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Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express – Review

By Christina Majaski

Reviewed by:
Rating:
4.5
On September 16, 2014
Last modified:November 20, 2014

delta skymiles gold american expressThe Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express (a Money Crashers partner) provides an opportunity to earn and redeem miles on Delta Airlines. Of the three Delta credit cards available, the Gold Delta SkyMiles charges the lowest annual fee – and it’s waived the first year. That, plus the sign-up bonus and a few attractive flight benefits, make it a great option if you’re a regular Delta customer and want to earn SkyMiles for use on future flights.

Key Features

  • Sign-up Bonus. The Gold Delta SkyMiles card awards 30,000 bonus miles after you make $1,000 in purchases within the first three months of opening your account. In addition, you receive a statement credit of $50 after making a Delta purchase, also in your first three months of cardmembership. Your bonus miles are enough for two economy class Saver flights or one round-trip Saver flight.
  • Fees. The annual fee of $95 is waived the first year. Balance transfers are $5 or 3%, whichever is greater. There is no foreign transaction fee.
  • APR. The APR for purchases and balance transfers, based on your creditworthiness, is 15.24%, 17.24%, or 19.24%, varying with the prime rate. Balance transfers must be requested within the first 30 days of opening your account.
  • Rewards Program. The Gold Delta SkyMiles card awards 2 SkyMiles per dollar spent with Delta, Delta Connection, Delta Vacations, and Delta Shuttle, and 1 SkyMile per dollar spent on all other purchases. You are able to earn an unlimited number of SkyMiles, and they do not expire.
  • Redeeming Rewards. SkyMiles can be redeemed for flights, upgrades (from Economy Class to BusinessElite, for example), and shopping through SkyMiles Marketplace. Domestic, economy class Saver flights are available for as few as 12,500 miles with no blackout dates on Delta flights, and upgrades start at 5,000 SkyMiles.
  • Free Checked Bag. Your first checked bag is free with Delta Airlines. A maximum of nine fee waivers are available for passengers on the same reservation.
  • Delta Flight Benefits. As a cardmember, you receive Zone 1 Priority Boarding on Delta flights as well as a reduced rate for yourself and two companions to Delta Sky Clubs. Currently $25 per person, this rate is half the normal cost of a one-day pass. In-flight purchases of food, alcoholic beverages, movies, and video games also receive a 20% discount which appears as a statement credit when purchased on your card.

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Advantages

  1. Sign-up Bonus. The sign-up bonus can be worth up to two one-way Saver flights with Delta. SkyMiles have a value of approximately one cent each, giving your bonus a cash value of $300 – a generous amount, awarded if you spend $1,000 within your first three months of cardmembership. If you fly Delta within those first three months you also receive a statement credit which boosts the bonus to a value of $350. The annual fee for the Gold Delta SkyMiles Card is waived the first year.
  2. Free Checked Bags. The first checked bag normally costs $50 per round-trip flight. You (and up to nine people traveling with you) can receive a waiver for this fee. For example, if your two children and spouse travel with you and you each check one bag, your savings would be $200.
  3. Travel Benefits. The travel benefits provided by the Gold Delta SkyMiles credit card, such as priority boarding, airport lounge discount, and discounted in-flight purchases, are not provided by every airline card.
  4. No Foreign Transaction Fee. There is no foreign transaction fee with the Gold Delta SkyMiles Card. Foreign transaction fees can be as high as 3%, making this card a great option if you travel abroad frequently.

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Disadvantages

  1. Annual Fee. Although the annual fee is waived the first year, it is still fairly high considering the benefits you receive in exchange for it. In comparison, the Capital One Venture charges a $59 annual fee, and the American Express JetBlue card charges $40. The Chase Sapphire Preferred is similar to the SkyMiles card at $95, but it also rewards general travel purchases, and the sign-up bonus alone is worth approximately $540.
  2. No Medallion Qualification Bonuses. The Delta SkyMiles program features elite statuses, referred to as Medallion statuses, which provide additional travel benefits when flying with Delta – these include Medallion mileage bonuses and unlimited seat upgrades. As a holder of the Gold Delta SkyMiles card, you are eligible to earn Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs), but you do not get the MQM sign-up bonus or the annual spending-based MQM bonus that you receive with the Platinum Delta SkyMiles or Delta Reserve cards. For example, the Platinum Delta Card awards an annual bonus of 10,000 MQMs and 10,000 miles if you spend $25,000 within a calendar year. The lowest tier, Silver, requires 25,000 MQMs, so this bonus could come in handy if you are trying to reach your next Medallion status.
  3. No Annual Miles Bonuses. The Gold Delta SkyMiles Card does not award an anniversary bonus. However, the Platinum Delta SkyMiles card awards a complimentary companion certificate when you renew your card, and a mileage and MQM bonus if you spend at least $25,000 within a calendar year.

Final Word

The American Express Gold Delta SkyMiles is a great card for Delta fans. If you’re a frequent flyer, or if you can take advantage of the multiple fee waivers and lounge access discounts by traveling with companions, you may be able to make up for its annual fee, with the help of the sign-up bonus. The lack of a foreign transaction fee also makes it a great option for Delta flyers who travel outside of the United States.

If you spend at least $25,000 per year and are interested in reaching Medallion statuses or anniversary bonuses, such as the companion certificate and mileage bonus, it may be worth considering the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Card instead, which awards an annual bonus of MQMs.

Verdict

The Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express provides a number of airline benefits that are often reserved for airline cards with higher annual fees.

Score

4.3 out of 5 stars: The Gold Delta SkyMiles provides flight benefits and a rewards program suitable for those who spend enough to earn miles for at least one award flight, covering the annual fee.

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Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Christina Majaski
Christina Majaski has written for online and print publications since 2003 on topics related to personal finance, legal matters, parenting, and careers. She lives in the Minnesota tundra, where in her free time she enjoys reading, writing, interacting via social media, and hanging out with her daughter.

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  • Cgonzalez71

    This card is my first miles credit card. The American Express agents at the airport lie to me telling me that I get credit miles for my past trips within 9 months. THEY JUST WANT YOUR BUSINESS AND THEY LIE TO GET TO APPLY FOR IT at the moment. Detal doesn’t give you credit for previous trips. BECAREFUL WITH AGENTS LIKE THAT! They should improve they customer tactics.

  • FLA

    Beware – you might not receive the “bonus” miles (make sure to read all the documents) and your baggage won’t be covered by the card if damaged. It seems they specialize in scams!

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