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How to earn Delta SkyMiles in 2020

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How to earn Delta SkyMiles in 2020

Jason StaufferHow to earn Delta SkyMiles in 2020Million Mile Secrets Team

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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 travel credit cards to earn Delta miles with 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.

How to earn Delta SkyMiles in 2020

Earn Delta SkyMiles in 2020 with these cards

Amex Gold Delta SkyMiles personal card

Best personal card with first year annual fee waived

(Photo by Isabelle Raphael)

Bonus

With the Gold Delta SkyMiles credit card you can earn 30,000 Delta miles after spending $1,000 on purchases within the first three months and a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase within your first three months.

SkyMiles earning rate

This card earns 2x miles on Delta purchases and one mile per dollar on all other purchases. But beginning on Jan. 30th 2020 this card will also earn 2x miles at U.S. Supermarkets and at restaurants worldwide.

Annual fee

$95, waived for the first year (see rates and fees).

Our take

This is the best consumer Delta airline credit card to start with because it has a solid range of Delta perks and the annual fee is waived for the first year.

Amex Gold Delta SkyMiles Business card

Best business card with first year annual fee waived

Bonus

The Gold Delta SkyMiles Business credit card has an intro offer of 30,000 Delta miles after spending $1,000 on purchases within the first three months and a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase within your first three months.

SkyMiles earning rate

This card earns 2x miles on Delta purchases and one mile per dollar on all other purchases. But beginning on Jan. 30th 2020 this card will also earn 2x miles on U.S. shipping, U.S. advertising and at restaurants worldwide.

Annual fee

$95, waived for the first year (see rates and fees).

Our take

If you’re in the market for a nice starter business credit card you can’t go wrong with this one. And because it is considered a different product from the personal Delta Gold card you are still eligible for the intro offer even if you’ve had the other version.

Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

Best personal card with Annual Companion Certificate

Bonus

With the Platinum Delta SkyMiles credit card you’ll earn 35,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first three months. Plus, earn a $100 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase within your first three months.

SkyMiles earning rate

This card earns 2x miles on Delta purchases and one mile per dollar on all other purchases. However, after Jan. 30th 2020, the card is getting an increase for its bonus categories. You’ll earn 2x Delta miles at U.S. Supermarkets and restaurants worldwide and 3x Delta miles on hotel and Delta purchases.

Annual fee

$195 ($250 if application is received on or after 1/30/2020) (see rates and fees).

Our take

The Delta Platinum card has a bigger annual fee than the Gold Delta card, but it also comes with an annual companion certificate every year you renew you card. With the certificate you can bring along a companion on any Main Cabin (economy) Delta ticket within the contiguous 48 United States. The only cost for this privilege is the taxes and fees for the second passenger.

Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express

Best business card with Annual Companion Certificate

Bonus

The Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business credit card has an intro offer of 35,000 bonus miles and 5,000 MQMs after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first three months. Plus, earn a $100 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase within your first three months.

SkyMiles earning rate

This card earns 2x miles on Delta purchases and one mile per dollar on all other purchases. However, after Jan. 30th 2020, the card is getting an increase for its bonus categories. You’ll earn 3x Delta miles on hotel and Delta purchases and 1.5x miles on single purchases of $5,000 or more.

Annual fee

$195 ($250 if application is received on or after 1/30/2020) (see rates and fees).

Our take

This card has the same annual companion certificate benefit as the personal Delta Platinum card. That perk alone can easily be worth as much or more than the annual fee. And after Jan. 30th 2020, this card will be a good choice for all your larger business expenses.

Amex Delta Reserve

Best personal card for elite status

Bonus

The Delta Reserve credit card has a bonus of 40,000 Delta miles and 10,000 MQMs after spending $3,000 within the first three months.

SkyMiles earning rate

This card earns 2x miles on Delta purchases and one mile per dollar on all other purchases. But, after Jan. 30th 2020, you’ll earn 3x miles on Delta purchases.

Annual fee

$450 ($550 if application is received on or after 1/30/2020) (see rates and fees).

Our take

The Reserve card is Delta’s premium co-branded card and it comes with benefits like Delta SkyClub airport lounge access and after Jan. 30th 2020, cardholders will also get access to Amex Centurion lounges. On top of that, you’ll get a companion certificate each year you renew the card. This companion certificate is valid for any cabin of travel (including first class) within the contiguous 48 United States, you’ll just need to pay for the companion taxes and fees.

If you are a big spender aiming for Delta elite status, 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. After Jan. 30th 2020 this perk is changing, you will no longer earn bonus miles (only bonus MQMs) and you’ll earn 15,000 bonus MQMs for every $30,000 you spend on the card in calendar year up to 60,000 bonus MQMs.

For those new to earning Delta elite status, MQMs is just one item needed to earn elite status. You 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.

Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card

Best business card for elite status

Bonus

The Amex Delta Reserve for Business card has a bonus of 40,000 Delta miles and 10,000 MQMs after spending $3,000 within the first three months.

