Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express
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Earning elite status on Delta Airlines isn’t easy. Qualifying can be complex and pricey, but if earning it is important to you, the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express can help give you a boost toward that goal.
The Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express pays 2 miles per $1 spent on Delta purchases and 1 mile per dollar spent on all other eligible purchases.
If you like Delta enough to own a Delta co-branded credit card, you likely already have SkyMiles Loyalty Program membership, where you’ll earn an additional 5 SkyMiles for every $1 you spend on Delta flights. Use this card for Delta purchases along with that SkyMiles membership and you’ll net total of 7 miles for every $1 spent.
But people who shell out the $195 annual fee don’t get this card for that reason, over say, a no-fee Delta co-branded card that pays the same rewards. To understand the rationale it helps to take a look at how the airline determines its elite-flier status.
Chasing what Delta has termed “Medallion Status” requires more than just taking flights and earning miles. To reach any of the four tiers of Medallion Status — Silver, Gold, Platinum or Diamond, requires accumulating various combinations of Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs), earned based on distance flown; Medallion Qualification Segments (MQSs), earned based on segments flown and Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs) based on annual spending on Delta and most partner flights.
For example, to reach the lowest rung of elite status, Silver Medallion, requires 25,000 MQMs or 30 MQSs, and $3,000 MQDs or MQD Waiver Qualification. To get that MQD Waiver Qualification, you’d have to spend $25,000 or more in a year on your qualified Delta credit card.
Earning Delta elite status is not low-hanging fruit. But those who achieve it earn a ton of perks like super-high rewards rates and complimentary first-class upgrades.
For those who want to chase this status, the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express comes with an intro bonus of 70,000 bonus miles and 10,000 of those hard-to-get MQMs if you spend at least $3,000 in purchases within the first three months of opening the account. This limited time offer expires 9/19/2018.
Delta stopped publishing its award charts in 2015 so it can be challenge to know how to squeeze the maximum value of the mileage sign-up bonus. A round-trip flight in a main cabin seat from New York’s JFK airport nonstop to LAX in February 2018 was priced at 44,000 miles plus $11.20 in tax. The cash price was about $316. This would make the Delta miles worth about four-fifths of a cent.
That’s a terrible rewards rate compared with many of the other options out there. But that same flight in a Delta One premium lie-flat seat was bookable for 90,000 miles plus $11.20 in taxes or an out-of-pocket cost of $1,716. In this scenario, 1 Delta mile equals about 1.9 cents, which is a pretty good redemption.
Now say you have Silver Medallion Status, which entitles you to unlimited complimentary first-class upgrades if available within 24 hours of departure. You could end up paying the same 44,000 miles plus $11.20 in taxes for that round-trip coach ticket but get upgraded to a first class ticket. This would make your Delta miles worth almost 4 cents each — far better than that puny four-fifths of a cent they were worth without status. Even if you don’t pay for your flight with miles, $316 for a round trip first class flight is an outstanding price to pay, and one of the reasons why people chase elite status.
There’s one other important detail of this card worth mentioning. Each year when you renew your annual fee you’ll get a companion certificate good for one free domestic round-trip coach fare ticket plus applicable taxes and fees up to $75 on eligible flights good for one year. Although this is not an insignificant benefit, depending on how you use it, the $195 cost of owning the card may not make this perk worth it to you.
The bottom line with this card, is that, like Delta’s Medallion Status program, it’s most rewarding for those with deep pockets or frequent travelers seeking elite status. If that doesn’t sound like you, consider a different Delta card, some of which come with no annual fee and offer a free checked baggage perk.
Who should get this card
Anyone chasing Delta’s Medallion Status who doesn’t want to pay the $450 annual fee for the Delta Reserve Credit Card from American Express should consider this card.
Fees and APR
- The annual fee is $195.
- The balance transfer fee is either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
- You’ll pay no foreign transaction fee on purchases made outside the U.S.
- If pay late or miss a payment, you may be subject to a variable penalty APR of 29.99%, which can apply for at least six months, plus a late fee of up to $38.
Extras, perks and using points
Get your first checked bag free with this card. You also get discounted access rates of $29 per person to the Delta Sky Club.
This card also provides rental auto and baggage insurances and protections.
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
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.