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Advertiser Disclosure

Advertiser Disclosure: Some of the card offers that appear on this website are from companies which ValuePenguin receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). The site does not review or include all companies or all available products.

Disclaimer: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author's alone. For a full list of our advertisers, see our disclosure page.

Opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations expressed here are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed or endorsed by the issuer. We may be compensated through the issuer’s Affiliate Program. For a full list of our advertisers see our disclosure page.

Best Delta Credit Cards: Which Is Right For You?

Contents

Delta offers three different credit card options (each of which has a business variation), and all of these cards offer solid deals if you fly with Delta Airlines. When considering these options, you should be mindful of the major trade off that comes with picking a co-branded airline credit card - namely, flexibility. While Delta has a host of travel partners you can fly with, the miles you earn with any Delta card won't be as easy to spend compared to the rewards on a more general card, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. To make up for this, though, there are a number of valuable perks and exclusive privileges available as a Delta credit cardholder.

What Is the Best Delta Credit Card For You?

The best Delta Airlines credit card for you hinges upon a number of different factors - all of which depend on the way in which you spend and travel. Before committing to one card, consider things such as frequency of travel, who you tend to travel with, and whether luxury perks matter to you. Generally speaking, it makes financial sense to have a Delta card if you know you'll be making two roundtrip flights on Delta per year AND plan on checking luggage. Choosing between your options will come down to fitting into one of the following profiles:

Those of you wishing to read more about how we reached the above conclusions can read about the choices in more detail below.

Comparing the Delta Airlines Credit Cards At A Glance

When it comes to swiping and paying with Delta credit cards, the three are almost identical. The differences between the cards begin to set-in when you look at the bonuses and benefits they offer. These extra bonuses are what causes the major annual fee differences among the cards. 

The four things we suggest focusing on when comparing between the three Delta cards are the "Miles Boost", round-trip domestic companion ticket, MQMs, and Delta Sky Club® Access. You should identify whether you can make use of these features, and then see which cards have them. If the annual fee on the card isn't too high for what you'll be getting out of it, we recommend going with the card that satisfies most of your desires.

  Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express
Welcome Bonus

30,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $1,000 in purchases within the first 3 months and a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months.

70,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card within your first 3 months.

 10,000 bonus miles*** + 10,000 MQMs***

Rewards Rate 1% - 2%  1% - 2% 1% - 2%  
Annual Fee $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95. $195 $450
Anniversary Perk None Free RT Companion Ticket each year (Economy) Free RT Companion Ticket each year (First or Economy)
Foreign Trans Fee None None None
Miles Boost None

10k bonus miles after you spend $25k on purchases on your card in a year

10k more miles after you spend $50k on purchases in a year

15k bonus miles after you spend $30k on purchases on your card in a year

15k more miles after you spend $60k on purchases in a year

Delta Sky Club® Access - -
MQM Points None  Up to 20k per year Up to 30k per year 
Earnings Rate

miles per $1 spent on Delta

1 Mile per $1 on everything else

2 miles per $1 spent on Delta

1 Mile per $1 on everything else

 2 miles per $1 spent on Delta

1 Mile per $1 on everything else

The Best Delta Credit Card for Your Situation: Questions to Ask Yourself

Do you fly Delta two or more times per year? Flying twice will help you at least break even on the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express annual fee, as long as you are checking a bag (and thus saving $50 each time). The more often you fly per year, the easier it is to justify the higher price tags on the Platinum and Reserve cards.

How much do you spend? While all the Delta credit cards earn you the same amount of miles on day-to-day spending, the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card and Delta Reserve Credit Card from American Express come with "mile boost" bonuses, which make them extra lucrative for those who can take advantage. With the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card, you must spend $25,000 on your card within a cardmember year to receive 10,000 bonus miles. If you spend twice that within a year, you get twice the bonus points (for a total of 20,000 in a year). The Delta Reserve Credit Card from American Express requires an annual spend of $30,000, and rewards you with 15,000 bonus miles - and a total of 30,000 miles if you spend $60,000 annually on purchases, or more.

Do you travel with other people (domestically)? Those consumers who frequently travel using Delta Airlines with one or more people, should forgo the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express, and consider either the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card and Delta Reserve Credit Card from American Express. Why? The Companion Travel on these cards can be worth hundreds of dollars, easily blowing away the downside of a higher annual fee.

