Full Review of Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card
Exceptional bonus offer for new cardholders
Outstanding travel perks
Opportunity for higher rewards
No free lounge access
$250 annual fee
- Exceptional Bonus Offer for New Cardholders: Cardholders earn 40,000 bonus miles and receive 5,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after spending $2,000 in purchases in the first three months. Also, American Express is granting new cardholders who apply by May 31, 2020 an additional 3 months to qualify for the $2,000 spending required to earn the bonus offer. The bonus miles alone are worth $640 according to our valuation of 1.6 cents per mile when redeemed for Delta travel. The MQMs get you closer to earning Delta’s Medallion Status, which brings a number of benefits when traveling with the airline. New cardholders also earn an additional $100 statement credit after making a Delta purchase in the first three months. That puts our value of this bonus offer at $740.
- Outstanding Travel Benefits: This card offers a range of travel benefits, the most notable of which is the annual travel companion certificate. Cardholders receive a domestic main cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal. With this certificate, you only pay applicable taxes and fees of no more than $75 to bring a companion with you—a potential savings of hundreds of dollars or more per year. Cardholders also get the first checked bag free for themselves as well as for up to nine passengers traveling on their same reservation. That’s in addition to other perks like main cabin 1 priority boarding and access to Delta Sky Club lounges for $39.
- Opportunity for higher rewards: Big spenders can really boost their miles with this card. If in any calendar year eligible purchases on the card are $25,000 or more, the cardmember will be awarded 10,000 MQMs—a benefit that, along with the MQMs you received as a bonus offer, would get you most or all of the way to earning Silver Medallion Status. If in that same calendar year eligible purchases on the card are $50,000 or more, an additional 10,000 MQMs will be awarded.
- No Free Lounge Access: Premium travel cards often come with complimentary lounge access, sometimes to thousands of lounges worldwide. This card charges for you and up to two guests to the Delta Sky Club at $39 per person. While those are exclusive card member rates, they could add up quickly if you frequent airport lounges often.
- $250 Annual Fee: This card's annual fee isn't the highest among travel cards—the Delta Reserve card, for example, has a $550 annual fee. But if you don't take advantage of enough of the benefits to justify its $250 annual fee, it's likely not worth it.
This Card is Best For
Seeks the recognition and perks of branded travel partner status
Flies often for business or leisure
Dines out regularly while traveling or in home city
Travels outside of U.S. on occasion or frequently
Delta devotees will undeniably get the most benefit from the Delta SkyMiles Platinum Amex card. If you travel at least a couple of times per year and choose Delta and its partners over other airlines, this card can help you get more value when you travel while providing some nice perks.
This card is worth considering as long as you maximize the benefits enough to outweigh the annual fee. For example, since companions travel free (other than taxes and fees), this card can be an extra value and help further justify the annual fee if you often have a travel buddy. Using the companion certificate to pay for one big trip each year will save an average of $364 on a round-trip ticket.
Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Bonus Offer
This card packs a number of opportunities to earn more rewards in a single one-time offer. First, cardholders can earn 40,000 bonus miles and 5,000 MQMs after they spend $2,000 within the first three months. Then, cardholders can receive a $100 statement credit after making a Delta purchase in the first three months. Including the $100 certificate, that puts the value of the one-time offer at $740 when redeemed for domestic travel through Delta. Few cards have such a significant bonus offer.
The bonus MQMs are especially worthwhile for those close to earning Medallion Status with Delta. For the record, you need 25,000 MQMs in order to reach Silver Medallion status, 50,000 to reach Gold, 75,000 to reach Platinum, and 125,000 to reach Diamond.
With Silver Medallion status, you earn 7 miles per dollar spent on flights and get unlimited rollover MQMs, unlimited complimentary upgrades to first class and Delta Comfort, and priority check-in and boarding.
Rewards Earning Details
Cardholders earn unlimited 3 miles per dollar spent on purchases where Delta is the merchant, including flights, seat upgrades, in-flight food, Sky Club membership or passes, and Delta Vacations. Hotel expenditures made directly from hotels charged to the card earn the same 3-points-per-dollar rewards, while restaurant and U.S. supermarket spending earns 2 points per dollar.
All other purchases made with this card earn 1 mile per dollar spent. Your miles never expire.
Rewards Redemption Details
You must be enrolled in the Delta SkyMiles rewards program to redeem miles with this card. You can redeem your miles through Delta's website, by phone, or at a Delta ticket counter.
