Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card review: Potential value for everyday spending

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In a Nutshell

The Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card offers potential value for Delta Air Lines loyalists, but you might have to use it as your primary credit card to earn it. If you want better perks, it might be best to look elsewhere.

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Pros Cons
Annual fee waived the first year Ongoing annual fee might make sense only if you use it as a primary card
Bonus miles on Delta purchases at supermarkets in the U.S. and restaurants worldwide No companion fare offer or complimentary lounge access
Strong welcome bonus Current welcome bonus is only available for a limited time

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5 things to know about the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

The rewards program is geared toward everyday use

The Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card encourages you to use it as the main card in your wallet by offering bonus rewards in several everyday spending categories.

With this card, you’ll earn two miles for every $1 you spend on eligible purchases made directly with Delta, and two miles for every $1 you spend on purchases at supermarkets in the U.S. and restaurants worldwide. You’ll also earn one mile per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases.

Plus, this card offers the potential to earn a $100 Delta flight credit every calendar year you make at least $10,000 in eligible purchases. That credit can be used toward a Delta flight purchase, and it’s worth enough to offset the card’s annual fee ($0 intro, $99 after first year).

That’s nice potential value, but you might need to make the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card your primary credit card in order to take advantage of that credit. And although restaurant and supermarket purchases may be common credit card expenses for many households, it may still be difficult for many people to reach that $10,000 threshold without consistent spending.

The welcome bonus is strong (for a limited time)

The current welcome bonus from the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card is strong, but the offer expires on April 1, 2020.

If you apply by that date, you’ll earn 60,000 bonus miles after spending $2,000 on purchases during the first 3 months following account opening. And after your first anniversary of card membership, you’ll earn an additional 10,000 bonus miles.

Credit Karma’s point valuations estimate Delta SkyMiles® are worth approximately 1.32 cents each. This makes the welcome bonus worth about $924 when you redeem for qualifying flights if you earn all 70,000 bonus miles.

That’s a good value for a welcome bonus, especially at the $2,000 spending requirement. But keep in mind that it won’t be around forever.

The airline perks are just OK

If you’re a frequent flyer, you’ll appreciate that the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card includes airport benefits like priority boarding and a free checked bag for you and up to eight guests traveling on the same reservation. Delta typically charges $30 to check the first bag under 50 pounds.

These perks can make your trip more comfortable, but not everyone will get the same value from them. Ultimately, it depends on how you like to travel.

A few key perks are missing

The Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card is missing a handful of perks that you might be able to find from other travel cards.

  • No complimentary lounge access — You’ll be charged a “discounted rate” of $29 to enter a Delta Sky Club lounge. By contrast, the United℠ Explorer Card
    features two United Club passes each year after your account anniversary.
  • Limited in-flight discounts — The Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card offers 20% off in-flight food and beverage purchases on Delta flights, but the discount doesn’t extend to onboard Wi-Fi purchases.
  • No companion fare — Some airline credit cards offer a discounted (or complimentary) companion fare with the sign-up bonus, or even as an annual bonus. But this card has no such offer. 

It’s not the most convenient card to take overseas

The Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card charges no foreign transaction fees. If you travel internationally on a regular basis, this feature could help you save money.

But you can only take advantage if you’re able to use the card in the first place. While availability may differ from location to location, it’s generally thought that American Express credit cards aren’t accepted as widely internationally as cards issued by Visa and Mastercard. So it’s probably worth doing some research on your destination before you bring this card, unless you have another card in your wallet that also doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees.

Is Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card worth it?

There are numerous purchase categories that will earn you extra miles. So as long as you make enough purchases within those categories you might be able to offset the annual fee for the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card. But you might need to use it as your primary credit card to work toward that $10,000 spend threshold for the Delta flight credit.

The bonus miles on restaurant and U.S. supermarket purchases are nice, and those might be the biggest credit card expenses for many consumers. But the annual $100 Delta flight credit can be earned only by spending at least $10,000 on eligible purchases in a calendar year.

In short, there’s no guarantee you’ll be able to maximize your value from those features if you’re not using this card on a regular basis. And if you don’t make this your primary card, you might have to earn your value from the welcome bonus and airline perks like priority boarding. For many people, that math just won’t add up.

Not sure this card is right for you? Consider these alternatives.

If you don’t like the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, check out a few other travel cards that might have flown under your radar.