Do you value Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs)? Medallion Qualification Miles is Delta's way of assigning "status" to their top customers. The more MQMs you have, the more perks you receive, and the better overall treatment you'll receive. You'll need 25,000 MQMs just to break into the lowest tier (Silver Medallion). These MQMs reset to zero at the end of each year. The Delta Platinum or Delta Reserve cards are the only ones that give you the opportunity to earn MQMs. The Platinum card gives you 5,000 MQMs at when you're approved and then an additional 10,000 when/if you hit $25,000 and $50,000 in spending each year.

Do you value luxury? The reason behind the $450 annual fee on the Delta Reserve Credit Card from American Express is the access it provides users to Delta Sky Club®. It is the only Delta credit card to do so. These airport lounges allow you to travel in style, while waiting for a flight. Inside of a Delta Sky Club®, you can enjoy snacks, beverages, Wi-Fi access, satellite TV, and private restrooms. If this is something that is of value to you, the Reserve card is worth your consideration.

What's a "Mile" worth on Delta Airlines?

Delta miles are always best used towards flights on Delta or with their travel partners. Here you can redeem them for anywhere between 1% and 5% depending on what kind of deals you can find. Using them to shop on the SkyMiles Marketplace will almost always give you less than 1% redemption rates, so we don't recommend you use your hard-earned miles that way. Fortunately if Delta doesn't fly a particular route you're looking to travel, you can transfer your miles on a 1:1 basis with lots of valuable airlines. Below is the list. Airlines in bold represent the Award Travel you can book on Delta.com. For other airlines you'll need to call the 800 number on the back of your card:

Aeroflot Aerolineas Argentinas Aeromexico
AirEuropa Air France Air Tahiti Nui
Alaska Airlines Alitalia China Airlines
China Eastern China Southern Czech Airlines
GOL Hawaiian Airlines Kenya Airways
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Korean Air Middle East Airlines
Saudia Airlines Tarom Airlines Vietnam Airlines
Virgin Atlantic Virgin Australia Xiamen Airlines

Remember that when you use your SkyMiles towards flights on Delta or any of their partner airlines the redemption values can vary. But to make your life easier and give you a general feel for possible values at which you can redeem, we've looked at 3 different scenarios to show you what these SkyMiles can potentially be worth.

Route Booking Scenario Cost ($) Miles Needed Value of Each Point
JFK to CVG Holiday (non-weekend) $920 40,000 2.3x
LGA to DEN 3-day Holiday Weekend $610 50,000 1.2x
JFK to SFO Last Minute $346 25,000 1.4x

The 70,000 mile welcome bonus that comes with the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card, as you can see, will get you at least one flight as long as you're booking something reasonable in most cases. This works out to be a 23% return on the first $3,000 you spend on your new card. 

How We Compare Delta Credit Cards To Other Travel Cards

In a crowded field of travel card competitors, our two current favorites are the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express. If you don't want to be tied to Delta and it's partners, or if you want to earn more points towards travel on things you buy every day, you'll want to consider a more general travel card (ie, not one that's tied to a specific airline or hotel chain). This will be true especially if you're a "travel deal-seeker" or you have a lot of airline options in your city. In these cases, its probably wise to consider a less limiting card that will give you both value and flexibility when it comes time to redeem your points.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is one of the best travel rewards credit cards. The reason for this is its fantastic and flexible rewards program - Chase Ultimate Rewards. If you aren't particularly loyal to Delta Airlines, and would much rather have a card that gives you high and flexible rewards on general travel and dining purchases, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is a good bet. Another major benefit of the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, over all other cards listed on this page, is the fact that it is on the Visa Signature network. This means it will be more widely accepted by merchants everywhere. With American Express credit cards, you may run into trouble when trying to pay with them abroad (especially in areas that aren't highly populated by tourists).

Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

Image of Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

This card is not available through ValuePenguin.

If you want to maximize rewards flexibility, while still earning Delta SkyMiles, you should consider the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express. This card earns users 2 Starpoints for every $1 charged at Starwood hotels, and 1 point on everything else. The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express also comes with an ongoing annual fee of $95. The Starpoints generally carry a very high value (around $0.024 per point), and can be transferred to a number of different airlines - including Delta. Furthermore, for every 20,000 Starpoints you transfer, you will receive a bonus 5,000 - a $120 value.

