The Best Credit Cards to Earn Delta SkyMiles

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SkyMiles is the loyalty program for Delta Air Lines, the second-biggest carrier in the U.S. based on passenger numbers. You can earn SkyMiles by flying Delta and its partner airlines, shopping through portals or with retail partners, via the SkyMiles Dining program, spending on Delta Amex co-brand credit cards, or transferring flexible points from partners.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card
Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card
Apply Now
Rates & Fees
(Terms apply)
Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card
Annual Fee$250
Welcome Offer Earn 60,000 bonus miles plus 5,000 bonus MQMs after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months, Offer Expires 10/28/2020.
  • Earn 60,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months, Offer Expires 10/28/2020.
  • NEW! Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card.*Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • NEW! With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 MQMs after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • NEW! Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta Flights.
  • NEW! Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • Rates & Fees
  • 3X miles per dollar spent on purchases made directly with Delta
  • 3X miles per dollar at hotels
  • 2X miles per dollar at U.S. supermarkets
  • 2X miles per dollar at restaurants
  • 1 mile on every eligible dollar spent on purchases.

SkyMiles members can earn plenty of miles flying Delta or through shopping portals and dining programs, but by far the quickest method of collecting Delta miles is via credit cards. Of the three legacy carriers, SkyMiles provides the broadest range of co-brand credit cards, with seven Delta cards available including four personal and three business rewards cards, all issued by American Express.

Delta Pre-Holiday Award Deals 2017

However, contrary to conventional wisdom, Delta co-brand cards aren't always the best option to swipe at the checkout if you want to earn Delta miles. You can typically earn more SkyMiles by using a Membership Rewards earning credit card than a Delta credit card, even when paying for Delta flights. Membership Rewards earning cards allow you to collect as high as 5X points on flights (compared to a maximum of 3x miles on Delta cards), and points transfer 1:1 to Delta.

Delta SkyMiles Credit Card Key Features & Benefits

Delta co-brand cards range from a no-annual-fee basic rewards card through to the top-of-the-line Reserve cards which provide complimentary Delta SkyClub access, an annual companion certificate, bonus Medallion Qualifying Miles when you hit spending thresholds and much, much more.

DELTA CO-BRAND CREDIT CARDSWELCOME OFFERKEY BENEFITSANNUAL FEE
Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express CardEarn 10,000 bonus miles after you spend $500 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.• 2x on Delta purchases and at restaurants worldwide
• 20% back as a statement credit on Delta in-flight purchases
$0 - Rates & Fees
Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card Earn 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months, Offer Expires 10/28/2020.• 2x miles on Delta purchases, at restaurants worldwide, and at U.S. supermarkets
• First checked bag free
• Priority boarding
• No foreign transaction fees (Rates & Fees)
• 20% back as a statement credit on Delta in-flight purchases
• $100 Delta flight credit after spending $10,000
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99 - Rates & Fees
Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express CardLimited Time Offer: Earn 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in the first 3 months. Offer ends 10/28/20.• 2x on Delta purchases, at restaurants, on U.S. shipping, and on select U.S. advertising
• First checked bag free
• Priority boarding
• No foreign transaction fees (Rates & Fees)
• 20% back as a statement credit on Delta in-flight purchases
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99 - Rates & Fees
Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express CardEarn 60,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months, Offer Expires 10/28/2020.• 3x on Delta purchases and at hotels
• 2x at restaurants & U.S. supermarkets
• Annual companion certificate
• 10K bonus MQMs when you spend $25K in a calendar year
• Additional 10K bonus MQMs when you spend $50K in a calendar year
• First checked bag free
• Priority boarding
• No foreign transaction fees (Rates & Fees)
• 20% back as a statement credit on Delta in-flight purchases
$250 - Rates & Fees
Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express CardLimited Time Offer: Earn 70,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in the first 3 months. Offer ends 10/28/20.• 3x on Delta purchases and at hotels
• 1.5x on purchases of $5,000 or more
• Annual companion certificate
• 10K bonus MQMs when you spend $25K in a calendar year
• Additional 10K bonus MQMs when you spend $50K in a calendar year
• First checked bag free
• Priority boarding
• No foreign transaction fees (Rates & Fees)
• 20% back as a statement credit on Delta in-flight purchases
$250 - Rates & Fees
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express CardEarn 40,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.• 3x on Delta purchases
• Complimentary Delta SkyClub® access when flying Delta or Delta marketed flights, plus up to 2x guests @ $39 each
• Annual companion certificate
• 15K bonus MQMs for every $30K you spend in a calendar year, up to a maximum 60K MQMs
• First checked bag free
• Concierge service
• Priority boarding
• No foreign transaction fees (Rates & Fees)
$550 - Rates & Fees
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express CardEarn 45,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in the first 3 months.• 3x on Delta purchases
• 1.5x on purchases after spending $150,000 in a calendar year
• Complimentary Delta SkyClub® access when flying Delta or Delta marketed flights, plus up to 2x guests @ $39 each
• Annual companion certificate
• 15K bonus MQMs for every $30K you spend in a calendar year, up to a maximum 60K MQMs
• First checked bag free
• Concierge service
• Priority boarding
• No foreign transaction fees (Rates & Fees)
$550 - Rates & Fees

