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How to Earn Delta SkyMiles in 2019

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How to Earn Delta SkyMiles in 2019

Andrew WanHow to Earn Delta SkyMiles in 2019Million Mile Secrets Team

Signing up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

INSIDER SECRET: If you’re a fan of Delta SkyClub airport lounges, you should open the Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express. It comes with a SkyClub lounge membership, and the card’s annual fee is significantly less than purchasing a membership outright.

There are plenty of reasons to love Delta. They’ve got an award-winning mobile app that’s super easy to use, they have great customer service, they do a great job of keeping you posted on your flight status even when it’s delayed, and they have an incredibly generous policy when it comes to accommodating those with disabilities and food allergies.

We’ve compiled a list of some of the best credit cards to earn Delta miles because if you frequently fly Delta, you can further enhance your flying experience with credit card perks like complimentary lounge access, priority boarding, annual companion certificates, and more!

Although many of the cards on this list carry an annual fee, the value of the perks can really add up. Complimentary lounge access, for instance, could save you from having to purchase a separate SkyClub membership through Delta, which would otherwise cost you $545 annually and carrying a credit card that offers a free first checked bag as a perk could save you many hundreds of dollars if you’re traveling with a large group.

The Best Credit Cards With Lounge Access
Wanderlust too powerful to contain? Take 5 minutes to learn how to earn Delta miles in a hurry. (Photo by Joseph Hostetler/Million Mile Secrets)

And many of the cards on this list also have a business version. Even if you don’t think you qualify for business cards, you might be surprised to know that you may already have a small business without realizing it. I’ll explain.

How to Earn Delta SkyMiles in 2019

You can use the Delta Award Search to easily find free flights with your Delta miles. While Delta doesn’t have an award chart, you can find the price of an award flight by searching for your route and travel dates and depending on the route, you can find some very good deals.

For example, team member Jasmin recently flew between Rochester and New York (JFK) for just 6,000 Delta miles, where other airlines would have charged much more.

If you are flexible with your travel dates, you can get a spectacular deal whenever there are award sales and discounts. For instance, it wasn’t long ago that you could have booked a $1,200 flight to Asia for just 65,000 Delta SkyMiles (and applicable taxes and fees) and with previous award sales, a round-trip ticket from New York (JFK) to Zurich would have only cost you 38,000 Delta SkyMiles and ~$59 in taxes.

1. AMEX Gold Delta SkyMiles® and AMEX Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business

Apply Here:   Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

Read our review of the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

Apply Here:   Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express

Read our review of the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express

If you’re a frequent Delta flyer but don’t want to pay a high annual fee, you should consider the personal Gold Delta SkyMiles or business Gold Delta SkyMiles credit cards from American Express. The $95 annual fee on both the personal Gold Delta SkyMiles (See Rates & Fees) and the business Gold Delta SkyMiles (See Rates & Fees) cards is waived for the first year, so you’ll be able to try out the card for ~11 months to see if you like the card’s benefits.

The AMEX Delta Gold cards are currently offering offering:

The cards also come with perks like:

  • 1 free checked bag for yourself and up to 8 traveling companions on the same reservation
  • 2 miles per $1 spent with Delta
  • 1 mile per $1 spent on everything else
  • 20% discount on certain Delta in-flight purchases in the form of a statement credit
  • Priority boarding
  • Discount on Delta SkyClub lounge passes
  • Pay With Miles (each point worth 1 cent with NO blackout dates!)
  • NO foreign transaction fees for both the personal Gold Delta SkyMiles (See Rates & Fees) and the business Gold Delta SkyMiles (See Rates & Fees)
  • Terms and Limitations apply

2. Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

Apply Here:   Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

Read our review of the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

Apply Here:   Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express

If you fly Delta often and you’re looking for just a few more perks, then the AMEX Delta Platinum cards are a nice step up from the AMEX Delta Gold cards without too much of an added cost. There is a $195 annual fee attached to both the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express (See Rates & Fees) and Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express (See Rates & Fees). But both come with extra perks like an annual domestic companion certificate and an opportunity for big spenders to earn elite status more quickly with Delta Miles Boost.

