Delta Gold Card Complete Guide

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For the U.S. market, American Express offers two Delta Gold cards: One is a consumer card and the other is for small businesses.  For the most part, the two cards are identical, but the consumer card does offer additional bonus categories.

Let’s take a deep dive into the Delta Gold cards. Since the consumer and business Delta Gold cards are nearly identical, in most places I’ll simply refer to “the card” or “the Delta Gold card”.  Where the cards are different, I’ll explicitly differentiate between the two…

Application Tips

Should you apply?

Many cards are worth getting for the welcome bonus alone.  That’s often the case with this card.  Welcome bonuses of 60,000 miles or more are common.  If the welcome bonus is lower than that, I recommend waiting.  Here are the current Delta Gold offers:

Card Offer
Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business Credit Card from American Express
70K Miles + $50 statement credit
70K miles + $50 statement credit after $2K spend in the first 3 months. Terms apply. (Rates & Fees)
(Offer Expires 4/28/2021)

No Annual Fee First Year, Then $99

This card is also worth considering if you plan to fly Delta and check bags more than once or twice a year.  If so, the card’s free checked bag feature may quickly pay for itself.

If you’re a regular Delta flyer you may do even better with a Delta Platinum card.  The Delta Platinum cards have a higher annual fee, but they include an annual main-cabin companion ticket that can be valuable, plus they add the ability to earn elite status through spend.  See: Delta Platinum complete guide.

Card Offer
Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business Credit Card from American Express
90K miles + $100 statement credit
90K miles + $100 statement credit after $3K spend in the first 3 months. Terms and limitations apply. (Rates & Fees)
(Offer Expires 4/28/2021)

$250 Annual Fee

If you’re also interested in SkyClub access and other high-end perks, an ultra-premium Delta Reserve card might be the best fit for you.  See: Delta Reserve complete guide.

Card Offer
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve for Business Credit Card
80K miles + 20K MQMs + $200 statement credit
80K miles + 20K MQMs + $200 statement credit after $5K spend in the first 3 months. Terms and limitations apply. (Rates & Fees)
(Offer Expires 4/28/2021)

$550 Annual Fee

Recent better offer: None

Are you eligible?

In most cases with Amex, if you’ve had the same card before, you can’t get a welcome bonus when signing up. Consider, though, that each variation of Delta card is considered a different product. Over time, it’s possible for you to earn the welcome bonus on all of the following cards since each one is a separate product:

Card Offer Mini

Here are additional Amex application tips:


Amex Application Tips



  • Safe to Apply: Amex is the safest bank for trying your luck at a new welcome bonus. They don’t usually issue a hard pull when denying your application. Plus, they’ll now warn you during the application process if you’re not eligible for the bonus.

  • Lifetime Rule: If you've ever had the same card before, you are most likely prohibited from getting a welcome bonus for the card if you apply now. Fortunately you'll be warned during the application process if this is the case. Amex is known to "forget" that you've had a card after about 7 years.

  • 5/90 Rule: In general, you can get at most one credit card within 5 days and 2 within 90 days. The 5 day limit is not enforced when your applications are automatically approved. Neither rule is enforced for charge cards.

  • 4 credit card max: Amex usually won't approve applications for new credit cards if you already have 4 or more Amex credit cards or 10 or more charge cards.

  • Better Offers: You may be able to get a better offer than the best available public offer. Details here.