Highlights of the Delta credit-card lineup include the Gold Delta Amex and Business Gold Delta Amex, which both provide the first checked bag free for the cardholder and up to 8 companions, priority boarding, and the annual fee waived for the first year. However, if you’re chasing Delta elite status, you will get there faster with the Platinum or Reserve cards, as they allow you to earn Medallion Qualifying Miles as part of the welcome bonus and when you reach annual-spending thresholds.

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card
Apply Now
Rates & Fees
(Terms apply)
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card
Annual Fee$550
Welcome Offer Earn 40,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Earn 40,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • NEW! With Status Boost™, earn 15,000 MQMs after you spend $30,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to four times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • NEW! Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✔®.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free and Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding on Delta flights.
  • NEW! Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases.
  • Earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases.
  • Complimentary access into the Delta SkyClubs® for you when travelling on a Delta flight.
  • NEW! Enjoy complimentary access to The Centurion® Lounge when you book your Delta flight with your Reserve Card.
  • Receive a 20% savings in the form of a statement credit after you use your Card on eligible Delta in-flight purchases of food, beverages, and audio headsets.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • Rates & Fees
  • 3X miles per dollar spent on purchases made directly with Delta
  • 1X miles on every eligible dollar spent on purchases.

Transfer Flexible Rewards Points to Delta SkyMiles

In addition to earning SkyMiles via Delta’s co-brand cards, you can also transfer flexible points to SkyMiles from American Express Membership Rewards and Marriott Bonvoy. This allows you to earn flexible points across an array of rewards cards and achieve a better return on flights, restaurants, and everyday spending than you can with the Delta cards. For example:

  • The Platinum Card® from American Express – Earns 5X points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel, and on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com
  • American Express® Gold Card – Earns 4X points at restaurants worldwide, and 4x at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year, then 1X), plus 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com

Keeping in mind that Membership Rewards transfer to Delta at a 1:1 ratio, you're effectively earning between 3-5X Delta miles via Membership Rewards earning cards.

American Express® Gold Card
American Express® Gold Card
Apply Now
Rates & Fees
(Terms apply)
American Express® Gold Card
Annual Fee$250
Welcome Bonus Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points on Restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Earn up to a total of $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth's Chris Steak House, Boxed, and participating Shake Shack locations. This can be an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required.
  • $100 Airline Fee Credit: up to $100 in statement credits per calendar year for incidental fees at one selected qualifying airline.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • Rates & Fees
  • 4X Membership Rewards® points when you dine at restaurants worldwide.
  • 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X)
  • 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com
  • 1X on other purchases
  • Earn up to a total of $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth's Chris Steak House, Boxed, and participating Shake Shack locations. This can be an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required.

You can also transfer Marriott Bonvoy points to Delta at a 3:1 ratio, with Marriott pitching in an additional 15,000 points (5,000 airline miles) for each transfer of 60,000+ points (20,000 miles), for a total of 25,000 SkyMiles. While transferring Marriott points to Delta makes sense if you need to top off your account with a few extra miles, due to the 3:1 transfer ratio and the less than favorable earning rates on Marriott co-brand cards, we wouldn't recommend them over the Membership Rewards earning options above.

