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Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express – Review

By Christina Majaski

delta skymiles platinum card american expressDelta Airlines is one of the most popular airlines in the United States and has been ranked the largest airline in the world, with flights serving more than 300 destinations in 64 countries. American Express offers various credit cards that award Delta SkyMiles and provide flight benefits and perks, convenient for various levels of use.

The Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express (a Money Crashers partner) falls in between the Gold Delta SkyMiles and Delta Reserve cards, providing an option for Delta fans who fly more frequently than Gold Delta SkyMiles cardholders, yet not quite as much as Delta Reserve cardholders.

Key Features

  • Sign-up Bonus. You receive a bonus of 10,000 SkyMiles after making your first purchase on the card within the first 12 months of signing up.
  • Fees. The annual fee for the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Card is $195. The balance transfer fee is $5 or 3%, whichever is greater. There is no foreign transaction fee.
  • APR. The APR for purchases and balance transfers requested within the first 30 days of opening the account is 15.24%, 17.24%, or 19.24%, depending on your credit worthiness and variations in the prime rate.
  • Rewards Program. You earn 2 SkyMiles for each dollar spent on Delta purchases, and 1 SkyMile for each dollar spent on all other purchases. You can earn an unlimited number of SkyMiles, which do not expire.
  • Redemption of Rewards. SkyMiles can be redeemed for Delta flights starting as low as 12,500 SkyMiles for a one-way domestic Saver flight. 5,000 SkyMiles can be redeemed for class upgrades, or for merchandise (such as electronics and office equipment) in the SkyMiles Marketplace. You can also make donations with SkyWish charities such as American Cancer Society and American Red Cross for as few as 1,000 SkyMiles, which can be used for emergency domestic award flights.
  • Free Checked Bag. As a cardholder, your first checked bag when flying Delta is free. This is valued at up to $50 per person on a round-trip flight. The fee waiver also applies to companions on the same reservation, up to a maximum of nine waivers.
  • Companion Certificate. Each year you renew your card you receive a companion certificate good for a domestic economy class flight for a companion, subject to government taxes and fees ranging from $28.20 to $69.20.
  • Priority Boarding. As a cardholder, you are eligible for Zone 1 Priority Boarding when flying with Delta Airlines, which allows you to board the plane before other passengers.
  • Delta Sky Clubs. You and up to two companions can visit any Sky Club airport lounge for a reduced fee of $29 each when flying with Delta. Delta Sky Clubs include amenities such as complimentary snacks and beverages, Wi-Fi, and personalized flight assistance. The regular price is $45 for a one-day pass, or $450 per year for an individual membership.
  • Medallion Statuses. You are able to earn Medallion Statuses of Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond with Delta’s SkyMiles Medallion program. These statuses provide additional flight benefits with each tier based on Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) or Medallion Qualification Segments (MQSs), and Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs). MQMs are based on the distance flown at one MQM per mile, while MQSs are based on segments at one MQS per segment flown. MQDs are a new addition to the Medallion Statuses, and are earned by the member flying – regardless of who purchases the ticket – and are based on the price of the ticket. You can reach each status by meeting either the MQM requirement or the MQS requirement, plus the MQD requirement. For example, Silver Status requires 25,000 MQMs or 30 MQSs and $2,500 MQDs. Silver Status provides benefits such as unlimited upgrades and discounted Economy Comfort Seats for U.S. travel. The top tier, Diamond, requires 125,000 MQMs or 140 MQSs and $12,500 MQDs. It includes the benefits from lower tiers plus additional perks such as complimentary (rather than discounted) Economy Comfort Seats for U.S. travel, plus a 125% medallion mileage bonus. As a cardholder, the MQD requirement can be waived if you make at least $25,000 in purchases with your card within a year.
  • Anniversary MQMs. During each calendar year that you spend $25,000 with your card, you receive a bonus of 10,000 SkyMiles and 10,000 MQMs. After you spend $50,000 or more in a calendar year, you earn an additional 10,000 SkyMiles and 10,000 MQMs.
  • In-Flight Discount. You receive a discount of 20% on in-flight purchases such as food, beverages, and movies. These savings appear on your statement as credit.

Advantages

  1. No Foreign Transaction Fee. The Platinum Delta SkyMiles Card has no foreign transaction fee, which on other cards can be as high as 3%. In fact, many American Express Cards carry a foreign transaction fee of 2.7%, which can cancel out some of the rewards you earn. If you travel frequently outside of the United States and want to earn Delta SkyMiles on your purchases, this is a better choice over travel rewards cards that charge foreign transaction fees.
  2. Anniversary Bonuses. When you renew your card each year, you not only receive a companion certificate for a free flight, but you also receive the bonus of 10,000 SkyMiles and 10,000 MQMs if you spend $25,000 within the year. The bonus miles could be enough for a free flight alone, and the MQMs help to reach your next Medallion status. Both bonuses help to offset the annual fee with the value of a free ticket and extra perks such as unlimited upgrades and complimentary Economy Comfort Seats for U.S. travel through the Medallion program. These bonuses are not available on the Gold Delta SkyMiles card.
  3. Flight Benefits. The Platinum Delta SkyMiles offers a number of flight benefits such as in-flight discount, free checked baggage, Zone 1 Priority Boarding, and discounted access to Delta Sky Clubs. These benefits not only provide value in savings, but also allow more comfort when traveling. A similar competing card, the Citi Platinum Select AAdvantage World MasterCard, carries an annual fee of $95 but does not include airport lounge access, discounts on in-flight purchases, or a program for earning elite statuses.

Disadvantages

  1. High Annual Fee. Although the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Card offers anniversary bonuses and a sign-up bonus, it still carries an annual fee of $195, which is higher than most airline rewards cards. Other than the ability to earn Medallion Statuses, it offers the same benefits and rewards program as the Gold Delta SkyMiles Card, which carries an annual fee of only $95.
  2. Confusing Elite Statuses. For some cardmembers, the Delta SkyMiles program (with its SkyMiles, MQMs, and MQSs) was already confusing – however, it has become even more complicated with the addition of MQDs. Most other airline rewards programs determine your tier solely based on the miles or points earned. For example, the United MileagePlus program awards premiere statuses based just on flight miles.

Final Word

Although it carries a high annual fee, the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Card from American Express offers a solid rewards program and flight benefits that could compensate for the annual fee if you travel with Delta frequently. Because the Platinum Delta Card does not charge a foreign transaction fee, it may be suitable for frequent international travelers. However, if you don’t spend at least $25,000 with the card in a year and don’t need the anniversary companion certificate, the Gold Delta SkyMiles card offers many of the same benefits but with an annual fee that is much lower.

Verdict

The Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express is a great card if you fly frequently with Delta Airlines and if you travel abroad frequently.

Score

4.5 out of 5 Stars: Despite its high annual fee, the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Card offers Delta flyers a number of card and travel benefits not provided by other Delta cards.

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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  • Maryseaston

    I beleive that you should do what AA is doing: when you purchase an international ticket, you have the option as a “gold” car member (not even a platinum) to upgrade with your miles plus a fee of 350 dollars as long as you pay a simple round trip ticket!!!! As a platimum, I was denied that option!!!!
    so in fact my 7 trips to France last year gave me platinum card : value … NOTHING!
    Maryse Aston

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