Is the Delta Gold Amex worth it?

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While on its surface it may seem like the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card has enough perks to outweigh the annual fee, the ability to earn a small number of miles makes it harder to justify. It’s not without its merits, however. Let’s dive in and see if the benefits make the annual fee worth paying.

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

See Rates and Fees

Intro Bonus

Earn 70,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months

Annual fee $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $150.
Regular APR 20.99%–29.99% variable

For whom Is the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card worth it?

If you’re a loyal Delta Air Lines flyer, or even a casual one, it may seem like a good move to have a credit card associated with the airline that you fly the most. If you’re even occasionally checking bags and you find good uses for your Delta SkyMiles balance, then this card has a potentially good value proposition. 

With that said, if you’re more of a free agent and are simply looking for a good deal on flights, having this card might not be the best bet, given its ability to only earn rewards within the Delta ecosystem.

People who check bags to their destination

At $30 a bag, checking your luggage each way can add up quickly. If you take 4 round trips a year, that’s $240 you’re paying to Delta just to check a bag and another $240 if you travel with someone. With the Delta Gold SkyMiles credit card, you’re getting that first checked bag fee waived, meaning you can rack up some serious savings each year, well in excess of the card’s $150 annual fee.
To view rates and fees of the ‘Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card see this page 

People who will redeem SkyMiles for coach flights on Delta Air Lines

Since the only rewards earned with the Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express card are SkyMiles, it makes sense for you to be flying Delta often and redeeming your rewards for Delta flights. While many seats in the First Class or Delta One cabin can be exorbitantly priced, main cabin and basic economy flights are still very attainable. Add in the Delta TakeOff15 award flight discount for Delta Air Lines flights, and you could see some real bargains.

Flights up and down the coast can be had for under 10,000 miles round trip throughout the year, meaning the welcome bonus and your daily spending could net you more than a few round trip flights. For inspiration, check out the Delta SkyMiles Award Deals page. 

People who can can hit the $10,000 spend level in a year

One of the best benefits, aside from the checked bag feature, is the $200 Delta flight credit after you spend $10,000 in purchases in a year on your card. While this may seem like a high bar to reach, in reality it’s only about $850 a month. 

The flight credit will automatically be applied to your Delta SkyMiles account once you’ve hit your spend goal, and you can track how you’re progressing towards your goal on the American Express website.

People who spend a lot on dining and groceries

Because this card comes with a bonus of 2X miles at restaurants worldwide (including takeout and delivery in the U.S.) and at U.S. supermarkets, if you’re spending a lot in these categories and you value SkyMiles, you can rack up a good chunk of miles. 

If all your spending for the $200 flight credit was at the supermarket and dining categories, you’d earn at least 20,000 SkyMiles each year, more than enough for a round trip ticket during one of Delta’s many SkyMiles sales during the year.

For whom is the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card not worth it?

If you already hold elite status with Delta Airlines, then the main financial benefit of the card, free checked bags, is worthless. Since even Silver Medallion status with Delta nets you a free bag, you won’t get any extra perk with this card. Sure, you can still get the $100 in statement credits per calendar year for Delta Stays prepaid hotel or vacation rental booking and $200 Delta flight credit after you spend $10,000 in purchases in a year, but there are other cards on the market that can be more rewarding for earning Delta SkyMiles.

Anyone with Delta elite status

Many of the perks of this card are afforded to you as a Medallion elite member come with this card, so you’ll be doubling up on the benefits. You’ll earn priority boarding and free checked bags with your elite status, no matter the level, and the card doesn’t offer any path to help you achieve elite status. The other cards in the Delta portfolio, such as the Platinum and Reserve cards, all offer the ability to earn MQDs towards elite status, whereas this card falls short.

Travelers who redeem miles to travel on Delta partners

Since Delta got rid of their award chart in 2015, there’s no real way to know how many miles you’re going to pay for a flight with your SkyMiles. Flights could be as cheap as 4,500 miles one way or as high as 500,000 miles one way. Delta charges a variable price on all their flights based on demand and revenue pricing.

You will get a 15% discount on all Delta operated flights with the Take Off 15 discount, but this doesn’t apply to any of their SkyTeam partners. There is still good value to be had redeeming miles for partner flights, but you’ll pay full price with no additional discount.

Nearly everyone else

While it may seem hyperbolic to say so, the Delta Gold card doesn’t really offer a compelling value proposition unless you want free checked bags and the award flight discount, since the rewards are mild at best. At $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $150., the card loses a lot of its charm. There are many cards on the market that offer better benefits with a much lower annual fee. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, at only $95 a year, offers a much higher earning on purchases. You’ll earn 5x points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards® and 2x points on travel purchases. Dining and groceries net you 3X points per dollar and you’ll even earn 3x points on select streaming services and online grocery purchases (excluding Walmart, Target and wholesale clubs).

The welcome bonus will give a huge bump during your first few months of use, but after that first infusion of miles the ongoing rewards potential won’t give you a lot of miles to earn free flights with Delta. 
To view rates and fees of the ‘Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card see this page 

How to Maximize Rewards with the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

First and foremost, make sure that you don’t miss out on the welcome bonus. Currently offering 70,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months, this represents a huge bonus on your normal spend. 

Next, make sure to use your card on all your supermarket and dining purchases. Since you’ll earn just as many SkyMiles as you would using your card on Delta purchases, make sure not to leave any extra perks on the table.

Lastly, enroll in the Delta SkyMiles dining program. You’ll be able to stack the 2x miles earned at U.S. restaurants with extra bonuses at select restaurants all over the United States. Chances are one of your favorite restaurants near you participates, earning you even more miles for your next trip.

Bottom Line

While Delta has tried to make this card even more attractive with up to $300 in annual credits, more than double the annual fee, its lack of ability to provide extra rewards long term make this a hard pill to swallow. With that said, if you’re traveling on Delta, checking a bag, and haven’t yet achieved elite status, the savings that you rack up with this card could make it a natural fit for your wallet.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it hard to get approved for the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card?

While there is no tried and true method for knowing exactly what credit score is needed to be approved for the Delta Gold American Express card, the American Express website does offer you the chance to see if you’re approved for the card without impacting your credit score.

How do I use the TakeOff15 discount?

Using the discount couldn’t be easier. There’s no code to enter and nothing you need to do on your end to make the discount apply. Once you log into your account and choose the Delta flight you’re looking to redeem with miles, the original price will have a line through it and the price you’ll pay will be shown. Remember that you won’t be able to use this discount on flights operated by Delta partner airlines.

Can I earn elite status by spending on the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card?

If you’re hoping to move up the ladder with Delta from Silver to Gold and beyond, then you had best consider another credit card. The Gold version of the Delta credit card doesn’t offer any path to elite status. The Platinum card offers $1 MQD for every $20 spent on your cards and the Reserve card offers $1 MQD for every $10 spent on your cards.  Both cards also offer a $2,500 MQD head start just for holding the card every year.

Please note that card details are accurate as of the publish date, but are subject to change at any time at the discretion of the issuer. Please contact the card issuer to verify rates, fees, and benefits before applying. 

Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions, and Limitations Apply. Please visit guide for more details. Underwritten by Amex Assurance Company. 

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