About Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card

By J.R. Duren
HighYa Staff Updated on: May 12, 2017

The American Express Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card is running a promotion of 50,000 free miles if you can spend $1,000 in the first three months of owning the card.

The Gold Delta SkyMiles has several other benefits you might love, especially if you travel a few times a year.

Already sold on this card? We suggest you take a few minutes to think about what you want out of your airline rewards card. Are you looking for the best perks, or is it just a matter of finding the card that can get you the most free flights from bonus miles?

How you answer these questions will determine which card you choose, so we’re glad you stopped by this review. Over the next few minutes we’ll talk about the following features of this card:

  • Short-term benefits
  • Long-term benefits
  • Real value of the miles
  • Fees and Penalties
  • What others say about this card

Each one of these sections will help you figure out what the Gold Delta SkyMiles’ strengths and weaknesses are. Along the way, we’ll mention other airline rewards cards, too.

Gold Delta SkyMiles Short-Term Benefits

There are three short-term benefits on this card: bonus miles, a statement credit and no annual fee.

The Bonus Miles

The Gold Delta SkyMiles’ main short-term benefit is the 50,000 miles you get if you spend $1,000 in the first three months. The miles should show up in your SkyMiles account 8-12 weeks after you hit the spending requirement.

This type of miles/points bonus is pretty standard in the airline rewards card world. Some cards offer more miles than others (50K for the United MileagePlus Explorer and the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier). Other cards offer smaller intro bonuses – the Virgin America Premier gives 10,000 points.

The best way to determine the value of the Gold SkyMiles’ 50K-miles bonus is to research popular flights and see how many miles they cost (we’ll get to that after the long-term benefits section).

The Statement Credit

New cardmembers can also get a $50 credit if they make a Delta purchase in the first three months of owning the card. According to the card’s offer terms, the credit will arrive in your account in around two or three months.

The Annual Fee

The Delta Gold SkyMiles card has a $95 annual fee, but American Express will waive that fee the first year you own the card.

Gold Delta SkyMiles Long-Term Benefits

Many consumers will look at the short-term benefits of an airline rewards card like the Gold Delta SkyMiles and think, “Hmm. Those miles sound good, and I like that there’s no annual fee the first year. I’m signing up!”

If you need to book a flight within the year with the bonus miles you’ll get, that though process makes sense. However, if you’re looking for a card you can use for years to come, you have to move beyond the up-front bonuses.

What long-term benefits does the Delta Gold SkyMiles offer? That’s what we’re going to cover next.

Free Checked Bag

Every time you fly with Delta, you’ll get a free checked bag (normally $25) as long as:

  • You book with your SkyMiles account number
  • Your bag isn’t overweight or oversized
  • Delta or Delta Connection operates the flight

Pro tip: The fee waiver applies to up to nine people travelling with you on your reservation.

Miles on Every Purchase

Cardholders will earn 1 mile for every dollar they spend with their card. Any purchases made through Delta will earn double miles.

Discount on Sky Club Access

Delta has a network of Sky Club airport lounges across the country and around the world. If you don’t sign up for the Sky Club membership, then one visit to their lounges is $59 for you and any companions you have with you above the age of 2.

If you’re a Delta Gold SkyMiles cardholder, then you’ll pay $29 per person for you and up to two travelling companions.

Pro tip: To get access to a Sky Club lounge, you’ll have to show ID, your AmEx Gold Delta SkyMiles card and a boarding pass with same-day departure. For more details on the program, head to Lounge Buddy’s review of the Sky Club network.

Discount on In-Flight Services

When you pay for in-flight things like food, movies, booze and other items, you’ll get a 20% discount on the purchase. However, you won’t get the 20% off on your receipt – AmEx will give you a statement credit for the discount amount.

Shopping Protection

Gold Delta SkyMiles cardholders get a trio of shopping benefits:

Rental Car Insurance

Whenever you use your AmEx Gold Delta SkyMiles card to rent a car, you’ll get free collision damage waiver coverage, which means you can pass on the car rental company’s offer for insurance.

In our opinion, the long term benefits you see here are very similar to what the United MileagePlus Explorer card offers – purchase protection, priority boarding and airline lounge perks.

Figuring out which airline rewards card is best is tough when you compare long-term benefits, but the decision becomes a little easier when you look at how far your bonus miles can get you.

The Real Value of Gold Delta SkyMiles Bonus Miles

As we said earlier, there are consumers out there who have trips coming up and they get a card like the Delta SkyMiles AmEx for the free miles. They see “30,000 bonus miles” and all they can think about is flying for free.

That’s not always possible, though. To get a clear picture of how many flights you can get with the Gold Delta SkyMiles card’s bonus miles, we did a little research on two popular flights: Los Angeles to New York, and Los Angeles to San Francisco.

Los Angeles to New York

HighYa travel expert Autumn Yates recommends booking domestic flights around 59 days before your departure. Using that method, we searched for flights from LAX to JFK 59 days from the day we wrote this review.