These cards come with:

The welcome bonus alone easily outweighs the card’s annual fee because most folks can receive $500+ in value, but if that’s not enough, remember that the card also carries the following perks:

  • Bonus miles for meeting certain yearly spending requirements
  • Annual domestic companion certificate (when you renew your card)
  • 1 free checked bag for yourself and up to 8 traveling companions on the same reservation
  • 2 Delta miles per $1 spent when you use your card for purchases directly with Delta
  • Priority boarding
  • Discounted Delta Sky Club Access
  • 20% savings on eligible in-flight purchases in the form of a statement credit
  • No foreign transaction fees for both the personal Platinum Delta SkyMiles (See Rates & Fees) and the business Platinum Delta SkyMiles (See Rates & Fees)
  • Terms and Limitations apply

3. AMEX Delta Reserve

Apply Here:   Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express

Apply Here:   Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card

A $450 annual fee comes with both the Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express (See Rates & Fees) and the Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card (See Rates & Fees).  So you’ll want to make sure you can take advantage of all these cards’ benefits.  If elite status is important to you, you’ll get a great head start with just the intro bonus on either the personal or business Delta Reserve card.

These cards are offering the following welcome bonuses:

The personal card offers the following perks:

  • 2 Delta miles per $1 spent on eligible Delta purchases
  • Priority boarding
  • 20% savings on eligible in-flight purchases in the form of a statement credit
  • First checked bag free on Delta operated flights (for you and up to 8 companions traveling on the same itinerary)
  • Complimentary Delta Airport lounge access
  • Domestic companion certificate (when you renew the card)
  • NO foreign transaction fees for both the personal Delta Reserve (See Rates & Fees) and the business Delta Reserve (See Rates & Fees)
  • Terms and Limitations apply

You’ll need to meet the following requirements to meet Delta elite status:

Best Delta SkyMiles Card
You can look at Delta’s website to see the requirements for earning elite status

If you are a big spender, thanks to Delta miles boost, you can earn 15,000 more Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) and 15,000 bonus miles after you spend $30,000 on purchases in a calendar year.  And you can earn an additional 15,000 MQMs and 15,000 bonus miles after spending a total of $60,000 in purchases in a calendar year.

Note:   For those new to earning Delta elite status, MQMs is just one item needed to earn elite status.  US residents must also meet Medallion® Qualification Dollar (MQD) requirements, which tracks how much you spend on Delta flights and certain partner airlines.

If you don’t spend enough on Delta flights, an MQD waiver is available based on your total purchases on this card.  You can get the MQD waiver by making $25,000 in purchases for the calendar year for Silver, Gold, and Platinum status levels.  The spending requirement goes up to $250,000 in purchases to qualify for the MQD waiver for Diamond elite status.

4.   AMEX Platinum

Apply Here:   The Platinum® Card from American Express

Read our review of The Platinum® Card from American Express

If you’re looking for flexibility in lounge access, the AMEX Platinum may fit the bill for you perfectly.  You’ll get access to Delta airport lounges when traveling on a same-day Delta operated flight.

You’ll also get access to the following airport lounges:

  • The Centurion Lounge
  • International American Express Lounges
  • Priority Pass Select
  • Airspace Lounges
  • Escape Lounges
  • Plaza Premium Lounges

The card currently has a welcome bonus of 60,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening.  Along with the added benefits the card offers, I think it is well worth the $550 annual fee (See Rates & Fees).

AMEX Membership Rewards points are also flexible and can be transferred to any AMEX travel partner, including Delta. So points earned on this card can also be used to book Delta flights!

And as an AMEX Platinum card member, you’ll receive the following perks:

  • 5X AMEX Membership Rewards points per $1 spent on airline tickets purchased directly with airlines or with American Express Travel, and on hotels booked on the AMEX Travel Portal
  • Up to $200 annual airline incidental fee credit
  • Up to $200 in Uber credit per year (but there are restrictions)
  • Statement credit every 4 years after you apply for Global Entry ($100) or TSA PreCheck ($85)
  • Hotel elite status with Hilton and Marriott
  • $550 annual fee
  • Terms Apply

5.   AMEX Business Platinum

Apply Here:   The Business Platinum® Card from American Express

Read our review of The Business Platinum® Card from American Express

The intro bonus on the AMEX Business Platinum is up to 75,000 AMEX membership Rewards points after meeting tiered minimum spending requirements.

