Gold Delta Amex vs. United Explorer Card: Which airline credit card is best for you?

Gold Delta Amex vs. United Explorer 4X3

  • An
    airline credit card
    earns you miles on all your spending, and
    can improve your flying experience with benefits like a free
    checked bag and priority boarding.
  • The
    Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express
     and
    the United
    Explorer Card
     are two of the most popular airline co-branded
    airline credit cards, and they’re similar in many ways.
  • Both cards have a $95 annual fee and earn you 2x miles on
    purchases with the respective airline, but the
    United Explorer Card
    offers a few additional benefits like an
    application fee credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry.
  • The right choice for you depends on which airline you fly the
    most, which miles you value more, and which perks you need.

Nearly every airline offers
co-branded credit cards
at various price points, but the sweet
spot seems to be an annual fee of $95. For that amount, you can at
least expect to earn double miles for ticket purchases, while
enjoying a free checked bag and discounts on your in-flight
purchases.

But that’s just the beginning, as the right airline credit card
can also offer you priority boarding, airport lounge access and
other perks when traveling. Let’s take a look at the
Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express
and the

United Explorer Card
from Chase, two of the most popular
airline credit cards in this price range, and see which one is
right for you.

Gold Delta Amex vs. United Explorer Card: the biggest differences

The first and most obvious difference between these two cards is
that they earn miles and offer benefits with two different
airlines: Delta and United. If you’re more loyal to one airline,
that can make the decision easy. If not, you’ll want to give the
cards’ other benefits a closer look.

Both the
Gold Delta Amex
and the
United Explorer Card
earn 2 miles per dollar on purchases made
with the respective airline, but the United Explorer Card also
offers 2x miles on restaurants and hotel accommodations. The United
Explorer Card also offers an application fee credit of up to $100
for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry, and two one-time United Club
lounge passes each year. The Gold Delta Amex doesn’t offer these
perks, though it does offer reduced-price access of $29 to Delta
Sky Clubs.

Gold
Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

This is one of four
SkyMiles credit cards
offered by American Express, and that
doesn’t even include the small business cards. Right now, this
card’s best features are its welcome bonus of both 30,000 SkyMiles
after you make $1,000 in new purchases within three months of
account opening, as well as 50% back on purchases made directly
with Delta in the first three months, up to $300. This offer is
only available until August 15, so don’t wait to apply if you’re
interested.

Like most other airline credit cards, the
Gold Delta Amex
offers you double miles on airline purchases
and one mile per dollar spent elsewhere. Benefits include a free
checked bag for yourself and up to eight others traveling on the
same reservation. You also receive a 20% savings on in-flight
purchases and access to the Delta Sky Clubs for the reduced price
of $29. There’s a $95 annual fee for this card, but that’s waived
the first year.


Read more: Gold Delta Amex card review

United
Explorer Card

The current welcome bonus for this card is 40,000 miles after
you spend $2,000 within three months of account opening, but this
card’s rewards for spending and travel benefits are even more
exciting. It offers you 2x miles not just on United purchases, but
also at both restaurants and on hotel accommodations purchased
directly from the hotel. These are two of the largest expenses
faced by frequent travelers.

You also get a free checked bag for yourself and a single
companion on the same reservation, but you must use your card to
pay for your ticket or any taxes and fees on an award reservation.
This card offers you a $100 statement credit for the application
fee for
TSA PreCheck or the Global Entry program
, which includes
PreCheck. Note that even if you’re already a member of one of these
programs, you can use this credit for your renewal or even to pay
for someone else’s application or renewal.

Other
United Explorer Card
benefits include two day passes to the
United Club lounge each year, 25% back on United in-flight
purchases and priority boarding. United card holders also receive

expanded access to saver-level awards in economy class
, making
your miles even more valuable. Like the Gold Delta Amex, it has a
$95 annual fee that’s waived the first year.

Read
more: United Explorer card review

Which card is right for you?

When comparing these two cards side by side, the
United Explorer Card
looks superior in most ways. It offers you
more miles as a welcome bonus, and earns double miles offer for
restaurant and hotel purchases, while the Gold Delta Amex only
earns double miles on Delta purchases. It also offers several perks
that are missing from the Delta card, such two United Club lounge
passes per year and up to a $100 credit toward Global Entry or TSA
PreCheck fees.

The
Gold Delta SkyMiles Amex
does have a few significant advantages
over the United Explorer Card. First, its current offer can get you
up to $300 in statement credits (50% back on purchases made
directly with Delta in the first three months on up to $300), which
may be nearly as valuable as the 30,000 SkyMiles you can also earn
from the current welcome bonus. That and a free checked bag for up
to nine on the same reservation, as opposed to only two with
United.

You also want to compare the value of the miles that each card
earns. While Delta has built a reputation for great service and
operational reliability, its SkyMiles frequent flyer program isn’t
regarded nearly as well. It no longer publishes an award chart, and
many travelers find that Delta charges far more miles for its award
seats than its competitors do, especially when you’re trying to
redeem your miles for a premium-class ticket.

United has announced that it too will be moving to a more
“dynamic” award pricing scheme later this year. But for the moment
its MileagePlus miles tend to go much further than Delta SkyMiles,
especially if you’re a card holder who receives expanded access to
saver awards in economy class.

Bottom line

None of this may matter to you if you live near a major Delta or
United hub, and you’re dependent on one airline to serve most
destinations non-stop.

If you’re committed to flying either Delta or United, then you
can’t really shop around. If so, you probably won’t be choosing
between a Delta or a United card, but just deciding which of the
multiple cards offered by your preferred carrier is right for you.
And in that case, Delta flyers will want to consider the
Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express
. It
offers numerous
benefits
that the Gold Delta SkyMiles card lacks, and an

annual companion certificate
that can easily justify its higher
$195 annual fee.

Click
here to learn more about the Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from
American Express from our partner The Points Guy.

Click here to learn more about the United Explorer Card from our
partner The Points Guy.


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Source: FS – All-Travel destinations-News
Gold Delta Amex vs. United Explorer Card: Which airline credit card is best for you?