Miles can be redeemed for Delta flights and other Delta purchases, including Sky Club membership, seat upgrades, gift cards, experiences, and merchandise.
At 1.6 cents apiece, according to Investopedia's Points valuation Survey, miles redeemed for domestic Delta flights are not consistently on a par with those of the most valuable loyalty programs. For comparison, United's credit cards offer a value of 2.16 cents per mile when redeemed for domestic flights.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
Using this card for all of your Delta travel expenses and taking full advantage of its perks can really amplify rewards.
If you aren't already a member of the Delta SkyMiles rewards program you will be assigned a rewards number when you’re approved for the Delta Skymiles Platinum Amex. In addition to earning 3 miles per dollar spent on Delta purchases, general SkyMiles rewards members earn an additional 5 miles for every $1 spent on Delta flights.
You should also be sure to take advantage of this card's biggest feature: the companion pass. You could potentially obtain enough value to justify the annual fee by using it for a single trip per year. The card's other benefits—free checked bags, priority boarding, and savings on in-flight purchases—will maximize rewards even further.
A couple who travels together twice a year could earn 4,368 miles (worth about $70 when used for flights) with this card on average and save nearly $300 on flights alone with the free companion pass.
According to the Bureau of Transportation, the average round-trip flight costs $364. Using that as a baseline, a couple using this card's companion pass who takes two round-trip flights per year would save $289 or more (assuming they pay the maximum taxes and fees of $75 per round-trip ticket with the companion pass). They would then earn 3 miles per dollar spent on flights with this card. That's worth about $35 when redeemed for travel through Delta.
This calculation doesn't include the miles earned for additional spending on those two trips or for day-to-day spending, or the one-time offer of 40,000 miles. It also doesn't include the free checked bags each way, which could potentially add an additional $120 to the card's value.
This card provides even more value for families who fly together throughout the year. Let's assume, for example, that you’re a family of four taking two domestic trips a year at the national average ticket price. We’ll further assume the annual companion certificate is used for one of those round-trip flights, leaving seven remaining to be purchased. With round-trip tickets costing a national average of $364, you would spend $2,548 on flights, which would earn nearly 7,644 points by using the card.
Those are worth about $123 when redeemed for domestic Delta flights. Like in the scenario above, you would also save an additional $289 or more by using the companion pass (the net cost after the fees of $75, which are the cardholder’s responsibility, are deducted from the $364 fare.) Assuming the family also checked bags on every flight, the free checked bag for each family member would help even more, adding $480 to this card's value.
Our calculations for this card again assume you earn 3 miles per dollar spent on Delta purchases with this card. It doesn't include the miles you would earn for spending outside of flights.
Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card's Outstanding Benefits
- Companion pass
- Global Entry or TSA Pre-check Credit
- Annual Miles Boost
- First checked bag free
- Main cabin 1 priority boarding
- 20% in-flight savings
- Discounted per-rate visit to Delta Sky Club
- Car rental collision insurance (secondary to your own policy)
- 24/7 global assistance hotline
- Baggage insurance
- No fraud liability
- Year-end summary
American Express ranked just below top-ranked Discover in J.D. Power's 2019 credit card customer satisfaction survey.
American Express customer service can be reached 24/7 at 800-528-4800, or you can log into your online account and chat with a representative. Customer service is also available on Facebook, and you can tweet questions and comments to @AskAmex.
American Express maintains a number of standard security features for its cardholders. Its website offers encryption technology, automatic time-outs, email confirmation and password recovery, and personal security keys for authentication.
It also offers fraud protection, including pre-purchase verification, automatic monitoring for suspicious transactions, and alerts for irregular account activity.
The Platinum Delta SkyMiles card’s luxury benefits and generous bonus offer make it a worthwhile choice for frequent Delta travelers. But the companion pass is this card's best feature and significantly increases its annual value.
Those who won't use the companion pass or other premium perks might be better served by the less costly Delta SkyMiles Gold Amex card. It has an annual fee of $99 and offers the same 2 miles per dollar rewards on restaurants and U.S. supermarkets as this card. It has the same rewards rate on Delta purchases, and 1 mile per dollar on everything else.
If you're seeking more freedom with how you earn rewards for travel, and don’t want to be limited to Delta, you might consider a card like the American Express Platinum card. It has a $550 annual fee but offers 5 points per dollar spent on flights booked directly with airlines or through American Express travel and also allows you to transfer points to its travel partners, including Delta.