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…
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:
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.
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.
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
Check application status here.
How to meet minimum spend requirements
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):
$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)
- Priority boarding
- First checked bag free.
- 20% Back on In-Flight Purchases
- No foreign transaction fees
- 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.
There are few ways to earn Delta SkyMiles with this card:
Obviously, if eligible, you can earn miles by successfully signing up for this card and meeting the minimum spend requirements:
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.
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)|
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.
Here’s a full list of Delta branded cards available in the United States:
|Card Name w Details & Review (no offer)|