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Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card review: One step away from premium travel

This card is a safe bet for travelers who love Delta airlines, but aren’t sure if the premium price is worth it.

 /  13 min
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At Bankrate we strive to help you make smarter financial decisions. While we adhere to strict , this post may contain references to products from our partners. Here's an explanation for and how we rate our cards . The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date; however, some of the offers mentioned may have expired. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

Snapshot

3.4

Bankrate rating
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Rating: 3.4 stars out of 5

Bottom line

This card is a great starter option for people new to co-branded cards. While it’s a strong choice for occasional flyers, its lack of premium perks may turn away frequent flyers.

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Best Delta card with no annual fee

Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card

Apply now Lock
on American Express's secure site
See Rates & Fees , Terms Apply
  • Rewards value
    Rating: 1.9 stars out of 5
    1.9 / 5
    APR
    Rating: 3 stars out of 5
    3 / 5
    Rewards flexibility
    Rating: 4 stars out of 5
    4 / 5
    Features
    Rating: 2 stars out of 5
    2 / 5
Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info
Recommended Credit
Info

Intro offer

Info

$120

Offer valuation

Info

1X - 2X

Rewards rate

Info

Annual fee

Regular APR

Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card overview

The Delta SkyMiles Blue American Express Card is one of the best American Express credit cards for loyal Delta customers. With good reward opportunities and an attractive welcome offer, it is hard to believe this travel card has no annual fee.

  • Credit Card Cash Back

    Rewards

    • Earn 2X miles for every dollar spent at restaurants worldwide (plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.) and Delta purchases and 1X miles for every dollar spent on other eligible purchases

    Expert Appraisal: Good
    See our expert analysis

  • Rewards

    Welcome offer

    • 10,000 bonus miles upon spending $1,000 or more in purchases on your new card within the first six months

    Expert Appraisal: Unimpressive
    See our expert analysis

  • Credit Card Search

    Rates and fees

    • Annual fee: None
    • APR: 20.99 percent to 29.99 percent (variable)
    • Late payment fee: Up to $40
    • Returned payment fee: Up to $40
    • Overlimit fee: None
    • Cash advance fee: The greater of either $10 or 5 percent of the amount of the cash advance
    • Foreign transaction fee: None

    Expert Appraisal: Typical
    See our expert analysis

  • Congrats

    Other cardholder perks

    • American Express Experiences
    • Send & Split®
    • 20% Back on in-flight purchases
    • Pay with Miles
    • Extended Warranty
    • Purchase Protection
    • Complimentary ShopRunner membership

    Expert Appraisal: Good
    See our expert analysis

Delta SkyMiles Blue pros and cons

Pros

  • Checkmark

    Delta miles don’t expire for the life of the account, so you won’t need to worry about rushing to redeem your rewards.

  • Checkmark

    You’ll get 20 percent savings for eligible in-flight purchases with this card.

Cons

  • Only Delta purchases and restaurant purchases have a high rewards rate.

  • No free checked bag or priority boarding, which are a few key travel perks that could increase this card’s overall value.

Why you might want the Delta SkyMiles Blue card

The Delta SkyMiles Blue card is a passable rewards card for the Delta loyalist who avoids annual fees, flies with Delta often throughout the year and doesn’t need to lean on interest-free periods. 

Rewards: Earn points for everyday purchases and airfare

The American Express Delta SkyMiles Blue Card has a straightforward rewards program. You earn 2X Delta SkyMiles at restaurants worldwide (including U.S. takeout and delivery) and on eligible Delta purchases, and 1X mile on other eligible purchases. This rewards rate compares well to other entry-level travel and rewards cards because it’s slightly boosted in a common purchase category: restaurants. As far as no-annual-fee cards go this is a win, but Amex sweetens the pot by adding Delta purchases at the same earning rate.

Higher-tier Delta cards carry much more value by adding categories and even higher boosted rates, but those cards also charge annual fees. If you’re a Delta customer looking for decent value from your travel card at the lowest cost possible, the SkyMiles Blue is a good choice.

