Delta Skymiles Gold AMEX Card (2020)
Review the benefits of the newly revamped Delta Skymiles Gold Card (2020), calculate how many Skymiles you can earn based on spend, and compare results.
The Delta Skymiles Gold AMEX Card is an entry level card for those looking to earn a few benefits with Delta. The card works best for those who fly Delta that are looking to save money on checked bags and great for those looking to earn Delta Skymiles without worrying about managing multiple cards.
The Delta Skymiles Gold AMEX Card features three bonus categories which are Delta Airlines, U.S. supermarket, and restaurant (worldwide) purchases. There is no limit to the amount of bonus Delta Skymiles you can earn spending in these categories and no limit to the amount of miles you can earn with the card overall.
2x Delta Airlines
The Delta Skymiles Gold AMEX Card earns 2 Skymiles per $1 spent on Delta Airlines purchases. This will be purchases where Delta is the merchant of record, such as purchases via Delta.com, phone reservations, or ticket counters, upgrades, miles, seat selection, Delta Sky Club® membership or passes, pre-purchased meals, in-flight purchases of food, alcoholic beverages and audio headsets on Delta-operated flights. Do note that in-flight purchases (e.g. Gogo) will not count as Delta purchases.
When it comes to earning Delta Skymiles on Delta Airfare purchases, it's possible to earn more Skymiles using American Express Membership Rewards credit cards since you can transfer Membership Rewards Points to Delta Skymiles at a 1:1 ratio. Cards that earn a higher amount of Skymiles per $1 spent on Delta consist of the AMEX Platinum Card (5x), AMEX Gold Card (3x), and AMEX Green Card (3x). All of these Membership Rewards credit cards have mid-to-high annual fees. If you're not using the full benefits of the aforementioned cards or you don't run enough spend through Delta per year to pick up Membership Rewards cards on that fact alone, running spend through the Delta Skymiles Cards is just fine. Just be sure to compare cards appropriately to make sure you're not losing out on a higher return!
2x U.S. Supermarket
The Delta Skymiles Gold AMEX Card will earn you 2 Skymiles per $1 spent on supermarket purchases made in the United States. Grocery purchases outside of the U.S. will earn at the non-category rate of 1 Skymile per $1 spent. American Express considers grocery to be purchases in which the merchants primary purpose is to sell groceries. This will be places like Meijer, Kroger, Giant Eagle, Vons, and Publix. You will not earn double miles on places like Walmart, Sam's Club, and Target.
Earning double Skymiles on U.S. supermarket purchases is relatively low when there's so many Membership Rewards Cards that can earn at a higher rate and then be transferred to your Delta Skymiles account. You can earn up to 4.5 points per $1 on grocery with the AMEX Everyday Preferred and 4 points per $1 on grocery with the AMEX Gold Card. If you're looking to avoid annual fees, the AMEX Everyday is also a decent option which can earn you up to 2.2 points per $1 spent on grocery.
The Delta Skymiles Gold AMEX Card earns 2 Skymiles per $1 spent on restaurant purchases made worldwide. Restaurant purchases are considered to be your typical fast food, fine dining, food delivery, and other dining-like purchases.
If you're looking to earn the most points on restaurant purchases made worldwide, the AMEX Gold Card has your back at 4 points per $1 spent. You can also earn double Skymiles using the no-annual fee Delta Skymiles Blue AMEX Card and the revamped Delta Skymiles Platinum AMEX Card.
All non-category purchases made on the Delta Skymiles Gold AMEX Card will earn 1 Skymile per $1 spent which is a low amount of Skymiles for miscellaneous purchases. With Delta credit cards, 1 Skymile is the highest you can earn. If you're willing to use Membership Rewards credit cards, you can earn the highest return with the AMEX Blue Business Card (2x) and second highest with the AMEX Everyday Preferred (Up to 1.5x).
Perks and Benefits
Do note that as of January 1, 2020, the Delta Skymiles Gold AMEX Card will no longer have the MQD Waiver benefit. The $29 Delta SkyClub access will no longer be a benefit as of January 30, 2020.
First Checked Bag Free
One of the primary reasons to get the Delta Skymiles Gold AMEX Card over the Delta Skymiles Blue AMEX Card is the first checked bag free perk. This perk allows you and up to 8 other people traveling in the same reservation to check the first bag free of charge. Checked bags with Delta will cost you $25 one-way, per person which means $50 roundtrip. If you normally have to pay for bags due to not having Delta Medallion Status, this benefit alone could save you hundreds. It saved me and my family $650 in checked bag fees the first year I owned the card. I highly recommend picking up this card if you don't have status and plan on flying Delta at least a few times per year.
$100 Flight Credit
When you run $10,000 in spend through the Delta Skymiles Gold AMEX Card, you will receive a $100 flight credit. This is equal to receive an additional 1 cent in value per $1 spent. So if you were to use this card on the 2x categories (Delta, restaurants, supermarkets) you would earn 20,000 Delta Skymiles and $100. I value Skymiles at around 1.2 cents each so this would be about $340 to me. So spending in the 2x categories with a total earning of $340 would generate around a 3.4% return on your spend which truthfully isn't that bad. It's nothing that will make you jump and click your heels, but if you're running spend through the card it's not a bad goal to try to hit.
