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Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card – Review

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Our rating


Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

  • 2x Rewards: Earn 2 SkyMiles per $1 spent on qualifying Delta purchases, restaurant purchases worldwide, and U.S. supermarket purchases
  • Base Rewards: Earn 1 SkyMile per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases
  • Delta Spend Credit: Earn a $200 Delta credit when you spend $10,000 or more in a calendar year
  • Fees: No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual Fee: $150 (waived in the first year)
  • Credit Needed: Good to excellent
  • Terms and conditions apply: see rates & fees

The Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card is a popular travel rewards credit card with a $150 annual fee (waived in the first year) and a solid Delta airline rewards program that favors regular Delta flyers who earn rewards fast enough to neutralize the annual fee. Here’s how it works:

  • All Delta purchases, including airfare and incidentals, earn 2 SkyMiles rewards points per $1 spent, as do restaurant purchases worldwide and U.S. supermarket purchases.
  • All other purchases earn one SkyMile per $1 spent.
  • You can redeem accumulated SkyMiles for Delta airfare, select merchandise available at the SkyMiles Marketplace, and other goodies.

This card’s direct competitors include general purpose annual fee travel credit cards such as Capital One Venture Rewards and Chase Sapphire Preferred. It also competes with annual fee airline-, hotel-, and vendor-specific cards such as Chase United MileagePlus Explorer and Citi/AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard, among others.

What Sets the Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card Apart

The Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card has two standout benefits and one key drawback worth noting up top:

  • $200 Delta Flight Credit With Qualifying Annual Spend. If you spend at least $10,000 in a calendar year on your card, you’ll receive a $200 Delta flight credit. That’s enough to offset the $150 annual fee (which applies after the first year). Terms apply.
  • Very Good Welcome Offer. This card has an excellent welcome offer that, while subject to change, is usually in the top 50% (in my opinion) of comparable travel card offers. It is spend-based, however, and terms apply.
  • No Direct Status Benefits. Now for the “key drawback”: You don’t get any direct Delta loyalty status benefits as a Delta SkyMiles Gold cardmember. This is in stark contrast to the flagship Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card, which can really accelerate your progress toward Delta Medallion status levels.

Key Features of the Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card

The key features of the Delta SkyMiles Gold card include a generous rewards program and ongoing benefits for Delta frequent flyers.

Welcome Offer

Earn 70,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months

Earning Delta SkyMiles

Earn 2 SkyMiles per $1 spent on Delta airfare, in-flight purchases, lounge passes, and other incidentals, with no caps or restrictions. Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on restaurant purchases worldwide and U.S. supermarket purchases, as well. All other purchases earn 1 SkyMile per $1 spent, again with no restrictions.

Redeeming SkyMiles

Accumulated SkyMiles can be redeemed for Delta airfare, starting at 10,000 miles for domestic economy one-ways and 12,500 miles for more flexible travel dates. Certain travel dates and times may require more miles, depending on season and demand. For instance, it’s likely to cost more to fly to a popular vacation destination on a peak-season Friday than an off-season Tuesday.

Airfare redemption point values generally range from $0.005 to $0.02, but can be higher or lower than that range. SkyMiles can also be redeemed in the online SkyMiles MarketPlace for merchandise, gift cards, and experiences (such as performances), typically at conversion rates far below $0.01 per mile. Minimum mileage requirements for merchandise redemptions start around 2,000 and rise from there.

Annual Spending Bonus

Spend $10,000 or more in eligible purchases in a calendar year to earn a $200 Delta flight credit.

Delta Travel Benefits

The Delta SkyMiles Gold card comes with a slew of Delta-specific travel benefits:

  • A 20% discount on all in-flight purchases
  • One free checked bag for the cardholder ($60 value, round-trip)
  • Priority boarding

Important Fees

The $150 annual fee is waived for the first year, and there is no foreign transaction fee. Balance transfers and cash advances both cost the greater of $5 or 3%.

Credit Required

This card requires good to excellent credit.

Advantages of the Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card

Consider applying for the Delta SkyMiles Gold card to take advantage of these attractive benefits.

  • SkyMiles Can Be Valuable When Redeemed for Airfare. SkyMiles can be quite valuable when redeemed for Delta airfare – reliably worth at least $0.075 per mile, often worth $0.01, and sometimes worth as much as $0.02. Keep in mind that point values can vary at redemption, even for the same routes, based on factors such as time, date, season, demand, and more.
  • In-Flight Discounts. Delta’s across-the-board 20% discount on in-flight purchases is a very nice perk, particularly for travelers craving multiple refreshments or entertainment opportunities on longer flights. Alaska Airlines Visa Signature and Chase United MileagePlus Explorer don’t offer such discounts.
  • Nice Welcome Offer. This card’s welcome offer is better than many competitors’, without a particularly high early spend requirement.
  • Great Annual Spending Bonus. Spend $10,000 or more in a calendar year to earn a $200 Delta credit.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fee. The Gold Delta SkyMiles card doesn’t have a foreign transaction fee, which is always nice for frequent overseas travelers. The Expedia+ Card from Citi does have a foreign transaction fee – a pesky 3% of the total transaction amount.
  • Miles Never Expire. As long as your account remains open and in good standing, the SkyMiles you accumulate with this card never expire. Many airline and hotel rewards credit cards, including British Airways Visa Signature, require you to earn or redeem points after a certain amount of time (often a year) has elapsed.

