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Credit Cards

Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card review: Companion ticket, free checked bags and TSA PreCheck credit

A great card for Delta Air Lines frequent fliers who want added benefits and don't mind paying a big annual fee.

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The Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card is a co-branded airline credit card designed for consumers who enjoy flying with Delta Air Lines and its partners. As you spend on the card, you can earn Delta SkyMiles that can be redeemed for free flights and vacations through Delta. In addition, you can enjoy several benefits, including free checked bags and discounted access to the Delta Sky Club airport lounges.

The card has a $250 annual fee (see rates and fees) — but is the card worth the investment? Select reviews the Delta Platinum card, analyzing its welcome bonus, rewards program and other perks to help you decide if it's the best card for you.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card review

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

On the American Express secure site
  • Rewards

    Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels; 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets; 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.

  • Annual fee

    $250

  • Intro APR

    N/A

  • Regular APR

    15.74% to 24.74% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    N/A

  • Foreign transaction fees

    None

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

Pros

  • Main cabin priority boarding
  • $39 entry fee for Delta Sky Club lounge access for you and up to two guests when traveling on Delta flights
  • 20% back as statement credit on in-flight purchases
  • Check your first bag for free on Delta flights
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck

Cons

  • $250 annual fee
  • Somewhat complicated bonus rewards program

Welcome bonus

American Express recently announced elevated welcome offers on six of the Delta co-branded cards, including the Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card, through Nov. 10, 2021. So if you'd like to score the increased bonus, be sure to apply before then.

New cardholders can earn 90,000 Delta SkyMiles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after making $3,000 in eligible purchases with the card within the first three months.

SkyMiles can be used to book free flights on Delta and its partners. In addition, you can earn MQMs which count toward earning elite status with Delta. If you fly with Delta often, this card can help bring you closer to achieving status with the airline, which includes coveted benefits like complimentary upgrades, priority boarding and bonus miles on flights.

This bonus is one of the best welcome offers currently available. Even at a modest 1 cent per point valuation, the welcome offer is worth a whopping $900. However, most cardholders will be able to get more value, as many points enthusiasts value SkyMiles around 1.3 cents per point.

Benefits and perks

The Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card comes with a wide variety of benefits and perks for Delta flyers. When you have the card, you will have access to the following benefits:

  • Solid spending categories: You can earn 3X miles for every dollar spent directly with Delta and hotels, 2X miles for every dollar spent at restaurants worldwide and U.S. supermarkets and 1X mile for every dollar spent on all other eligible purchases.
  • Status Boost: You can earn 10,000 MQMs after spending $25,000 on the card in a calendar year and another 10,000 MQMs after $50,000 in total spending. Typically, you only earn MQMs through flying, but these MQMs earned through spending will help you gain Delta elite status faster.
  • First checked bag fee on Delta flights: When you pay with your Delta Platinum card, up to nine people on the same flight itinerary will get one free checked bag. This perk can save cardholders up to $240 on a round-trip flight for a family of four.
  • Annual companion certificate: Think of this as a buy-one-get-one free ticket. When you book a Main Cabin economy ticket on Delta, you can bring a friend or family member, and all you need to do is pay the taxes for the second person. However, this certificate is restricted to the flights within continental U.S.
  • TSA PreCheck/Global Entry credit: Waiting in line for airport security is always a pain. With the Delta Platinum card, you can get a $100 statement credit to pay for either program. Global Entry is $100 for a five-year membership, and includes the benefits of TSA PreCheck.
  • Discounted Delta SkyClub entrance fee: With the Delta Platinum card, you can take advantage of a discounted entrance fee of $39 per person for you and two guests at the Delta SkyClub. However, you must present a Delta ticket for that day to enter the club.
  • Travel coverages: The Delta Platinum card offers travel insurance coverage, including rental car insurance and luggage insurance.

Select calculated how many points the average American can earn in a year when using their Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card. We worked with the location intelligence firm Esri, who provided us with a sample annual spending budget of $22,126.

