Delta Branded Credit Cards Are Not The Best For Flying Delta – Here’s Why!

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Delta Branded Credit Cards Are Not The Best For Flying Delta – Here’s Why!

Brett HolzhauerDelta Branded Credit Cards Are Not The Best For Flying Delta – Here’s Why!Million Mile Secrets Team

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As I’ve talked about my affinity for Delta over the past several months, I’ve had several readers ask for suggestions for the best credit card for flying Delta.  Many flyers immediately assume the American Express Delta family of cards is best.  However, analyzing the benefits of these cards versus others prove the lack of strength of the Delta branded credit cards outside of their minimum spend bonuses.

But in my opinion, The Platinum Card® from American Express is far and away the best card for Delta flyers.

I will detail the Delta cards first, and then show you why the AMEX Platinum is the best card to get you in the sky with my all time favorite airline!

You Can Get In The Sky Even Faster When Not Using Delta Branded Credit Cards!

The Delta American Express Cards

While Delta is my favorite airline for many reasons, their credit cards just don’t seem to hit the mark.

1.   Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

The AMEX Delta Gold could actually be argued as an even poorer card in some ways.

The card does come with a healthy bonus of 30,000 Delta miles after spending $1,000 in purchases within 3 months of account opening (plus a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase within the first 3 months).  However, you will only earn:

  • 2 Delta miles per $1 with Delta
  • 1 Delta mile per $1 for everything else

Plus, you will have an annual fee of $95 (See Rates & Fees).

The largest draw of this card is getting your first checked bag free, which could potentially save hundreds per year.  I am currently a card member, however it sits and collects dust with the rest of my cards.

The AMEX Delta Platinum personal and small business cards are decent for one reason only, and it’s not the welcome bonus.  For example, while the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express comes with 35,000 Delta miles (and a $100 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase in the first 3 months) after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months, the best feature is the companion pass.  After holding the card for one year and paying the second annual fee (See Rates & Fees), you will earn a companion pass to anywhere within the Continental US.

In summary, pay $390 in annual fees, get 36,000 miles and a companion pass.  The 36,000 miles alone could easily be worth $430, so the companion pass is simply gravy!  However, this pass is only valid for main cabin flights.

This card also gives you one free checked bag.  I am currently a card member but have yet to use the companion pass just yet.  This one also collects dust.

The AMEX Delta Reserve credit cards are good, but I’ll give you a much better option later.  For example, the Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card has a solid welcome bonus of 40,000 Delta miles after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months of account opening, but it comes at a steep annual fee of $450 (See Rates & Fees).  You will also get 10,000 MQMs (Medallion Qualifying Miles), but these are really only useful if you are flying a bunch and trying to earn Delta status.

With the AMEX Delta Reserve for Business, you will earn 2 miles per $1 on Delta purchases and 1 mile per $1 on everything else.

However, the large hook to this card is being able to access Delta SkyClubs for free when flying on Delta.  Along with this, you will receive an annual companion certificate for any domestic flight on Delta in any seat class upon renewal, meaning you will be $900 deep in annual fees before you receive it.

While all of these cards have perks, they really are poor earning for your spending, and you can receive even better earnings for your spending and better perks for your annual fees.

The Best Credit Card For Delta Flyers

The American Express Platinum Card is arguably the best credit card on the market.  Despite the shock of paying $550 per year for an annual fee (See Rates & Fees), there is an incredible amount of value to be extracted as a flyer of Delta.

First, you are able to earn 60,000 AMEX Membership Reward points after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of card membership.  These 65,000+ points you earn from the start alone can be worth $1,300+, as they can be transferred to numerous rewards programs, including Delta, at a 1:1 ratio.

Along with valuable points, the AMEX Platinum grants you access to all Delta SkyClubs when you are ticketed to fly with Delta.  And this is just one layer of all the incredible perks you will receive as a cardholder of the AMEX Platinum Card.

My wife and I are both AMEX Platinum cardholders, and with all of the additions they continue to roll out to please cardholders, I don’t anticipate us canceling anytime soon!

Final Thoughts

The end goal for many of us is to maximize our daily expenses to earn the most miles possible to get us on our next adventure.  I strongly encourage those loyal to one airline to make sure you are using the best credit card possible to complement your spending habits and travel goals.

Want to learn how to make the most out of your American Express Membership Rewards points?  Subscribe to our newsletter!

For rates and fees of the Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express, please click here
For rates and fees of the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express, please click here
For rates and fees of the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express, please click here
For rates and fees of the Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card, please click here
For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here

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The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express

  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on
  • Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • 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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Poorly written in the sense that all of the main benefits were not mentioned on some of the cards. So you don’t get an accurate picture for comparison.

I recently scheduled airfare on Delta for me and 2 others and was offered the Gold Delta card at checkout with 25,000 miles after spending $2k and also an immediate $250 credit. Plus the fact that I get free checked bags for 3 people, we save another $180. So at a minimum I’m saving $680 and will be much more because 25,000 miles will be worth more than .01 each to me since I fly out of smaller rural airports. It was a no brainer, but I agree that it will collect some dust once I hit the minimum.

While I agree that for spending benefits the card is poor, however one thing that isn’t mentioned is the MQD waiver after minimum spend. This could help those that can’t qualify for the minimum MQD for airfare spend along.

I too am a frequent user of this airline for business trips. Flying out of Detroit they cannot be beat. I recently had the Delta Reserve Card. The main reason I got it was for the lounge access, and the MQM’s put me into the next medallion category. I was able to get the companion pass before renewing for the next year. The timing has to work just right however. The certificate actually posts to your account right at the renewal month. If you use it to book a trip right away (not travel… but book), you still have 30 days to cancel the card.

I dont see this benefit mentioned: The Amex Platinum includes a $200 per year credit for your designated airline, which can be DL. That negates a big chunk of the annual fee. You can purchase DL gift cards in increments of $50 (only from your desktop, not from mobil).

I agree the Platinum card from American Express is the best choice.

Your numbers are off for MQMs though. You get 15,000 with the reserve card up to at least twice a year and 10,000 with the Platinum card.

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