Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card
If you’re looking to reach elite status on Delta Airlines, the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card can help give you a boost toward that goal.
Here are the details
The Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card pays 3 miles per $1 spent on purchases made directly with Delta and directly with hotels, 2 miles per dollar spent at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and 1 mile per dollar spent on all other eligible purchases. You can also earn 40,000 bonus miles and 5,000 MQMs when you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months and earn a $100 statement credit after you make your first Delta purchase within the first 3 months.
This travel card’s most prominent strengths align with frequent Delta flyers. No need to worry about blackout dates on Delta flights or your miles expiring. It’s best to not raise your expectations for higher rewards beyond that. However, a somewhat underrated benefit is its round-trip companion certificate that you receive each year upon renewal. Though taxes and fees do apply, this is a way for you to save on accompanying flights if your travel schedule is often full.
Worthy addition to your wallet?
If you’re already a fan of Delta Airlines and you own a Delta co-branded credit card, this card can’t hurt. You likely already have a SkyMiles Loyalty Program membership, where you’ll earn an additional SkyMiles for every dollar you spend on Delta flights so be sure to use this card for Delta purchases along with that SkyMiles membership. But people who shell out the $250 annual fee don’t get this card for that reason alone. 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 isn’t necessarily low-hanging fruit. But those who achieve it earn a ton of perks like super-high rewards rates and complimentary first-class upgrades.
For further information related to maximizing your earnings, reaching Medallion Status, and any other questions you may have on the SkyMiles rewards structure, check out our Delta SkyMiles frequent flyer rewards guide.
How much are rewards worth?
Delta stopped publishing its award charts in 2015 so it can be challenge to know the maximum value of your rewards. 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 rewards rate isn’t comparable 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 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 you could get upgraded to a first class ticket. This would make your Delta miles worth almost 4 cents each — far better than that 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.
How to maximize the value of this card
In order to get the most out of this card, you want to spend $2,000 in the first 3 months to earn the 40,000 mile welcome bonus.
Purchasing flights directly through Delta and purchases made directly with hotels is the only way to earn the maximum 3x miles.
Like Delta’s Medallion Status program, this card is most rewarding for frequent travelers seeking elite status. If that doesn’t sound like you, consider a different Delta card with no annual fee and perks for more modest spenders.
For rates and fees of the Delta Skymiles® Platinum American Express Card, please click here.