Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card vs. Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card: Do rewards outweigh fees?

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In a Nutshell

The Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card and Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card both allow you to earn rewards for purchases and for miles flown. To decide which card is the best fit for you, you’ll have to determine which rewards you value the most.

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Most major airlines offer mileage cards, but Delta SkyMiles® credit cards are a bit different from their counterparts.

Although the majority of the cards’ perks are familiar, such as priority boarding and first checked bag free, the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card and the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card stand out from the crowd because they let you accrue two kinds of miles: traditional miles and Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs).

In order to properly take advantage of all the perks available, it’s important to understand the distinction between miles and MQMs, and know how they are both earned.

When comparing these cards, you’ll notice that many of the perks are the same, which can make it challenging to choose between the two. To make the best choice, you’ll want to pay special attention to how the annual fees weigh against the awards you’re likely to earn.

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At a glance: Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card vs. Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Welcome offer

 

 

Earn 60,000 bonus miles after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Plus, you’ll earn an additional 10,000 bonus miles after your first cardmember anniversary. Earn 80,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months. Plus, you’ll earn an additional 20,000 bonus miles after your first cardmember anniversary.
Annual fee $0 intro, $99 after first year $250
Variable APR for purchases and balance transfers 17.24% - 26.24% 17.24% - 26.24%
Other perks Spend $10,000 in purchases on your card in a calendar year and receive a $100 Delta flight credit

Companion certificate for one domestic round trip

Spend $25,000 per year to get 10,000 MQMs

Spend $50,000 per year to get another 10,000 MQMs

Miles earned

2 per $1 spent on Delta purchases, at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets

1 per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases

3 per $1 spent on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels

2 per $1 spent on purchases at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets

1 per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases


  1. Best welcome offer
  2. Best for annual fee
  3. Best for rewards points and benefits
  4. Heads up: What to consider when applying for a Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card
  5. Bottom line: Which card is right for you?
  6. At a glance: Other travel rewards cards to consider

Best welcome offer

Looking for the card that will earn you with the most travel rewards? You’re not alone. According to a 2017 U.S. News survey, free flights are the reason for 43% of airline credit card applications.

Both of these SkyMiles credit cards offer bonus miles. But exactly how far will the bonus miles take you?

SkyMiles members can redeem miles for Award Travel. One-way domestic selected flights in the continental U.S., as well as selected flights to Canada and Alaska, can be purchased starting at 10,000 miles, plus taxes and fees. While there may be some variation, that means you could potentially earn several of these one-way flights after opening either SkyMiles credit card and meeting the welcome offer spending requirements.

You can also use miles to pay for or reduce the price of your international flights at a rate of $50 for every 5,000 miles.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card cardholders get a slightly better incentive to sign up, as well as the option to earn more perks based on spending. When you make $25,000 in annual purchases with your Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card, you’ll earn 10,000 MQMs. When you make $50,000 in annual purchases with your card, you’ll earn an additional 10,000 MQMs.

Best for annual fee

Be sure not to overlook the fees involved. The $250 annual fee for the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card could be used elsewhere to buy you a low-cost, round-trip flight once a year. Unless you’re aiming to achieve Medallion status, you probably won’t see the payoff for this fee.

The Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card offers a more attractive alternative. Although you’ll pay a $0 intro, $99 after first year annual fee, the benefits probably outweigh the cost.

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Best for rewards points and benefits

While additional perks are awarded to Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card cardholders who spend at least $25,000 a year, you’ll have to do more than just spend to see real benefits. The 10,000 MQMs you’ll earn after spending $25,000 still brings you 15,000 MQMs short of reaching the first Medallion status tier.

How many miles in flight would it take to earn those 10,000 MQMs and obtain Silver status? It varies. MQMs are awarded based on the distance flown and class fare you fly. You’ll also need to earn the required MQDs.

Heads up: What to consider when applying for a Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card

Make sure you shop around for the best deal. American Express, which co-brands the SkyMiles credit cards with Delta, changes its welcome offers frequently, so if you apply at the right time you could be rewarded with a lot more miles and MQMs.

You’ll also want to do a little prep work before you apply. If you’re interested in obtaining elite status, make sure your current spending and flying habits roughly match what will be required to receive your desired SkyMiles benefits.


Bottom line: Which card is right for you?

When it comes to the Delta SkyMiles credit cards, many of the perks are identical. The choice between the two comes down to which rewards matter most.

For those looking for Delta SkyMiles perks, bear in mind that these are not the only two credit cards you can use to accrue Delta SkyMiles. Delta also offers the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card for those willing to pay a more substantial annual fee in exchange for access to additional perks. SkyMiles business cards are available as well.

You can also earn Membership Rewards points with other American Express cards and transfer those rewards points to Delta SkyMiles for a small fee.