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 portfolio. These cards have an annual fee and 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 to sign up for this card, or any of the Delta American Express 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.
What benefits does this card provide upon signing up, and does it make sense to keep it in 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 or previous versions of 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.
Currently, you can earn 40,000 bonus miles after spending $2,000 in purchases on your new card in your first 3 months of card membership.
I’d suggest keeping any card you get from American Express for at least 2 years (or more if you think the benefits outweigh the annual fee). There’s too much risk with American Express increasingly cracking down on those they feel are abusing the system by canceling a card shortly after the signup bonus is awarded.
Spending Bonus Categories
The Gold Delta SkyMiles Business card earns 2X points on the following purchases:
- On every dollar spent on eligible purchases made directly with Delta
- On every dollar spent on U.S. purchases for advertising in select media
- On every dollar spent on eligible U.S. Shipping purchases
- On every dollar spent on dining at restaurants.
The card earns one point per dollar for all other types of spending.
$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.
No Foreign Transaction Fees
As you would hope a card you can use on Delta flights worldwide would, the Gold Delta SkyMiles Business card does not charge any foreign transaction fees.
The primary cardmember and 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.
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 $30, this benefit alone can save more than the cost of the annual fee on a single round trip for 2 people.
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.
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!
The Gold Delta SkyMiles Business card gives many 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. Don’t forget that Delta now offers lower award prices for inexpensive tickets, like 6,500 miles for a NY-Florida one-way trip.
Keeping at least one Delta co-brand American Express card makes sense for us because of the benefits we get when flying on Delta. We can save $120 on one trip where we would both be checking a bag. 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 with the Everyday Preferred or the Blue Business Plus. Since Delta is a Membership Rewards partner, it makes sense to use a card that earns flexible points. If you need Delta SkyMiles, you can just transfer the points when required. It will cost you 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