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Choosing a Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card? Gold vs Platinum vs Reserve

Delta and American Express offer three credit cards with rewards associated to the Delta SkyMiles® loyalty program. Each of the cards has a different rewards and bonus structure as well as a large difference in annual fee. We took a look at the cards to help Delta flyers choose between their options.

The SkyMiles® Credit Cards: A Quick Comparison

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express
Annual Fee
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
Purchase APR
17.74%-26.74% Variable
Credit Needed Excellent/Good
Details
  • Earn 30,000 Bonus Miles after spending $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months and a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months.
  • Earn 2 miles on every dollar spent on purchases made directly with Delta. Earn 1 mile for every eligible dollar spent on purchases.
  • Check your first bag free on Delta flights - that's a savings of up to $200 per round trip for a family of four.
  • Want even more flexibility? Pay with Miles is a Card Member feature that gives you the option to redeem miles for all or part of the price of your tickets on Delta.com.
  • Settle into your seat sooner with Priority Boarding.
  • Enjoy a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees

Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express
This card is not available through ValuePenguin.

Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express

Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express
Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express
Annual Fee
$450
Purchase APR
17.49% or 19.24% Variable
Credit Needed Excellent
Details
  • 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

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express vs Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

The largest distinction between the cards is definitely between the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express and the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express. Overall if you're going to be getting a credit card for the sole purpose of earning Delta SkyMiles®, we think the latter is by far the better long term deal. Here's why:

Bonus Opportunities For Big Spenders

The first major difference between the two cards is the larger recurring bonus that's available with the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express. If you're spending more than $50,000 on the card then you'll be eligible for earning 20,000 bonus miles and 20,000 MQMs each year. With each SkyMiles® point worth at least 1 cent each, the bonus miles alone compensate for the difference in annual fees.

While it's hard to put a precise value on MQMs, 20,000 MQMs is about 80% of a tier upgrade with the SkyMiles® program. In previous years, Delta has sold MQMs at a price of anywhere from .10 - .20 cents each.

Companion Certificate

Beginning in the second year, Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express users will also receive a companion certificate good for 1 additional US domestic economy class ticket. Depending on what you do with it, you should easily be able to save hundreds of dollars this way.

The Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express Is The Superior Option Over The Long Haul

Overall the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express is the superior option for an everyday card you plan on keeping around. Assuming you're able to achieve the spending requirements, the extra bonuses compensate for the additional cost. Even in year 1 where there is a $195 difference. By year 2, the value of the companion certificate is another mark in favor of the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express.

If your goal is to earn bonus miles, you're likely better off with better airline credit cards like the Barclaycard Arrival® Plus World Elite Mastercard®, or something like the Starwood Preferred Guest.

Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express vs Delta Reserve

With the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express vs Delta Reserve the comparison is a lot closer since the differences are somewhat minor.

The Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express under most circumstances

Since the spending requirement on the bonus is the same on both cards, we recommend opting for the card that has the higher sign up bonus at the time. This is especially true if you're going after short-term rewards. Just keep in mind that both cards require high spending to get MQMs.

The Reserve: If you fly first class and really care about a status upgrade:

The other main point of differentiation is the ability to use the Reserve's companion certificate on first class domestic fares. If you're already flying first class frequently, then you can take advantage of this additional flexibility to get a little more value out of the certificate. If you don't however, then there is no difference between the two. This greater value of the certificate might help justify the higher annual fee you'll be paying each year

Comments and Questions

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

* 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: Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express, Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express, Platinum Delta SkyMiles® 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 Amex EveryDay® 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.

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