Home Credit Cards Credit Card Review: Gold Delta SkyMiles American Express Card

Credit Card Review: Gold Delta SkyMiles American Express Card

by joeheg

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 worthwhile 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 personal or 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.

What benefits does this card provide upon signing up and does it make sense to keep this card for the long run?

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

Annual Fee

$99 per year (fee waived for the first year)

Sign Up Benefits

The link we have for this card currently has a 65,000-mile bonus once you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first six months from account opening.

This card is subject to AMEX’s one sign-up bonus per lifetime rule. To read more about that, check out this post from Doctor of Credit. AMEX also has added these stipulations to cut down on card churners.

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.

 

If we in our sole discretion determine that you have engaged in abuse, misuse, or gaming in connection with this offer in any way or that you intend to do so (for example, if you applied for one or more cards to obtain an offer(s) that we did not intend for you; if you cancel or downgrade your account within 12 months after acquiring it; or if you cancel or return purchases you made to meet the Threshold Amount), we may not credit, we may freeze, or we may take away the bonus miles from your account. We may also cancel this Card account and other Card accounts you may have with us.

 

Bonus Categories

The Delta SkyMiles Gold card earns 2X points on Delta purchases, such as purchases via delta.com, the Fly Delta app, phone reservations, or ticket counters, such as upgrades, miles, seat selection, Delta Sky Club membership, and in-flight purchases of food, alcoholic beverages and audio headsets on Delta-operated flights

The card also 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 you can use on Delta flights worldwide would, the Gold Delta SkyMiles card does not charge any foreign transaction fees.

Priority Boarding

The primary cardmember and eight 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
  • Gold, Platinum and Reserve Delta SkyMiles credit card members
  • Flying Blue Silver members
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Silver members
  • SkyTeam Elite
  • SkyMiles Select members
  • LATAM Pass Gold+ Elite
  • WestJet Rewards Silver 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 recently did for the second time), 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 eight 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.

Your first checked bag on Delta costs $30 so this benefit alone can save you more than the cost of the annual fee on a 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 help. 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!

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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.

Final Thoughts

The Delta SkyMiles Gold card gives many of the perks we want to get from an airline co-brand card, such as priority boarding and free checked bags. You don’t even need to use the card to purchase the tickets to get the benefits, which comes in handy if I’m booking an award ticket.

Delta rightfully gets grief for its award pricing and the lack of an award chart. While some award prices for awards are hyperinflated, I’ve also flights I needed for a reasonable number of miles.

Keeping at least one Delta co-brand American Express card makes sense because of the benefits we get when flying on Delta. All we need is one trip where we’d both be checking a bag to save $120. I’m not using the card for everyday spending, but if you put over $10,000 on it in a year, the $100 flight credit is equivalent to a 1% rebate. That’s on top of the miles you’ll earn.

There’s an argument against earning Delta SkyMiles with the card since Delta is a partner with Membership Rewards. IMHO, it makes more sense to use a card that earns flexible points. If you need Delta SkyMiles, you can just transfer the Membership Rewards points instantly to Delta when needed. It will cost you slightly extra since AMEX charges a fee to transfer points to U.S. airlines. 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 at a much lower cost than Delta is offering.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

2 comments

Jeff W. October 28, 2019 - 10:29 am

I wish I had seen this before I signed up for a Delta Gold card recently or I would have done it through you and you could have received the credit. Anyway, I mainly signed up because it will let my wife and me get access to Delta’s SkyClub for $29 each during a 2:12 layover in Atlanta in a few months. Yes, I know that perk will no longer be available starting in 2020. OK, so $58 for the two of us BUT if I use my new Delta Gold card to pay for it I will get a $50 statement credit. Thus, it will only cost each of us $4 to get access. Pretty sweet deal, I think. After 11 months, I will decide if I want to keep the card or cancel it and avoid the annual fee. We fly maybe once every few years, so we are definitely not considered frequent flyers.

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JohnB October 20, 2022 - 2:22 pm

Use your Amex Platinum to pay for the tickets, while your Amex Gold CC gives you the free bags. Use the SkyClub courtesy of Amex Platinum. Win, win!

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