If your travel plans include flights on Delta Air Lines and you like the convenience of checking bags, the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card offers you loads of value. The card gives you a first free first checked bag on Delta, which is one of the easiest travel credit card hacks. The SkyMiles Gold card lets you extend this hack to your friends traveling with you — up to eight of them.
The card offers a welcome bonus and an introductory $0 annual fee for the first year ($99/year thereafter, see rates and fees), making it one of the best airline credit cards to pick up if you’re collecting Delta SkyMiles. Better yet, those miles will be worth even more as long as you’re a cardmember, thanks to the card’s TakeOff 15 discount on award tickets. For all of these reasons and more, it’s one of the best travel credit cards you can find.
Here’s what you need to know about the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card.
Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express card review
- Free checked bag benefit for you and up to eight companions.
- Delta TakeOff 15 benefit provides a 15% discount on award tickets.
- $100 Delta flight credit once you spend $10,000 on the card within a calendar year.
- Earn two miles per dollar spent directly with Delta.
- Earn two miles per dollar at restaurants worldwide, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S. and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn one mile per dollar spent on other eligible purchases.
- No foreign transaction fees.
- Terms apply.
Pros and cons of the Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express
The Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express card offers an exceptionally generous checked bag benefit for those traveling with multiple companions, plus plenty of reasons to keep the card in your wallet.
- $100 Delta flight credit after spending $10,000 in a year is an easy-to-use perk for frequent Delta flyers
- Delta TakeOff 15 benefit gives a boost to the value of your SkyMiles — making the miles you earn from the welcome bonus, card spending, and flying on Delta even more valuable.
- Card earns two miles per dollar on grocery store purchases — a spending category not offered by other airline cards with similar annual fees.
- Delta SkyMiles are easy to use and offer predictable value for travel within the United States.
- Free checked bag benefit applies to everyone in your reservation — up to 9 people in total.
Current welcome offer
New cardmembers can earn a welcome bonus of 40,000 bonus SkyMiles after spending $2,000 on the card within the first six months. In addition, Delta offers a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99.
The Delta SkyMiles Gold Card welcome bonus is available only to new cardmembers who have never had the card before.
How to earn rewards
The Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card offers 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your card in the first six months of card membership. The card also offers bonus miles in a handful of categories like restaurants and U.S. supermarkets. Using your card in its bonus categories can be a great way to maximize rewards.
Here’s what the Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express card earns:
- Two miles per dollar spent on Delta purchases made directly with Delta.
- Two miles per dollar at restaurants worldwide, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
- Two miles per dollar at U.S. supermarkets.
- One mile per dollar spent on other eligible purchases.
- Terms apply.
How to redeem Delta SkyMiles
If you’re looking into a Delta credit card, you’re probably interested in traveling with Delta and its partners. While airline miles can often be redeemed for merchandise, gift cards, or experiences, if your travel rewards card earns airline miles, redeeming those miles for travel usually provides the most value.
You can use your miles to book airline travel on Delta.com. There, you’ll find flights on Delta and its partners.
Delta Air Lines is a member of the SkyTeam Airline Alliance, meaning that you have access to SkyTeam’s 19 member airlines, plus a handful of smaller non-alliance partner airlines.
To search for award travel on Delta.com, start by checking the “Shop with Miles” box. Optionally, you can select “My dates are flexible” to see a table showing you the lowest award travel prices across seven departure and return dates.
Once you’ve selected a date, you can browse flight options available on that date. If you’ve searched for a round trip, you’ll select your departure and return flights separately.
From this point forward, purchasing a ticket using your SkyMiles largely follows the same process as buying a ticket with cash. Simply select the flight that you want and continue booking your ticket. After selecting your flights, you’ll be asked to log into your SkyMiles account if you’re not already logged in, prior to paying for the taxes and fees on your ticket.
If you’re looking for travel bargains, take a look at Delta’s SkyMiles Deals. Delta frequently offers deals on U.S.-domestic coach award tickets and the airline occasionally releases international award tickets during unannounced flash sales. At publication, Delta was offering Main Cabin airfares up and down the west coast from San Francisco for under 17,000 miles, round trip.
Upgrade your flight with miles
If you’re looking to get into a more comfortable seat closer to the front of the plane, you can use your SkyMiles to upgrade eligible flights. You can use your miles to upgrade when you’re booking your flight or after your flight is booked through Delta.com. Upgrade prices vary—if an upgrade is available, the price will be displayed when you view your reservation online.
