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Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card review: Enough perks to justify the annual fee

Rewards for foodies and Delta loyalists at a reasonable price.

 /  16 min
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Bankrate rating
Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Bottom line

If you spend heavily across Delta, U.S. restaurant and U.S. supermarket purchases, the SkyMiles Gold may be the best Delta Air Lines card to start with thanks to its low cost and helpful travel perks for frequent flyers.

Best Delta card for value travelers
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Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
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1X - 2X

Rewards rate


Annual fee

Regular APR

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card Overview

Less-frequent Delta travelers who want to stockpile miles from their household and dining expenses will likely get the most value out of the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card.

Even at $99 each year ($0 the first year), the Delta Gold card’s unlimited rewards, welcome offer and travel benefits outweigh its no-annual-fee sibling, the Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card. Considering the first checked bag free or the annual flight credit perks can cover the annual fee, the SkyMiles Gold might work well as a starter Delta card.

Travelers chasing immediate savings over luxury benefits could easily find that this card is the best Delta credit card for their occasional flights. However, the co-branded SkyMiles Gold isn’t as flexible as a general-purpose travel credit card, which may be worth it if you’re an infrequent traveler or aren’t as eager for Delta-specific perks.

  • Credit Card Cash Back


    • 2X miles on restaurant (plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.)
    • 2X miles on U.S. supermarkets
    • 2X miles on Delta purchases
    • 1X miles on all other purchases

    Expert Appraisal: Good
    See our expert analysis

  • Rewards

    Welcome offer

    • Earn 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 in your first six months.

    Expert Appraisal: Good
    See our expert analysis

  • Credit Card Search

    Rates and fees

      • Annual fee: $99 ($0 intro annual fee for the first year)
      • APR: 20.99 percent to 29.99 percent variable
      • Cash advance fee: $10 or 5 percent of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater
      • Foreign transaction fee: None
      • Late payment fee: Up to $40
      • Returned payment fee: Up to $40
      • Overlimit fee: None

    Expert Appraisal: Typical
    See our expert analysis

  • Congrats

    Other cardholder perks

    • Complimentary ShopRunner membership (enrollment required)
    • Pay It Plan It
    • 20 percent statement credit on Delta in-flight purchases
    • $100 Delta flight credit (after spending $10,000 or more on your card in a calendar year)  
    • First checked bag free

    Expert Appraisal: Typical
    See our expert analysis

Delta SkyMiles Gold pros and cons


  • Checkmark

    The $99 annual fee is $0 the first year and easy to offset afterward.

  • Checkmark

    This card earns slightly elevated rewards on everyday expenses, like dining and groceries, which can help infrequent travelers stack up on rewards.

  • Checkmark

    It carries valuable travel benefits, including a possible $100 Delta flight credit each year and free first checked bag.


  • Lackluster redemption options and no definite award redemption value restrict the reward value of this card.

  • Despite its annual fee, this card doesn't offer many luxury perks, like complimentary airport lounge access.

  • If you are a frequent Delta customer, this card may disappoint since it doesn't offer any bonuses or status boosts to help you earn Medallion Status.

Why you might want the Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card

The Delta SkyMiles Gold Amex is a solid choice for frequent Delta flyers who want to earn high-value rewards on food spending. Plus, you can easily offset your annual fee with perks and a welcome offer.

Rewards: Earns valuable miles in common categories

The Delta SkyMiles Gold offers 2X miles on Delta purchases, 2X miles at restaurants (including U.S. delivery and takeout) and U.S. supermarkets (excluding superstores like Walmart® and Target) and 1X miles on all other purchases. 

It should be easy to earn rewards since diningU and supermarkets typically are common expenses. But even if you aren’t a foodie, you’ll still rack up the miles as long as you spend frequently on Delta airfare.

Redemption: Value could potentially be worth more than base 

The value of your miles varies based on how you redeem your rewards, but Delta SkyMiles are among the more valuable airline miles. Based on Bankrate’s latest points and miles valuations, Delta SkyMiles are worth an estimated 1.2 cents each when redeemed for award flights. This valuation places Delta among the top domestic airline rewards programs.

