Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card

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Light travelers may enjoy this starter rewards card.

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The Blue Delta SkyMiles Credit Card is the starter travel rewards card in Delta’s lineup. Designed for the infrequent Delta traveler, this card has no annual fees and offers 2x the rewards on US restaurant purchases.

Although it is lacking in some of the top-tier benefits travel rewards pros are used to — for instance, you won’t get companion tickets here — this card is a good option for the low spender who dines out regularly.

Review

The Blue Delta SkyMiles Credit Card is the fourth card in Delta’s portfolio and the first one to target millennials and casual travelers. Its two biggest draws is that there’s no annual fee and cardholders get twice the rewards on US restaurant purchases as well as purchases through Delta; all other purchases earn 1 mile per dollar.

These are two benefits not offered with the more elite Reserve, Gold and Platinum SkyMiles cards. The premier cards only give owners 2x miles on purchases through Delta — not dining out. Most co-branded airline cards don’t offer extra miles on restaurants, so this is definitely a selling point.

People who are looking for a substantial intro bonus without expensive strings attached will be happy about this one. New cardholders will earn 10,000 bonus miles after spending just $500 within the first three months.

For rewards and travel junkies, this card doesn’t come with the high-end benefits that you might look for in a rewards card. Extras like complimentary access to Delta SkyClubs, free checked bags and companion passes do not come with this card.

Unlike the other Delta SkyMiles cards, you’ll have to pay a foreign transaction fee. For people who travel abroad often, this fee can add up.

Unless you’re a loyal Delta customer, you might find this card restricting. You won’t be able to use your miles for air travel outside of Delta and Delta’s alliance, which includes Air France, Virgin Atlantic and KLM.

Who should get this card

For Delta customers who travel a couple times each year and don’t check bags, this is a card worth considering. If you also dine out frequently, then this card is a double win with its year-round 2x miles on US restaurant purchases. This structure is easy to keep track of and ideal for people who want the best bang for their buck without exerting much effort, i.e. checking calendars for category spending.

Although you won’t get high-end benefits, this no-fee card does give travelers a 20% savings in the form of a statement credit on eligible Delta in-flight purchases of food, beverages, and audio headsets. WiFi service is not eligible for this discount. If you’re not jet-setting every month, this benefit is of little value.

For people who want a flexible travel card, The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is a better option. Even though there’s a (low) annual fee of $59 – it’s waived the first year, which is not bad considering this card gives you 2 miles per dollar on everything. Not only is there no restriction on where you can spend, but you’re also not limited to one airline. You can book your travel on any airline and simply use your rewards to pay for it.

Advantages
  • Cardholders will receive 20% off eligible in-flight purchases.
  • There’s no annual fee.
  • Miles can be used for hotel stays, car rentals, and merchandise.
  • Terms apply.
Disadvantages
  • There is a foreign transaction fee.
  • You could get more flexible rewards cards that allow you to book on any airline, while earning 2x miles on any purchase, without restriction.
  • This card doesn’t offer the exclusive travel benefits of other cards, such as free checked bags and companion tickets.

Fees and APR

  • There’s no annual fee.
  • The annual percentage rate is on the high side.
  • There is a penalty APR fee for late payments and returned checks.
  • This card has a balance transaction fee.
  • Cash advance and balance transfer fees are both $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • See Rates & Fees.

Extras, perks and using points

Global Assist Hotline is a program that offers cardholders access to expert trip planners and coordination services that help with travel issues like lost luggage.

Lowest hotel rate guarantee refunds the price difference if you book a qualifying prepaid hotel rate on amextravel.com and then find the same room at a lower price online.

Return protection will refund you for any eligible purchases charged entirely on your card. The coverage is limited to 90 days from purchase, up to $300 per item and up to a maximum of $1,000 per account per year.

Points can be redeemed to book flights and purchase upgrades. One-way award tickets start at 10,000 miles plus taxes and fees.

How this card compares

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® named a 'Best Travel Credit Card' by MONEY® Magazine, 2016-2017
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Credit Needed

Excellent/Good

Regular APR

17.74% - 24.74% Variable

Annual Fee

$0 Intro for the First Year, then $95

Purchase Intro APR

N/A

Balance Transfers Intro APR

N/A

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card’s hefty sign-up bonus, boosted redemption value when using the Chase portal, and a generous rewards program make this card a stand-out among travel rewards cards offering big value for minimal cost. Since Chase Ultimate Rewards points can be used for everything from flights to lodging to cruises, this also makes it one of the most flexible redemption programs among travel cards.

Citi ThankYou® Premier Card
  • Earn 60,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3X Points on Travel, Including Gas Stations
  • Earn 2X Points on Dining Out & Entertainment
  • Earn 1X Points on All Other Purchases
  • 60,000 Points are redeemable for $750 in airfare on any airline, anytime with no blackout dates when booked through the ThankYou® Travel Center, or $600 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • Points Transfer allows you to transfer points to participating airline loyalty programs
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases*
Credit Needed

Excellent Credit

Regular APR

16.24% - 25.24%* (Variable)

Annual Fee

$95, waived for first 12 months*

Purchase Intro APR

N/A

Balance Transfers Intro APR

N/A

The Citi ThankYou Premier Card comes with a $95 annual fee, waived the first year, and pays 3x points for all travel including gas, 2x points on dining and entertainment and 1x on all other spending.

If you spend at least $3,200 annually in the gas and travel category, you’d earn back the cost of card ownership. Plus, with the Premier card, your points will take on 25% more value when booking airfare through the Citi portal. Depending on how you spend, this may work out to be more rewarding for you.

 

EDITORIAL NOTE

Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.