CNN Underscored reviews financial products such as credit cards and bank accounts based on their overall value. We may receive a commission through the LendingTree affiliate network if you apply and are approved for a card, but our reporting is always independent and objective. 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.
While not everyone is back on the road and in the air just yet, travel demand is certainly on the upswing. And when you’re ready to take to the skies again, you’ll want to have a pile of frequent flyer miles ready to go so you have the flexibility to hop on a flight as soon as you can.
Fortunately, there are some great limited-time welcome offers available on American Express’ personal and business Delta credit cards — in fact, they’re the highest bonuses we’ve seen to date on these cards. But there’s only a short time left to take advantage of them, since they expire on Nov. 10, 2021. That makes now an ideal time to apply if you’re hoping to get a chunk of Delta SkyMiles. Let’s take a look at the personal card offers first.
Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card: Earn 10,000 bonus miles when you spend $500 in the first three months after opening the account.
Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card: Earn 70,000 bonus miles when you spend $2,000 in the first three months after opening the account.
Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card: Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) when you spend $3,000 in the first three months after opening the account.
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card: Earn 80,000 bonus miles and 20,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) when you spend $5,000 in the first three months after opening the account.
Delta uses a dynamic pricing scheme for its award flights instead of a fixed award chart, so you can expect to get a fairly consistent value for your miles. Frequent flyer website The Points Guy values Delta SkyMiles at 1.1 cents apiece, making these bonuses worth between $110 and a crazy-high $990.
The bonus MQMs offered on the Delta Platinum and Delta Reserve cards can also be a big boost for anyone actively chasing Delta elite status, especially since Delta is rolling over all 2021 MQMs to 2022 due to the coronavirus pandemic after previously rolling 2020 MQMs to 2021 for all Delta SkyMiles members.
There are four different personal Delta credit cards available.
While all these cards are geared toward Delta flyers, the best Delta credit card for you depends on your spending habits and how frequently you plan to fly with the airline as travel returns to normal.
If it’s simply bonus miles you’re after, then the Delta SkyMiles Blue Amex card is for you. It earns 2 miles for every dollar you spend on eligible Delta purchases and at restaurants worldwide, and 1 mile per dollar on everything else. It also features a 20% discount on in-flight purchases, access to Delta’s Pay With Miles program, no foreign transaction fees and no annual fee (see rates and fees).
However, if you plan to fly Delta occasionally — even once per year — as travel returns and you don’t mind paying an annual fee, you’ll get a lot more value from the Delta SkyMiles Gold Amex. The card has a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then a $99 annual fee thereafter (see rates and fees)
Aside from a much heftier welcome bonus, the Delta Gold Amex comes with more perks, including your first checked bag free when flying Delta (which normally costs $30 to $60 for economy passengers), priority boarding and a $100 Delta flight credit after you spend $10,000 in eligible purchases on your card in a calendar year.
And, in addition to earning 2 miles per dollar at U.S. supermarkets, Delta Gold Amex card members earn 2 miles for each dollar spent at restaurants, including takeout and delivery, as well as 2 miles per dollar on eligible Delta purchases.
If you plan to go on more than a few trips each year and Delta is your carrier of choice, it’ll probably make more sense to go with one of Delta’s more premium credit cards. The Delta SkyMiles Platinum Amex and the Delta SkyMiles Reserve Amex have annual fees of $250 (see rates and fees) and $550 (see rates and fees) respectively, but are loaded with elite-like benefits and shortcuts to earning elite status to go along with them.
The Delta Platinum Amex has many of the same perks as the Gold version, such as a free checked bag on Delta flights and priority boarding. You’ll also earn 3 miles for every dollar you spend at hotels and on eligible Delta purchases, as well as the same 2 miles per dollar at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets.
The card also comes with a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck fee credit worth up to $100 every four years (or four and a half years for TSA PreCheck) and a domestic main cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your card.
For those chasing Silver, Gold or Platinum elite status, the Delta Platinum Amex waives Delta’s Medallion Qualifying Dollars (MQD) requirement when you spend $25,000 on the card in a calendar year, which could be useful since the first months of travel this year were cut short by the pandemic.
Plus, Amex has expanded the card’s Status Boost feature for 2021. When you spend $25,000 on the Delta Platinum Amex this year, you’ll earn 12,500 bonus MQMs toward elite status. That’s 25% more than the normal 10,000 MQMs offered with Status Boost on the card, and you can do it twice in a year, so you’ll get another 12,500 bonus MQMs if you get to a total of $50,000 spending in 2021.
Delta MQMs earned in 2020 and 2021 are rolling over to 2022 to help you earn elite status for 2023.
Meanwhile, the Delta SkyMiles Reserve Amex comes with even more benefits, such as complimentary access to Delta Sky Clubs as well as the exclusive American Express Centurion Lounges — which have now all reopened across the country -— when you’re flying on a Delta flight, access to complimentary upgrades for non-elites and an annual companion certificate that can be used for first-class travel each year upon renewal of your card.
The card earns 3 miles for every dollar you spend on eligible Delta purchases and 1 mile for every dollar you spend on everything else. And with the Delta Reserve Amex, you’re also getting an enhanced Status Boost feature this year. You’ll earn 18,750 MQMs for every $30,000 spent on the Delta Reserve Amex in 2021, up to four times within the calendar year.