  • Hard inquiries combine into 1 when approved same day


Check application status here.
If denied, call reconsideration: 877-399-3083 (new accountholders); 866-314-0237 (current accountholders)


How to meet minimum spend requirements

In order to meet minimum spend requirements, people often look for options to increase spend in ways that result in getting their money back. These techniques are referred to as "manufacturing spend". American Express has terms in their welcome offers that exclude some manufactured spend techniques from counting towards the minimum spend requirements for the welcome bonus. For example, most new cardmember bonuses have terms like this:
Eligible purchases to meet the Threshold Amount do NOT include fees or interest charges, purchases of travelers checks, purchases or reloading of prepaid cards, purchases of gift cards, person-to-person payments, or purchases of other cash equivalents.
That said, many techniques for meeting minimum spend are perfectly fine. Here are some techniques that are safe for meeting Amex minimum spend requirements (click each link for more information):

Perks

Delta Gold cards offer fairly standard airline card perks:

$100 Flight Credit


Spend $10,000 in purchases in a calendar year and receive a $100 Delta Flight Credit.  Credit is valid for one year from the date issued.  The credit is only valid for payment of tickets, including fare, surcharge and government-imposed taxes and fees imposed on the air transportation. It is not valid for other types of fees (including bag fees, change fees, upgrades or other ancillary purchases or fees with Delta)

Travel Perks

  • Priority boarding
  • First checked bag free.
  • 20% Back on In-Flight Purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees

Travel Protection

  • Baggage Insurance: Up to $500 per person for checked luggage, and up to $1,250 per person for carry-ons. Must pay transportation in full with your card to be covered. Details here.
  • Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance: Secondary car rental insurance. Must pay for rental in-full with card. Details here.

Purchase Protection

  • Extended warranty: Up to 1 extra year.  Details here.
  • Purchase protection: Covers damage, loss, or theft up to 90 days after purchase. Details here.

Earn Miles

There are few ways to earn Delta SkyMiles with this card:

Welcome Bonus

Obviously, if eligible, you can earn miles by successfully signing up for this card and meeting the minimum spend requirements:

Card Offer
Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business Credit Card from American Express
70K Miles + $50 statement credit
70K miles + $50 statement credit after $2K spend in the first 3 months. Terms apply. (Rates & Fees)
(Offer Expires 4/28/2021)

No Annual Fee First Year, Then $99

Refer Friends


The refer-a-friend offer shown above for the Delta Platinum card was in effect when this post was first written. Offers can and do change over time. Consider this only an example of the type of offer you may find.
By logging into your American Express account, you should be able to find an offer to earn miles when referring friends. It's often the case, but not always, that your friends can get bigger bonuses through your referral link than through a public offer.
Note that your friends can use your referral link to sign up for any Delta card. They are not limited to the one that you have. For example, a friend can use your Delta Gold or Delta Platinum friend-link to sign up for the Delta Reserve card.  Similarly, a Delta Reserve referral link can be used to sign up for the Delta Gold or Delta Platinum card.  Regardless of which Delta card they sign up for, you will earn a referral bonus if they are approved.

Bonus Spend

It’s always possible to earn additional miles by using the card within it’s bonus categories. Note that the consumer and business cards offer slightly different bonuses.  The consumer card offers 2X at U.S. Supermarkets whereas the business card offers 2X for U.S. advertising purchases in select media. Both offer 2X for dining and Delta spend:

Card Info Name and Earning Rate (no offer)
Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business Credit Card from American Express
Base
Dine
Brand
Other
Earning rate: 2X Delta ⚬ 2X U.S. purchases for advertising in select media ⚬ 2X U.S. shipping purchases ⚬ 2X restaurants
Delta SkyMiles® Gold Credit Card from American Express
Base
Dine
Grocery
Brand
Earning rate: 2X Delta ⚬ 2x restaurants worldwide ⚬ 2x US supermarkets

Redeem Miles

You don’t need a Delta credit card to redeem Delta miles for award flights, but there is one feature that requires having a Delta credit card: Pay with miles…