Rewards program Bankrate value* Estimated value of 50,000 points/miles
Southwest Rapid Rewards 1.5 cents $750
JetBlue TrueBlue 1.3 cents $650
Delta SkyMiles 1.2 cents $600
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan 1.1 cents $550
American Airlines AAdvantage 1.0 cents $500
United Airlines MileagePlus 0.9 cents $450

* Based on weighted average of median point/mile values across economy and first/business class fares.

If you want to ensure you’re getting the best value, calculate the value of your miles before you book your flight. Divide the cash cost of the ticket you want to purchase by the amount of points needed.

For example, if you’re booking a flight from Boston to Miami that costs either $365 or 28,500 miles, your points would be worth 1.3 cents each ($365 / 28,500 = $0.0128 or 1.3 cents). This valuation is higher than Bankrate’s estimated value of 1.2 cents- per mile, so you’d get a great deal.

If the same $365 flight costs 54,000 miles, your miles would only be worth 0.7 cents ($365 / 54,000 = $0.0067). This number is well below our estimated valuation of 1.2 cents per mile. If possible, you’re better off searching for a different flight or paying with cash and saving your miles for another trip.

However, redemption options are limited compared to non-branded travel cards. You can't transfer miles to other loyalty programs, and options like “Pay with Miles,” where you can get $50 off every 5,000 miles redeemed, only let you book travel or upgrade seats with Delta, not any of its SkyTeam partner airlines. Non-travel redemption options are also few, and your value per point may decrease.

Perks: Convenient travel benefits for hassle-free flying

The Delta Gold card carries a host of benefits that can save you time and money when you fly with Delta:

  • $100 annual Delta flight credit after spending $10,000 in one year
  • 15% off when using miles to book Delta flights through and the Fly Delta app (not applicable to partner-operated flights or to taxes and fees)
  • $50 off your flight cost for every 5,000 miles redeemed with Pay With Miles on
  • First checked bag is free on Delta flights
  • Main Cabin 1 priority boarding
  • 20 percent statement credit back on select in-flight purchases
  • Travel protections, including baggage insurance and car rental loss and damage insurance
  • Shopping protections, including extended warranty coverage and purchase protection

These features can justify the Delta Skymiles Gold card’s annual fee and perks like priority boarding can make traveling a bit easier.

The Delta SkyMiles Gold also carries its weight with baggage insurance and car rental loss and damage insurance. But competing cards might offer more attractive perks. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, for instance, offers trip cancellation and interruption insurance, one of the most coveted travel protections, plus bonus points on your account’s anniversary and other annual credits.

Cardholders also won't enjoy any Medallion Status Boost, limiting its value for rewards enthusiasts. While the Delta Gold card allows you to earn “Medallion Qualification” currency, achieving top Delta perks and rewards rates this way is more difficult without a premier Delta card.

Welcome offer: A great value for minimal spending

You can earn a welcome bonus of 40,000 bonus miles after spending $2,000 in purchases within your first six months as a cardholder. Based on Bankrate’s latest mile valuations, we estimate this bonus can be worth around $480 in travel with Delta. But even if you only get 1 cent per mile in redemption value, you'll still enjoy $400 in Delta travel.

The welcome bonus value is especially impressive, considering the card's annual fee is $0 in the first year ($99 after that). The value of your welcome offer could offset the cost of holding the card for your first four years.

Why you might want a different travel credit card

If you don’t often fly Delta you may not feel at home with this card in your wallet. But even if you do fly Delta, this card's lack of an intro APR and high fees may make a general travel rewards card a better fit. 

APR: No zero-interest periods and a high APR

This card lacks intro APR periods for purchases and balance transfers. Although this is typical for co-branded travel cards, several general travel cards have intro APR periods, giving them great short-term value for new cardholders with current card debt or new purchases on the horizon. Financing a flight, hotel, food and other purchases without interest temporarily can make visiting your dream destination a much more relaxing experience.

Also, the APR on this card can be relatively high, so you might want to look elsewhere if you tend to carry a balance on your card. You'll also face late payment fees and a penalty APR for any missed payments. 

