for 55,000 miles each. Pre-departure prosecco? Don’t mind if we do!
20% In-Flight Savings
You’ll receive a 20% savings in the form of a statement credit on eligible pre-purchased meals and in-flight purchases of food, alcoholic beverages and audio headsets, on Delta-operated flights.
Medallion Qualification Dollar Waiver
I, for one, am not interested in this benefit since I still don’t care about status but I know some people that utilize this benefit, so I feel that I need to mention it:
If the Medallion Qualification Dollar (MQD) threshold is not met for a Qualification Year, you can still qualify for Platinum, Gold and Silver Medallion Status if you have earned the required Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) or Medallion Qualification Segments (MQSs) and make at least $25,000 in Eligible Purchases within that Qualification Year on your Eligible Card. If the MQD threshold is not met for a Qualification Year, you can qualify for Diamond Medallion Status if you have earned the required MQMs or MQSs and spend at least $250,000 in eligible purchases within that Qualification Year on your Eligible Card.
In other words, if you fly enough on Delta to quality for status but haven’t spent enough on your tickets, you can still qualify for status up to Platinum if you spend $25,000 on the Delta AMEX card. To get a waiver for top-level Diamond status, you now have to spend $250,000 in a year on the card.
The Gold Delta SkyMiles Business card gives many of the perks we like to get from a co-branded card such as priority boarding and free checked bags. I don’t even need to use the card for the tickets to get the benefits, which come in handy if I’m booking an award ticket.
Delta gets grief for their award pricing and the lack of an award chart. I’ve found prices on routes I wanted to book to be fair and they’re still competitive on price when flying from Orlando.
I feel that keeping at least one of the Delta co-brand American Express cards makes sense for us because of the benefits we get when flying on Delta. Even one trip where we would both be checking a single bag will save us $140. However, it’s not a great card to put spending on. It’s easy to earn at least 1.5 to 2 Membership Rewards per dollar on all of your expenditures. Since Delta is a partner with Membership Rewards, it makes more sense to use a card that earns those flexible points and if you need Delta SkyMiles, you can just transfer the points when needed. It will cost you slightly extra since AMEX charges a fee to transfer points to U.S. airlines but that’s a price I’ll gladly pay for the ability to move points to Flying Blue or Virgin Atlantic if they have a Delta flight available with a much lower cost than Delta is offering.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary