How to earn Delta SkyMiles in 2020

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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

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

Best personal card

Bonus

With the Delta SkyMiles Gold card you’ll earn 35,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.

SkyMiles earning rate

  • 2 miles per dollar on eligible Delta purchases
  • 2 miles per dollar at restaurants
  • 2 miles per dollar at U.S. supermarkets
  • 1 mile per dollar on all other purchases
  • Terms Apply

Annual fee

$99 (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 by far the lowest annual fee.

Total value

Delta miles value is at least 1 cent each, though they can be worth much more (read our post on the best ways to use Delta miles).

Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card

Best business card with low annual fee

Bonus

The Delta SkyMiles Gold Business card has an intro offer of 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in the first 3 months.

SkyMiles earning rate

  • 2 miles per dollar on eligible Delta purchases
  • 2 miles per dollar on U.S. shipping
  • 2 miles per dollar on U.S. advertising
  • 2 miles per dollar at restaurants
  • 1 mile per dollar on all other purchases
  • Terms Apply

Annual fee

$99 (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.

Total value

Delta miles value is at least 1 cent each (though they can be worth much more if you know how to use Delta miles).

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Best personal card with Annual Companion Certificate

Bonus

With the Delta SkyMiles Platinum card you’ll earn 40,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Plus, earn a $100 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months.

SkyMiles earning rate

  • 3 miles per dollar on eligible Delta purchases
  • 3 miles per dollar at hotels
  • 2 miles per dollar at U.S. supermarkets
  • 2 miles per dollar at restaurants
  • 1 mile per dollar on all other purchases
  • Terms Apply

Annual fee

$250 (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 a bigger bonus, and 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.

Total value

Delta miles value is at least 1 cent each, though they can be worth much more (read our post on the best ways to use Delta miles). You’ll get a minimum of $1,000 in free Delta flights with this bonus.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card

Best business card with Annual Companion Certificate

Bonus

The Delta SkyMiles Platinum Business card has an intro offer of 45,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in the first 3 months. Plus, earn a $100 Statement Credit after your first Delta purchase on your new Card in the first 3 months.

SkyMiles earning rate

  • 3 miles per dollar on Delta purchases
  • 3 miles per dollar at hotels
  • 1.5 miles per dollar on each eligible purchase of $5,000 or more
  • 1 mile per dollar on everything else
  • Terms Apply

Annual fee

$250 (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. This card is also a great choice for all your larger business expenses that don’t fall into a bonus category.

Total value

Delta miles value is at least 1 cent each (though they can be worth much more if you know how to use Delta miles). You’ll get a minimum of $1,000 in free Delta flights with this bonus.

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card

Best personal card for elite status and lounge access

Bonus

The Delta Reserve credit card has a bonus of 40,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.

SkyMiles earning rate

  • 3 miles on eligible Delta purchases
  • 1 mile per dollar on all other purchases
  • Terms Apply

Annual fee

$550 (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 Amex Centurion lounges. Additionally, 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) after you spend $30,000 on purchases in a calendar year. And you can earn an additional 15,000 MQMs after spending a total of $60,000 in purchases in a calendar year. 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.

You’ll even receive access to complimentary upgrades without Medallion status.

Total value

Delta miles value is at least 1 cent each, though they can be worth much more (read our post on the best ways to use Delta miles). You’ll get a minimum of $1,000 in free Delta flights with this bonus.

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card

Best business card for elite status and lounge access

Bonus

The Amex Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business card comes a bonus of 45,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.

SkyMiles earning rate

  • 3 miles per dollar on eligible Delta purchases
  • 1.5 miles per dollar on purchases after spending $150,000 in a calendar year (if spending in a bonus category, only the regular bonus will apply)
  • 1 mile per dollar on all other purchases
  • Terms Apply

Annual fee

$550 (see rates and fees)

Our take

The Amex Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business 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. The card also offers the opportunity to earn 15,000 additional Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $30,000 on purchases in a calendar year. You can a maximum of 60,000 bonus MQMs by spending $120,000 in a calendar year.

Total value

Delta miles value is at least 1 cent each (though they can be worth much more if you know how to use Delta miles). You’ll get a minimum of $1,000 in free Delta flights with this bonus.

The Platinum® Card from American Express

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:

  • 5 points per dollar on airfare booked directly with the airlines or through the Amex travel site
  • 5 points per dollar on prepaid hotel bookings made through Amex travel
  • 1 point per dollar for all other purchases
  • Terms Apply

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.

Total value

If converting your points to to Delta miles, you’ll receive at least $600 in Delta flights from this bonus. You’ll find Delta miles value to be at least 1 cent each, though they can be worth much more (read our post on the best ways to use Delta miles).

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express

Best business card for earning Delta miles on airfare and hotels

(Photo by Wyatt Smith)

Bonus

Earn 75,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership.

SkyMiles earning rate

Just like with the personal Platinum card, the Amex Business Platinum earns Amex points and you can transfer those points to Delta at a 1:1 ratio. The Amex Business Platinum earns:

  • 5 points on airfare booked directly with the airlines or through the Amex travel site and on prepaid hotel bookings made through Amex travel
  • 1.5 points per dollar on any purchase of $5,000 or more (up to 1,000,000 points annually)
  • 1 point per dollar for all other purchases
  • Terms Apply

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).

Total value

Delta miles value is at least 1 cent each (though they can be worth much more if you know how to use Delta miles). You’ll get a minimum of $750 in free Delta flights with the full bonus.

Are cards that earn Delta miles worth it?

Although all of the best 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 there is no Delta 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, 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 miles (and applicable taxes and fees) and with previous Delta SkyMiles deals, 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.

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For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles Gold Card, please click here.

For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles Gold Business Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles Platinum Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles Platinum 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 Martin Helgemeir / Shutterstock

 

Joseph Hostetler is a full-time writer for Million Mile Secrets, covering miles and points tips and tricks, as well as helpful travel-related news and deals.

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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