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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.

The winner: United℠ Explorer Card

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 welcome offer. The United Explorer card lets you earn 40,000 miles after you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months and an additional 25,000 miles after you spend $10,000 in the first 6 months. The Delta Gold offers 40,000 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

Terms apply, see rates & fees

United℠ Explorer Card

United℠ Explorer Card

Terms apply, see rates & fees

Finder rating
Finder 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

Earn 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new card in your first 3 months, plus up to $50 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at US restaurants in the same timeframe

40,000 miles after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months, plus 25,000 miles after spending $10,000 in the first 6 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

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

Name Product Welcome offer Rewards Annual fee Filter values
Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card
Earn 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new card in your first 3 months, plus up to $50 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at US restaurants in the same timeframe
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 $560, up to 2x miles on select purchases, and assorted Delta perks, this is a strong choice for Delta fans. Terms apply, see rates & fees
United℠ Explorer Card
40,000 miles after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months, plus 25,000 miles after spending $10,000 in the first 6 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)
Earn 40,000 miles after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months. Plus an additional 25,000 miles after spending $10,000 in the first 6 months.
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