SkyMiles earning rate

This card earns 2x miles on Delta purchases and one mile per dollar on all other purchases. However, after Jan. 30th 2020, the card is getting improved bonus categories. You’ll earn 3x Delta miles on hotel and Delta purchases and you’ll earn 1.5x miles on any purchases in excess of $150,000 per calendar year. So, for example, once you spend $150,000 (between Jan. 1st to Dec. 31st) every dollar you spend above and beyond that will earn an extra one half mile. If those purchases are in a bonus category, only the bonus category will apply.

Annual fee

$450 ($550 if application is received on or after 1/30/2020) (see rates and fees).

Our take

The Reserve card is Delta’s premium business co-branded card and it comes with the same lounge access and companion certificate perks as the personal Reserve card. You’ll also get the same MQM boost of 15,000 more Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) and 15,000 bonus miles after you spend $30,000 on purchases in a calendar year and an additional 15,000 MQMs and 15,000 bonus miles after spending a total of $60,000 in purchases in a calendar year. After Jan. 30th 2020 this perk is changing, you will no longer earn bonus miles (only bonus MQMs) and you’ll earn 15,000 bonus MQMs for every $30,000 you spend on the card in a calendar year up to 60,000 bonus MQMs.

This card earns the same MQD waivers as the personal Reserve — spend $25,000 in a calendar year earn a waiver for Delta status up to Platinum Medallion, spend $250,000 in a calendar year earn a MQD waiver for Diamond Medallion.

Amex Platinum

Best personal card for earning Delta miles on airfare and hotels

Bonus

Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after spending $5,000 in purchases in the first three months of opening the account.

SkyMiles earning rate

The Amex Platinum card earns Amex Membership Rewards points and you can transfer Amex points to Delta, and many other travel partners, at a 1:1 ratio. The Amex Platinum earns 5x points on airfare booked directly with the airlines or through the Amex travel site. You’ll also earn 5x points on prepaid hotel bookings made through Amex travel. All other purchases earn 1x points.

Annual fee

$550 (see rates & fees).

Our take

The Amex Platinum is a premium rewards credit card loaded with top-tier benefits. For starters, it comes with up to $200 in annual airline incidental fee credits, up to $200 in Uber credits each year and up to $100 in Saks Fifth Ave. credits annually. Plus, you’ll get exceptional airport lounge benefits, including access to Priority Pass lounges, Delta SkyClub lounges and Amex Centurion lounges.

Amex Business Platinum

Best business card for earning Delta miles on airfare and hotels

(Photo by Wyatt Smith)

Bonus

Earn up to 75,000 Amex Membership Rewards points. You’ll earn 50,000 points after you spend $10,000 in purchases within the first three months and an extra 25,000 points after you spend an additional $10,000 on the card within the first three months of account opening.

SkyMiles earning rate

Just like with the personal Platinum card, the Amex Business Platinum card earns Amex points and you can transfer those points to Delta at a 1:1 ratio. The Amex Business Platinum earns 5x points on airfare booked directly with the airlines or through the Amex travel site and on prepaid hotel bookings made through Amex travel. Also, any purchase of $5,000 or more will earn 1.5x points (up to 1,000,000 annually). All other purchases earn 1x points.

Annual fee

$595 annual fee (see rates and fees).

Our take

The Business Platinum has the same top-tier lounge access perks as the personal Platinum, so you’ll have access to Delta SkyClub lounges, Priority Pass lounges and Amex Centurion lounges. Additionally, the card comes with up to $200 in annual airline fee credits and up to $200 in Dell credits each year (for U.S. Dell purchases).

Are cards that earn Delta miles worth it?

Although all of the Delta credit cards (and other Amex 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.

And the Delta miles you earn can be quite valuable and easy to use. 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 Delta award sales, a round-trip ticket from New York (JFK) to London would have only cost you 16,000 Delta SkyMiles and around $180 in taxes.

How to qualify for cards that earn Delta miles

All of these cards are American Express cards, which means that you can only earn an intro bonus for a specific card once per lifetime. So if you currently have or have ever had a card on this list, you aren’t eligible for its bonus. However, many of the cards on this list also have a business version, which is considered a different product. So if you’ve had a Delta Gold card in the past you can still qualify for the Delta Gold Business card’s intro offer.

Even if you don’t think you qualify for business cards, you might be surprised to know you may already have a small business without realizing it. This is because you don’t necessarily need a registered business entity in order to be approved for a business card. I’ve been approved for business cards as an independent contractor, which would include Uber and Lyft driving and many other full-time or side hustles. And if you’re a sole proprietor, you can use your Social Security number as your business tax ID and your name as your business name.

Summary of how to earn Delta SkyMiles in 2019

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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.

Featured photo by Eliyahu Yosef Parypa/Shutterstock.

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 on every eligible 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 $240 for a family of 4 roundtrip.
  • Receive Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding on Delta flights, stow your carry-on bag and settle in sooner.
  • 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?

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.