Pay with Miles


Delta's "Pay with Miles" feature is limited to primary cardholders of any Delta card (Blue, Gold, Platinum, or Reserve). This feature lets you pay for cash tickets in part or in full with Delta SkyMiles at a value of 1 cent per mile. You must pay in increments of 5,000 miles. Every 5,000 miles you apply decreases the ticket cost by $50. In other words, each mile is worth exactly 1 penny with this feature.
No miles earned: Flights that are paid for in this way earn full MQMs (Medallion Qualifying Dollars) and MQSs (Medallion Qualifying Segments). However, only the portion paid in cash earns redeemable SkyMiles and MQDs (Medallion Qualifying Dollars). The latter two issues reduce the value of the Pay with Miles feature.
Tip: Unless the full ticket amount is an exact multiple of $50, I recommend stopping short of paying the whole fare with miles since you'll get lower value from the last 5,000 miles. For example, if you want to use this feature and your ticket costs $228, I recommend paying 20,000 miles to decrease the cash cost to $28. Otherwise you would have to pay another 5,000 miles for that last $28 (which is a poor value).

Keep, cancel, or product change?

If you regularly make good use of the card’s free checked bags, then the card basically pays for itself with that feature alone.  If that doesn’t apply to you, then when the second year annual fee comes due you’re probably better off cancelling or upgrading to a Delta Platinum or Reserve card (if you value the perks with those cards).  Many other cards offer much better earnings on spend.  See: Best cards for everyday spend.

Related Cards

Here’s a full list of Delta branded cards available in the United States:

Card Name w Details & Review (no offer)
Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business Credit Card from American Express

FM Mini Review: Good choice for frequent Delta flyers who can make use of annual companion certificate


Annual Fee: $250

Card Type: Amex Credit Card

Base
Travel
Brand
Other
1.5X
(1.8%)

Earning rate: 3X Delta ⚬ 3X purchases made directly with hotels ⚬ 1.5X on purchases of $5K or more (max 50K extra miles per year)

Big spend bonus: Spend $25,000 in purchases on the Card in a calendar year and earn 10,000 Medallion(R) Qualification Miles (MQMs); spend a total of $50,000 in eligible purchases on the Card in a calendar year and earn an additional 10,000 MQMs ⚬ Throughout 2021, earn an additional 2,500 MQMs with $25K in purchases up to two times. ⚬ Medallion Qualifying Dollar waiver (up to Platinum status) with $25K spend across one or more Delta cards (or $250K spend for Diamond status) ⚬ Terms and limitations apply.

Noteworthy perks: Domestic economy companion certificate (subject to taxes & fees) each year upon card renewal ⚬ Priority boarding ⚬ First checked bag free on Delta flights ⚬ Terms and Limitations Apply. (Rates & Fees)

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Credit Card from American Express

FM Mini Review: Good choice for frequent Delta flyers who can make use of annual companion certificate


Annual Fee: $250

Card Type: Amex Credit Card

Base
Travel
Dine
Grocery
Brand

Earning rate: 3X Delta ⚬ 3X purchases made directly with hotels ⚬ 2X restaurants ⚬ 2X US Supermarkets

Big spend bonus: Earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year ⚬ Medallion Qualifying Dollar waiver (up to Platinum status) with $25K
spend across one or more Delta cards (or $250K spend for Diamond status) ⚬ Terms apply.

Noteworthy perks: Domestic economy companion certificate (subject to taxes & fees) each year upon card renewal ⚬ Priority boarding ⚬ First checked bag free on Delta flights ⚬ Terms and Limitations Apply. (Rates & Fees)

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve for Business Credit Card

FM Mini Review: Excellent choice for frequent Delta flyers who can make use of SkyClub access and companion certificate. Also a good choice for big spenders seeking Delta elite status.


Annual Fee: $550

Card Type: Amex Credit Card

Base
Brand
Other
1.5X
(1.8%)

Earning rate: 3X Delta ⚬ 1.5X on all spend per calendar year after spending $150K

Big spend bonus: Earn 15K MQMs (towards elite status) after $30K spend up to four times per year ⚬ Throughout 2021, earn an additional 3,750 MQMs with $30K in purchases up to 4 times ⚬ Medallion Qualifying Dollar waiver (up to Platinum status) with $25K spend across one or more Delta cards (or $250K spend for Diamond status) ⚬ After you spend $150K in a calendar year, earn 1.5X miles per dollar on eligible purchases for the rest of the year (excludes Delta purchases after you meet the $150K requirement) ⚬ Terms and limitations apply.