The budget includes six main categories: groceries ($5,174), gas ($2,218), dining out ($3,675), travel ($2,244), utilities ($4,862) and general purchases ($3,953). Here's what the average consumer would earn using this card:

  • Groceries: 10,348 Delta SkyMiles
  • Gas: 2,218 Delta SkyMiles
  • Dining out: 7,350 Delta SkyMiles
  • Travel: 6,732 Delta SkyMiles (Assuming purchases are made directly with Delta or hotels.)
  • Utilities: 4,862 Delta SkyMiles
  • General purchases: 3,953 Delta SkyMiles

With all spending considered, this would give a cardholder 125,463 SkyMiles in the first year including the welcome bonus. Over a five year period, cardholders could earn 267,315 Delta SkyMiles. Cardholders could earn more (or less) airline miles depending on their annual spending habits.

How to earn and redeem Delta SkyMiles

Earning Delta SkyMiles

There are two main ways to earn Delta SkyMiles: by using a Delta co-branded credit card or booking flights on Delta Air Lines.

Unless you travel regularly, it's unlikely you will be earning a significant number of SkyMiles from flying. So the most practical way for most people to earn airlines miles is by using a Delta SkyMiles credit card or a card with transferable rewards like The Platinum Card® from American Express or the American Express® Gold Card.

And a great way to get started is by spending enough to earn the welcome offer. If you're able to spend $3,000 within the first three months on your new Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card, you will earn a minimum of 93,000 Delta SkyMiles because you earn miles on all eligible purchases, including the upfront spending to earn the bonus.

You can have more than one Delta credit card, which means you could earn the welcome bonus on a handful of cards and amass a stockpile of SkyMiles. If you are loyal to Delta Air Lines, be sure to consider one of the other consumer credit cards:

  • Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card: New cardholders can earn 70,000 bonus miles after they make $2,000 in eligible purchases with the card within the first three months of account opening. This card is great for someone who is just getting started earning points and miles as the card has a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99. (See rates and fees.)
  • Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card: New cardholders can earn 80,000 bonus miles and 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after they make $5,000 in eligible purchases with the card within the first three months. This card is good for frequent Delta fliers who can make use of the Delta SkyClub membership, annual companion certificate and TSA PreCheck/Global Entry credit, along with chance to earn Delta elite status with the Status Booster feature. The annual fee is $550. (See rates and fees.)

Redeeming Delta SkyMiles

Once you earn Delta SkyMiles, the fun part is redeeming them for flights. However, there are a few things to keep in mind.

First, Delta SkyMiles operates on a dynamic award chart, which means the number of miles needed for a flight can fluctuate depending on how many seats are available as well as how soon the flight is. Unfortunately, that means you can't predict how many miles you will need for a flight. Some airlines, including American Airlines, operate on a fixed award chart, where you always know exactly how many airline miles needed.

In order to manage the shifting cost of using miles for flights, keep in mind these few points:

  • Value: Delta SkyMiles are estimated to be worth 1.3 cents per point. While a free flight is the end goal, it's also important to keep in mind how much your rewards are worth before you use them.
  • Sales: From time to time, Delta offers deeply discounted award flights. If you're interested in stretching your miles even farther, look out for flash sales and SkyMiles award flight deals.
  • Inflation: Travel rewards like airline miles and hotel points can be impacted by inflation. As costs continue to rise, airlines and hotels are likely to make their rewards worth less through devaluations. This happens regularly, and the best way to avoid it is to keep an "earn and burn" mentality. Don't hoard your points and miles and use them sooner rather than later.

Rates and fees

The Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card has a $250 annual fee. It does not have any foreign transaction fees*

If you plan on carrying a balance month to month, this card may not be the best choice, as it has a high interest rate*. If you want to avoid accruing interest, consider a credit card with a 0% introductory APR offer.

Late payment fees can be up to $40*.

*See rates and fees.

Card comparison

Select analyzed two other travel credit cards with the Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card to see how they match up with one another.

Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card vs. Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card

The next step up in the Delta American Express cobranded family is the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card.

This card is good for frequent Delta fliers who can make use of the Delta SkyClub membership, annual companion certificate and TSA PreCheck/Global Entry credit, along with chance to earn Delta elite status with the Status Booster feature. You'll also have access to Amex Centurion airport lounges.

New cardholders can earn 80,000 bonus miles and 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after they make $5,000 in eligible purchases with the card within the first three months.

The annual fee is $550, but can easily be recouped if the cardholder takes full advantage of the card's many benefits.

If you're debating between the two cards, it really comes down to how much you fly and value the benefits offered by the Reserve. If you plan on flying once a month or more and are able to use the benefits in full (specifically the airport lounge access), the Delta Reserve may be the better option. If you only fly a few times per year, the Platinum may be the more cost-effective card for you.

Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® is a well-known travel credit card that's popular thanks to its valuable rewards and modest $95 annual fee.

The card comes with a long list of benefits including travel insurance and broad spending categories. As you spend on the card, you will earn:

  • 5X points for every dollar spent on eligible travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 3X points for every dollar spent on eligible dining, online grocery purchases and select streaming services (excluding Target®, Walmart® and wholesale clubs)
  • 2X points for every dollar spent on other travel purchases

The card is currently offering a welcome offer of 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 on eligible purchases in the first three months of account opening. Ultimate Rewards points are transferable to 14 airlines and three hotel loyalty programs. Those 60,000 points are worth $750 towards any travel booked through the Chase Travel portal.

The airline partners do not include Delta. However, you can book Delta flights through the Chase travel portal, or transfer points to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, which is partners with Delta Air Lines.

If you are deciding between the two cards, it comes down to what you value more. If you want flexibility with your rewards to use for different airlines or even hotels, along with excellent travel insurance coverage, consider the Sapphire Preferred. If you prefer to remain loyal to Delta and want to put effort towards earning elite status with the airline, the Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card may be the better of the two.

Who the Delta Platinum Amex Card is best for

The Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card is a great choice for loyal Delta flyers who want a way to earn Delta elite status sooner. The MQMs you can earn through the welcome offer, and through the status boost bonuses, will aid your progress toward earning a long list of benefits with the Delta loyalty program. Plus, if you spend $25,000 on the card in a calendar year, Delta will waive the Medallion Qualifying Dollar (MQD) spend requirement up to Platinum status.

In addition, if you fly enough to take advantage of the benefits such as discounted SkyClub access, using the TSA PreCheck/Global Entry credit and complimentary checked bags, the card may prove its value quickly.

Lastly, if you travel internationally, this card will quickly save you money as there are no foreign transaction fees with this card.

Bottom line

The Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card should be considered a top pick for regular Delta flyers who want to work toward elite status with the airline. And with the added benefits, the $250 annual fee can easily be recouped if you take full advantage of the card's many benefits.

Keep in mind that you do not need to focus your efforts on this single card. Consider a strategy where you have multiple credit cards, including the Delta Platinum Amex. This strategy can help you earn you heaps of travel rewards and build your credit score at the same time, as long as you make sure you can pay off your balance in full each month.

FAQs

Is the Delta Platinum worth it?

If you travel enough on Delta Air Lines and are able to utilize the benefits, the card can definitely be worth the $250 annual fee.

Is the Amex Platinum the same as Delta Platinum card?

No, the Platinum Card from American Express is a different card than the Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card. However, they do have similar benefits such as TSA PreCheck/Global Entry credits and entrance to the Delta SkyClub. They differ considerably in their annual fees, as the Delta Platinum charges $250 while Amex Platinum is $695. (see rates and fees)

Our methodology

To determine which credit cards offer the best value, Select analyzed 234 of the most popular credit cards available in the U.S. We compared each card on a range of features, including rewards, welcome bonus, introductory and standard APR, balance transfer fee and foreign transaction fees, as well as factors such as required credit and customer reviews when available. We also considered additional perks, the application process and how easy it is for the consumer to redeem points.

Select teamed up with location intelligence firm Esri. The company's data development team provided the most up-to-date and comprehensive consumer spending data based on the 2019 Consumer Expenditure Surveys from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. You can read more about their methodology here.

Esri's data team created a sample annual budget of approximately $22,126 in retail spending. The budget includes six main categories: groceries ($5,174), gas ($2,218), dining out ($3,675), travel ($2,244), utilities ($4,862) and general purchases ($3,953). General purchases include items such as housekeeping supplies, clothing, personal care products, prescription drugs and vitamins, and other vehicle expenses.

Select used this budget to estimate how much the average consumer would save over the course of a year, two years and five years, assuming they would attempt to maximize their rewards potential by earning all welcome bonuses offered and using the card for all applicable purchases. All rewards total estimations are net the annual fee.

While the five-year estimates we've included are derived from a budget similar to the average American's spending, you may earn a higher or lower return depending on your shopping habits.

For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card, click here.

For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, click here.

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.

For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, click here.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.