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Delta Gold SkyMiles review: Lock in the lower annual fee now

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Delta Gold SkyMiles review: Lock in the lower annual fee now

Meghan HunterDelta Gold SkyMiles review: Lock in the lower annual fee nowMillion Mile Secrets Team

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If you frequently fly Delta, the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express has a lot to offer. This travel credit card comes packed with perks that can save you time and money, like free checked bags and priority boarding. Plus, it comes with a welcome offer of 30,000 miles and up to $50 in Delta statement credits after you meet minimum spending requirements.

If you act quickly to get the bigger welcome bonus, you’ll also avoid an increase in the card’s annual fee from $95 to $99, scheduled for Jan. 30, 2020 (see rates and fees).

You can apply for the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express here. Here’s our review:

The Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card has a limited-time welcome bonus that will help you make that dream trip a reality. (Photo by Tananyaa Pithi/Shutterstock.)

Delta Gold SkyMiles review

The Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express is currently offering 30,000 Delta miles after you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. Plus, you’ll earn a $50 statement credit for making a Delta purchase within the same time frame.

With the card’s Pay With Miles perk, the welcome bonus is easily worth $300 — but you could get much more value depending on how you redeem your Delta miles.

For example, I was able to find the following award flights on the Delta website:

  • 4,000 Delta miles + ~$6 fees for a one-way flight from Los Angeles to San Francisco
  • 7,500 Delta miles + ~$6 fees for a one-way flight from Los Angeles to Dallas
  • 11,000 Delta miles + ~$6 fees for a one-way flight from Los Angeles to New York

After meeting the minimum spending requirement to earn the intro bonus, you’ll have at least 31,000 Delta miles. Delta has regular award sales which, in the past, have included flights for 30,000 miles round-trip to Hong Kong and 30,000 miles round-trip to Europe.

If you want to learn more about Delta’s award sales, subscribe to our newsletter.

Benefits and perks of the Delta Gold SkyMiles Credit Card

Free checked bag

With the Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express, the primary cardholder and up to eight others traveling on the same reservation will enjoy one free checked bag each. With baggage fees starting at $30 per bag, a round-trip flight for yourself and eight others on the same itinerary would otherwise mean a total of $540 in baggage fees.

Amex Gold Delta SkyMiles cardmembers get a free checked bag for themselves and eight additional people flying with them on the same itinerary. (Photo by Romeo Pj/Shutterstock.)

20% discount on inflight purchases

If you use your card on certain inflight purchases, you’ll receive a credit of 20% off the purchase price on your Amex statement within six to eight weeks after the transaction is posted to your account. Not all inflight purchases will qualify for this discount, but eligible items typically include food, beverages and audio headsets. The purchase must be made entirely with the card to receive this benefit.

Priority boarding

If you want more time to settle into your seat, Amex Gold Delta SkyMiles cardholders receive complimentary priority boarding for the cardmember and up to eight additional people flying on the same itinerary. Just make sure to include your Delta frequent flyer number on your reservation.

Discount on Delta SkyClub access

Delta stopped selling single-visit passes for its Sky Club lounges last year. But Amex Delta Gold cardholders still have the option of buying lounge passes for themselves and two guests or their spouse and children under 21 years old. If you spend a lot of time at the airport or have a long layover, a lounge offers a quiet place to wait. In many cases, the lounges offer free food and drinks. The day passes cost $29 per person. In order to be eligible, you need to be traveling on a Delta flight that same day.

Ability to pay with miles for flights

The Amex Delta Gold card unlocks the ability to use the Pay with Miles feature. This allows you to purchase Delta flights with Delta miles at a rate of 1 cent per mile. The 30,000-mile bonus you can earn with this card is worth no less than $300 in Delta flights.

You can generally get more value out of your points if you use them to book award flights, but with this option, you won’t have to worry about finding the cheapest Delta low-level awards on the dates you want to fly. And if you can find a good fare sale, you might be able to use fewer miles with Pay with Miles than if you booked an award ticket.

