Finder is committed to editorial independence. While we receive compensation when you click links to partners, they do not influence our opinions or reviews. Learn how we make money.

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

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

Updated

Fact checked
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 60,000 miles after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months. The Delta Gold offers 50,000 miles after you spend $2,000 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

50,000 miles after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months

60,000 miles after spending $3,000 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 1x 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 15.74% to 24.74% variable

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 60,000 bonus miles after you make $3,000 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 1x 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 travel credit cards

Name Product Welcome offer Rewards Annual fee Filter values
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
80,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months, a value of up to $1,000 through Chase Ultimate Rewards
5x points on Lyft, 2x points on travel and dining and 1x points on all other purchases
$95
Earn a huge signup bonus worth $$1,000 with this popular travel card. Combine with other Chase Ultimate Rewards cards for even greater value.
American Express® Gold Card
35,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
3x points on directly-booked flights; 4x at restaurants; 4x at US supermarkets on up to $25,000 annually (then 1x points)
$250
Earn up to 4x points on select purchases, a bevy of travel perks, and a welcome offer worth up to $350 with this upper-mid tier travel card. Rates & fees
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
50,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
10x points on Lyft rides, 3x points on dining and travel after earning your $300 travel credit and 1x points on all other purchases
$550
Get a generous $300 in annual travel credits, 3x points on travel and dining, and a 50% bonus on point redemptions with Chase's premier card.
Hilton Honors American Express Card
75,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
7x points on Hilton Honors purchases, 5x at US restaurants, US supermarkets and US gas stations, 3x on all other purchases
$0
Earn 75,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the card within your first 3 months of card membership. Rates & fees
Luxury Card Mastercard® Titanium Card™
N/A
1x points on all purchases with 2% point value when you redeem for airfare and 1% for cash back
$195
Enjoy unique excursions, privileged access to exclusive events and insider opportunities.
loading

Compare up to 4 providers

Compare American Express credit cards

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder.com provides guides and information on a range of products and services. Because our content is not financial advice, we suggest talking with a professional before you make any decision.

By submitting your comment or question, you agree to our Privacy and Cookies Policy and finder.com Terms of Use.

Questions and responses on finder.com are not provided, paid for or otherwise endorsed by any bank or brand. These banks and brands are not responsible for ensuring that comments are answered or accurate.
Go to site