Best Delta Credit Cards of November 2019

Compare Blue, Gold, Platinum and Reserve

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If you’re a Delta Airlines fan, you may be looking for the best Delta credit cards. American Express offers a suite of co-branded cards for Delta flyers, each with particular advantages. 

You’ll earn Skymiles rewards with all of them, but varying fees, welcome offers and travel perks give you very distinct options. To help you pick the one that best fits your flying and spending habits, we’ve compiled this list.

Note that American Express is making broad changes to its Delta program in January 2020, so the card terms—and our top picks—are subject to change even more than usual. With that in mind, here are our picks right now.

Editors' Picks for Best Delta Credit Cards: November 2019

Best Overall

Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card

Our Rating Among Delta Airlines Cards
3.2
Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 17.24% - 26.24% variable
Annual Fee $195 ($250 if your application is received on or after 1/30/2020)
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 2 Miles per dollar spent on purchases made directly with Delta. Earn 1 mile on every eligible dollar spent on purchases.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%

Why We Chose This Card

This Delta card offers a well-rounded mix of airline perks, travel benefits, and a decent intro bonus. You can enjoy loyalty perks like early boarding, free checked bags, and an annual companion pass after you renew your card. It has a high annual fee, but you can recoup the cost each year if you use the card benefits. Plus, the new cardholder bonus is easy to earn and worth about $315 according to our calculations—one of the best bonuses any Delta card offers.

Best for Avoiding an Annual Fee

Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

Our Rating Among Delta Airlines Cards
2.9
Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 17.24% - 26.24% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 2 miles per dollar at US restaurants and on eligible Delta purchases, and earn 1 mile per dollar on all other eligible purchases.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 2.7%

Why We Chose This Card

If you want to rack up Delta miles without paying an annual fee, this card could be a fit. You’ll earn 2 miles per $1 spent on Delta and restaurant purchases, but you don’t get free checked bags or great perks other Delta cards have, like airport lounge access or a companion pass. Delta miles aren’t worth as much as miles with other airlines, but if you have other reasons for favoring Delta, this card is a low-risk way to earn Delta miles faster.

Best for Occasional Delta Flyers

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card

Our Rating Among Delta Airlines Cards
2.9
Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 17.24% - 26.24% variable
Annual Fee $0 for the first year, then $95
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 2 miles per dollar spent on purchases made directly with Delta. Earn one mile for every eligible dollar spent on purchases.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%

Why We Chose This Card

If you prefer flying Delta, but aren’t a huge spender or constant traveler, this card is for you. You can make up the annual fee cost by using the free-checked-bag benefit a few times each year. Enjoy the Delta Sky Club lounge for a lower per-visit fee, plus early boarding. You only need to spend $334 each month after opening this card to earn a 30,000-mile bonus, too, which is worth about $270, based on our analysis. That's not a huge welcome offer, but we like that it's attainable.

Best for Airport Lounge Access

Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express

Our Rating Among Delta Airlines Cards
2.5
Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 17.24% - 26.24% variable
Annual Fee $450 ($550 if your application is received on or after 1/30/2020)
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on purchases made directly with Delta. Earn 1 mile per $1 on other eligible purchases.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%

Why We Chose This Card

This is the card for heavy Delta users who want unlimited access to the Delta Sky Club while traveling. It’s got perks that are perfect for frequent flyers, like a companion certificate, expedited security line access, and free checked bags. But the airport lounge access alone—worth $545 per year—makes up for the premium annual fee.

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How Do Delta Credit Cards Work?

Delta credit cards are airline cards, which means they are co-branded with the card issuer—in this case, American Express. Airline credit cards award miles for card purchases, typically offering more miles on purchases made with the particular airline. These cards also often give travelers perks like free checked bags, early boarding, and a boost toward elite frequent flyer status. 

There are several Delta airline card options, ranging from a very basic, no-annual-fee card (the Delta Blue Credit Card) up to a high-annual-fee premium card with more perks and travel insurance benefits (the Delta Reserve Credit Card). Each Delta card also has a welcome offer—often worth at least a couple hundred dollars—for cardholders who meet a spending requirement within three months of opening an account. 

When you pay with a Delta credit card, you’ll earn frequent flyer miles with Delta’s SkyMiles program. Regardless of which Delta card you have, you’ll earn 2 SkyMiles per $1 spent on Delta purchases, such as flights booked directly with Delta, seat upgrades, or in-flight food purchases. All other purchases earn 1 SkyMile per $1. There’s no limit on the number of SkyMiles you can earn with any of these cards, and the miles won’t expire. 

