Delta offers several co-brand credit cards through its 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 personal 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 it 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?
$99 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:
Welcome offer not available to applicants who have or have had this card. 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 60,000-mile bonus once you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening, plus an additional 10,000 Bonus Miles after the first anniversary of card membership.
That’s as high as a public offer that’s been available, while some targeted offers have gone up to 75,000 miles. I’m still comfortable with saying this is a strong offer for the card.
Spending Bonus Categories
The Gold Delta SkyMiles 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 two points per dollar for purchases at US supermarkets and restaurants worldwide. You’ll earn one point 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 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 Atlantic Flying Club Silver members
- Virgin Australia Velocity Silver members
- GOL Smiles Gold members
- SkyTeam 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.
$100 Delta Flight Credit
If you spend $10,000 on the Delta SkyMiles Gold Card in a calendar year, you’ll receive a $100 Delta Flight Credit.
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 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. To receive the savings, you must use the Delta SkyMiles Card to complete the in-flight purchase
The Delta SkyMiles Gold 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 comes in handy if I’m booking an award ticket.
Delta rightfully gets grief for their award pricing and the lack of an award chart. While some prices for awards are amazingly overpriced, I’ve also found fares on routes I wanted to book to be reasonable.
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. It’s not the best card for everyday spending, but if you’ll spend over $10,000 in a year, the $100 flight credit is equivalent to a 1% rebate. That’s on top of the miles you’ll earn.
I still say that 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