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Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card: Best ways to spend the welcome bonus

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When you’re on the hunt for a new airline credit card, it can help to be strategic about when you sign up. That’s because, over the course of any given year, rewards credit cards will bump up their welcome offers in order to entice new customers to give their cards a try.

The Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card’s current welcome offer of 40,000 bonus miles after spending $1,000 within the first three months of account opening is still a decent welcome bonus. But the best part? The Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card offers a $0 introductory annual fee the first year (then $99).

There are plenty of excellent ways to spend the Delta SkyMiles Gold welcome offer, but the best way for you depends on where you want to travel and how you want to get there. Read on to learn more about Delta SkyMiles Gold Card benefits and how to use the Delta SkyMiles Gold welcome bonus to its maximum potential.

Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card details

Here are the main Delta SkyMiles Gold Amex card benefits and earning rates to know about before you sign up:

  • Welcome bonus: Earn 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 within three months of account opening
  • Rewards rate: 2X miles on restaurant, U.S. supermarket and Delta purchases; 1X miles on all other purchases
  • Annual fee: $0 the first year, then $99
  • Highlighted benefits: A free checked bag on Delta flights, Main Cabin 1 priority boarding, 20 percent discount on select in-flight purchases and no foreign transaction fees

Why the Delta SkyMiles Gold’s welcome bonus is worth noting

If your goal is earning miles for a free flight, it definitely makes sense to sign up for a card when its sign-up bonus is at its peak. After all, a higher-than-normal welcome bonus will go a lot further when you go to redeem it for airfare and other options.

How to redeem the Delta SkyMiles Gold’s welcome bonus

When you carry the Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card and start earning miles, you can easily redeem them through your Delta SkyMiles account. All you have to do is create an account (or log into your existing account) at Delta.com. All the miles you have earned are safely kept there, and remember that miles earned in the Delta SkyMiles program never expire.

Once you’re ready to redeem your rewards for flights, you can search for the airfare you want on the Delta website. To see the cost in “miles” instead of dollars, you just have to click on “Shop with Miles” before you search.


Screenshot of the Delta booking website

With the Delta SkyMiles program, you can redeem your miles for flights to more than 1,000 destinations around the world. This is made possible through the Delta frequent flyer program as well as their SkyTeam airline alliance partners.

You can also redeem Delta miles for:

  • Seat upgrades
  • Delta gift cards
  • Delta Sky Club membership
  • Delta vacation packages
  • Charitable donations
  • Magazine subscriptions

How much Delta SkyMiles Gold rewards are worth, based on redemption

Generally speaking, you’ll get more value from your Delta miles if you redeem them for airfare, although you may find better values for premium cabins or international flights. Our analysis shows that Delta SkyMiles are worth approximately 1.2 cents each. However, as of January 2022, The Points Guy estimates that Delta SkyMiles are now worth approximately 1.46 cents each.

If you redeem for Delta gift cards, you’ll get less than one cent per mile. In fact, Delta says their gift card options start at 5,600 miles for a $50 gift card. The value of using miles for seat upgrades and Delta vacation packages varies. Redemption values also vary widely when you redeem miles for magazine subscriptions, although you’ll typically get less than 1 cent per mile in value through Delta’s Mags for Miles program.

If you redeem your miles for a Delta Sky Club membership, you’ll get exactly one cent per mile in value.

Best ways to use the Delta SkyMiles Gold’s welcome bonus

The best way to use the Delta SkyMiles Gold welcome bonus really depends on where you want to travel. However, your best option will always be for flights. That’s the whole point of earning airline miles, but flights also tend to give you more bang for your buck.

You can typically find round-trip domestic flights on Delta starting at around 15,000 miles, and round-trip international flights in economy starting at around 55,000 miles. Note that, when it comes to domestic or international itineraries, you’ll usually find the lowest redemption options from main Delta hubs and markets. According to Delta, these include Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, Los Angeles, Minneapolis-St. Paul, New York-JFK, New York-LaGuardia, Salt Lake City, Seattle, Amsterdam, London-Heathrow, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Seoul, Mexico City and Tokyo.

Example flights

Let’s take a look at some example flights for early 2022 that show excellent use of the Delta SkyMiles Gold card’s welcome bonus of 40,000 miles.

For example, you could fly from Atlanta to Chicago starting at 17,000 miles (plus $12 in airline taxes and fees).

Screenshot of the Delta booking website

You could then use your remaining bonus miles to fly from Los Angeles to Minneapolis (starting at 14,000 miles, plus $12 in airline taxes and fees).

Screenshot of the Delta booking website

Although these are just examples, keep in mind that international flights in premium cabins will cost considerably more miles. If you want to get a good deal on a trip you want, your best bet is to be as flexible as you can with dates so you can snag your flight for the lowest amount in miles.

Redemption options to avoid

When it comes to using Delta SkyMiles, we recommend skipping over magazine subscriptions and gift cards in particular. This is based on the fact that you’ll get less value for these options overall. Not only that, but Delta miles never expire, so you don’t have to use them until you’re good and ready.

Also note that you don’t have to redeem for Delta gift cards in order to use your rewards to book flights for other people. Like other frequent flyer programs, Delta lets you use your miles to book flights for anyone you want.

The bottom line

If you have been thinking of picking up a Delta credit card, and the Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card is on your radar, now is a great time to sign up. However, note that this card has previously had a higher welcome offer, so you may want to wait to see if they bring that limited-time offer back before you sign up. Or, you may want to take a look at other Delta credit cards. Additionally, Amex credit cards that earn Membership Rewards points let you transfer to the Delta SkyMiles program, so they are also worth considering if you’re looking for a travel rewards card.

Written by
Holly D. Johnson
Author, Award-Winning Writer
Holly Johnson writes expert content on personal finance, credit cards, loyalty and insurance topics. In addition to writing for Bankrate and CreditCards.com, Johnson does ongoing work for clients that include CNN, Forbes Advisor, LendingTree, Time Magazine and more.
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