The lowest fare we could find cost 25,000 miles for LAX to JFK and 25,000 on the way back. The return flight was nonstop and left at a reasonable time: 6:15 p.m.

At 50,000 points for the cheapest flight, Delta isn’t doing AmEx Gold SkyMiles cardholders any favors. Your bonus miles will get you to NYC, but you won’t have enough points to get back.

Los Angeles to San Francisco

Using the 59-day rule, we search flights on another popular route: LAX to SFO.

Fares were much cheaper: 11,000 miles to SFO and 11,000 on the way back. Despite being “cheaper”, they still leave you with only 9,000 leftover points, which isn’t enough to get you a seat on the 1.5-hour flight from San Francisco to LA.

In our opinion, the Gold Delta SkyMiles intro bonus of 30,000 miles doesn’t have much value for travelers who want multiple free flights – or even just one – from their sign-up bonus.

Fees and Penalties on the Gold Delta SkyMiles Card

All credit cards have a list of fees, interest rates and penalties you pay. You can usually find them in the fine print via a link from the credit card’s home page.

Here are the fees, rates and penalties we found for the SkyMiles AmEx:

  • APR: 16.24%-25.24%, depending on how good your credit is
  • Penalty APR: 29.74%, kicks in when you make a late payment
  • Annual fee: $0 first year, $95 after that
  • Late payment: Up to $38

The one penalty that sets the Gold Delta SkyMiles card apart from similar airlines rewards cards is the penalty APR. This penalty kicks in if you make a late payment or a payment is returned.

You’ll have this APR for as long as American Express thinks you deserve it. They review your file every six months, but it’s no guarantee you’ll get your normal APR after these reviews.

What Other People Are Saying About the Gold Delta SkyMiles Card

Popular credit cards like the SkyMiles AmEx tend to have plenty of reviews from experts and consumers. We did a quick search of consumer reviews and found that Credit Karma and WalletHub are two great places for insight from people just like you.

Credit Karma

The AmEx SkyMiles card gets an average of 4.5 stars from more than 45 reviews. Nearly 95% of the reviews were either 5 or 4 stars.

Most of the reviewers who gave the card a good score were just happy they received the card, as AmEx cards tend to have more prestige among credit card users. Other reviews said they liked the free bag perk.

Two of three negative reviews were complaints about how hard it was to get a credit increase.

WalletHub

More than 390 reviewers gave the Gold Delta SkyMiles card 3.8 stars, with 73% of reviews being either 5 or 4 stars.

Positive comments included:

  • “I was very surprised I was approved because I thought Amex was one of the harder cards to get.”
  • “my wife and I travel a lot so the Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card has been very useful in reducing our travel costs overall.”
  • “I absolutely love my Amex card. Their customer service is incredible and the perks with this card are unbeatable.”

Three negative reviews brought up an interesting scenario. The three months you have to hit the spending bonus to get the 30K miles starts the day you are accepted, not the day you get your card.

The comments about this rule said it took two months for their card to arrive and, by the time they’d spent $1,000, the 3-month deadline passed.

Customer service was not helpful, they said, and supervisors denied their request to get the miles bonus.

Here’s one of those comments:

“I signed up for my card in January but didn’t receive my card until April. I began using the card right away, but AmEx refused to give my 30,000 bonus points because they said they had mailed it in February.”

Overall, the comments and reviews didn’t surprise us. American Express has a well-known reputation for providing good customer service (which many reviewers acknowledged) and their cards are sought-after by consumers.

The negative reviews about not getting bonus points because of late delivery shouldn’t be a concern to you. There is a chance that you might get your card late and miss out on the bonus, but these situations, based on the reviews we read, are few and far between.

Our Final Thoughts About the Gold Delta SkyMiles Card

The Gold Delta SkyMiles card from American Express is a very interesting airline rewards card. Because it carries the American Express name, we’ve seen consumers thrilled to get accepted for the card.

When we read things like this, we understand what’s happening – it’s cool to get a card that you think represents a certain level of status. It’s really hard to argue with that.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve gained a ton of popularity because it became a status symbol among money-smart Millennials.

However, after reviewing the short- and long-term benefits of this card, as well as the value your miles have, we think there are better airline rewards cards out there.

The United MileagePlus Explorer card offers all the long-term benefits this card does: purchase protection, car rental insurance, free first bag and discounted club admission.

On top of that, one-way flights from Los Angeles to New York can be booked for 12,500 points, which means their current miles bonus – 50,000 – can get you a pair of round trips compared to a one-way flight with Delta’s intro miles.

Now, if you like American Express and Delta, we’re not going to keep you from getting the Gold Delta card. Brand loyalty is hard to break, and, if you fly Delta at least twice a year, the free baggage perk will cover the cost of your annual fee.

Want to learn more about airline rewards cards? Take a look at our Best Airline Rewards Card of 2017 article. We rank the Gold Delta SkyMiles against the United MileagePlus Explorer, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier card and several other popular airline rewards cards.

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