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Review: Amex Delta Personal Cards

Each of Amex's three Delta co-branded personal cards offer good value for Delta flyers and loyalists at different price points.
Travel on Point(s) has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Travel on Point(s) and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

Review: Amex Delta Personal Cards

Each of Amex's three Delta co-branded personal cards offer good value for Delta flyers and loyalists at different price points.

Travel on Point(s) has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Travel on Point(s) and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

Amex offers 3 co-branded Delta SkyMiles personal credit cards. Each card has different benefits and earning structures. What they have in common is that they should all generally appeal to Delta frequent fliers. Below, we compare and review each of the Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card, Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card, and Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card. If you are a frequent Delta flyer, you should consider at least one of these cards for your wallet.

Current Offers

The Delta Gold card current welcome offer has the ability to earn 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. This card has a $99 annual fee, which is waived for the first year.

The Delta Platinum card current welcome offer has the ability to earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. The card has a $250 annual fee.

The Delta Reserve card current welcome offer has the ability to earn Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. The Delta Reserve card has a $550 annual fee. 

Each of these cards is a credit card rather than a Pay Over Time card. This means each of these cards should count towards Amex's limit of five credit cards.

Earn Rates

Each of the personal Delta cards earns bonus miles per dollar on different categories. The cards also all earn 1x miles per dollar on all remaining purchases not listed below. As mentioned below, cardholders are typically better off spending on other cards instead of on the Delta cards, despite the multiple bonus categories.

The Delta Gold card earns 2 miles per dollar on each of the following categories:

  • U.S. supermarkets
  • Restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery in the U.S.
  • purchases made directly with Delta

The Delta Platinum card earns bonus miles per dollar on each of the following categories:

  • 3x on purchases made directly with Delta
  • 3x on purchases made directly with hotels
  • 2x at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery in the U.S.
  • 2x at U.S. supermarkets

The Delta Reserve card earns 3x bonus miles per dollar on purchases made directly with Delta.

Benefits

Benefits and perks vary among each of the 3 Delta cards. As expected, benefits range depending on each card's annual fee. The cards have some benefits in common, but not all.

Delta Gold Benefits

The Delta Gold card's benefits include:

  • First checked bag free
  • 20% back as a statement credit for Delta in-flight purchases
  • Main Cabin 1 priority boarding
  • No foreign transaction fees

Delta Platinum Benefits

The Delta Platinum card offers all the benefits of the Delta Gold listed above, as well as the following:

  • The ability to earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles towards elite status after you spend $25,000 in a calendar year, up to twice a year
  • Medallion Qualification Dollars (MDQ) waiver
  • Delta Sky Club access ($39 per person per visit)
  • A companion certificate for main cabin round-trip each year upon card renewal (plus taxes and fees of up to $75)

Delta Reserve Benefits

The Delta Reserve card offers all the benefits of the Delta Gold listed above, as well as the following:

  • The ability to earn 15,000 Medallion Qualification Miles towards elite status after you spend $30,000 in a calendar year, up to 4 times a year
  • Medallion Qualification Dollars (MDQ) waiver
  • Complimentary access to Amex Centurion Lounges and Escape Lounge
  • Complimentary access to the Delta Sky Club when traveling on a same-day Delta-marketed or Delta-operated flight
  • Two one-time Sky Club guest passes annually (and $39 guest access when traveling together on Delta)
  • Upgrade priority over other Medallion members within the same Medallion level and fare class
  • A companion certificate for a domestic first class, Delta comfort+ or main cabin round-trip each year upon card renewal (plus taxes and fees of up to $75)
  • TSA Precheck ($85) or Global Entry ($100) fee statement credit every 4.5 years
  • Cell phone protection: when you pay for your wireless bill with your Delta Reserve card, you can receive reimbursement for your repair or replacement costs following damage or theft for a maximum of $800 per claim with a limit of 2 approved claims per 12-month period. A $50 deductible applies for each approved claim.

Our Analysis

Each of the Delta personal cards offer plenty of perks to cover their annual fees. The Delta Gold card is quite basic, but the first checked bag free alone can compensate the $99 annual fee if you check bags often enough. Delta charges $30 for a first checked bag. Main Cabin 1 priority boarding is also a nice benefit for a basic airline card. This perk has you board with Delta Silver Medallion members and elite members from other SkyTeam partner airlines, and ahead of main cabin passengers.

The Delta Platinum card makes things more interesting for Delta loyalists. The ability to earn up to 20,000 MQMs towards elite status per year can go a long way. That is almost half of the 50,000 MQMs required for Gold status. The MQD waiver is also helpful, as it can spare you from having to spend between $3,000 MQDs and $15,000 MQDs depending on the status level you shoot for. Delta Sky Club access seems like a nice benefit, but having to pay $39 per person per visit makes this much less valuable. In fact, other cards like the Business Platinum Card from American Express offer complimentary Delta Sky Club access when flying Delta.

The Delta Reserve card‘s slew of benefits are sure to please most Delta loyalists. Complimentary Sky Club access and 2 one-time Sky Club guest passes alone can compensate the card's $550 annual fee. The upgrade priority over other elite members within the same level and fare class is a creative perk that rewards you not just for holding the card, but for having status with Delta. And speaking of status, the Delta Reserve card can get you closer to elite status than the Delta Platinum card. With the Delta Reserve card, you can earn up to 30,000 MQMs per year towards status. You can of course rack up MQMs with both the Delta Platinum and Delta Reserve cards for a whopping 50,000 MQMs per year towards elite status.

There is little sense for Delta flyers to hold all three cards. The Delta Platinum and Delta Reserve cards each offer all of the benefits of the Delta Gold card. But those looking to earn the most MQMs possible through credit card spend could consider opening both the Delta Platinum and Delta Reserve cards.

As for spending, cardholders will generally do better by using a different credit card instead of the Delta cards. Amex's MR-earning cards offer better earning rates than each of the Delta personal cards. With the Delta cards, you can earn at most 2x at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets. But the American Express Gold Card earns 4x in both those categories. And the American Express Green Card (review) earns 3x at restaurants and on travel, making it better for purchases with Delta than any of the Delta personal cards. Since Delta is an Amex transfer partner, you are better off putting your spend on MR-earning cards, like the Amex Gold or the Amex Green.

Final Thoughts

Amex's Delta personal cards offer solid benefits for Delta loyalists. The Delta Platinum card and Delta Reserve card each offer the opportunity to earn MQMs towards elite status. Beyond MQM spending, though, none of the Delta cards deserve much spend, as Amex's MR-earning cards generally have better earn rates. Bottom line: the Delta personal cards can be keeper cards for frequent Delta flyers who value the cards' benefits.

What do you think of Amex's co-branded Delta personal cards? Come share your thoughts in our Facebook group!

Travel on Point(s) has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Travel on Point(s) and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

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