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How to get priority boarding with Delta Air Lines

Get more space for your carry-on bags when you board early.

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Fact checked

Our pick for Delta priority boarding : Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card logo

50,000-mile

Welcome offer after spending $2,000 in first 3 months

  • 2x miles on Delta and at restaurants and US supermarkets
  • Delta perks include priority boarding, first bag checked free and statement credits
  • $0 intro annual fee, then $99
Apply now
See rates & fees

Delta priority boarding is a benefit that lets you board flights before general boarding groups. To use it, simply line up at the gate when the gate agent calls your group. Normally, Main Cabin 1 priority boarding costs $15. However, you can get the benefit — and perhaps board even earlier — through Delta credit cards, being a Delta Medallion Member and more.

Delta Boarding Order

Boarding orderEligibility
Pre-BoardingCustomers needing assistance or additional time to board
Active Duty U.S. Military personnel with ID
Delta One®Delta One® customers
Diamond Medallion® Members
First Class or Delta Premium SelectDelta Premium Select customers
First Class customers
Diamond Medallion® Members (if aircraft does not have a Delta One cabin)
Early boarding for customers traveling with carseats and strollers
Delta Comfort+®Delta Comfort+ customers
Sky Priority®Platinum Medallion® members
Gold Medallion® members
Flying Blue Platinum and Gold members
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Gold members
Virgin Australia Platinum and Gold members
GOL Smiles Diamond members
SkyTeam® Elite Plus members
Main Cabin 1Silver Medallion® Members
Delta Corporate Travelers
Priority Boarding Trip Extra customers
Cardmembers with Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card or Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card Flying Blue Silver members
Virgin Australia Velocity Silver members
GOL Smiles Gold members
Sky Team® Elite
Main Cabin 2Main Cabin customers
Main Cabin 3Main Cabin customers booked in T, X and V fares
Basic EconomyBasic Economy customers (E)

Silver Medallion Members will not have a dedicated Priority Boarding zone on Delta flights departing AMS and CDG due to Air France-KLM boarding policies.

How to get Delta Air Lines priority boarding

There are a number of ways to board your Delta flight sooner, including:

  • Purchasing a higher fare class.
    The higher the fare class, the earlier you will board the plane. Boarding order starts from Delta One, First Class or Delta Premium Select and Delta Comfort+.
  • Earning elite status.
    Rising up the ranks within the Delta frequent flyer program lets you board early. Diamond Medallion members board first, followed by Platinum Medallion and Gold Medallion members. Silver Medallion members board with Main Cabin 1.
  • Earn elite status with partner airlines.
    Sky Priority boarding can be used by Flying Blue Platinum and Gold members, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Gold members, Virgin Australia Platinum and Gold members, GOL Smiles Diamond members and SkyTeam Elite Plus members.
  • Get an eligible Delta credit card.Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card and Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card cardmembers enjoy Main Cabin 1 boarding. Only basic cardmembers — not authorized users — are entitled to use Delta priority boarding with up to nine passengers traveling on their reservation.
  • Purchase Delta priority boarding.
    You can purchase Main Cabin 1 priority boarding for $15, but you will lose this perk if you change your flight.
  • Being an active duty US military member.
    Those carrying a military ID can board before anyone else.

Compare credit cards with Delta priority boarding

With any of the cards listed below, you’ll get Main Cabin 1 group priority boarding.

Name Product Welcome offer Rewards Annual fee Filter values
Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card
50,000 miles after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months
2x miles on Delta purchases, restaurants and at US supermarkets and 1x miles on all other purchases
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($99 thereafter)
With a welcome offer worth up to $600, up to 2x miles on select purchases, and assorted Delta perks, this is a strong choice for Delta fans. Rates & fees
Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card
60,000 miles and 5,000 MQMs after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months
3x miles on Delta and direct hotel purchases, 2x miles at restaurants and US supermarkets and 1x miles for all other purchases
$250
This card boasts a welcome offer worth up to $720, an annual companion certificate and valuable Delta perks. Rates & fees
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card
40,000 miles and 10,000 MQMs after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months
3x miles on direct Delta purchases and 1x miles on all other purchases
$550
Delta's luxury offering shines with access to Delta Sky Clubs, Centurion Lounges, an annual companion certificate and more valuable travel perks. Rates & fees
CardMatch™ from creditcards.com
See terms
See terms
See terms
Use the CardMatch tool to find cards you're likely to qualify for with your credit score, without a hard pull on your credit.
Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card
70,000 miles and 5,000 MQMs after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
3x miles on direct Delta and hotel purchases, 1.5x miles on single purchases over $5,000 up to 50,000 miles per year, and 1x miles on all other purchases
$250
Earn 70,000 miles and 5,000 MQMs after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months. Rates & fees
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Compare up to 4 providers

How to get Delta Air Lines priority boarding with your credit card

  1. Get an eligible Delta Air Lines credit card.
  2. Use your card to purchase Delta airfare.
  3. You will automatically receive Main Cabin 1 group priority boarding.

Who gets priority boarding?

Preboarding is reserved for active US military personnel and customers who need assistance or additional time to board.

Next in line are those who purchased Delta One, First Class or Delta Premium Select fare, plus the highest elite tier members of the SkyMiles program — Diamond Medallion.

Travelers with carseats and strollers board next.

After that come the lower elite tiers, Delta credit card owners and elite tier members of partner airlines from Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Australia, Air France and KLM, GOL Airlines and Skyteam elite tiers.

Bottom line

The most frequent flyers and elite members of the SkyMiles program, along with active US military personnel get to board among the first. If you don’t fly as often, you can board right after them with an eligible Delta Air Lines credit card or if you purchase a priority boarding ticket.

However, if you fly on other airlines, check out other airline cards that offer priority boarding and compare your options.

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