Best Delta Cards

If you’re a frequent flyer or planning to increase your flying frequency soon, it may be a worthwhile investment to procure a co-branded airline credit card. Delta Airlines, for example, offers four different personal credit cards – each offering their own rewards rates, perks and bonus-mile deals.

Our team has compiled the list below of the best Delta credit cards.

Best Delta credit card for no annual fee: Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card

Why it’s the best

If you’re fee-averse, the Delta SkyMiles Blue American Express Card is the only Delta card offered without an annual fee. The lack of an annual fee is buoyed by a solid welcome offer: new cardholders can earn 15,000 bonus miles through 4/1/2020 after spending $1,000 in purchases within the first three months. Foodies and Delta loyalists will also love the earning rate of two miles per dollar on Delta purchases and restaurant expenses. For all other purchases, cardholders will earn one mile per dollar spent.

Tend to get a little peckish on flights? You’ll be pleased to know that you’ll get a solid 20% discount in the form of statement credit for in-flight purchases. Eligible purchases include food, beverages and audio headsets on Delta flights.

Bonus points:

  • Pay with Miles: As long as you have 5,000 miles in your SkyMiles account, you can use your earned miles to pay for part or the total cost of eligible flights.
  • No foreign transaction fee: If you plan on traveling abroad, this is an important feature to consider. Many credit cards charge a foreign transaction fee around 3%, which can really add up depending on how much you spend.

Best Delta credit card for budget travelers: Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

Why it’s the best

For most travelers, the Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card is still worth the $99 annual fee (waived the first year) because of its perks, like your first checked bag free, solid earning rate and priority boarding. You’ll get the most value out of this card if you tend to spend a significant amount on food expenses and Delta flights, since card members earn two miles per dollar spent on U.S. supermarkets, restaurants and Delta flights.  On everything else, you’ll earn one mile per dollar.

As a new cardholder, you have the potential to earn 60,000 bonus miles after spending $2,000 within the first three months through 4/1/2020. In addition, cardholders may be able to earn an extra 10,000 bonus miles after the first anniversary of card membership. Taking advantage of all these first-year benefits can result in a windfall of travel rewards if you play your credit cards right.

Bonus points:

  • First checked bag free: If you fly round-trip at least twice a year, you’ve already made up for the annual fee, which gets waived your first year anyway.
  • Priority boarding: If you prefer to get settled before anyone else, this is a great perk. Priority boarding means you can put away your carry-on and tune into your next podcast before everyone else.
  • Delta credit: Spend $10,000 during a calendar year on your Delta SkyMiles Gold Card and you can earn a $100 Delta Flight Credit.

Best Delta credit card for the welcome bonus: Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Why it’s the best

If you’re looking for a big come-up right out of the gate, the Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card might be the answer. For signing up, you can earn 80,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 during the first three months through 4/1/2020. Plus, you will earn extra 20,000 on the first anniversary of your card membership. In addition, new cardholders can earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after spending $25,000 in purchases during a calendar year.

The regular earning rates are nothing to scoff at either, especially if you’re a frequent flyer. Cardholders earn three miles per dollar on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels. In addition, members earn two miles per dollar spent at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets and one mile per dollar for everything else.

Bonus points:

  • Free checked bags: Your first checked bag is free along with up to eight other passengers on the same reservation.
  • Annual companion certificate: If you fly with someone once a year, the annual companion certificate easily cancels out the $250 annual fee this card charges. This annual certificate enables you to take a friend, significant other or family member on a roundtrip flight for free, minus some taxes and fees.
  • TSA Precheck or Global Entry fee credit: Cardholders can receive up to $100 in statement credit for TSA Precheck or Global Entry fees once every four years.

Best Delta credit card for getting elite status: Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card

Why it’s the best

While this might be the most expensive of the Delta credit cards, it offers travelers a seriously upgraded experience. For example, you’ll receive complimentary access to Delta SkyClubs and the Centurion Lounge so you don’t have to wait in the chaos of the gate. Cardmembers also always get their first checked bag free and receive Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding on Delta Airlines flights.

If you want elite status, the Reserve American Express Card offers generous introductory incentives to get you there. New cardmembers will earn 80,000 bonus miles and earn 20,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) if they spend $5,000 on the card within three months. You can earn 15,000 MQMs after spending $30,000 or more in eligible purchases in a calendar year, up to four times during the year.

Bonus points

  • Delta Sky Club: For just one year of individual access to Delta Sky Club lounges, you’d be on the hook for $545, but the Delta SkyMiles Reserve Card includes this perk. If you find yourself stuck in awkwardly long layovers at airports, being able to escape into the more relaxing atmosphere of an airport lounge can be a delightful reprieve.
  • Guest passes to Sky Club: Every year, cardmembers will receive two one-time guest passes to Delta lounges.
  • Companion certification: Although there are certain restrictions, Delta offers cardmembers an annual companion certificate that covers Delta Comfort+ or first-class tickets for a loved one or friend.

Michelle Wilson

Michelle Wilson is a San Diego-based writer specializing in the topics of personal finance, technology, and culture. You can find her writing on sites such as HP Tech Takes, The Simple Dollar, and San Diego Magazine. In her spare time, she enjoys finding new cats to follow on Instagram.