20% Off In-Flight Purchases
When you use the Delta Skymiles Gold AMEX Card to pay for food and beverage purchases in-flight, you will receive 20% off your purchase in the form of a statement credit. This credit will usually post to your account within a day or two. This benefit could save you a great amount of money if you frequently make food/beverage purchases in-flight, but do note that this is a benefit of all Delta AMEX Cards.
The Delta Skymiles Gold AMEX Card grants Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding to the cardholder and everyone traveling in the same reservation. This means you'll board before Main Cabin 2, 3, and Basic Economy. While it is nice to board in Main Cabin 1, do note that a lot of people have Delta AMEX Cards so you'll be jumping on the plane with a significant amount of people. Usually, there will be overhead bin space if you're one of the early ones to board within Main Cabin 1 so this perk could be useful.
Pay With Miles
Having the Delta Skymiles Gold AMEX Card will allow you to pay with Miles. This means that you will be able to redeem your Skymiles for 1 cent each towards the cost of your flight. While there are better redemptions, the benefit of this is that you will still receive credit towards Delta Medallion Status going this route. You'll receive Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQMs) and Medallion Qualifying Segments (MQSs) for your flight along with Medallion Qualifying Dollars (MQDs) of the cash paid portion of the flight. When you book Cash + Flight the normal way on the Delta website, you will not receive MQMs, MQSs, or MQDs. You'll want to keep that in mind when booking your flights if you're chasing Medallion status.
Standard AMEX Benefits
Since the Delta Skymiles Gold AMEX Card is an American Express credit card, you'll receive a decent amount of additional benefits that can add great value to the card. This includes, but is not limited to:
- AMEX Offers
- Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance
- ShopRunner Membership
AMEX Offers alone can easily make up for the annual fee of the card if you do not have access to this benefit through other AMEX credit cards. ShopRunner's 2-day shipping with top retailers is also a nice touch as well as the added car rental insurance the card offers.
Sign Up Bonus
The standard Delta Skymiles Gold Card sign up bonus is 30,000 Skymiles after spending $1,000 on the card within the first 3 months of ownership. This is a solid bonus that's worth around $360 at a value of 1.2 cents per Skymile. This can easily get you a short-haul domestic roundtrip flight and possibility a long-haul one-way trip to a destination.
Special sign up bonuses for the Delta Skymiles Gold AMEX Card usually max out around 50,000 Skymiles. That's usually the best time to apply for the card to secure a great bonus with minimal spend.
Credit Card Fees
|Authorized User Fee|
|Foreign Transaction Fee|
The annual fee for the Delta Skymiles Gold AMEX Card is $99. If you're picking up this card to avoid the $25 baggage fee per one-way, then you'll easily make up for the annual fee if you take two roundtrip flights (or one roundtrip if others are traveling with you). Checked bags aside, the remaining perks on this card can easily be worth the fee as well.
Authorized User Fee
There is no fee for adding authorized users to the Delta Skymiles Gold AMEX Card. If you're looking to earn more miles and/or trying to reach the $10,000 in spend for the $100 Delta credit, adding additional users is the way to go. Do note that additional card members will not receive priority boarding or the first checked bag free perk. The primary cardholder of the Delta Skymiles Gold AMEX Card will need to be present in order for others traveling on the same reservation to receive these perks.
Foreign Transaction Fee
The Delta Skymiles Gold Card has a 0% foreign transaction fee. This means you'll be able to use your Delta Skymiles Gold AMEX Card worldwide wherever AMEX is accepted. The only category that will do you some good internationally will be the restaurant category. The supermarket category is tied to the U.S. so you will not earn any bonus on that spend.
Upgrading & Downgrading Delta Cards
If you want to upgrade or downgrade your Delta AMEX Card, do note that this is possible within the Delta family of cards assuming you're in good standing with AMEX. Do note that you cannot change a Delta personal/consumer card to a Delta business card or vice-versa. You apply for the Delta Skymiles Gold AMEX Card and some time down the line you realize that you would rather have the Blue, Platinum or Reserve Delta, you can contact Delta and request to change to a different card. In order to downgrade (i.e. move from Gold to Blue) you will need to contact Delta directly. If you plan on upgrading (i.e. move from Gold to Platinum or Reserve), you can contact Delta or upgrade online.
Do note that sometimes AMEX offers sign up bonuses for those who upgrade. You will see the sign up bonus listed on the card's page as you normally would. If it does not say anything about a sign up bonus then you will not receive a sign up bonus when upgrading. You can only go for an AMEX sign up bonus once per card, per lifetime so if you upgrade without a sign up bonus, you'll never be able to obtain that bonus in the future. That's usually the drawback when it comes to product changing between credit cards.
Delta Card Order
The order of the Delta personal AMEX Cards from lowest to highest tier are:
You can use this rewards calculator to calculate how many points, miles, or cash back you can earn based on your spend per category. This calculator will also give you the dollar value of the card based on rewards earned and how much each benefit is worth to you minus the fees. You can click the Compare A Card button to compare this card against another card in the same calculator.
All category spend entered in the primary card's column will carry over to all credit card pages on the site so you don't have to re-enter the same information over again.
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