Delta SkyMiles Gold Credit Card Review

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The Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express is best for frequent Delta flyers who have excellent credit and want travel perks like priority boarding and free checked bags for a lower annual fee. You won’t get any help toward reaching elite status, but if you fly with Delta relatively often, this card may still be a good fit for your wallet.

Delta SkyMiles® Gold Card

overall rating
3.3
Delta SkyMiles® Gold 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 (%) 15.74% - 24.74% variable
Annual Fee $0 for the first year, then $99
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 2 miles per dollar spent on purchases made directly with Delta, at restaurants, and at U.S. supermarkets. Earn one mile for every eligible dollar spent on purchases.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
Ratings Breakdown
for Interest
2.0
for Fees
1.5
for Rewards
4.8
for Credit
2.2

Current Offer:

Earn 35,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.

Who Is This Credit Card Best For?

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    Deal Seeker
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    Brand Loyalist

The Delta SkyMiles Gold Credit Card is best for someone who wants basic frequent flyer perks with Delta and the ability to earn Delta SkyMiles from common credit card purchases. This card offers 2 miles per $1 spent on two popular spending categories—restaurants and U.S. supermarkets, which can really add up. Purchases with Delta also earn 2 miles per $1, which means every dollar spent brings you a mile closer to a Delta award flight, seat upgrade, or another reward.

Pros
  • Small, but easy-to-earn welcome offer

  • Access Delta’s Pay with Miles feature

Cons
  • No boost to elite status

  • No Delta Sky Club access

Pros Explained

  • Small, but easy-to-earn welcome offer: This is a pretty meager welcome offer relative to competing cards, but the reasonable $1,000 spending requirement should be easy to meet, considering you'll have several months to do so. More about this below.
  • Access Delta’s Pay with Miles feature: If you can’t find an award ticket for the Delta flight you want, this program can be a big help. Use 5,000 miles to buy a $50 discount off any Delta flight—or use more miles to buy a bigger discount. You can redeem for any amount in increments of 5,000 miles. 

Cons Explained

  • No boost to elite status: Delta credit cards with higher annual fees offer Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) good toward elite status as part of their welcome offers, which can be used to reach elite status sooner. However, the Delta SkyMiles Gold Card doesn’t offer any MQMs, which means you’ll have to earn elite status through flying instead of credit card spending. 
  • No Delta Sky Club access: Other co-branded Delta credit cards with higher annual fees offer entry into Delta Sky Clubs, either as a complimentary perk or at an exclusive per-visit rate. Unfortunately, the Delta SkyMiles Gold credit card doesn’t offer any Sky Club access as a cardholder perk.

If you want a credit card that can help you reach elite status faster or access Delta Sky Clubs for free or at a discount, you’ll need to consider other co-branded Delta credit cards with higher annual fees—Platinum or Reserve.

Delta SkyMiles Gold Card Welcome Offer

New cardholders can earn 35,000 miles by spending $1,000 within three months of opening an account.

To offer a bit of flexibility during COVID-19, new cardholders who open this card before May 31, 2020 will have six months to earn the welcome offer instead of the typical three. If you are already a cardholder but opened your account after Dec. 1, 2019, you'll also have an extra three months to earn your bonus, if you haven't already.

According to our valuations, Delta SkyMiles are worth about 1.60 cents each. This makes the welcome bonus on this card worth approximately $560, although your return will ultimately depend on the itinerary you redeem for. 

Earning Points & Rewards

The Delta SkyMiles Gold Credit Card returns 2 miles per $1 spent on Delta purchases, and the same 2 miles per $1 spent at restaurants worldwide and at U.S. supermarkets. Like most other airline credit cards, this card affords you a regular earning rate of 1 mile per $1 spent on other purchases. 

Note that you’ll get a $100 flight discount after you spend $10,000 on your credit card within a calendar year. This flight credit can be used toward any flight marketed on Delta.com, or through Delta reservations. You can also use it toward the flight component of a trip booked through Delta vacations. 

Delta SkyMiles never expire, so you can save them up for pricier award flights.

Redeeming Rewards

One frustrating aspect of the Delta SkyMiles program is that it does not provide a standard award chart. Unfortunately, this means you may not know how many miles you’ll need for an award flight until you’re ready to trade in your miles. Plus, redemption amounts can be all over the place, so there’s no real way to estimate ahead of time.

Generally speaking, you can normally find round-trip domestic flights starting at 30,000 miles, and international round-trip flights starting at around 60,000 miles. However, you may also find flight awards for fewer miles or considerably more miles depending on your destination and travel dates.

Flights in premium cabins like Delta One can be exorbitantly expensive, often requiring several hundred thousand miles for a single award seat.

On the upside, you can redeem Delta SkyMiles for flights with Delta Air Lines or with more than 20 airline partners, including Air France, KLM, and Virgin Atlantic (you'll still have to book through Delta, though). 

Besides flights, you’ll also be able to redeem your miles for: 

  • Seat upgrades
  • Delta Sky Club membership
  • Delta vacation packages
  • Delta SkyMiles experiences
  • Delta gift cards
  • Shopping in the Delta SkyMiles marketplace
  • Magazine subscriptions

However you decide to spend your miles, you’ll do it through Delta’s website.

