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

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In a Nutshell

The Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express and Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express 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 Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express and the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express 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: Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express vs. Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

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

Welcome Offer

 

 

Earn both 30,000 bonus miles after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months and a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new card within your first 3 months Earn 35,000 bonus miles and 5,000 MQMs after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months and a $100 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new card within your first 3 months
Annual Fee $0 fee for the first year; $95 a year after that. $195 per year
Variable APR for purchases and balance transfers 16.74 to 25.74% 16.74 to 25.74%
Other Perks Make at least $25,000 in purchases and your Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs) requirement for Medallion status will be waived for the year

Make at least $25,000 in purchases and your Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs) requirement for Medallion status will be waived for the year

Companion certificate for one domestic round trip

Spend $25,000 per year to get 10,000 bonus miles and 10,000 MQMs

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

Miles Earned

1 per dollar spent on non-Delta purchases

2 per dollar spent on Delta purchases

1 per dollar spent on non-Delta purchases

2 per dollar spent on Delta 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 Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express
  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 percent of airline credit card applications.

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

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 five or more of these one-way flights just for opening either SkyMiles® credit card.

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 five or more of these one-way flights after opening either SkyMiles® credit card and meeting the spending requirements within the first three months.

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.

Platinum 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 Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card, you’ll earn an additional 10,000 bonus miles and MQMs.

Best for annual fee

Be sure not to overlook the fees involved. The $195 you’ll pay in annual fees for the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express 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 these fees.

The Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express offers a more attractive alternative. Although you’ll pay a $95 fee each year after a $0 intro fee the first year, the benefits probably outweigh the cost.

Best for rewards points and benefits

Both of these cards earn the same number of miles based on purchases. While additional perks are awarded to Platinum card holders who spend at least $25,000 a year, you’ll have to do more than just spend to see real benefits. The bonus miles and MQMs you’ll earn after spending $25,000, along with your MQMs from the welcome offer, still bring you 10,000 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, and earned at either 50% or 100% of fare, depending on fare class. 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.

Another detail you’ll want to consider is that in order to cash in on the welcome offer, this must be your first time opening up the card for which you are applying. If you already have a Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card but want to learn about other travel rewards options, look below to see a breakdown of some additional travel credit cards.


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 Reserve® Credit Card from American Express 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® on a 1:1 basis for a small fee.


At a glance: Other travel rewards cards to consider

Delta Reserve Credit Card

Spend $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months to earn 40,000 bonus miles and 10,000 MQMs

 

$450 annual fee

 

Complimentary Delta Sky Club® Access

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express

Spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months to earn 30,000 bonus miles.

 

Make a Delta purchase within the first 3 months to earn a $50 statement credit

 

$0 annual fee the first year; $95 after that

Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express

Spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months to earn 35,000 bonus miles and 5,000 MQMs

 

Make a Delta purchase within the first 3 months to earn a $100 statement credit

 

$195 annual fee

 

The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express

Spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months to earn 10,000 Membership Rewards® points

 

No annual fee

Platinum Card® from American Express

Spend $5,000 in purchases in the first 3 months to earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points

 

$550 annual fee

 

Up to $15 in monthly credits toward Uber rides in the U.S., plus a $20 bonus in December

 

**Rewards mentioned in table are not exhaustive.


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