That’s 25% more than the usual 15,000 MQMs earned with each Status Boost, and if you earn all four possible boosts, you’ll get Delta Platinum elite status without even stepping on a plane.
You can also waive Delta’s MQD requirement for elite status up to the Platinum level by spending $25,000 in a calendar year on the Delta Reserve Amex, or the MQD requirement for Diamond status by spending at least $250,000.
And similar to the Platinum card, you’ll also receive a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee credit of up to $100 and a yearly companion certificate. Although, this companion certificate is not limited to just a main cabin fare and can also be used towards domestic First Class and Comfort+. Card members also receive access to complimentary upgrades.
If you own a business, you might want to consider getting one of the Delta business credit cards, which come with slightly different perks and bonuses than the personal cards. Here’s a look at the welcome offers currently available for a limited time now through Nov. 10, 2021, on the three Delta business cards:
Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card: Earn 70,000 bonus miles and a $50 statement credit when you spend $2,000 in the first three months after opening the account.
Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card: Earn 90,000 bonus miles, 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) and a $100 statement credit when you spend $3,000 in the first three months after opening the account.
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card: Earn 80,000 bonus miles, 20,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) and a $200 statement credit when you spend $5,000 in the first three months after opening the account.
Similar to the personal version, the Delta Gold Business Amex comes with a free checked bag and priority boarding on Delta flights, a 20% discount on eligible in-flight purchases, access to Delta’s Pay with Miles program, up to $100 in Delta flight credit after you spend $10,000 in eligible purchases on your card in a calendar year and no foreign transaction fees (see rates and fees).
But it earns miles a little differently. In addition to earning 2 miles for each dollar spent on eligible Delta purchases and at restaurants (including takeout and delivery), the Delta Gold Business Amex earns 2 miles per dollar on U.S. shipping purchases and U.S. purchases for advertising in select media. And like the personal version, the business version has a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99 thereafter (see rates and fees).
The Delta Platinum Business Amex also has perks and benefits that are similar to its personal card counterpart, including the same bonus categories, the same free checked bag and priority boarding on Delta flights, the same ability to earn 25% more bonus MQMs in 2021, the same Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee credit and the same $250 annual fee (see rates and fees).
But the business version also earns 1.5 miles per dollar on single eligible purchases of $5,000 or more, which is an extra half point per dollar, up to 50,000 additional miles per year.
Similarly, the Delta Reserve Business Amex matches the high-end travel perks of the personal Delta Reserve card, including complimentary access to Delta Sky Clubs and American Express Centurion Lounges when you’re flying on a Delta flight, and up to four enhanced Status Boosts in 2021.
The Amex Centurion Lounge in Seattle is just one of the 14 lounges in the network.
You’ll also get the same access to complimentary upgrades for non-elites, an annual companion certificate that can be used for first-class travel each year upon renewal of your card, Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee credit, 3 miles for every dollar you spend on eligible Delta purchases and a $550 annual fee (see rates and fees).
But the business version of the card also has another feature: After you spend $150,000 on your card in a calendar year, you’ll earn 1.5 miles per dollar on all your eligible purchases for the rest of the year, except eligible Delta purchases, which continue to earn 3 miles per dollar.
All four personal and three business Delta credit cards top CNN Underscored’s benchmark credit card, the Citi® Double Cash Card, on several of our criteria. They offer welcome bonuses, bonus categories and travel benefits, and they don’t charge foreign transaction fees. If you’re a regular Delta flyer, you’ll likely find value in at least one if not all of these areas.
On the flip side, aside from the Delta Blue Amex, all the Delta cards have annual fees either right off the bat or after the first year, which our benchmark card doesn’t. And since Delta SkyMiles are worth 1.1 cents apiece, according to The Points Guy, unless you’re really good at maximizing Delta SkyMiles, the Citi Double Cash card’s 2% return — 1% when you make a purchase, and another 1% when you pay it off — beats the Delta cards when it comes to everyday spending. You can read more about our methodology and our benchmark credit card concept here.
For people who think they’ll really utilize the Delta travel benefits on these cards, or who regularly spend a lot of money in one or more of the bonus categories, the pros of these cards likely make the annual fees worth the cost. But if you don’t find yourself on a Delta flight very often, even in the best of times, you might want to choose a card that aligns better with your needs. In that case, check out our guide to the best credit cards of 2021 for other options.
These are the highest welcome bonuses we’ve ever seen on these Delta cards, and a great chance to bank a stash of Delta SkyMiles for when you’re ready to get back in the air. But they’re only available until Nov. 10, 2021, so if you’ve been thinking about getting an airline credit card, consider grabbing one of these Delta credit cards right now with a fantastic bonus and pick up a nice chunk of miles.
For Delta personal credit cards:
Learn more about the Delta SkyMiles Blue Amex.
Learn more about the Delta SkyMiles Gold Amex.
Learn more about the Delta SkyMiles Platinum Amex.
Learn more about the Delta SkyMiles Reserve Amex.
For Delta business credit cards:
Learn more about the Delta SkyMiles Gold Business Amex.
Learn more about the Delta SkyMiles Platinum Business Amex.
Learn more about the Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business Amex.