It might be worth looking at the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card if you want to boost both your first-year and ongoing rewards value. For a $150 annual fee ($0 annual fee for the first year) the SkyMiles Gold card adds a boosted rewards rate for U.S. supermarket purchases. Your first two years with the SkyMiles Gold card will cost $150, which you can offset by spending $7,500 in its 2X categories ($3,750 per year). This is by no means an aggressive spending rate and it might be how much you’ll end up spending with the SkyMiles Blue card anyway. That said, you won’t have to worry about offsetting any annual fee if your card costs nothing to hold, like the SkyMiles Blue.

Perks: Plenty of extras for travel and purchase convenience

For a travel credit card that doesn’t charge an annual fee, the benefits are decent and can provide value for many card owners. Here are a few:

  • Discount on in-flight purchases: The Delta SkyMiles Blue credit card provides a 20 percent discount on in-flight purchases. Such purchases include food and beverages.
  • Flexible payment options: The Pay It Plan It tool can help cardholders pay for large purchases using alternate payment plans. Cardholders can split large payments into as many as 10 payments with a fixed monthly fee over a period of time. Your plans won’t charge interest, but you should calculate whether the fixed payment fee will cost more than the potential interest.
  • Travel perks: You can benefit from travel perks like insurance for car rental loss or damage and travel accidents. You can also access the 24/7 Global Assist Hotline if you travel more than 100 miles from home.
  • American Express Experiences: Even without an annual fee, you can still be a VIP. Amex cardholders get exclusive access to ticket pre-sales and Card Member-only events, including top concerts, sporting events, Broadway shows and much more.

Although it doesn’t carry nearly as many perks as premium travel cards, it also doesn’t charge an annual fee. If you want convenient value from a no-annual-fee travel card and fly frequently with Delta Airlines, this is a great option.

As mentioned earlier, the SkyMiles Blue is the entry-level Delta card. Costs get higher as you climb the Delta SkyMiles ranks, but so do the rewards and perks. If you step up to the SkyMiles Gold card you’ll have the chance to receive a $200 Delta Flight Credit: After you spend $10,000 in purchases in a year, you can receive a $200 Delta Flight Credit to use toward future travel. This perk alone will offset that card’s $150 annual fee.

Why you might want a different travel card

Like most entry-level branded cards, the Delta SkyMiles Blue has little to offer general cardholders, and brand loyalists will probably be better off with a more aggressive branded card. Although you won’t pay an annual fee with the SkyMiles Blue card, you’ll have to settle for a low welcome offer and won’t benefit from an intro APR period.

Welcome offer: Low ceiling for your first year’s earnings

You’ll need to spend  $1,000 on purchases in your first six months to earn a 10,000-mile bonus on the Delta SkyMiles Blue card. According to Bankrate’s latest points and miles valuations, the value of this bonus comes out to roughly $130. Many cardholders can hit this spending requirement without drastically changing their usual monthly spending, but this might leave a lot of extra value on the table when you compare it to other cards.

Welcome offers can bring a large sum of value to a new card, especially premium travel cards. The Delta SkyMiles Blue has strikingly low first-year value with its meager welcome offer valued at $130 — and that’s a generous valuation. Most no-annual-fee cash back cards have welcome offers worth up to $200, so it might even be worth applying for one of those and then offsetting travel costs with statement credits.

Unless you’re spending a substantial amount on Delta travel, you’ll find more value with general travel or cash back cards.

Delta value: Loyal customers should consider higher-tier cards

If you are spending a lot on Delta travel, then you’ll probably be better off with a higher-tier Delta card. To decide between the low-tier and high-tier branded card options, consider the spending requirements outlined by the issuer. These requirements present a solid baseline for cardholders to gauge card offerings and match them to their needs.

For instance, a $10,000 spending requirement to earn a $200 flight credit indicates that the closer to $10,000 you’re spending on a credit card annually, the more likely you are to benefit more from the SkyMiles Gold card than you are from the SkyMiles Blue card. When you also consider the SkyMiles Gold card has a $3,000 spending requirement on its 70,000-mile welcome offer in the first six-month period, it starts to paint a better picture of the spending volume that matches each card. The SkyMiles Gold has a much higher ceiling on its first-year value because it offers many more miles on its welcome offer.

