Who is This Credit Card Best For?
Flies regularly and likes finding ways to score even more travel—for free
Diligently searches for the best products and delights in a good bargain
Loves to explore places and experience new things
Frequently shops with a particular merchant and wants to be rewarded for their loyalty
The Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card is best for Delta fans with great credit who take a few big trips a year and want travel perks like free checked baggage. The reward opportunities are limited, but if you fly often enough with Delta, this still may be a good option.
Easy-to-earn welcome offer
Free checked bags for up to nine people
Low rewards-earning rate on regular spending
Unpredictable redemption rates
- Easy-to-earn welcome offer: The spending threshold of $1,000 is much lower than the requirements for sign-up bonuses with other airline credit cards that have similar annual fees.
- Free checked bag for up to nine people: A free checked bag is a common perk for airline cards with an annual fee, but the Delta Gold SkyMiles Credit Card allows as many as eight people traveling with the primary cardholder to avoid the $30 fee for their first piece of checked luggage on Delta flights.
- Low rewards-earning rate on regular spending: While competing airline cards let you earn bonus miles on everyday purchases such as groceries, the Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card only lets you earn bonus miles on Delta purchases.
- Unpredictable redemption rates: Delta doesn’t have an award chart, so you won’t know ahead of time how many miles you’ll need for the flights you want. This can make it hard to plan.
Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card Welcome Offer
This card offers 30,000 bonus miles if you charge at least $1,000 within three months of opening your account. We value this welcome offer at $480, based on our latest analysis of Delta’s redemption values. That’s less than half the value of some sign-up bonuses offered by other airline cards.
Still, those other cards require you to spend up to $2,500 to get their bonuses. With this card you just need to spend $333 a month for three months—pretty doable for most budgets. You’ll also snag a $50 statement credit if you make a Delta purchase within the first three months.
Earning Points & Rewards
The Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card doesn’t reward spending as well as some airline cards, making it harder to rack up miles quickly. You’ll earn 2 miles per $1 spent on Delta purchases, and just the baseline rate of 1 mile per $1 spent on everything else.
Similar airline cards, by contrast, award 2 miles per $1 spent on airline purchases, but also groceries, dining out, hotels, or gas. On the plus side, there are no limits on the number of miles you can earn and the miles never expire.
Delta and American Express are relaunching the entire suite of SkyMiles cards in 2020. Effective Jan. 30, the Gold Delta SkyMiles card will offer double miles at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets.
The main reason to get the Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card is to earn free flights, and that’s how you’ll get the most value from the miles you earn. The latest research by The Balance values each mile at 1.6 cents, on average, well above the 1-cent baseline sought by reward chasers, but not as high as frequent flyer miles offered by United Airlines or American Airlines.
You can use miles to book flights directly with Delta or with more than 20 partner airlines such as Air France, Virgin Atlantic, and Korean Air. Delta flights come with no blackout dates, although Delta partners may black out award availability at any time.
Also note that Skymiles values will vary, depending on the flight, and without an award chart, it may be difficult to plan ahead.
Take, for example, a round-trip economy flight from Indianapolis to Paris. That trip was advertised as going for $615 in cash or 38,000 miles. But a round-trip economy flight from New York City to Tokyo that’s similarly priced at $693 required more than 70,000 miles.
Miles earned on the Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card can be used for partial payment on Delta flights, too. Cardholders can reduce the cost of their ticket by up to $50 for every 5,000 miles.
Besides flights, you’ll also be able to redeem your miles for:
- Seat upgrades or Delta Sky Club entry
- Delta vacation packages or SkyMiles experiences
- Delta gift cards
- Jet travel with Delta private jets
- Shopping in the SkyMiles marketplace
How to Get the Most Out of This Card
Spend at least $1,000 within three months to earn the 30,000 bonus miles. It will take eight to 12 weeks after you qualify for the 30,000 miles to post to your account, so the sooner you spend, the faster you can redeem your rewards.
When using your miles, be sure to check out Delta’s SkyMiles Deals, which frequently include round-trip domestic flights starting at 11,000 miles. These deals are usually only good for a short window of time, but they can be lucrative if they fit with your travel plans.
Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card’s Excellent Perks
There are are some benefits that we think go beyond the standard perks offered by many credit cards. This card’s free-checked-bags benefit falls into that category. So do these others:
- Priority boarding: By getting on your plane early, you may find more room in overhead bins for your carry-on.
- Travel accident insurance: Receive up to $100,000 in the event of loss of life or accidental dismemberment on a trip paid for with your card.
Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card’s Other Features
- Insurance for rental cars (secondary to your own policy)
- Extended warranties
- Insurance for stolen or damaged purchases
- Purchase return protection
- Discounts on in-flight purchases
- Free shipping through ShopRunner for online shopping purchases
American Express, which ranked second in J.D. Power’s 2019 Credit Card Satisfaction Study, is known for being responsive via its social media accounts, and many cardholders love its online chat feature since it lets them resolve problems without calling in.
The security features of the Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card are pretty standard for the industry. One nice benefit: If your card is lost or stolen, you’ll receive an instant card number that lets you make purchases while you wait for your replacement card. Cardholders can also opt through the American Express app to receive text messages or push notifications when there is suspicious activity.
Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card’s Fees
Fees on the Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card are in line with other travel credit cards. It’s also worth noting that there are no foreign transaction fees. However, effective Jan. 30, 2020, new cardholders won't get the annual fee waived the first year and it will be slightly higher ($99 instead of $95.) So if you want to avoid the fee for your first year, now is the time to apply.