Delta SkyMiles Gold vs. Delta SkyMiles Platinum

1
Igor Alecsander/E+/Getty Images
Bankrate Logo

Why you can trust Bankrate

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 . 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.

If you fly Delta, you probably already know about the benefits of earning and redeeming Delta SkyMiles. But you might not know that applying for a Delta credit card can expedite your miles-earning journey and give you access to more travel perks.

With a Delta airline card in your wallet, you have the opportunity to earn SkyMiles on every purchase. Depending on which Delta credit card you choose, you may also be able to take advantage of travel benefits such as discounted airport lounge access, fee waivers for TSA PreCheck and Global Entry membership and more.

If you’re thinking about applying for a Delta credit card, you may be asking yourself which is better: the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card or the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card? Both cards allow you to earn Delta SkyMiles on everyday purchases, but only one card offers premium travel benefits. That said, if you want the perks that come with the Delta SkyMiles Platinum card, you’ll need to be prepared to pay a platinum-level fee. For some Delta travelers, the Delta SkyMiles Gold card might be the more sensible option.

Which is right for you? Let’s take a close look at the Delta SkyMiles Gold vs. the Delta SkyMiles Platinum, and see if we can come up with a verdict.

Main Details

Delta SkyMiles Gold Delta SkyMiles Platinum
Welcome bonus 40,000 bonus miles after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months. 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months.
Rewards Rate 2X miles on restaurant, U.S. supermarkets and Delta purchases

1X miles on all other purchases

3X miles on Delta flights and Delta Vacations purchases, plus transactions made directly with hotels

2X miles at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets

1X miles on all other purchases

Intro APR n/a n/a
Annual fee $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99 $250

Delta SkyMiles Gold vs. Delta SkyMiles Platinum highlights

In the battle between the Delta SkyMiles Gold and the Delta SkyMiles Platinum, neither card is an across-the-board winner—but each wins in certain categories. Here’s how they stack up.

Welcome bonus winner: Delta SkyMiles Gold

Credit card welcome bonuses can be excellent tiebreakers when you’re on the fence between two cards. Both Skymiles cards award bonus miles if you hit a certain spending threshold during the first three months of card ownership, but only the Delta SkyMiles Platinum card gives you the opportunity to earn both SkyMiles and Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) as part of your sign-up bonus.

However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the Delta SkyMiles Platinum card offers the best bonus. Let’s do the math:

  • The Delta SkyMiles Gold card offers 40,000 bonus miles to cardholders who spend $1,000 on qualifying purchases in the first three months. That breaks down to 40 bonus SkyMiles per dollar spent.
  • The Delta SkyMiles Platinum card offers 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 MQMs to cardholders who spend $2,000 on qualifying purchases in the first three months. That breaks down to 25 bonus SkyMiles and 2.5 MQMs per dollar spent.

If you want to earn the most bonus for your dollar, the Delta SkyMiles Gold card is the best choice. If you want to earn the most bonus miles possible or earn bonus MQMs, pick the Delta SkyMiles Platinum.

Rewards rate winner: Delta SkyMiles Platinum

If you’re looking to maximize your credit card rewards, the Delta SkyMiles Platinum card is the clear winner. Here’s how each card’s reward structure works:

  • The Delta SkyMiles Gold card offers 2X miles on restaurants, U.S. supermarkets and Delta purchases and 1 mile per dollar on all other purchases.
  • The Delta SkyMiles Platinum card offers 3X miles on Delta flights, Delta Vacations® and transactions made directly with hotels, 2X miles at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets and 1 mile per dollar on all other purchases.

Both cards offer the same rewards rate on restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (including delivery and takeout), but you’ll earn more SkyMiles on travel purchases if you choose the Delta SkyMiles Platinum card.

Annual Fee winner: Delta SkyMiles Gold

This one is complicated. If you want to minimize your annual fee, the Delta SkyMiles Gold is your best option, with an annual fee of only $99. Plus, the annual fee is waived for your first year as a cardholder.

The Delta SkyMiles Platinum card charges a $250 annual fee, which might be too pricey for some cardholders. But in exchange for the high annual fee, you get access to money-saving travel benefits like an annual companion certificate and a TSA PreCheck/Global Entry fee waiver. You also get discounted airport lounge access, which could turn out to be your favorite new credit card perk.

We’re giving this one to the Delta SkyMiles Gold simply because we know many cardholders have difficulty deciding whether an annual fee is worth it. However, if you know that you’ll use and value the perks offered by the Delta SkyMiles Platinum, the annual fee can easily be worth it.

Foreign transaction fee winner: Tie

Neither the Delta SkyMiles Gold card nor the Delta SkyMiles Platinum card charges foreign transaction fees on purchases made outside of the U.S., making both cards excellent options for global travellers.

