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Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card vs United℠ Explorer Card

Choose between two mid-tier airline credit cards with valuable perks.

Updated

Fact checked

The winner: United℠ Explorer Card

United℠ Explorer Card logo

40,000-mile

Signup bonus after spending $2,000 in first 3 months

  • Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit
  • Get 2x miles at restaurants, hotels and on United Airlines
  • $0 intro annual fee, then $95
See offer
Aside from being part of different airline programs, the biggest difference between these two cards comes down to the signup bonus. The United Explorer card lets you earn 40,000 miles after you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months. The Delta Gold offers 35,000 miles after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months.

The redemption value is basically the same no matter which card you go with. For example, a roundtrip flight between Los Angeles (LAX) and New York (JFK) requires 24,000 Delta miles and 25,000 United miles on the lowest fare. This makes the United card’s signup bonus worth at least twice as much than what you get with the Delta card.

Compare the additional perks offered by these cards to find the right fit for your travel preferences.

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

Rates & Fees

United℠ Explorer Card

United℠ Explorer Card

Rates & Fees

finder.com's rating
finder.com's rating

★★★★★

4.0 / 5.0

★★★★★

4.4 / 5.0
Best for
Best for
  • Delta rewards and perks with a low annual fee
  • Earning miles in multiple ways for United Airlines
Welcome offer
Welcome offer

35,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months

40,000 miles after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months

Rewards
Rewards

2x miles on Delta purchases, restaurants and at US supermarkets and 1x miles on all other purchases

2x miles at restaurants, hotels and United and 1.5x miles on all other purchases

Purchase APR
Purchase APR

15.74% to 24.74% variable

16.49% to 23.49% variable

Annual fee
Annual fee $0 intro annual fee the first year, then $99 $0 intro annual fee the first year, then $95
Balance transfer APR
Balance transfer APR

N/A

16.49% to 23.49% variable
Cash advance
Cash advance

APR: 25.24% variable

Fee: $10 or 5% of the transaction, whichever is greater

APR: 24.99% variable

Fee: $10 or 5% of the transaction, whichever is greater

Foreign transaction fee
Foreign transaction fee None None
Late payment fee
Late payment fee Up to $40 Up to $39
Additional cardholder fee
Additional cardholder fee $0
Interest-free period
Interest-free period 25 days 21 days
Minimum interest
Minimum interest $0
Minimum credit score
Minimum credit score 670 670
Card type
Card type Credit Credit
Learn more
Learn more

Read review

Read review

Summary of card features

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

  • Priority boarding on Delta flights
  • Earn Delta SkyMiles
  • American Express purchase protection
  • Check first bag for free

United℠ Explorer Card

United℠ Explorer Card

  • Signup bonus. Earn 40,000 bonus miles after you make $2,000 in purchases with your card within the first 3 months of account opening.
  • Rewards. Earn 2x miles on United purchases, eligible hotel stays and restaurant spending. Earn 1.5x miles on all other purchases.
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee credit. Get up to $100 credit once every for years to cover for your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee.

Compare Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card vs. United℠ Explorer Card

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Welcome offer Rewards Annual fee Filter values
Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card
35,000 miles after spending $1,000 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
United℠ Explorer Card
40,000 miles after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months
2x miles at restaurants, hotels and United and 1.5x miles on all other purchases
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
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