SkyMiles can be redeemed for flights on Delta or a partner airline, so long as you book the flights through Delta. Award flight costs will vary based on travel dates, destination, and seat type. 

Note

To learn more about earning and using airline miles, read: “How Credit Card Miles Work and How You Can Earn Them.”

Delta SkyMiles can also pay for seat upgrades, airport lounge access, vacation packages, experiences, gift cards, Delta private jet travel, and online shopping via the SkyMiles marketplace. 

Who Should Get a Delta Credit Card?

Delta credit cards are best suited for travelers who:

  1. Are near an airport with a lot of Delta flights, including Atlanta and eight other U.S. hubs
  2. Plan to fly Delta at least a couple of times a year
  3. Want airport lounge access (most of the cards offer at least discounted passes to the lounge) 
  4. Want to earn elite status in the SkyMiles program faster
  5. Have good credit

How to Choose a Delta Card

Use our recommendations above to guide your evaluation, then consider the following: 

SkyMiles value: If you want to earn lots of miles, it’ll take time with the Delta cards unless you fly with the airline often. Two miles per $1 spent on flights is a typical miles-earning rate among airline cards, but our valuations found SkyMiles are only worth 0.9 cents each, which means you’re not getting as much value back per $1 spent as other airline and general travel cards give you. 

Tip

A good rule of thumb when considering the value of any credit card reward is to aim for points or miles worth at least 1 cent each. 

Welcome offer: How much is the bonus actually worth? The number of miles you earn might look high, but the Delta bonuses are worth less than other airline card offers because of the relatively low value of SkyMiles. Also, is the welcome offer attainable based on how much you currently spend with credit cards each month? Spending requirements vary among Delta cards.

Annual fees: Card annual fee costs can be offset if you take advantage of other valuable card features besides the rewards program. All but one Delta credit card charges an annual fee, so decide what makes a Delta card worth that cost for you, and choose accordingly. 

Travel perks & benefits: Delta cards are not all created equal when it comes to travel insurance and other valuable perks. If good benefits are what you seek, check out the more premium Delta cards. If you’re not interested in extras like free checked bags or priority boarding, the simplest Delta card may be sufficient. 

Pros & Cons of Delta Credit Cards

Pros

  • Multiple card options

  • Premium cards offer good Delta perks and travel insurance benefits

  • Frequent flyers can easily earn miles

Cons

  • Low points-earnings rate

  • Miles aren’t worth as much as competing airlines’ miles

  • Annual fees on most cards

  • High APRs

Other Ways To Earn Rewards on Delta Flights

You don’t have to get a Delta card to earn miles on your flights. In fact, you can probably earn more valuable rewards with a general travel rewards card. Travel cards are flexible when it comes to earning and redeeming rewards. You won’t have to favor one airline over another, and you can redeem for other travel costs besides just flights. 

If you identify with any of the following, you may want to reconsider opening a Delta card:

  • You often fly whatever airline offers the most convenient or cheapest flight
  • You’d like to earn more travel rewards on non-travel purchases
  • You’re not interested in reaching elite airline loyalty status
  • You have a preferred airline, but it’s not Delta
  • Your primary airport doesn’t offer many Delta flights

Methodology

We collect data on hundreds of cards and score more than 55 features that affect your finances. We do this because it's our mission to give you unbiased, comprehensive credit card reviews.

Our reviews are always impartial. No one can influence which cards we review, the way we present them to you, or the ratings they receive.

About This List

The Balance editorial team reviewed the four consumer co-branded Delta credit cards, all of which are issued by American Express. We specifically looked at each card’s new cardholder welcome offer, Delta-specific perks, additional travel benefits, and annual fee.

What We Score

Beyond limiting this list to co-branded Delta credit cards, we look most closely at the card's highest rewards-earning rate and the value of the welcome offer—the higher the rewards-earning rate and the more valuable we calculate the welcome offer to be, the higher the score the card receives.

The next most important factors are the three-year average of the annual fee and how many exceptional perks the card offers (such as priority boarding, free checked bags, and Delta lounge access). We also look at standard perks, too, like secondary rental car insurance or purchase protection. Other driving factors in the card's score include the ongoing APR and the credit score the issuer recommends applicants have.

We prioritize these features because rewards, annual fee, and regular APR are the most important things people consider when choosing a credit card. For full details on how we evaluate credit card attributes, check out our full methodology.