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 Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card is best for travelers who fly Delta frequently enough that getting the airline’s elite traveling status—and all its perks—is worth the $195 annual fee. Heavy spenders with excellent credit will get the most value from the card. If you spend $25,000 in your first calendar year, the card’s bonuses alone will get you more than halfway to the first tier of Delta’s Medallion status, which comes with unlimited free upgrades to first class.
Easy-to-earn welcome offer
Helps you reach elite flying status faster
High annual fee
Light rewards on regular spending
Unpredictable redemption rates
- Easy-to-earn welcome offer: While the welcome offer isn’t as generous as the sign-up bonuses on some competing cards, you don’t need to spend much to get it.
- Helps you reach elite flying status faster: If you meet certain spending requirements, you’ll earn more than half of the Medallion Qualification Miles you need to earn silver Medallion status. More on this below.
- High annual fee: The $195 annual fee is higher than many airline credit cards with even better benefits charge. Plus, after Jan. 30, 2020, it will jump up to $250 as part of a relaunch of the card program. That's something to keep in mind if the current fee is already making you hesitate.
- Light rewards on regular spending: While many competing travel rewards cards offer bonus miles on at least one other category of spending (hotel stays, dining out, groceries, or gas), this one only offers bonus miles on Delta purchases. (However, additional bonus categories will be added as part of the relaunch. More on this below.)
- Unpredictable redemption rates: The Delta SkyMiles program is known for redemption values that change from day to day. When a flight costs 30,000 miles one day and 50,000 miles the next, it can be difficult to make sure you have the miles you need for your next trip.
Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card Welcome Offer
The Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card offers 35,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion Qualification Miles toward elite Medallion status if you spend $1,000 within three months. That’s pretty easy to achieve, relative to other sign-up bonuses that require $2,000 or $3,000 in spending in the same period.
Still, we only value this welcome offer at $560, based on our latest analysis of reward flights. That’s hundreds of dollars less than sign-up bonuses offered by other airline cards with lower annual fees.
That disparity is somewhat mitigated by the fact that you’ll qualify for a $100 statement credit if you make a Delta purchase on this card in the first three months.
Any Delta flyer reaches the airline’s silver Medallion status, the first tier, by earning 25,000 so-called Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs), and spending $3,000 on flights in a calendar year. But you can get a leg up with this card. If you spend $25,000 in the first calendar year—including $1,000 within three months of opening your account—you’ll get 15,000 MQMs and the $3,000 flight spending requirement will be waived. That gets you more than halfway to silver status, even before any MQMs you’ll earn for flying.
Earning Points & Rewards
On an ongoing basis, the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card is most rewarding for frequent Delta flyers. You’ll earn 2 miles per $1 spent on Delta purchases, and 1 mile per $1 spent on everything else. Heavy spenders are one exception. Regardless of what you charge to your card, if you spend $25,000 in any calendar year, you’ll earn 10,000 MQMs toward elite Medallion status.
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, Platinum Delta SkyMiles cardholders will earn 2 miles per $1 spent at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets and 3 miles per $1 spent on Delta purchases and hotel bookings.
Miles from the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card can be used in many ways, but using them for flying is the most lucrative option. Editors at The Balance value the card’s miles at 1.6 cents apiece, on average. That’s a respectable value, though miles from United Airlines and American Airlines are worth even more, according to our analysis.
You can use SkyMiles to book flights on Delta or more than 20 partner airlines such as Air France, Virgin Atlantic, and Korean Air. There are no blackout dates with Delta award flights, but its partners may black out award availability.
Keep in mind the Delta SkyMiles program doesn’t have an award chart and the same trip can require a wide range of award miles, with seemingly little rhyme or reason.
Generally speaking, round-trip domestic flights start at around 20,000 miles, and international round-trip tickets start at about 40,000 miles. Both fare types can be much higher depending on your departure, destination, and dates.
Besides flying, you can use Delta SkyMiles 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
Charge $25,000 within a calendar year in order to earn the 10,000 MQMs toward elite Medallion status. Make sure that includes at least $1,000 within the first three months so you can earn the sign-up bonus of 35,000 miles and 5,000 MQMs.
If you plan to book a Delta flight, you should book it within three months to secure the $100 statement credit. And if you can be flexible on your travel dates, keep an eye out for SkyMiles Deals, which sometimes have round-trip domestic flights starting at 11,000 miles.
Effective Jan. 30, 2020, the annual fee will be $250 at renewal and for new applicants. If you enjoy travel benefits like discounted lounge access and free checked bags, this card may still be worth the added cost. If not, there are Delta SkyMiles cards with a lower annual fee.
Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card’s Excellent Perks
Here are the benefits we think are most important.
- Airline companion certificate: Every year when you renew your card, you’ll qualify for a round-trip companion fare in the main cabin of a U.S. flight.
- Discounted airport lounge access: Cardholders and two guests get access to Delta Sky Clubs at a reduced rate of $29 per visit per person. Note: Starting Jan. 30, 2020, the reduced rate will be $39 per visit per person.
- Free checked bag: Cardholders and up to eight people traveling with them get their first checked bag free on Delta flights. (The fee is otherwise $30.)
- Priority boarding: By getting on the plane earlier, you’ll have a better chance of snagging limited overhead bin space for your carry-on.
- Coverage for lost luggage: If your bags are lost or stolen, receive up to $1,250 per piece of carry-on luggage and up to $500 per piece of checked luggage per person, per trip.
- 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.
Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card’s Other Features
- Insurance for rental cars (secondary to your own policy)
- Insurance for damaged or stolen purchases
- Purchase return protection
- Extended warranties
- Discounts on in-flight purchases
- Free shipping through ShopRunner for online shopping purchases
American Express came in No. 2 out of 11 credit card companies in J.D. Power’s 2019 Credit Card Satisfaction Study. It’s known for being responsive to customer questions posed on social media, and you can also use the company’s online chat feature to get hold of agents. For those who prefer the phone, American Express offers a 24-7 customer service line.
The Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card has industry-standard security features, but it may be nice to know that if your card is lost or stolen, you can usually get an instant card number to use anywhere until your new card comes in the mail.
Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card’s Fees
Besides the sizable annual fee that will soon be even higher, Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card fees are typical for a card of its type. It’s worth noting that there are no foreign transaction fees.