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.

Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express
Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express
Apply Now
Rates & Fees
(Terms Apply)
Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express
Annual Fee$195 Annual Fee ($250 if application is received on or after 1/30/2020)
Welcome Offer Earn 75,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer Expires 10/30/2019.
  • Earn 75,000 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 10/30/2019.
  • In addition, earn a $100 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months.
  • Earn 2 miles per dollar spent on purchases made directly with Delta. Earn 1 mile for every eligible dollar spent on purchases. Miles don't expire.
  • Check your first bag free on Delta flights - that's a savings of up to $240.
  • Receive Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding on your Delta flights, stow your carry-on bag and settle in sooner.
  • Enjoy 20% savings on eligible in-flight purchases in the form of a statement credit with the American Express Delta Card.
  • $195 Annual Fee ($250 if application is received on or after 1/30/2020).
  • Terms Apply.
  • Rates & Fees
  • 2X Miles per dollar spent on purchases made directly with Delta
  • 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 2x 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 miles when you hit spending thresholds and much, much more.

DELTA CO-BRAND CREDIT CARDSWELCOME OFFERKEY BENEFITSANNUAL FEE
Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American ExpressEarn 10,000 bonus miles after spending $500 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership (Terms Apply)• 2x on Delta purchases and at U.S. Restaurants
• 20% back as statement credit on Delta in-flight purchases
$0 - Rates & Fees
Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express Earn 60,000 Bonus Miles after you use your new Card to make $2,000 in purchases within your first 3 months and a $50 Statement Credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months. Offer expires 10/30/2019. (Terms Apply)• 2x on Delta purchases
• First checked bag free
• Priority boarding
• No foreign transaction fees (Rates & Fees)
• 20% back as statement credit on Delta in-flight purchases
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95 - Rates & Fees
Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American ExpressEarn 30,000 bonus miles after you make $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. (Terms Apply)• 2x on Delta purchases
• First checked bag free
• Priority boarding
• No foreign transaction fees (Rates & Fees)
• 20% back as statement credit on Delta in-flight purchases
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95 - Rates & Fees
Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American ExpressEarn 75,000 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 10/30/2019. (Terms Apply)• 2x on Delta purchases
• Annual companion certificate
• 10K bonus miles and 10K bonus MQM when you spend $25K in a calendar year *See Note
• *Additional 10K bonus miles and 10K bonus MQM when you spend $50K in a calendar year *See Note
• First checked bag free
• Priority boarding
• No foreign transaction fees (Rates & Fees)
• 20% back as a statement credit on Delta in-flight purchases

*Note: Starting January 30, 2020, you will no longer earn bonus miles (redeemable Delta SkyMiles) with this benefit.
$195 Annual Fee ($250 if application is received on or after 1/30/2020) - Rates & Fees
Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American ExpressEarn 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) and 35,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Plus, earn a $100 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months. (Terms Apply)• 2x on Delta purchases
• Annual companion certificate
• 10K bonus miles and 10K bonus MQM when you spend $25K in a calendar year *See Note
• Additional 10K bonus miles and 10K bonus MQM when you spend $50K in a calendar year *See Note
• First checked bag free
• Priority boarding
• No foreign transaction fees (Rates & Fees)
• 20% back as a statement credit on Delta in-flight purchases

*Note: Starting January 30, 2020, you will no longer earn bonus miles (redeemable Delta SkyMiles) with this benefit.
$195 ($250 if application is received on or after 1/30/2020) - Rates & Fees
Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American ExpressEarn 75,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $5,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer Expires 10/30/2019. (Terms Apply)• 2x on Delta purchases
• Complimentary Delta SkyClub® access
• Annual companion certificate
• 15K bonus miles and 15K bonus MQM when you spend $30K in a calendar year *See Note
• Additional 15K bonus miles and 15K bonus MQM when you spend $60K in a calendar year *See Note
• First checked bag free
• Concierge service
• Priority boarding
• No foreign transaction fees (Rates & Fees)

*Note: Starting January 30, 2020, you will no longer earn bonus miles (redeemable Delta SkyMiles) with this benefit.
$450 Annual Fee ($550 if application is received on or after 1/30/2020) - Rates & Fees
Delta Reserve for Business Credit 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 (Terms Apply)• 2x on Delta purchases
• Complimentary Delta SkyClub® access plus up to 2x guests @ $29 each
• Annual companion certificate
• 15K bonus miles and 15K bonus MQM when you spend $30K in a calendar year *See Note
• Additional 15K bonus miles and 15K bonus MQM when you spend $60K in a calendar year *See Note
• First checked bag free
• Concierge service
• Priority boarding
• No foreign transaction fees (Rates & Fees)

*Note: Starting January 30, 2020, you will no longer earn bonus miles (redeemable Delta SkyMiles) with this benefit.
$450 ($550 if application is received on or after 1/30/2020) - Rates & Fees

Highlights of the Delta credit-card lineup include the two Gold cards, 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 Reserve® Credit Card from American Express
Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express
Apply Now
Rates & Fees
(Terms Apply)
Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express
Annual Fee$450 Annual Fee ($550 if application is received on or after 1/30/2020)
Welcome Offer Earn 75,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $5,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer Expires 10/30/2019.
  • Earn 75,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $5,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer Expires 10/30/2019.
  • Earn 2 miles per dollar spent on purchases made directly with Delta. Earn 1 mile for every eligible dollar spent on other purchases.
  • Enter Delta Sky Club® at no cost and bring up to two guests for an exclusive rate of $29 per person per visit. Starting 1/30/2020, the exclusive per-visit rate to access the Delta Sky Club® will be $39 per person.
  • Receive Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding on your Delta flights, stow your carry-on bag and settle in sooner.
  • Check your first bag free on Delta flights - that's a savings of up to $240 per round trip for a family of four.
  • $450 Annual Fee ($550 if application is received on or after 1/30/2020).
  • Terms Apply.
  • Rates & Fees
  • 2X Miles per dollar spent on purchases made directly with Delta
  • 1 mile 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 (Terms Apply)
  • American Express® Gold Card – Earns 4X points at restaurants worldwide, and 4x at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year), plus 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com (Terms Apply)

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, much higher than the 2X earned with Delta's co-brand cards.

The Platinum Card® from American Express
The Platinum Card® from American Express
Apply Now
Rates & Fees
(Terms Apply)
The Platinum Card® from American Express
Annual Fee$550
Welcome Bonus Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • Rates & Fees
  • 5X points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel, and on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com

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: Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express (Rates & Fees), Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card (Rates & Fees), Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express (Rates & Fees), Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express (Rates & Fees), Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express (Rates & Fees), Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express (Rates & Fees), Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express (Rates & Fees), and The Platinum Card® from American Express (Rates & Fees)

The Best Credit Cards to Earn Delta SkyMiles
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Comments

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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)

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

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

  • The Rewards Plus program is quite good too.

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

  • 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

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

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

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

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

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

  • 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.

  • Amex gold 4x dining is your best bet

  • The question is: are SkyMiles worth earning? 😀

  • Steven William Van Meter says:

    I have benefitted from programs like this in the past.

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

  • Thanks for the tips! I love Delta.

  • 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.

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

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

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

  • 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.

  • Love Delta Miles, never expires!

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

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

  • 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.

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

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

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

  • 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?

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

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

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