Delta Card Application Restrictions

Delta co-branded cards are issued by Amex, which means they are subject to American Express's welcome offer policy restricting applicants to ‘one welcome bonus per lifetime per product.’ Amex has also introduced a new tool to its credit card application process that will inform you if you are eligible for a welcome bonus on the card you are applying for based on your application history and a host of other factors. For a full rundown, check out our comprehensive guide on credit card application restrictions.

An example of the Amex application restrictions for the Delta co-brand credit cards:

“Welcome offer not available to applicants who have or have had this Card. We may also consider the number of American Express Cards you have opened and closed as well as other factors in making a decision on your welcome offer eligibility.”

While you can only receive the welcome bonus on each card once, holding one a Delta co-brand card doesn’t stop you from applying for other cards in the SkyMiles family and receiving the welcome bonus when your travel goals and priorities change.

Final Thoughts

The Delta co-brand credit cards offer plenty of value for folks that fly Delta on a regular basis, and the premium cards are a no-brainer for anyone needing a boost to achieve Delta Medallion status. But, if your goal is to earn the maximum number of SkyMiles from your everyday spending, you'll get more value from acquiring one if the Membership Rewards earning cards mentioned above, and transferring those points to Delta. Either way, you can earn hundreds of thousands of SkyMiles with the right application and spending strategy, putting you well on the path to your next award-travel redemption.

For rates and fees of the cards mentioned in this post, please visit the following links: Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card (Rates & Fees), Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card (Rates & Fees), Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card (Rates & Fees), Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card (Rates & Fees), Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card (Rates & Fees), Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card (Rates & Fees), Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card (Rates & Fees), and American Express® Gold Card (Rates & Fees)

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Comments

  • I saw the Delta name and cringed on their behalf and on behalf of all airlines. Over the next quarter, Delta expects revenue to be down 90%. 9. 0. They’re burning thru $60 million in cash daily. And, more than 50 of their pilots have tested positive. Those are just headlines from the last 12 hrs. I wish them well.

  • Joao Marcelo says:

    Thinking next year of switching loyalty from AA to Delta unfortunantely

  • MIssed it. 🙁

  • I received a mailer for 60000 bonus Delta miles on the Gold card but I already had this card before but canceled. Would I still receive the bonus if approved again? There’s no lifetime language in the T&C on the back of mailer. Any thought?

  • Albert C Rollins says:

    I missed out, Next time.

  • I’m moving away from a place served by Delta. But useful for other people.

  • skypesos is not worth collecting. upward of 180000 RT USA to Asia? No thanks

  • my wish is that delta increases the value of skymiles for redemption.
    the points asked for redemption are insane compared to other airlines.

    • Yes, that’s why the program has a bit of a bad reputation among some frequent fliers and lots of derogatory nicknames, unfortunately.

  • I’m looking to downgrade or discontinue my Delta Platinum given the upcoming benefit changes. I can understand someone getting one of these cards for the signup bonus, but I wouldn’t keep or use it unless I was a Delta frequent flyer.

  • Unlike others here, I’ve redeemed Delta miles wheneverI wanted. Definitely worth collecting.
    .

  • This is a very useful summary with some helpful comments. Sounds like Gold is the way to go.

  • I got the Amex Everyday card so I definitely like the ability to transfer to delta, plus all the other partners of Amex.
    I have lots of Delta miles. Should I just leave my balance close to an even amount or should I just charge on their card and make it even, then transfer from Amex if I need to? Or is that more my preference? :O) My husband says to just leave it and just transfer if we need to.
    I just like seeing my total go up. Does anyone else have this need to see the miles pile up and not want to use them because they look so pretty?

  • Deltas award space using low miles seems to have improved in 2019, thank goodness…

  • Delta low miles award space seems to have improved in 2019. Am glad they listened ..

  • Good information. I wish Hilton offered as good of transfer as Marriott. Maybe one day.

  • I have had several different Delta cards over the years, and have fared very well with them. I’ve received miles, free baggage allowance, early boarding — even a first class upgrade.

    It’s well-worth the time to select and apply for a card that suits your lifestyle and needs. Many are even no annual fee.

  • Nice to see that this is updated especially as we plan summer trips.

  • Thanks for keeping valuable posts like these – current, best credit cards – up-to-date.