  • 50,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points after you spend $10,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening
  • 25,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points after you spend an additional $10,000 on qualifying purchases within the same timeframe

The annual fee on the AMEX Business Platinum is $595 (See Rates & Fees).  So if you’re a small business owner with a lot of spending planned for the coming months, you may want to check out the AMEX Business Platinum!

You’ll also get a number of benefits as a card member:

  • 1.5X AMEX Membership Rewards points on single purchases of $5,000+ (up to 1 million additional points per calendar year)
  • 5X AMEX Membership Rewards points when you book airfare and hotels through the AMEX travel portal
  • 35% of your points back for ALL First Class or Business Class flights booked through the AMEX travel portal using Pay With Points
  • 35% of your points back for all flights, including coach tickets, booked with your selected airline through the AMEX travel portal using Pay With Points (up to 500,000 points per calendar year)
  • Up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year for airline incidentals with your selected airline (luggage fees, in-flight food & drink, etc.)
  • Up to $200 annual Dell statement credit ($100 from January to June, $100 from July to December)
  • Ability to book hotel stays through AMEX Fine Hotels & Resorts
  • AMEX Platinum Concierge
  • AMEX Premium Roadside Assistance
  • Access to airport lounges (Delta, Priority Pass, Airspace, and American Express Centurion Lounges)
  • Bonus points or statement credits when taking advantage of AMEX Offers
  • Elite car rental status with Avis, National, and Hertz
  • Complimentary Hilton Honors Gold elite status (free breakfast, upgrades when available, etc.)
  • Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status
  • Complimentary 1 year membership to Platinum Global Access from WeWork, which allows you to access 300+ premium workspaces in 75+ cities (you must enroll between by December 31, 2019)
  • 10 free Gogo in-flight Wi-Fi passes each calendar year
  • Statement credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
  • Terms & Limitations apply

If you’re a small business owner who frequently travels for business and you can meet the minimum spend requirement for the welcome bonus, this is a great card to consider given the number of airport lounges you’ll have access to.

Honorable Mention:   Amex Blue Delta SkyMiles

Apply Here:   Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

Read our review of the Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

The AMEX Blue Delta SkyMiles card is one of American Express’s newer cards.  It’s not the best card if you frequently fly Delta because there are other cards that offer better intro bonuses, benefits, and rewards for your purchases.

But if you’re looking for a no-annual-fee card (See Rates & Fees) to build your credit history and earn some Delta miles in the process, this may be a good card to consider.

You’ll earn a welcome bonus of 10,000 Delta miles after spending $500 in purchases in the first 3 months of opening your account.

The card also comes with the following perks:

  • 2 Delta miles per $1 at US restaurants
  • 2 Delta miles per $1 with Delta
  • 1 Delta mile everywhere else
  • 20% savings in the form of a statement credit when you make eligible in-flight Delta purchases
  • Terms Apply

Bottom Line

If you frequently fly Delta Airlines, there are a number of cards with specific benefits and perks that can save you money and make your flying experience more enjoyable.

Here is our list of credit cards that Delta flyers will find useful for specific benefits, from earning elite status, complimentary lounge access, companion certificates, and more!

Which of these cards is your favorite for earning Delta SkyMiles?  Let us know in the comments!

For the latest tips and tricks on traveling big without spending a fortune, please subscribe to the Million Mile Secrets daily email newsletter.

For rates and fees of the Gold Delta SkyMiles Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Gold Delta SkyMiles Business Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta Reserve Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta Reserve for Business Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the AMEX Platinum Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the AMEX Business Platinum Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Blue Delta SkyMiles Card, please click here.

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

  • Earn 30,000 Bonus Miles after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in purchases within 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 for every dollar spent on eligible purchases made directly with Delta. Earn one mile for every eligible dollar you spend on other purchases.
  • Check your first bag free on Delta flights – that’s a savings of up to $240 per round trip for a family of four.
  • Settle into your seat sooner with Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding.
  • Enjoy a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Terms Apply | Rates & Fees

More Info

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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I want to verify that if we had a Gold Delta Amex card a few years ago and cancelled it, we would not qualify for the sign on bonus for any of these Amex cards again, correct?

Author

That would most likely only apply if you applied specifically for the Gold Delta Amex again. But you’d be eligible for the welcome bonus on any other card product.

Basically, it’s limited to one welcome bonus, per card product, per lifetime.