Just note, this perk only applies to Delta flights, not flights with partner airlines.

Read our full guide on the Delta Pay with Miles feature.

Earn Delta elite status more easily

To earn Delta elite status you need to earn a certain amount of:

  • Medallion® Qualification Dollars (MQDs) and
  • Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) or Medallion® Qualification Segments (MQSs)

Here is what you’ll need to earn to qualify for each tier of Delta elite status:

With the Amex Delta Gold card, you can earn an MQD waiver for Silver, Gold or Platinum status if you spend $25,000 on eligible purchases on the card in the qualification year. You can even earn an MQD waiver for Diamond status, but you’ll need to spend a whopping $250,000 in eligible purchases in the qualification year. So if the MQD requirement is the only thing standing between you and Delta status, this card can help you get there.

Extended warranty

When you make an eligible purchase with the card, Amex will extend the original manufacturer’s warranty up to two additional years on eligible warranties of five years or less. That’s a nice savings if you’d otherwise be paying cash to purchase an extended warranty.

Return protection

We all make mistakes and buy the wrong item sometimes. Fortunately, Amex Gold Delta SkyMiles cardmembers are protected with return protection on certain eligible purchases. If you try to return an eligible item within 90 days of the date of purchase and the merchant will not take it back, you may be refunded the full purchase price, up to $300 per item and a maximum of $1,000 per year.

ShopRunner membership

With ShopRunner membership, you’ll get free, unlimited two-day shipping at a wide selection of stores. Membership normally costs $79 per year, but you’ll receive this membership at no additional cost as an Amex Gold Delta SkyMiles card member.

Amex Offers

Amex Offers are targeted deals offering statement credits or bonus points for everyday purchases. A deal might offer $10 off a $50 purchase at a certain store or 5,000 bonus Amex Membership Rewards points for purchasing from a website. Team member Jasmin loves using Amex Offers to stock up on household products and snacks for her kids, especially whenever the offers for Boxed.com appear. Team member Meghan has also been able to take advantage of some of these discounts, even turning some of them into a profit.

Is the Delta Gold SkyMiles Card worth the annual fee?

It’s easy to come out ahead of the $95 annual fee on this card (it’s waived the first year (see rates and fees), even if you only fly Delta a handful of times each year. You can get significant value from perks such as free checked bags, priority boarding, discounted Delta SkyClub lounge access and more.

With the Amex Delta Gold card getting the primary cardholder and up to eight companions their first checked bag free, this perk could make up for the annual fee after just a single trip.

Other Delta cards, like the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express ($195 annual fee; $250 if application is received on or after Jan. 30, 2020; see rates and fees) and Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express ($450 annual fee; $550 if application is received on or after Jan. 30, 2020; see rates and fees) also come with this free baggage perk. But they have much higher annual fees.

Delta no longer has an award chart. So it’s tricky to tell how much your next award flight will cost. This can be a big problem if you don’t have a flexible schedule that allows you to pick and choose the best deals. But if you have an eligible Amex Delta credit card, you can pay for Delta flights with miles through the Pay with Miles feature. With this tool, your Delta miles are worth 1 cent each toward Delta flights. That’s probably less than what they would be worth if you booked an award flight outright, but when using Pay with Miles you can book any available seat.

If you don’t have enough miles to cover the flight, that’s not a problem with Pay with Miles. You can pay for just part of a flight — as long as you’re using at least 5,000 Delta miles. With award flights, it’s all miles or nothing. Pay with Miles helpful if you’ve got a few extra miles sitting unused in your Delta account. The one drawback is that you have to pay in 5,000-mile increments.

Based on reports online, you should have a good chance of being approved for this card even with fair credit. I was able to find a few reports of people being approved with a credit score as low as 630.

