Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card – What cards are better choices?

by on Sat March 22, 2014 • 11 Comments
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The Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express is probably the most popular card for earning Delta SkyMiles, but it’s actually one of the slower cards for earning SkyMiles and might not be the best choice for you.

The easiest way to see whether it is best for you is to use our CardFinder tool for Delta SkyMiles credit cards. It lets you input your monthly spending (we don’t ask for any login or account information) and see which cards earn you the most SkyMiles.

There are almost 10 of them.

Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express

For example, the Amex EveryDay Preferred card earns points you can transfer into your SkyMiles account instantly.

It earns over 1.5 points per dollar if you use the card 30 times in a month (about once per day), and earns up to 4.5x on groceries and 3x on gas spending. The Gold Delta SkyMiles card earns just 1 mile per dollar on those purchases even though it has the same $95 annual fee.

Amex Everyday cardLet’s say you spend $1,500 a month with $500 in groceries and $200 in gas purchases.

Here’s how they compare over a year for earning points:

  • Delta SkyMiles Gold Credit Card: 18,000 miles earned
  • Amex EveryDay Preferred Card: 48,600 points earned 

The EveryDay Preferred earns over 2x as many points as the Gold Delta SkyMiles card in this case, and again you can transfer them directly to your SkyMiles account at any time.

Is there reason to carry a Gold Delta SkyMiles card?

The only good reasons to carry one are the travel perks and the sign on bonus. The Gold Delta SkyMiles card offers a free first checked bag on Delta flights, priority boarding, and 20% off in-flight purchases.

Cards that don’t say Delta on them like the Amex EveryDay Preferred Card don’t offer these travel perks.

Click here for a full benefits guide to the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express.

So if you travel enough the bag savings alone could be reason to carry the card. And you could use another, faster earning card like the EveryDay Preferred for your spending to earn points faster.

Baggage fees are $25 each way, or $50 roundtrip for domestic flights and you can pass on the savings to up to 8 people in your reservation. So do the math to see how much travel it will take to earn back the $95 annual fee of the card.

The sign on bonus for the Gold Delta SkyMiles card is usually generous, and you can check the latest here. It’s one of the fastest ways to pad your account and get you closer to your next award.

But if you’re not interested in a sign-on bonus and don’t check bags often you’re probably better served with another card that lets you build your SkyMiles account.

Will you only earn miles based on the cost of a ticket?

Delta announced it is changing its mile program in 2015 so you only earn miles based on the price you pay for a ticket rather than the distance you fly.

While that is true for flights, it is not the case for miles you earn on the ground. Credit cards will still earn Delta miles just as quickly as before, and the price for awards next year isn’t changing much, so they will have similar value as today.

So while you may earn fewer miles from your flying, you’ll earn just as many or more on the ground. And because of this it’s more important than ever to make sure you pick the card that earns you Delta miles most quickly.

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the company whose products are featured on this site. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or evaluations provided here are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the Advertiser. This site may be compensated through the Advertiser’s affiliate programs.

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11 thoughts on Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card – What cards are better choices?

  1. gerard v miller

    Do you have to spend the $500. with Delta to get the 30000 bonus miles or can you just use it to purchase anything of that value. I also would like to know if that applies to the USairways mastercard. Thanks, Jerry Miller

    Reply
    1. MileCards

      @Gerald- Any purchases that add up to that value count, as long as it’s not a cash advance or balance transfer. Same for the US Airways card.

      Reply
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