Fees: No intro APR

The Delta SkyMiles Blue credit card offers no annual fee with decent rewards potential. You’ll also benefit from no foreign transaction fees, which is standard for a good travel card. These are great callouts on this entry-level travel card, but it’s not without its drawbacks. The ongoing variable APR is 20.99 percent to 29.99 percent, which can be quite high and it doesn’t have any intro APR offers.

You’ll seldom find intro APR offers on no-annual-fee travel cards, but they’re not unheard of. The Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card offers an intro APR on purchases and balance transfers (See Rates & Fees). Offers like these can add a substantial amount of convenience to your first year with a new card because you’ll potentially be able to carry a balance worry-free for several months. 

If you have travel plans on the horizon but are worried about paying upfront for them, you can finance a trip with a credit card’s intro APR on new purchases interest-free for however long your card’s offer is. Since the Delta SkyMiles Blue card lacks this option, there are more enticing cards available. Regardless, if paying upfront isn’t an issue or you won’t use an intro APR offer then this shouldn’t be a factor in your decision.

How the Delta SkyMiles Blue American Express Card compares to other travel cards

If you’re an infrequent flyer or don’t exclusively fly Delta, the Delta SkyMiles Blue American Express credit card may not be for you. Although it has no annual fee, it  lacks key perks available on other top travel cards. But this card can be hard to beat if you’re a frequent flyer and a loyal fan of Delta flights. That said, there are other airline credit cards worth considering.

Image of Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card
Bankrate Score
See Rates & Fees , Terms Apply
Apply now Lock
on American Express's secure site

Annual fee

$0

Intro offer

Earn 10,000 miles
Info

Rewards rate

1X - 2X
Info

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info
Image of Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card
Bankrate Score
See Rates & Fees , Terms Apply
Apply now Lock
on Capital One's secure site

Annual fee

$0

Intro offer

20,000 miles
Info

Rewards rate

1.25 Miles - 5 Miles
Info

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info
Image of Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Bankrate Score
Apply now Lock
on Bank of America's secure site

Annual fee

$0

Intro offer

25,000 points
Info

Rewards rate

1.5X
Info

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info

Best cards to pair with the Delta SkyMiles Blue American Express Card

Since the Delta SkyMiles Blue card only earns rewards on restaurant and Delta purchases, the best card combinations will reward you for other travel expenses and your biggest spending categories while you’re home.

This factor makes almost any rewards credit card a solid partner. You can keep it simple and cover all your bases with a flat-rate cash back card or transfer points from another American Express card to Delta.

Who is the Delta SkyMiles Blue right for?

Delta customers will most likely make the most of this card, but only up to a certain point. Travel minimalists who aren’t necessarily brand-oriented but wouldn’t mind committing to Delta may find this a favorable choice, too.

Bankrate’s Take — Is the Delta SkyMiles Blue American Express Card worth it?

The Delta SkyMiles Blue American Express credit card is worth considering if you’re loyal to Delta but don’t travel enough to take advantage of the perks on a more premium Delta SkyMiles card. Since the card skips the annual fee, you can comfortably keep this card long-term without too much strain on your wallet. However, if you regularly fly different airlines or want a travel card with more perks, credits and higher rewards rates, you may want to look at different options.

The information about the Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.

How we rated this card

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We rate credit cards using a proprietary card scoring system that ranks each card’s estimated average rewards rate, estimated annual earnings, welcome bonus value, APR, fees, perks and more against those of other cards in its primary category.

Each card feature is assigned a weighting based on how important it is to people looking for a card in a given category. These features are then scored based on how they rank relative to the features on other cards in the category. Based on these calculations, each card receives an overall rating of 1-5 stars (with 5 being the highest possible score and 1 being the lowest). 

We analyzed over 150 of the most popular rewards and cash back cards to determine where each stacked up based on their value, cost, benefits and more. Here are some of the key factors that influenced this card’s overall score and how the score influenced our review:

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Written by
Brendan Dyer
Associate Editor, Credit Cards

Brendan Dyer holds a Master of Fine Arts in Journalism from Western Connecticut State University and worked previously as a content editor for Regional News Network, a hyper-local TV news station contracted by Verizon FiOS1 News. As a national service volunteer, Brendan exercised a passion for helping underserved communities and demographics through direct, community service. He constantly seeks to apply his expertise as a journalist to the field of personal finance with the goal of helping people navigate the complexities of the credit card industry.

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