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):
The specific signup bonus offer described below has ended, but you can always check for the current best offers here.
The public signup offer in the past has been for 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. Better offers come and go. If we conservatively value SkyMiles at 1 cent each, then the current signup bonus is worth $350 for the public 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) (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) (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.”
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.).