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The 5 best Delta credit cards: Flying perks galore

What is the best Delta credit card? ZDNet chose the Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card because it gives you perks even if you are not a frequent flyer.
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Written by Lena Borrelli, Contributing Writer on
Reviewed by Marc Wojno

Delta Air Lines has long been a popular and reliable carrier for international travel. Established in 1925, it now services almost 200 million travelers annually to 300 destinations in 50 countries with 5,000 daily departures (as much as 15,000 daily departures if you consider its partnership with the SkyTeam alliance). It is a flexibility that both the occasional traveler and road warrior can appreciate, knowing no matter where you are going, Delta is there.

In 1996, Delta expanded into credit cards, thanks to a partnership with American Express. There are many options for Delta credit cards, but not all of them may fit the bill for your travel plans. If you have caught the travel bug, these are the best Delta credit cards to help you get there.

Card Highlights
Intro BonusLimited Time Offer: Earn 70,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
APR17.24%-26.24% Variable
Recommended CreditExcellent/Good
Reward Rates
  • Earn 2X Miles on Delta purchases, at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases.
Annual Fee$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99
Intro Purchase APRN/A
Rewards & Redemption Details

The Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card does a good job of straddling the line between entry-level and advanced benefits. Its annual fee is reasonable at $99 each year, and you get the first year's fee automatically waived. Another bonus you receive comes much faster. For a limited time -- until August 3, 2022 -- when you spend $2,000 within the first three months of having the card, you will earn 70,000 bonus miles. If you spend $10,000 within the first year, there is a $100 Delta Flight Credit that you can put towards that next trip. Simply use the Pay with Miles option for discounted tickets via Delta's website. You also earn extra miles for your food purchases, with 2 miles per dollar at US restaurants and supermarkets, as well as 2 miles per dollar for all of your Delta purchases.

Pros:

  • Rewards never expire
  • Early boarding benefit
  • Free checked bag

Cons:

  • Annual fee after the first year
  • No luxury perks

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

Card Highlights
Intro BonusEarn 10,000 bonus miles after you spend $500 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
APR17.24%-26.24% Variable
Recommended CreditExcellent/Good
Reward Rates
  • Earn 2X Miles per dollar at restaurants worldwide, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
  • Earn 2X Miles per dollar spent on Delta purchases.
  • Earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases.
Annual Fee$0
Intro Purchase APRN/A
Rewards & Redemption Details

With the Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card, rewards are straightforward. You begin earning right away with 10,000 bonus miles after you spend $500 within the first three months. 

You can save money by skipping the annual fee because, unlike many of Delta's credit cards, this is one of the few American Express credit cards that does not charge an annual fee. With this card, you still have the option to use Pay with Miles. This gives you the ability to redeem your points on Delta.com without any fuss when you book your next trip. When eating out, you earn two miles per dollar at all restaurants globally, including takeout and delivery. You also earn two miles per dollar on your Delta purchases.   

Pros: 

  • No annual fee
  • Dining perks
  • Bonus miles after $500 in purchases

Cons:

  • Must pay for checked bags
  • Missing travel benefits

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

Card Highlights
Intro BonusLimited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
APR17.24%-26.24% Variable
Recommended CreditExcellent/Good
Reward Rates
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery in the U.S. and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
Annual Fee$250
Intro Purchase APRN/A
Rewards & Redemption Details

The Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card comes with handsome rewards to benefit the frequent flyer. When you spend $3,000 on eligible purchases within the first three months, you can earn 90,000 bonus miles. This is a limited time offer ending August 3, 2022. There are also other ways to earn, like three miles per dollar when you make a Delta purchase or purchase directly with hotels. There is a reward of two miles per dollar when you spend at restaurants and grocery stores. 

Amex will also give you a free credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® to help expedite that next trip, plus a companion certificate and Status Boost® to get you that much closer to upgrading Medallion status. There is an annual fee of $250, and while not so cheap, it is still half the cost of other cards like the Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card. 

Pros:

  • Companion perks
  • Free checked bag
  • Early boarding

Cons:

  • Annual fee applies
  • Must pay for lounge access

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

Card Highlights
Intro BonusLimited Time Offer: Earn 110,000 Bonus Miles after spending $6,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer Ends 8/3/2022.
APR17.24% - 26.24% Variable
Recommended CreditExcellent/Good
Reward Rates
  • Earn 3 Miles on every dollar spent on eligible purchases made directly with Delta.
  • After you spend $150,000 on your Card in a calendar year, you earn 1.5 Miles per dollar (that’s an extra half mile per dollar) on eligible purchases the rest of the year.
Annual Fee$550
Intro Purchase APRN/A
Rewards & Redemption Details

You have to pay $550 each year for the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card, but the list of benefits is long and impressive. To start, you only have to spend $6,000 in eligible purchases within the first three months and you are awarded 110,000 Bonus Miles, available for a limited time until August 3, 2022. Purchases will also earn you three miles per dollar on Delta purchases, 1.5 miles per dollar after your first $150,000, and one mile per dollar on other eligible purchases. 

