American Express airline credit cards have distinguished themselves from the competition for their exemplary service and benefits. If you’re a frequent flier of Delta airlines then you might want to consider two of their best offerings: The Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card and the Delta Airlines Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card. Both offer great air travel rewards but which one is more appropriate for you?
Let’s explore both the benefits and downsides of these two premium offerings from American Express.
American Express Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card
This is a credit card offered by American Express in conjunction with Delta airlines that will enable the user, among other benefits, to earn 2 extra miles for every 2 dollars spent on Delta purchases. This includes all purchases made during the flight as well as upgrades. The user also gets 1 mile per dollar spent on all other purchases.
Purchasing airline tickets through Delta using the Delta American Express Gold card earns one a minimum of 7 miles per dollar that one has spent. The breakdown is as follows: You get 5 miles from you general Skymiles membership and 2 extra miles for making a Delta purchase on your card. You are able to earn up to 13 miles per dollar you spend on flights if you have the Diamond Medallion status. This card is ideal for an individual who will spend about $700 a year on Delta flights and does not desire to upgrade from the general member status to a higher loyalty tier.
The pros of the Delta American Express Gold Card
- There are no Blackout dates on Delta Flights. Most of the other Delta’s alliance transfer partners will have blackout dates. This makes it easier to book flights with miles. The only thing you have to do is to make your booking early. There is a limit to the number of seats per flights that can be awarded. So if you plan to redeem a flight during the peak season, then early booking is recommended.
- Earning a lot of high-value miles. The card has a huge redemption rate which makes it valuable. You can earn 7 miles per dollar spent on Delta flights even with international travels. NerdWallet values Delta miles at 1.9 each more than the competing rewards programs.
- Great sign-up bonuses. If you manage to make purchases of $1000 or more within 3 months of your new card, you earn 30,000 bonus miles. Because Delta’s one-way ticket starts at 10,000 miles, it’s enough to pay for a one way ticket and even more. There are few such bonuses in the market today.
- Miles are for life. Delta airline is the only US airline with miles that do not expire. Unlike other airlines that will tell you your miles have expired after a period of inactivity, Delta airline assures you as long as you are a member holding the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card, what you earned is yours. This is not the only reason to have this card but it is a valuable perk, anytime.
How to get the most out of Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card
The normal use of the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card will definitely earn you enough as it is but you can get a lot more by doing the following:
- Purchase Delta Flights. Make sure that you purchase the Delta flights using the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card. It might look obvious but if you miss to, you will be missing a lot cumulatively.
- Travel on save days whenever possible. Delta offers three type of award traveling days. There is the Saver Award, the Peak Award and the Standard Award days. The peak days are the most expensive while the Saver Awards are the least expensive. The best way to make your miles stretch farther is to make sure that you travel more on Saver days.
- Choose to travel economy class locally and Business class internationally. When it come to domestic travel, NerdWallet values miles redeemed for economy flights at 1 cent for each mile and 0.8 cents for each mile in business class. When it comes to international, travel, NerdWallet will give 1.6 cents for economy while giving 2.6 cents for business class travel. That is the plan to choose if you target more miles. but if you are after saving the money you already have, you may stick to economy class for both local and international travel.
- Redeem your miles using the one way trip method. SkyMiles affords you the ability to redeem the tickets on one way trips. This might in many cases net you more miles than when done on one round trip redeeming.
The Cons of Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card
Just like most things in this world, the Delta American Express Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card has its downside.
- Qualification for the Medallion Status. There are five loyalty levels that range from general membership to the Diamond Medallion status. Each of these levels offers the user additional perks. Even though this card has the word Gold in its name, when you get it, you have to start at the general member status.
- One needs to get a certain number of Medallion qualifying Miles which are measured in distance. One can get the Medallion Qualifying Segments which are measured in arrivals and departures or the Medallion Qualifying Dollars which come from the number of personal dollars spent on Delta Flights. None of these are the same as the regular SkyMiles that are redeemed for free flights.
- Most users will find that with the Delta American Express Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card, they get stuck in the general SkyMiles membership. One needs to spend $3,000 on Delta flights within a year for themselves and earn 30MQSs or 25,000 MQMs.
