Which Delta SkyMiles Credit Card is Best?

Delta Airlines offers four different American Express credit cards that let you earn SkyMiles frequent flyer miles as well as other perks. Which one of these Delta credit cards is best for you? Here’s our take:

No Annual Fee Card Option:

The Blue Delta SkyMiles Card is a card that lets you earn Delta SkyMiles without paying an annual fee. It skimps on certain perks that the paid cards offer, but it definitely has its attractions. First of all, it actually gives you a more attractive formula for earning SkyMiles: you get 2 SkyMiles per dollar on restaurant purchases with the card, 2 miles per dollar on Delta purchases, and 1 mile per dollar on everything else. (The Delta cards with an annual fee do NOT give the 2 miles per dollar on restaurant purchases, which is interesting.) You’ll also get 20% off your Delta in-flight purchases made with the card.

However, the Blue Delta SkyMiles card does not offer certain perks that frequent travelers LOVE. With this card, you will NOT get your first bag checked for free and you will NOT get priority boarding. For the occasional traveler, maybe no big deal. For the frequent traveler, that could be a dealbreaker.

Potential sign-up bonus for this card:

  • 10,000 bonus miles if you make at least $500 in purchases with the card in the first three months.

This card is best if: You don’t travel often, want miles from a major frequent flyer program, and don’t care much about extra travel perks that frequent travelers desire.

Delta Card Options with Annual Fee

The other three Delta credit cards have an annual fee and have the same basic miles formula: you earn 2 SkyMiles per dollar on Delta purchases made with the card and 1 SkyMile per dollar on all other purchases. (As mentioned, you don’t get the 2 miles per dollar on restaurant purchases with these paid cards.)

In order to decide which card is best for you, you need to understand:

  • How much you think you’ll spend with the card
  • The annual fee of each card
  • The bonuses you can earn when you are approved for the card
  • Other perks geared to frequent travelers

In short, the more you spend with your card, the more it makes sense to pay a higher annual fee for additional perks. That said, let’s begin by looking at each card individually

Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card  – No annual fee the first year you have it, then a $95 annual fee every year after that. The following perks are offered for this card as well as the two subsequent cards we’ll profile:

  • First bag checked free
  • Priority boarding
  • No foreign transaction fees on purchases outside the U.S.
  • 20% off most in-flight purchases (in the form of a statement credit)
  • Discounted Delta Sky Club access for you and up to 2 guests
  • Qualify for Medallion Dollar Limit waiver if $25,000 or more charged to the card
  • Pay with Miles feature lets you redeem miles for part of a ticket if you don’t have enough for full seat award

Potential sign-up bonuses for this card:

  • 50,000 bonus miles if you make at least $2000 in purchases with the card in the first three months.
  • $50 statement credit if you make a Delta purchase with the card in the first three months

This card is best if: You travel on Delta often and want the basic perks a frequent traveler would enjoy, in particular priority boarding, free checked bag, and Sky Club access.


The Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card has a $195 annual fee and gives you everything listed above for the Gold card, but also offers:

  • Companion Certificate: Get a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of the card.

You also have the opportunity at better bonuses:

  • Miles Boost Opportunity: Earn 10,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 or more in eligible purchases on your Card in a calendar year.
  • Sign-Up Bonus Opportunity: 10,000 MQMs and 70,000 bonus miles if you spend at least $3,000 with the card in your first 3 months.
  • Sign-Up Bonus Opportunity: $100 statement credit if you make a Delta purchase with the card in the first 3 months

This card is best if: You travel on Delta often and upgrades/extras are important to you. This card’s annual fee is $100 more than the Gold Delta SkyMiles Card, but the extras you get could be more than worth that extra cost — if you spend enough to earn them and you’re sure you’ll use them.

 

The Delta Reserve Credit Card comes with a much bigger annual fee of $450. It gives you everything the Platinum Card gives you (except the sign-up bonus for making a Delta purchase in the first 3 months), and includes these extras:

  • Free Delta Sky Club Access (The previous two cards offer discounted access, not free. Note that two others traveling with you can gain access at a discounted rate.)
  • Bigger Miles Boost Opportunity: Earn 15,000 bonus miles and 15,000 MQMs after you spend $30,000 or more in eligible purchases on your Card in a calendar year.
  • Sign-Up Bonus Opportunity: Earn 40,000 bonus miles and 10,000 MQMs after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Upgrade Priority: Over other Medallion members within the same Medallion level and fare class.
  • Sky Priority Lanes: For earlier, faster boarding. (Not available in all airports)
  • Concierge Services: On-call services for various life needs, attractive to especially busy travelers.

This card is best if: You fly Delta extremely often and want every opportunity for perks and upgrades.

 

Which Delta credit card is best?

As you can see, each of these cards targets a different Delta customer. The card most likely to satisfy a regular Delta flyer who isn’t trying to maximize every perk would probably be the Gold Delta SkyMiles Card, because it offers those nice-to-have perks that make travel easier (priority boarding, first bag checked free) without an extreme annual fee. But a case could be made for each of the other cards based on your travel frequency and card spending habits.