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Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card review

Earn up to 7x miles on Delta purchases or even more with elite status for a low annual fee.

finder.com’s rating: 4.0 / 5.0

★★★★★

  • Get this card if you fly Delta at least three times each year.
  • Pick the higher-tier Delta cards if you make at least four Delta round trips per year.
  • Apply with a good to an excellent credit score of 670 or higher.

40,000

Miles as welcome offer

Up to 2x

Miles

$0

Annual fee

for the first year ($99 thereafter)

15.74% to 24.74%

Purchase APR (variable)

Details

Annual fee$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($99 thereafter)
Welcome OfferEarn 40,000 bonus miles after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months.
Also, earn up to $50 back in statement credits for purchases at US restaurants within the first 3 months of membership
Rewards2x miles on Delta purchases, restaurants and at US supermarkets and 1x miles on all other eligible purchases
Purchase APR15.74% to 24.74% variable
Balance transfer APRN/A
Recommended minimum credit score670
IssuerAmerican Express

Review by


Steven Dashiell is a writer at Finder specializing in all things credit cards. With more than 300 articles under his belt, he aims to help readers embrace credit cards and maximize their rewards. Steve is studying to become a Certified Educator in Personal Finance, and is a frequent face on Finder’s YouTube channel, offering the latest in credit card hacks and advice. His expertise has been featured on numerous outlets, including U.S. News & World Report, Time, CBS, Fox Business, Lifehacker, Martha Stewart Living and more.

Expert review

The Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card is a mid-tier Delta card with a $0 intro annual fee, reverting to $99 the following year. It offers 2x miles on Delta purchases, purchases made at restaurants and US supermarkets. The card also comes with a decent welcome offer of 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 in your first 3 months, and up to $50 statement credit on eligible US restaurant purchases within the first 3 months of membership. Depending on what you redeem your miles for, this can be worth $560 or more based on Finder’s current valuations.

The Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card sits in an awkward position among the Delta cards: For the price of the card, it’s remarkably similar to the “entry” Delta card, the Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card, which also offers 2x miles on eligible purchases and requires no annual fee (see Terms apply, see rates & fees). On the other end of the spectrum, the card is rendered nearly irrelevant by Delta’s mid-level card, the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card. The Delta Platinum card costs $250 (see Terms apply, see rates & fees), but more than pays for itself so long as you use a few of its features — the annual companion pass you get from the Delta Platinum Card is by itself worth far more than $250.

It’s best to think of the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card as the actual entry-level Delta card and disregard the Delta SkyMiles Blue card entirely. While the Delta Gold card carries an annual fee of $99 after your first year, it also comes with a few travel perks absent on the Delta SkyMiles Blue card. Notably, your first checked bag fee is waived on each flight. As of April 2021, your first checked bag on a Delta flight costs $30. So if you use this perk four times in a year, you’ll save enough to cover the cost of the card’s annual fee.

At the end of the day, the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card is a perfectly solid entry-point for earning and redeeming Delta SkyMiles. But if you fly enough to make up for the cost of the Delta Gold, you may as well spring for the Delta Platinum. It offers better rewards, more perks and it’s easy to make up for the cost of the card despite the larger annual fee.

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How do I apply for the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card?

Applying for the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card is straightforward:

  1. Click Apply now.
  2. Complete the application with personal and financial details.
  3. Review the application and submit it.

What credit score do I need?

To qualify for the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, you’ll need a good to an excellent credit score of 670 or higher.

What are my preapproval odds?

You can check whether you’re preapproved for the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card by doing the following:

  1. Go to the American Express pre-qualification page at: https://www.americanexpress.com/us/credit-cards/check-for-offers/
  2. Fill out your information. This includes your name, address, last four digits of your social security number and annual income.
  3. Click on View my card offers.

You can’t specifically choose to check your preapproval odds for the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card. Instead, Amex will check your information against the whole suite of available cards. Afterward, you’ll be sent to a new webpage with your eligible preapproval cards.

