CNN Underscored reviews financial products such as credit cards and bank accounts based on their overall value. We may receive a commission through the LendingTree affiliate network if you apply and are approved for a card, but our reporting is always independent and objective. Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.
As the country reopens in the wake of the pandemic, travel has quickly returned and planes are back in the skies. If you’re looking to get back on the road, you’ll want to have a pile of frequent flyer miles ready to go so you have the flexibility to hop on a flight as soon as you can.
Fortunately, American Express just launched some fantastic welcome offers on its personal Delta credit cards, which means you can earn up to a whopping 90,000 bonus miles by signing up for a new Delta credit card right now. But these offers are only available for a limited time through July 28, 2021, so you’ll want to move sooner rather than later.
Let’s take a look at the offers, which break down like this:
Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card: Earn 10,000 bonus miles when you spend $500 in the first three months after opening the account.
Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card: Earn 70,000 bonus miles when you spend $2,000 in the first three months after opening the account, plus a $200 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new card within your first three months.
Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card: Earn 90,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 in the first three months after opening the account, plus a $200 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new card within your first three months.
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card: Earn 80,000 bonus miles and 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) when you spend $5,000 in the first three months after opening the account, plus a $200 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new card within your first three months.
Delta uses a dynamic pricing scheme for its award flights instead of a fixed award chart, so you can expect to get a fairly consistent value for your miles. Frequent flyer website The Points Guy values Delta SkyMiles at 1.1 cents apiece, making these bonuses worth between $110 and a crazy-high $990, plus the $200 statement credits on the Delta Gold, Platinum and Reserve cards.
The bonus MQMs offered on the Delta Reserve card can also be a big boost for anyone actively chasing Delta elite status, especially since Delta rolled all 2020 MQMs over to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
One other interesting feature of the Delta Gold Amex and Delta Platinum Amex welcome offers is that, for the first time ever, the cards come with an introductory 0% APR on purchases for the first 12 months after opening the account. That can be extremely helpful if you’re looking to finance some expenses over time, but make sure you pay off your debt before the 12 months expire, because the rate rises to a variable 15.74%-24.74% afterward.
There are four different personal Delta credit cards available.
While all these cards are geared toward Delta flyers, the best Delta credit card for you depends on your spending habits and how frequently you plan to fly with the airline as travel returns to normal.
If it’s simply bonus miles you’re after, then the Delta SkyMiles Blue Amex card is for you. It earns 2 miles for every dollar you spend on eligible Delta purchases and at restaurants worldwide, and 1 mile per dollar on everything else. It also features a 20% discount on in-flight purchases, access to Delta’s Pay With Miles program, no foreign transaction fees and no annual fee (see rates and fees).
However, if you plan to fly Delta occasionally — even once per year — as planes return to the air and you don’t mind paying a $99 annual fee that’s even waived for the first year you have the card (see rates and fees), you’ll get a lot more value from the Delta SkyMiles Gold Amex.
Aside from a much heftier welcome bonus, the Delta Gold Amex comes with more perks, including your first checked bag free when flying Delta (which normally costs $30 to $60 for economy passengers), priority boarding and a $100 Delta flight credit after you spend $10,000 in eligible purchases on your card in a calendar year.
And, in addition to earning 2 miles per dollar at U.S. supermarkets, Delta Gold Amex card members earn 2 miles for each dollar spent at restaurants, including takeout and delivery, as well as 2 miles per dollar on eligible Delta purchases.
If you plan to go on more than a few trips each year and Delta is your carrier of choice, it’ll probably make more sense to go with one of Delta’s more premium credit cards. The Delta SkyMiles Platinum Amex and the Delta SkyMiles Reserve Amex have annual fees of $250 (see rates and fees) and $550 (see rates and fees) respectively, but are loaded with elite-like benefits and shortcuts to earning elite status to go along with them.
The Delta Platinum Amex has many of the same perks as the Gold version, such as a free checked bag on Delta flights and priority boarding. You’ll also earn 3 miles for every dollar you spend at hotels and on eligible Delta purchases, as well as the same 2 miles per dollar at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets.
The card also comes with a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck fee credit worth up to $100 every four years (or four and a half years for TSA PreCheck) and a domestic main cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your card.
For those chasing Silver, Gold or Platinum elite status, the Delta Platinum Amex waives Delta’s Medallion Qualifying Dollars (MQD) requirement when you spend $25,000 on the card in a calendar year, which could be useful since the first months of travel this year were cut short by the pandemic.
Plus, Amex has expanded the card’s Status Boost feature for 2021. When you spend $25,000 on the Delta Platinum Amex this year, you’ll earn 12,500 bonus MQMs toward elite status. That’s 25% more than the normal 10,000 MQMs offered with Status Boost on the card, and you can do it twice in a year, so you’ll get another 12,500 bonus MQMs if you get to a total of $50,000 spending in 2021.
Delta MQMs earned in 2020 have been rolled over to 2021 to help you earn elite status for 2022.
Meanwhile, the Delta SkyMiles Reserve Amex comes with even more benefits, such as complimentary access to Delta Sky Clubs as well as the exclusive American Express Centurion Lounges — which have now all reopened across the country -— when you’re flying on a Delta flight, access to complimentary upgrades for non-elites and an annual companion certificate that can be used for first-class travel each year upon renewal of your card.
The card earns 3 miles for every dollar you spend on eligible Delta purchases and 1 mile for every dollar you spend on everything else. And with the Delta Reserve Amex, you’re also getting an enhanced Status Boost feature this year. You’ll earn 18,750 MQMs for every $30,000 spent on the Delta Reserve Amex in 2021, up to four times within the calendar year.
That’s 25% more than the usual 15,000 MQMs earned with each Status Boost, and if you earn all four possible boosts, you’ll get Delta Platinum elite status without even stepping on a plane.
You can also waive Delta’s MQD requirement for elite status up to the Platinum level by spending $25,000 in a calendar year on the Delta Reserve Amex, or the MQD requirement for Diamond status by spending at least $250,000.
All four personal Delta credit cards top CNN Underscored’s benchmark credit card, the Citi® Double Cash Card, on several of our criteria. They offer welcome bonuses, bonus categories and travel benefits, and they don’t charge foreign transaction fees. If you’re a regular Delta flyer, you’ll likely find value in at least one if not all of these areas.
On the flip side, aside from the Delta Blue Amex, all the Delta cards have annual fees either right off the bat or after the first year, which our benchmark card doesn’t. And since Delta SkyMiles are worth 1.1 cents apiece, according to The Points Guy, unless you’re really good at maximizing Delta SkyMiles, the Citi Double Cash card’s 2% return — 1% when you make a purchase, and another 1% when you pay it off — beats the Delta cards when it comes to everyday spending. You can read more about our methodology and our benchmark credit card concept here.
For people who think they’ll really utilize the Delta travel benefits on these cards, or who regularly spend a lot of money in one or more of the bonus categories, the pros of these cards likely make the annual fees worth the cost. But if you don’t find yourself on a Delta flight very often, even in the best of times, you might want to choose a card that aligns better with your needs. In that case, check out our guide to the best credit cards of 2021 for other options.
You may be thinking about travel right now for the first time in a while, and getting an airline credit card could be your first step to getting back on the road. These are some of the highest welcome bonuses we’ve ever seen on these Delta cards, but they’ll only be around until July 28, 2021. So if you’re looking to get as many miles as possible, grab a Delta credit card before these offers disappear.