Disadvantages of the Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card

Consider these downsides before applying for the Delta SkyMiles Gold card.

  • Charges an Annual Fee. This card comes with a $150 annual fee after the first year, which sets it apart from fee-free travel rewards cards such as Expedia+ from Citi and Capital One VentureOne Rewards.
  • Has a Penalty APR. If you accidentally miss a payment or two with this card, the high penalty APR is apt to bite you. British Airways Visa Signature and Chase United MileagePlus Explorer cardholders don’t have this problem.
  • Low Point Values for Non-airfare Redemptions. When it comes time to redeem your accumulated SkyMiles, Delta airfare is far and away offers the best bang for your buck. The general merchandise and gift cards available at the SkyMiles Marketplace often sell for 2 to 3 SkyMiles per $0.01 – in other words, SkyMiles are worth just $0.003 to $0.005 here. By contrast, one-way economy flights (which often cost $100, $200, or even more) start at 10,000 points. The SkyMiles MarketPlace’s unfavorable redemption rates render Delta’s rewards program more restrictive than necessary. If you’re seeking a travel rewards credit card that lets you redeem for a wide range of items at more favorable rates, try the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card instead.
  • Most Non-Delta Purchases Have Limited Earning Power. If you use this card for general, everyday spending, you won’t rack up the rewards very quickly. Only Delta purchases, purchases at restaurants worldwide, and purchases at U.S. supermarkets earn more than 1 SkyMile per $1 spent, raising the investment (both in terms of time and money) necessary to earn a free flight.
  • No Automatic Status Levels or Upgrades. Delta SkyMiles Gold cardmembership doesn’t entitle you to any special loyalty status levels, which typically come with valuable perks such as discounts at partner hotels and accelerated point earnings. The Expedia+ Voyager Card from Citi automatically entitles you to Expedia Gold status, which comes with a 30% point bonus on all purchases and free hotel room upgrades when available.

Is the Delta SkyMiles MarketPlace Worth It?

The short answer: no, it’s not.

The longer answer is that thanks to the SkyMiles MarketPlace, Delta and American Express can honestly claim that their customers can redeem accumulated SkyMiles for much more than Delta airfare. Plenty of other airlines and airline rewards card issuers offer equivalent deals on merchandise and experiences too.

But (and it’s a big “but”) the devil is in the details – or, rather, the pricing. The SkyMiles MarketPlace dramatically inflates its merchandise’s point costs, charging double or triple what you’d expect to pay at Amazon or in a brick-and-mortar retail store.

Fortunately, Delta’s airfare redemption rates meet or exceed standards set by the competition. So as long as you fly Delta every so often, you can extract the value you deserve from them.

Final Word: Should You Consider the Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card?

If you’re looking for solid deals on Delta airfare, the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card is your card. As I noted above, if you want to use your earned rewards to buy things you can use on the ground, look elsewhere.

There’s more to consider, of course. 

Delta SkyMiles Gold is a good fit for people who regularly fly Delta but aren’t in the air every week or even every month. Two Amex Delta cards are significantly more generous: Delta SkyMiles Platinum and Delta SkyMiles Reserve. Both are better fits for more frequent flyers and those who can take advantage of status-oriented perks (like Reserve’s MQM Boost) and luxe benefits (like complimentary Delta Sky Club and Centurion Lounge access).

You don’t get that sort of treatment with Delta SkyMiles Gold. As long as you’re OK with that, this card is in the conversation.

For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, please visit this rates and fees page.

The Verdict

Amex Gold Delta Consumer Card Art 1 30 20

Our rating


Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

The Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card is ideal for frequent Delta flyers who earn rewards quickly enough to offset the annual fee (after the first year) and enjoy practical travel benefits, such as the first checked bag free and discounted Sky Club lounge access. Due to poor non-Delta rewards and limited earning power outside the Delta universe, it’s not great for infrequent Delta flyers and those looking for a general-spending credit card.

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.

Brian Martucci writes about credit cards, banking, insurance, travel, and more. When he's not investigating time- and money-saving strategies for Money Crashers readers, you can find him exploring his favorite trails or sampling a new cuisine. Reach him on Twitter @Brian_Martucci.