Which card earns the most?

If you want to earn the most SkyMiles per dollar spent, the Delta SkyMiles Platinum will likely give you the biggest bang for your buck—but only if you put a lot of your money towards travel purchases, including Delta flights. If you spend less money on travel and more money on everyday purchases like groceries, the two cards offer similar rewards-earning opportunities.

Delta SkyMiles Gold vs. Delta SkyMiles Platinum spending example

Let’s say you spent $1,000 on groceries and $500 on restaurants last month. Both the Delta SkyMiles Gold and the Delta SkyMiles Platinum card offer 2X SkyMiles on restaurant and U.S. supermarket purchases, netting you 3,000 SkyMiles for the $1,500 you spent on restaurants and groceries.

But what if you also bought a $500 Delta flight and a $500 hotel stay? The Delta SkyMiles Platinum card offers 3X miles per dollar on Delta purchases and direct hotel bookings, allowing you to earn 3,000 SkyMiles for the $1,000 spent. The Delta SkyMiles Gold card offers 2X miles on Delta purchases and only 1 mile per dollar on hotels, which means the $1,000 you put towards travel expenses would only net 1,500 SkyMiles.

The Points Guy estimates Delta SkyMiles to be worth 1.2 cents apiece, making that 1,500-mile difference worth about $18 in rewards value.

Why should you get the Delta SkyMiles Gold card?

If you want to earn rewards on everyday purchases and redeem them for an occasional Delta flight, the Delta SkyMiles Gold card is probably the right choice for you.

Additional benefits

Want Delta travel perks? In addition to priority boarding, one free checked bag per flight and 20 percent off in-flight purchases, Delta SkyMiles Gold cardholders can receive a $100 Delta flight credit after spending $10,000 in a calendar year. Cardholders also receive travel protections like car rental loss and damage insurance.

Redemption options

The best way to redeem your Delta SkyMiles is by using them to purchase Delta flights. When you book flights on Delta.com, you can take up to $50 off the cost of your flight for every 5,000 miles you redeem. Don’t have enough miles to cover the entire cost of a flight? Delta will let you combine miles and cash. You can also transfer your miles to one of Delta’s airline partners.

If you’re not interested in flights, visit the Delta SkyMiles Marketplace to redeem your miles for magazines, gift cards and more. Some Marketplace redemption options are currently limited due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but there are still plenty of opportunities to turn your miles into something useful or fun.

Recommended credit score

People with good to excellent credit are most likely to be accepted for the Delta SkyMiles Gold card. We recommend building your FICO credit score to at least 670 before you apply.

Why should you get the Delta SkyMiles Platinum card?

If you fly Delta regularly and want to maximize your SkyMiles and take advantage of perks like discounted airport lounge access, the Delta SkyMiles Platinum card is an excellent option. And if you’re interested in rising to the top tier of Medallion Status, Delta’s loyalty program, the boosted rate on Delta purchases will help you get there faster.

Additional benefits

The Delta SkyMiles Platinum card offers a plethora of perks, including a TSA PreCheck/Global Entry fee waiver, the ability to access Delta Sky Clubs for only $39 per person (when traveling on a Delta flight) and the opportunity to redeem a domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion ticket each year.

Plus, cardholders receive all the same standard perks offered by the Gold card: priority boarding, one free checked bag per flight, 20 percent off in-flight purchases, baggage insurance, trip delay insurance and car rental loss and damage insurance.

Redemption options

If you have the Delta SkyMiles Platinum card, you’ll want to redeem your SkyMiles for Delta flights or Delta Vacation purchases. That’s probably why you invested in the platinum-level Delta card in the first place. You can also transfer your miles to one of Delta’s airline partners or use your SkyMiles to upgrade seats, cover airport lounge costs (including premium beverages) or pay for ticket change fees.

If you aren’t using SkyMiles to enhance your Delta travel experience, you can always find a good home for them in the SkyMiles Marketplace. Redeem your SkyMiles for magazines, gift cards, charitable donations or any of the other options and experiences the Marketplace has to offer.

Recommended credit score

As with the Delta SkyMiles Gold card, people with good or excellent credit are more likely to be accepted. If you’re considering applying for the Delta SkyMiles Platinum card, we recommend having a FICO credit score of at least 670.

The bottom line

The Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express card and the Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card are two excellent airline credit cards that allow cardholders to earn SkyMiles, take advantage of travel perks and save money on Delta flights.

However, the two cards are not designed for the same traveler. If you are a frequent Delta flyer who takes many trips every year, you might be ready for the platinum-level benefits offered by the Delta SkyMiles Platinum card—as long as you’re ready to pay a platinum-level annual fee. If you’re just getting started with SkyMiles and want a high-earning rewards card that only charges a modest annual fee, the Delta SkyMiles Gold card is the better option.