Comparison Tool

We have built a handy tool that can show you visually which cards rank best across a myriad of factors. Not only that, but if you use our "Model Inputs" you can customize the results even more as we get an idea of where you're spending your money each month. Given your individual spending profile, you may find out that a non-Delta credit card will give you the most value. Note that the values below are based solely on spending and bonus rewards - they do not incorporate MQMs, companion tickets, and checked luggage benefits, since these things are not easily quantifiable across all consumers.

Assumptions Based On Monthly Spend of: $1,430 Edit
General:
U.S. Gas Stations:
U.S. Supermarkets:
Airlines:
Hotel:
U.S. Restaurants:
Office:
Utilities:
Computing:
Card Annual Fee 2-yr Net Rewards Rate

The Net Rewards Rate is equal to the Rewards Value over two years divided by the total spending. The total spending is equal to the values entered into the tool and multiplied by 24 months. See the rewards Value note to see details on how it is calculated.

The estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone. They are not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. All estimates are based on the spend assumptions entered above (which you can edit).

Bonus Value

The bonus field shows our estimate for the value of the card’s welcome bonus. If the bonus is point or mile based, we multiply the total bonus points/miles by our estimate for their value to arrive at a dollar equivalent. We display $0 if there is no bonus or if the user doesn’t qualify for the bonus based on the current spending entered into the tool. All estimates are based on the spend assumptions entered above (which you can edit).

The estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone. They are not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

2-yr Rewards Value

The Rewards value is calculated by adding together the rewards earned from charging purchases to the card over two years and any welcome bonuses (if applicable). They are then multiplied by our estimated point/mile value, with any annual fees (if applicable) subtracted. All values are based on our own estimates for the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using a card and on the spend assumptions entered above (which you can edit).

The estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone. They are not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
$0 Intro for the First Year, then $95 3.00%
$625
50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
$1,028
Graph Card Read Review More Details and Value Calculation

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Estimated Rewards Value Dollars*
Spending Rewards 39,840 x $0.013 = $498
Bonuses
50,000 x $0.013 = $625
Less Annual Fees -$95
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 1,028

*The value estimate is calculated using ValuePenguin.com rewards point value.

Annual Fee $0 Intro for the First Year, then $95
APR 17.49% - 24.49% Variable

Card Details

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® named a 'Best Travel Credit Card' by MONEY® Magazine, 2016-2017
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel.
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express
$450 -1.07%
$120
Earn 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles and 10,000 bonus miles after the first purchase
$-368
Graph Card Read Review More Details and Value Calculation

Terms and Limitations Apply

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Point Value Rewards Value
Spending Rewards 34,320 x $0.012 = $412
Bonuses
10,000 x $0.012 = $120
Less Annual Fees -$900
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months -368

*The value estimate is calculated using ValuePenguin.com rewards point value.

Annual Fee $450
APR 15.24%, 17.24% or 19.24% Variable

Card Details

  • Earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles and 10,000 bonus miles after the first purchase
  • 2 miles for every $1 spent on Delta flight and vacation purchases
  • 1 mile for every $1 spent otherwise
  • Delta Sky Club Access for you and two companions with complimentary Wi-Fi and snacks
  • Get a R/T domestic first class or economy class companion certificate upon each annual renewal
  • First checked bag free on Delta flights
  • No waiting - Priority Boarding
  • Save 20% on in-flight purchases
  • Redeem Delta SkyMiles for award travel, cabin upgrades, magazine and newspaper subscriptions, Broadway tickets, or charitable donations

Comments and Questions

* See the online credit card application for details about terms and conditions. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. However all credit card information is presented without warranty. When you click on the "Apply Now" button, you can review the credit card terms and conditions on the issuer's website.

Info about the following cards: American Express® Gold Card, Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express, Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card, Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express, Hilton Honors Surpass® Credit Card, American Express® Blue Sky, American Express® Green Card, The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express, The Plenti® Credit Card from Amex, Blue from American Express®, Platinum Card® from American Express Exclusively for Mercedes-Benz, Bluebird, Centurion® Card from American Express, Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, and Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card has been collected independently by ValuePenguin. The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program. 

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Advertiser Disclosure: Some of the offers that appear on this website are from companies which ValuePenguin receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). The site does not review or include all companies or all available products. For more information please see our Advertiser Disclosure.