To learn more using Delta credit card rewards, see our complete SkyMiles program guide.

To see how the Delta SkyMiles Gold Credit Card’s miles stack up, check out our in-depth analysis of what credit card points are worth.

How to Get the Most Out of This Card

Obviously, to get the most out of the Delta SkyMiles Gold Card, you should use it on all your regular spending, but particularly on Delta purchases, restaurants, and U.S. grocery store spending. If you use your card to pay for a purchase with Delta within three months of account opening, you’ll secure a $50 statement credit. That’s basically a $50 discount off the flight of your choice. 

It also goes without saying that you should grab the welcome offer since the spending threshold is very reasonable.

To really stretch your miles, get in the habit of visiting the Delta SkyMiles Deals page, which is a listing of all of Delta’s award sales. The list changes frequently, but not on a regular schedule. Also try to be as flexible with your travel dates as you can since the cost of a flight can vary dramatically from one day to the next. 

Another tip: Delta’s Pay with Miles program can help you score discounts on flights if you can’t find the award availability you want. The catch is, you have to redeem your miles in increments of 5,000 (worth $50 or 1 cent per mile), so be careful how you redeem them. For example, if you use Pay with Miles for a flight that retails for $315, you’d have to cash in 35,000 miles to cover the cost, wasting $35 worth of miles. Instead, you could cash in 30,000 miles for a $300 discount and pay for the rest on your credit card.

If you spend $10,000 in a calendar year on the card, you'll get a $100 "Flight Credit," which you can use toward a Delta flight booked through Delta.

Delta SkyMiles Gold Card’s Excellent Perks

The Delta SkyMiles Gold Card has a handful of perks deemed "excellent" by the editors of The Balance. These include:

  • Free checked bag: This card offers a free checked bag on Delta and Delta-operated flights for the primary cardholder and up to eight companions on the same itinerary. 
  • Priority boarding: The primary cardholder and up to eight companions on the same itinerary will also receive Main Cabin 1 priority boarding on Delta and Delta-operated itineraries.
  • Insurance coverage for lost or damaged luggage: You’re covered for the cost to replace lost luggage on a trip paid for with the card for up to $500 for checked bags and $1,250 for carry-on.

Delta SkyMiles Gold Card’s Other Features 

  • Discounts on in-flight purchases
  • Rental car collision insurance (secondary to your own policy)
  • Extended warranties
  • Insurance for stolen or damaged purchases

Customer Experience

American Express boasts its own mobile app that lets you track your spending, pay your bill, and more using your mobile device. If you’re a frequent Delta flyer, you can also download Delta’s app in order to manage your rewards, search for award flights, and access a mobile boarding pass when you fly. 

J.D. Power’s 2019 Credit Card Satisfaction Study ranked American Express 2nd of 11 credit card companies. This study considered feedback from over 28,000 credit card customers nationwide.

Security Features

The Delta SkyMiles Gold Card from American Express offers industry standard card and identity theft protections, including zero liability for fraudulent purchases. 

Delta SkyMiles Gold Card’s Fees 

Fees charged by this card are standard for a card of its type. Consistent with its status as an airline travel rewards card, you won’t have to pay foreign transaction fees when you use this card for purchases made overseas. 

Next Steps
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CURRENT CARD
Delta SkyMiles® Gold Card
overall rating
3.3
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 (%) 15.74% - 24.74% variable
Annual Fee $0 for the first year, then $99
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 2 miles per dollar spent on purchases made directly with Delta, at restaurants, and at U.S. supermarkets. Earn one mile for every eligible dollar spent on purchases.
Our Methodology
At The Balance, we are dedicated to giving you unbiased, comprehensive credit card reviews. To do this, we collect data on hundreds of cards and score more than 55 features that affect your finances.
  • 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. The scores and reviews come directly from the data we collect and our editorial expertise, and we focus on three areas:
  • How Much Does It Cost? With credit card debt at an all-time high, we believe you should know the cost of carrying a balance. Because of that, we give regular purchase APRs significant weight in overall scores, and cards receive low marks if they have an array of pricey fees.
  • What Are the Rewards Worth? Cards accumulate rewards in different currencies—points, miles, cash back—and their values vary widely. To simplify the problem, we built a system that fairly compares rewards and gives them a dollar value. We do this by looking at the ways you can earn and use rewards, which includes evaluating Americans’ typical spending habits and analyzing common travel patterns.
  • Does It Make Your Life Easier? Our scoring system favors cards that accept a wide range of credit profiles and offer simple solutions for things like checking your credit score or contacting customer service. Finally, we give preference to credit cards that have several tools for dealing with fraudulent charges.
  • For every review on The Balance, we hold the credit cards to these standards, and we set the bar high. While we recognize the appeal of splashy features like six-digit sign-up bonuses, our approach ensures that credit cards with the best combination of value, affordability, and accessibility receive the highest scores. See our full methodology for more details.

Article Sources

The Balance requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy .
  1. Delta. "Travel With Miles." Accessed Jan. 29, 2020.

  2. Delta. "Important Information Regarding Rates, Fees, and Other Cost Information." Accessed Jan. 29, 2020.

  3. J.D. Power. "2019 U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study." Accessed: January 29, 2020.