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.
* 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 delta.com 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 delta.com
- 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.