- Must Fly Often. If you do not fly often and spend at least $700 per year in Delta flights, then the annual membership fees will make this card not worth it.
- No Welcome Bonus for members. If you are already a members there is no welcome bonus for you. The bonus is for those who are new signups only.
Now let’s take a look at the Platinum Offering.
The Delta American Express Platinum Card®
This card offers 1 membership reward point for every dollar spent on anything. The rewards can be redeemed not just for flights but also for merchandise. It has a huge signup bonus at 40,000 points after one spends $3,000 on their new card in less than 3 months. This card comes at an annual fee of $450 and there are no foreign transaction charges. It also has fringe benefits all round.
The Delta American Express Platinum Card® has many benefits that are not exclusively for ultra-rich customers. The benefits are quantifiable and there is no doubt the annual fee pays for itself as long as you use the benefits.
This card gives its holder access to more than 600 airport lounges around the world with its priority pass program. Other programs that make this possible are the Select Delta and Airspace Lounges. It gives the card holder selective access and for the guests, they pay only $27. The actual cost for access is $400 and is therefore worth it for any regular overseas traveler.
The Delta American Express Platinum Card® will rebate the $100 application fee needed for entry into the United States. It does not however guarantee entry as one has to be cleared and pass a background check that assures the security personnel one is not a risk. When you register your favorite airline, you are assured of a refund of $200 per year on incidents like change fees, in-flight meals and baggage fees.
Major Benefits from the Delta American Express Platinum Card®
- No foreign Transaction fees and EMV technology. The Delta American Express Platinum Card® is a great travel asset provided that the user’s destination will accept the American Express Card. The EMV chip affords the user secure transactions both domestically and when abroad.
- Perks for Luxury Travel. This card will afford you the life style of a rock-star by giving you incidental credit, application fee reimbursement for the Global Entry program and access to airline lounges all over the world.
- The Delta American Express Platinum Card® gives you an opportunity to be insured of your baggage at no extra charge. This is likely to happen when travelling and something goes wrong. With this card, you do have to worry. You are already covered.
- No initial Companion Certificate Fee. Most airlines will require that you pay a higher fee for the initial fare before you can a companion certificate. This makes the companion certificate almost lose its meaning. With the Delta American Express Platinum Card®, it is different. It is an authentic certificate that you can use on almost any seat you bought online, through the Delta Airlines Website. This certificate has an amazing perceived value of hundreds of dollars.
The Cons of Delta American Express Platinum Card®
- This card is not meant for every user who wants it. If you travel a lot but are not likely to be able to redeem the benefits, then this card isn’t for you. In this case, The Delta American Express Gold Card® might be a better choice for you. If you are a regular traveler but will not spend time in the airline lounge or apply for the Global Entry, then this card does not apply to you as well. The annual fees are way too high to justify any usage of the Delta American Express Platinum Card® that is not regular.
- The Delta American Express Platinum Card® also has a 2.7% charge on any kind of purchase outside of the USA. This extra charge is therefore only offset if you are a regular international traveler. That way, you are therefore able to enjoy those extra perks that come with it.
- When compared to most other cards, this card has a higher Annual percentage rate. This is basically set to encourage regular and high spending clients to sign up for it but discourage the one time spenders or the average spender from applying for it. It is basically designed to be expensive to have it without using it. The Delta American Express Platinum Card® is very affordable if one is a regular international traveler and spends a lot when they travel.
- The Delta American Express Platinum Card® has a huge signup bonus and great perks but after that the continual reward structure is comparatively low. This means that one may opt to go for the Delta American Express Gold Card® instead. This card has huge annual fee that are only offset if you spend a lot on international travel and are able to enjoy the perks that come with the huge fees. Both cards offer not to charge any interest rate if one pays their amounts in full each month.
Which card to go for
Between the Delta American Express Platinum Card® and the Delta American Express Gold Card®, the latter is best suited to those individuals who have no problem spending and seeing the benefits that come from the sheer dollars spent as a “thank you for spending”. Also, if you like getting the extra bells and whistles, go for the Platinum. Remember both cards aren’t meant for the general card user. They only target to reward the user who spends heavily each and every time they use it. Both are great choices. One just has more perks than the other but the perks often far outweigh the annual fees.
You can apply for these cards at their AMEX’s official website.