An Analysis of the Gold Delta SkyMiles credit card

Last updated: 7/2/2015

UpdateThese offers are no longer available.

American Express offers three different Delta branded credit cards:

  • Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card ($0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95 per year)
  • Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card ($195 annual fee as of May 1 2014)
  • Delta Reserve Credit Card from American Express ($450 annual fee)

I previously reviewed the Reserve card here, and the Platinum card here.  Both, in my opinion, are excellent cards for regular Delta flyers who can make use of the perks offered by those cards (companion tickets, MQMs with high spend, etc.).  In this post, I’ll review the least expensive of the options: the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card.

What you get for the annual fee (just the highlights):

Signup Bonus

The specific signup bonus offer described below has ended, but you can always check for the current best offers here.

The public signup offer (no longer available) is 30,000 bonus miles after you make $1000 in purchases within the first 3 months, and a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase within the first three months.  Lately I’ve heard from several readers who have received larger targeted offers of 50,000 bonus miles which would obviously be much better.  If we conservatively value SkyMiles at 1 cent each, then the current signup bonus is worth $350 for the public offer, and $550 for the targeted offer.

Priority Boarding and Free Checked Bag

If you have elite status with Delta, these benefits won’t matter to you.  Otherwise, this is a pretty good perk.  Priority boarding will allow you to get on the plane and find overhead bin space for your carry-ons before the bins fill up.  The value of a free checked bag should be obvious.  If you don’t have elite status, I would estimate the value of this perk to be about $75 per year.

Total estimated benefits first year:

  • $350 for elites (Bonus miles + statement credit); or $550 with targeted offer (NOTE: the specific offers referenced here have expired. Check for new offers)
  • $425 for non-elites (Bonus miles + statement credit + Priority Boarding & Free Checked Bag); or $625 with targeted offer (NOTE: the specific offers referenced here have expired. Check for new offers)

Total estimated benefits ongoing years:

  • $0 for elites
  • $75 for non-elites (Priority Boarding & Free Checked Bag)

Benefits from spend

This card offers 2 miles per dollar for Delta purchases and 1 mile per dollar everywhere else.  Unlike the Platinum and Reserve Delta cards, there is no bonus for high spend.  Overall, in my opinion, you would do much better putting your daily spend on cards that offer better returns.  For example, please see “Amex’s powerful new EveryDay cards.”

My Take

This is a fine card for its first year bonus, especially since there’s no annual fee the first year.  After the first year, though, those who fly Delta often will probably get more value from the Delta Platinum or Reserve card.  If you do not fly Delta often, consider cards with points transferrable to airlines (e.g. Amex EveryDay, Chase Sapphire Preferred, Amex SPG, etc.), or those in which points can be used to pay for travel (e.g. Barclays Arrival, US Bank FlexPerks, etc.), or even cash back cards (Fidelity Investment Rewards, Discover It, Chase Freedom, etc.).

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

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Comments

  1. Damn FM is what it takes to get featured on Boarding Area a credit card promo……..that is just Gary wrong……………so weak and limpness……….don’t drink the kool aid as the best blog is something one has to search for………………..

    • Is this the first time you’ve seen my posts in the big box at the top of Boarding Area? If so, that’s simply a timing issue. My posts always start there right after they are published, but then move down as other featured bloggers publish new posts. This was not a credit card promo. I don’t get paid for Amex sign ups anymore nor did I particularly recommend this card for most people.

  2. You missed what I consider to be one of the biggest benefits of holding the card, especially after the first year. If you have this card, then you may pay with Miles at a value of one penny each.

    This can be a great benefit!

    For example, if I see a round-trip ticket on Delta that prices out at $200, I can redeem just 20,000 miles to get it for free. No availability issues, etc.

  3. Concerning the Gold Delta Skymiles card, is this a one-time per lifetime thing? If I cancel the card at some future point can I reapply down the road and get the signup bonuses?

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