Other redemption options
Delta offers more options for redeeming miles than most other airlines, but many of these options offer less value than booking travel.
- Delta Vacations can be booked with miles.
- Use miles for premium drinks if you want to treat yourself to a premium alcoholic beverage while visiting a Delta SkyClub.
- Pay for fees using miles when you are charged a ticket change fee, same-day confirmed fee, or external ticketing charge.
- Redeem miles for Delta gift cards if you want to treat yourself or another person to travel on Delta with no expiration date.
- Miles for Magazines lets you subscribe to a selection of popular magazines using your miles.
- SkyMiles Marketplace offers a selection of merchandise available for purchase with miles.
- SkyMiles Experiences lets you bid on experiences, some of which are exclusive to SkyMiles.
- Transfer your miles to another SkyMiles member if they need miles to top off an award.
- Donate your miles with SkyWish to benefit Delta’s charity partners.
Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express benefits
Terms apply to all benefits.
Free first checked bag
When you book your Delta or Delta Connection flight with your Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express, you and up to eight companions traveling with you will receive your first checked bag for free.
$100 Delta flight credit
Every calendar year that you charge $10,000 or more to your Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express card, you will earn a $100 Delta eCredit. This eCredit can be used toward a Delta-marketed flight on Delta.com within one year of when it is issued. While the SkyMiles Gold card only earns one mile per dollar on general purchases, the Delta Flight credit can be a good reason to use the card everywhere, at least until you hit $10,000 of spending each year.
You’ll get your Delta flight credit within two weeks of making a qualifying purchase that puts your annual spending over $10,000. The credit is valid for one year from the date of issue and you may use up to three eCredits per reservation.
When you hold the Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express card, you automatically receive a 15% discount on the price in miles when booking an award ticket. Just book an award ticket at Delta.com as a cardmember and you’ll see your TakeOff 15 discount on all flights operated by Delta and Delta Connection.
- 20% back on in-flight purchases – Receive 20% back as a statement credit when you use your card to make in-flight purchases like food, beverages, and audio headsets on Delta flights.
- Car rental loss and damage insurance* – When you reserve and pay for your entire car rental with your card and decline the rental company’s collision damage waiver, your card can cover your eligible rental for damage and theft. Coverage is secondary to your personal auto insurance.
- Baggage insurance plan* – When you charge your common carrier (bus, plane, ship, or train) ticket to your card, you get coverage of up to $1,250 for carry-on baggage and $500 for checked baggage.
Other benefits of the Delta SkyMiles Gold Card
- Extended warranty* – When you purchase eligible items using your card, Amex will provide up to an additional year of warranty coverage on eligible purchases that have a warranty of five years or less.
- Purchase protection* – When an item you purchase with the card gets stolen or is damaged, you can be reimbursed to repair or replace the item, up to $1,000 per claim.
Who it’s good for
Delta’s first checked bag fee is $30 each way when you travel in Basic Economy, Main Cabin, or Delta Comfort+ within the United States. This means that you’ll save $120 in checked bag fees — more than the card’s $99 annual fee — when you take just one round-trip with a companion, or two on your own.
Who should look elsewhere
The Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express card quickly pays for itself if you fly with a companion, thanks to the card’s annual Main Cabin companion certificate, which lets you take a companion on a round trip within the 48 contiguous U.S. states for just taxes and fees. With the SkyMiles Platinum card, you also have the ability to pay $50 for a one-time Delta SkyClub pass if you want to treat yourself to Delta’s stellar airport lounges when flying on the airline (terms apply).
If occasional lounge access isn’t enough for you, the Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express card will get you lounge access every time you fly on Delta, plus a companion certificate that can be used for First Class (terms apply).
Practically anyone interested in SkyMiles should be tempted by the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card’s welcome bonus, but even occasional Delta flyers who check bags will find that the card is worth keeping. If you take just one trip with a companion a year, you can save up to $120 in checked bag fees by booking your trip with the card—more than the card’s $99 annual fee.
* Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions, and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by Amex Assurance Company.
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Editorial Disclosure: All articles are prepared by editorial staff and contributors. Opinions expressed therein are solely those of the editorial team and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including rates and fees, presented in this article is accurate as of the date of the publish. Check the lender’s website for the most current information.
This article was originally published on SFGate.com and reviewed by Lauren Williamson, who serves as Financial and Home Services Editor for the Hearst E-Commerce team. Email her at [email protected].
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