Amex has a once-per-lifetime rule when it comes to earning the welcome bonus on a card. This means that no matter how long ago you previously earned the welcome bonus on the Amex Gold Delta SkyMiles card, you won’t be eligible to receive an intro bonus a second time.

How to earn miles with the Delta Gold SkyMiles Credit Card

With the Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express, you’ll earn:

  • 2 miles per dollar spent with Delta
  • 1 mile per dollar spent on everything else

You can easily redeem Delta miles at a value of 1 cent each thanks to Pay With Miles, but it’s not unheard-of to get more than double that in value by booking award flights directly through the Delta website.

Easily book paid flights with Delta Pay With Miles, where your miles are worth 1 cent each. (Photo by Nieuwland Photography/Shutterstock.)

How to redeem Delta miles

Delta no longer publishes an award chart, but it is still possible to find amazing deals on award flights. To look up the cost of an award flight, you’ll have to look up a specific route and date. You can also book award flights on partner airlines, like Air France and KLM.

Read our full guide on how to use Delta Miles here.

Does the Delta Gold SkyMiles Card have a foreign transaction fee?

No. (See rates and fees.)

Customer support for the Delta Gold SkyMiles Card

If you ever run into issues with your account, you can contact Amex either by phone, or through their online chat function.

I have always been blown away by the level of service I have received from Amex. When I had a fraudulent charge on my account a few years ago, it took just a few minutes to have the issue resolved. I was not required to pay the disputed charge and I was off the phone in a matter of minutes.

And when I needed to file an extended warranty claim for a malfunctioning keyboard on my laptop, I just submitted a copy of the repair invoice to Amex and received reimbursement within weeks.

Credit cards similar to the Delta Gold SkyMiles Card

If the Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express isn’t quite right for you, there are a few other Delta credit cards that you could consider:

The Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express comes with a higher annual fee of $195 ($250 if the application is received on or after Jan. 30, 2020; see rates and fees), but offers a few perks not found on the Amex Gold Delta SkyMiles card. You’ll receive a domestic main cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your card, and with Delta SkyMiles Miles Boost, you can earn 10,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 or more in eligible purchases on the card in a calendar year.

You can also earn an additional 10,000 bonus miles and 10,000 MQMs after you spend $50,000 in eligible purchases on the card in a calendar year.

If you’re looking for the most elite cardmember experience, consider the Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express. With an annual fee of $450 ($550 if the application is received on or after Jan. 30,  2020), you’ll enjoy perks like complimentary Delta SkyClub access, upgrade priority, a domestic first-class or main-cabin round-trip companion certificate upon renewal of your card and more.

Bottom line

With an annual fee of $95 that’s waived for the first year and a welcome bonus potentially worth hundreds of dollars, the Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express is definitely worth considering, even if you only fly Delta a handful of times throughout the year.

You’ll earn a welcome bonus of 30,000 Delta miles after spending $1,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening and a $50 statement credit for making a Delta purchase within the same time frame. Plus, you’ll get the card before the annual fee goes up next year (from $95 to $99).

As a cardmember, you’ll receive access to benefits that will save you time and money at the airport. These include priority boarding, free checked bags, discounted Delta SkyClub lounge access, discounts on certain inflight purchases, ShopRunner membership, Amex Offers and more.

You should have a good chance of approval with this card; we found reports online of people being approved with a credit score as low as 630.

You can apply for the Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express here.

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

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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 received an email from Delta yesterday advising that as of 1/30/20 the annual fee will increase to $99/yr, and you will no longer be able to access the SkyClub for a fee with the Gold card. The good news is you will earn 2 points per dollar spent at restaurants and US supermarkets.

I have the Platinum card and was advised the lounge rates were increasing to $39 as of Jan 1, 2020.

They were increasing other fees and reducing some perks. Proceed with caution or 2020 could bring some surprises.

Thanks for sharing! 🙂 Was this an Amex rep who shared this with you?