  • Love Delta Miles, never expires!

  • Thanks for the analysis. I would agree, using the Platinum card would produce a better return for Delta purchases. Additionally, because the points can be earned for any airfare purchases, you get a better return all the way around.

  • People keep mentioning the Gold card, but do you mean Delta Gold or AmEx Gold?

  • Why do the business cards have less bonus than the regular cards? I may apply for the business versions if they offer 75k.

  • It would be nice to see the Gold card offer a bit more perks and/or have bonus categories other than Delta purchases for its $95 AF.

  • Are there any transfer fees from Amex Membership Rewards to Delta? I know in the past they used to charge me a small fee for transferring MR to Delta, but I don’t know if that is still the case. Thanks!

    • Hey David, Amex still charges the excise fee of $0.0006 per point (0.06 cents per point) transferred to U.S. Airlines. In other words, 100,000 points transferred would cost $60. The total fee is capped at $99.

  • Thank you for the great roundup of Amex Delta cards! This is very informative.

  • ron_vaughn@hotmail.com says:

    The best feature of the Delta program is non-expiration of miles. Very handy for the infrequent flyer! The occasional (and limited) card bonuses can be scooped up without time pressure.

  • Thanks for the tips! I love Delta.

  • I’m waiting for a 75K sign up bonus on the Delta cards.

  • Steven William Van Meter says:

    I have benefitted from programs like this in the past.

  • The question is: are SkyMiles worth earning? 😀

  • Amex gold 4x dining is your best bet

  • I just applied for the AMEX Everyday card; says I can get 25K points and there’s no annual fee. Transfers to Delta 1 to 1, so that’s good. Haven’t got the card yet in the mail, though.

  • very useful post! I like how flexible AMEX is is with the sign up bonus compared to the Chase 5/24 rule.

  • I’ve already had and cancelled the Delta Platinum card. Should I also be able to get the Platinum Business card?

  • Its nice to learn what programs can transfer to skymiles, ones that I have already too. Bonuses are always helpful to stack points.

  • I hope Delta can be more generous with award-travel redemptions in the future.

  • Love delta but their reward redemptions are horrible unless a special fare

  • Steven William Van Meter says:

    This is a very helpful list. I’m thinking next year of switching loyalty from AA to Delta. This would be a big help in achieving status. Thank you

  • I was looking to book economy award tickets ORD/ZRH for May, best deal was 98000 miles. I am no longer collecting Skymiles.

  • The Rewards Plus program is quite good too.

  • Indeed, AMEX is NOT as widely accepted as one would like.

  • I must be thick…how can you use Marriott Rewards to earn Delta Skymiles?

  • great info.
    I just wish they partnered with Chase like United does.
    Additionally, my purchasing options are fewer with amex (some local places near me refuse to take amex)

  • Like others have said, I prefer the gold of all the cards. It’s not my go to card by any means, but it can have value.

    • For me the AF is too high, even after the airline credit offset to make this ‘occasional use’ card worth holding onto.

  • I am also considering changing the majority of my flying from American to Delta. One of the things holding me back is the frequent flier program. I have gotten a great use out of my AAdvantage miles for business class redemptions. I don’t see how I could match that with the very unpredictable skymiles program. If I make the change,I would definitely want the Delta platinum card for help with status.

  • Thinking next year of switching loyalty from AA to Delta. This would be a big help in achieving status.

  • If you fly delta alot the gold card is like a cheat code for economy comfort

  • Gold is a good card to have if you are in one of Delta’s hubs. I have LGA and JFK in New York for that. I’ve have a few flights with Delta each year and save on the baggage fees alone when I do check in luggage. Also helps when you get Zone 1 boarding and save on the Amex offers that I add to my card. Most of the time I use my Amex Platinum card for purchasing Delta flights to earn 5x points on airfare and transfer to Delta Skymiles.

  • I know everyone’s card selection will be different based upon many factors but for me the AMEX Gold cars suits me best with the 4x in restaurants and groceries and an be transferred to Skymiles.

  • I have the Gold; besides the Zone 1 boarding, I like all the offers that come with the card – I’ve saved at least the annual fee every year on AMEX offers.

  • Great info, I wish Delta’s award availability and amount were more consistent for Europe.