Noteworthy perks: Domestic economy or first class companion certificate (subject to taxes & fees) after card renewal ⚬ SkyClub access ⚬ 2 Delta SkyClub one-time guest passes ⚬ Centurion Lounge access when you book your Delta flight with your Reserve card ⚬ Complimentary upgrades ⚬ $100 Global Entry fee credit every 4 years (or 4.5 years for TSA Precheck) ⚬ Priority boarding ⚬ First checked bag free on Delta flights. Terms and limitations apply. (Rates & Fees)

See also: Delta Reserve complete guide

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Credit Card from American Express

FM Mini Review: Excellent choice for frequent Delta flyers who can make use of SkyClub access and companion certificate. Also a good choice for big spenders seeking Delta elite status.


Annual Fee: $550

Card Type: Amex Credit Card

Base
Brand

Earning rate: 3X Delta

Big spend bonus: Earn 15,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $30,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to four times per year ⚬ Complimentary upgrades ⚬  $100 Global Entry fee credit every 4 years (or 4.5 years for TSA Precheck) ⚬ Medallion Qualifying Dollar waiver (up to Platinum status) with $25K
spend across one or more Delta cards (or $250K spend for Diamond status) ⚬ Terms apply.

Noteworthy perks: Domestic economy or first class companion certificate (subject to taxes & fees) after card renewal ⚬ SkyClub access ⚬ 2 Delta SkyClub one-time guest passes ⚬ Centurion Lounge access when flying Delta ⚬ Complimentary upgrades ⚬  $100 Global Entry fee credit every 4 years (or 4.5 years for TSA Precheck) ⚬ Priority boarding ⚬ First checked bag free on Delta flights. Terms and limitations apply. (Rates & Fees)

See also: Delta Reserve complete guide

Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business Credit Card from American Express

FM Mini Review: Priority boarding and first checked bag free make this a reasonably good option for Delta flyers who do not have elite status. However, those who can make use of an annual companion certificate would do better with the Delta Platinum card.


Annual Fee: $99

Card Type: Amex Credit Card

Base
Dine
Brand
Other

Earning rate: 2X Delta ⚬ 2X U.S. purchases for advertising in select media ⚬ 2X U.S. shipping purchases ⚬ 2X restaurants

Big spend bonus: $100 Delta flight credit after $10K in purchases in a calendar year

Noteworthy perks: Priority boarding, and first checked bag free on Delta flights. Terms and limitations apply. (Rates & Fees)

Delta SkyMiles® Gold Credit Card from American Express

FM Mini Review: Priority boarding, and free checked bag make this a reasonably good option for Delta flyers who do not have elite status. However, those who can make use of an annual companion certificate would do better with the Delta Platinum card.


Annual Fee: $99

Card Type: Amex Credit Card

Base
Dine
Grocery
Brand

Earning rate: 2X Delta ⚬ 2x restaurants worldwide ⚬ 2x US supermarkets

Big spend bonus: $100 Delta flight credit after $10K in purchases in a calendar year

Noteworthy perks: Priority boarding and first checked bag free on Delta flights. Terms and limitations apply. (Rates & Fees)

Delta SkyMiles® Blue Credit Card from American Express

FM Mini Review: This card offers an OK welcome offer for a no-fee card, but many/most other cards offer better return for spend.


Annual Fee: $0

Card Type: Amex Credit Card

Base
Dine
Brand

Earning rate: 2X restaurants worldwide ⚬ 2X Delta ⚬ 1X on all other eligible purchases

Noteworthy perks: 20% statement credit on in-flight purchases of food, beverages, and headsets Terms and limitations apply. (Rates & Fees)

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