Other perks include a Status Boost® of 15,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after $30,000 in eligible purchases per year. You have the opportunity to use your Status Boost up to four times per calendar year. There are many other built-in perks, too, like Companion Certificates, priority boarding, and Delta Sky Club® access with complimentary access to both the Centurion® and Escape lounges. 

Pros: 

  • Generous travel perks
  • Extra Medallion Miles
  • No annual fee

Cons:

  • Annual fee applies
  • Reward limitations

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

Card Highlights
Intro BonusLimited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
APR17.24%-26.24% Variable
Recommended CreditExcellent/Good
Reward Rates
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases.
  • Earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases.
Annual Fee$550
Intro Purchase APRN/A
Rewards & Redemption Details

With the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, for a limited time through August 3, 2022, you only have to spend $5,000 in your first three months of having the card in order to earn 100,000 bonus miles. Regular rewards include three miles per dollar on Delta purchases. There is also complimentary access to Delta Sky Club® globally with two guest passes each year.

The annual fee is high at $550, but there are many benefits like complimentary upgrades, a Companion Certificate, and a fee credit toward Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®. Enjoy the Centurion Lounge with access to the Delta Sky Lounge, plus two guest passes per year. Other benefits include a free checked bag, in-flight discounts, priority upgrades, and a 24/7 global assist hotline.

What's more, you can earn 15,000 Medallion Qualification Miles after you spend $30,000 in purchases on your card a year, up to four times.

Pros:

  • Automatic Medallion status
  • Complimentary companion benefits
  • Delta Sky Club access

Cons:

  • Very high annual fee
  • Minimal rewards compared to other cards

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

What is the best Delta credit card?

The Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card is our pick for the overall best Delta credit card.  With no annual fee for the first year and a reasonable introductory offer, it is a solid pick when you are looking for an excellent credit card for travelers

Credit card

APR

Recommended credit score

Intro offer

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

17.24% to 26.24%

Good, Excellent

No first-year annual fee

70,000 bonus miles after $2,000 in eligible purchases within first 3 months 

Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card

17.24% to 26.24%

Good, Excellent

10,000 bonus miles after $500 in eligible purchases within first 3 months

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

17.24% to 26.24%

Good, Excellent

90,000 bonus miles after $3,000 in eligible purchases within first 3 months 

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card

17.24% to 26.24%

Good, Excellent

110,000 bonus miles after $6,000 in purchases within first 3 months

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card

17.24% to 26.24%

Good, Excellent

100,000 bonus miles after $5,000 in eligible purchases within first 3 months

Which Delta credit card is right for you?

Delta offers a few credit cards, but not all of them may fit your specific needs. To help you find the best Delta credit card for you, consider our expert recommendations:

Choose this Delta credit card...

If you...

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

Want the best perks for even the occasional flyer 

Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card

Don't want to waste your dollars on an annual fee

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Want mid-tier perks and companion tickets

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card:

Are a road warrior wanting extra perks

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card

Want Sky Club perks

How did we choose these credit cards?

There are several factors we consider in our search for the best Delta credit card:

  • APR: Your annual percentage rate, or APR, is what dictates how much interest you will pay on your purchases. Lower APRs are generally given to those with more favorable credit scores and histories.   
  • Rewards: Many perks can accompany a Delta credit card, like companion tickets, free checked bags, and Global Entry and TSA PreCheck credits.  
  • Fees: You can quickly waste money on credit card fees if you are not careful, so we look at the fee schedule for each credit card in order to provide an upfront financial portrait of what to expect should you choose each card.
  • Credit: Your credit score is one of the major factors that determine whether you will be approved for a Delta credit card. Generally, the higher your credit score, the better your chances are of approval. 

Who issues Delta credit cards?

Delta credit cards are issued by American Express, Member FDIC. 

What is the APR for the best Delta credit cards?

All of our picks for the best Delta credit cards share the same APR, ranging from 17.24% to 26.24%, depending on creditworthiness.  

Are there alternative credit cards worth considering?

In our research for the best Delta credit card, we also considered two other Delta credit cards that may be worth a second look.

  • Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card: A solid choice for the occasional business trip 
  • Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card: A great pick for medium-sized businesses 

For other options, consider our picks for the best Amex business cards, best airline credit cards, and the best credit cards for airport lounge access in 2022. 

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