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card benefits

  • Earn Delta SkyMiles. Despite being one of Delta’s entry-level credit cards, the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card is no slouch when it comes to earning SkyMiles. It earns 2x miles on Delta purchases, restaurants and US supermarkets. That’s only 1x mile per dollar less than the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, Delta’s luxury offer. Since SkyMiles members already earn 5x miles per dollar spent on flights, this card effectively earns you 7x miles on Delta purchases. You can redeem your Delta SkyMiles on flights, upgrades, and more.
  • Welcome offer. The Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card’s welcome offer is fairly valuable in spite of the cards modest annual fee. If you manage to earn the miles, you’ll enjoy up to $560 dollars in value depending on how you redeem them based on Finder’s current valuations. New to the card is up to $50 in statement credits on eligible US restaurant purchases made within the first 3 months of membership.
  • Travel perks. The Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card also brings a solid selection of travel perks for cardholders. You get many of the standard travel perks you’d expect on a travel card, including priority boarding, fees waived on your first checked bag and car rental insurance. You’ll also get a Delta flight statement credit of $100 each calendar year after you spend $10,000 in purchases that year. You usually see these sort of statement credits on luxury cards, rather than casual entries.
  • Pay with miles. The wording of this benefit is admittedly a little confusing: The whole point of earning miles is to pay for flights, after all. What this benefit actually allows is partial payment of flights using your accrued miles. You can take chunks out of your flight cost in $50 increments. This can prove useful if you have a tight month and need to pinch a few pennies. Using your points this way doesn’t affect their redemption value thankfully.
  • Add authorized users. Authorized users are welcome on the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card. All additional users are lumped in under the main account. That means purchases made on extra cards earn rewards toward the main user account. They may also benefit from the card’s travel perks.

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card drawbacks

  • Annual fee. For the first year, the card has a $0 annual fee. But starting the second, expect to pay $99 annually.
  • Steep pay requirements for flight credit. This card requires you spend $10,000 in a calendar year to obtain the $100 Delta flight credit which you can access after enrolling in your Amex account. This is a surprisingly steep requirement for an entry-level card and given the card’s modest earning rates, a $100 credit isn’t a huge incentive to use this card over another rewards card in your wallet for a large amount of spending.

Compare Delta Gold to similar credit cards

Here’s a look at the Delta Gold vs. two similar cards to help visualize the major differences between these mid-tier travel cards.

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

★★★★★

Finder Rating: 4 / 5

Terms apply, see rates & fees
Go to site

Minimum credit score

670

Annual fee

$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($99 thereafter)

Purchase APR

15.74% to 24.74% variable

Balance transfer APR

N/A

Rewards

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

Welcome offer

Earn 40,000 bonus miles after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months.
Also, earn up to $50 back in statement credits for purchases at US restaurants within the first 3 months of membership

United℠ Explorer Card

★★★★★

Finder Rating: 4.4 / 5

Terms apply, see rates & fees
Go to site

Minimum credit score

670

Annual fee

$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)

Purchase APR

16.49% to 23.49% variable

Balance transfer APR

16.49% to 23.49% variable

Rewards

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

Welcome offer

60,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months, plus 10,000 miles after spending $6,000 in the first 6 months

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card reviews and complaints

Users on social media, such as Reddit, generally enjoy this card thanks to the number of travel perks offered for the price. A recurring theme among customers is how easy it is to make up for the card’s annual fee. Flying only twice a year with a companion is enough to wipe out the fee, so long as the both of you check a single bag each flight.The biggest complaints with this card came down to the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card’s overall superiority. For only $150 more per year, you get better rewards and a companion ticket each calendar year. We agree with this assessment.

American Express has been accredited with the Better Business Bureau since 1948 and earns an A+ rating as of April 2021. It’s average customer review on the site is 1.18 out of 5, with customers citing account and product issues for several of these filed complaints.

The provider earns just a 2.0 out of 5 on Trustpilot as of April 2021. Poor customer service is a common complaint among the logged customer comments. Adrian Tomkins, Senior Product Manager at Finder, echoes these sentiments after a poor experience while using his Delta Gold card: “Last year, I was traveling quite a lot both domestically and internationally and thanks to the card, I almost made status with Delta. Unfortunately, due to personal reasons, I had to cancel a flight in December. Not only did Delta not refund me any of the money for the flight, but they refused to grant me the miles just because I didn’t physically get on the plane — even though I still paid the full fare.”

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How has this card changed over time?

DateBefore card updateAfter card update
April 29, 2021Welcome offer: 70,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 in your first 3 months Welcome offer: 70,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 in your first 3 months and up to $200 back as statement credit on your first Delta purchase during that same time period
July 29, 2021Welcome offer: 70,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 in your first 3 months and up to $200 back as statement credit on your first Delta purchase during that same time periodWelcome offer: 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 in your first 3 months and up to $50 back as statement credit on eligible US restaurant purchases during that same time period

Bottom line

The Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card is a perfectly solid card that offers travel perks you’d expect for the price. With that said, it’s handily outclassed by the mid-tier Delta SkyMiles Platinum card, which will largely prove the more valuable pick for most Delta travelers.

If neither of these cards suits your needs however, there are plenty of airline card options out there in the same range.

Credit card ratings

★★★★★ — Excellent

★★★★★ — Good

★★★★★ — Average

★★★★★ — Subpar

★★★★★ — Poor

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We rank card types — travel, cash back, business — on a set of factors that are most relevant to that type of card. We create these rankings to help you narrow down a credit card that best suits your spending and budget.

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