First-year value vs. ongoing value

Thanks to the card’s generous welcome offer, you'll get great first-year value. Having your annual fee waived for the first year only sweetens the pot. And if you take advantage of the free checked bag and Delta flight credit perk every year, you can add to the card's long-term value and offset the annual fee. With that in mind, the Delta Gold could be a good trial to see whether you may need to upgrade or downgrade your Delta card if it turns out the annual fee or absent Status Boost are deal breakers.

Here’s a look at your potential first-year and ongoing value based on our credit card rating methodology and an annual spend of around $22,000. 

Benefits and Costs First-year value Ongoing value (no welcome offers)
Yearly rewards* +$317 +$317
Welcome offers +$400 value (40,000 bonus miles after spending $2,000 during the first six months, assuming a 1-cent-per-mile value)
Perks (of monetary value)
  • +$100 (annual Delta flight credit, after spending $10,000)
  • +$60 (first checked bag free, estimated value per round-trip bag per passenger)
  • +$100 (annual Delta flight credit, after spending $10,000)
  • +$60 (first checked bag free, estimated value per round-trip bag per passenger)
Annual fee -$0 -$99
Total value $877 $378

We tried it: Here’s what our experts say

The Gold Delta SkyMiles card is an excellent option even if you only fly Delta a few times each year. Katie Genter, a travel rewards specialist at The Points Guy, found she got great value from having the card even though she’s not loyal to Delta:

I almost always check a bag when flying, so I found the Gold Delta SkyMiles card can pay for itself after just a few flights due to its first checked bag free benefit when flying Delta. Best of all, the benefit extends to other travelers on my same reservation, so my husband can also get his first checked bag free as long as we book together.

— Katie Genter, Senior Writer, The Points Guy

How the Delta Gold card compares to other travel rewards cards

The Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card has plenty of perks for individuals looking for an entry point into co-branded airline credit cards and offers ample opportunity to offset the $99 annual fee. However, if you’re a frequent traveler who doesn’t mind splurging on a higher annual fee to enjoy more premium benefits, another travel card might be ideal.

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

Annual fee

$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99

Intro offer

Earn 40,000 Miles

Rewards rate

1X - 2X

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Image of Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card
Bankrate Score
See Rates & Fees , Terms Apply
Apply now Lock
on American Express's secure site

Annual fee


Intro offer

Earn 50,000 miles

Rewards rate

1X - 3X

Recommended Credit Score

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

Annual fee


Intro offer

Earn 75,000 miles

Rewards rate

2 Miles - 5 Miles

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)

Best cards to pair with the Delta SkyMiles Gold card

Other Membership Rewards-earning American Express cards can not only transfer points to Delta, but also rack up points that are more valuable when transferred to other airline partners. Also, you might pair with a general travel card to give you more flexibility. 

Who is the Delta SkyMiles Gold card right for?

Co-branded cards aren’t a great fit for everyone, but Delta loyalists and frequent flyers might consider the Delta SkyMiles Gold worthwhile.

Bankrate’s Take — Is the Delta Gold card worth it?

Despite the annual fee after the first year, the Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express card is a terrific starter with Delta. Its ample benefits and rewards on everyday purchases at restaurants and supermarkets provide great rewards for value-minded travelers who aren’t chasing elite status perks. Its free checked bag perk and annual travel credit essentially cover the annual fee, which is enough to put it over the base Delta Blue SkyMiles card.

However, unless you’re a loyal Delta traveler, it might be wise to choose a non-branded card, especially if flexible rewards for day-to-day expenses is your priority. The Delta SkyMiles Gold's rewards value and features can be stronger, especially compared to other premium travel cards. And if you are a frequent Delta flyer, a higher-caliber Delta card may be worth considering since they come with more airline-exclusive perks and Status Boost.

For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles Gold card, please click here.

Eligibility and Benefit level varies by card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations apply. Please visit for more details. Underwritten by Amex Assurance Company.

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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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Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, is accurate as of the publish date. All products or services are presented without warranty. Check the bank’s website for the most current information.