Gold, Platinum, or Reserve: We break down which Delta AmEx credit card gets flyers the most value

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Delta Boeing 777 200LR in flight_0

  • From now until April 3, Delta’s three main credit cards
    are offering their highest-ever new-cardholder
    bonuses.
  • Even if you’ve had one of these cards before, you can
    still open a different card.
  • We break down the differences between the three cards
    — read on to see which is best for you.
  • You can also read our guide to the best
    credit cards of 2019
    overall.

One of the fastest ways to get a ton of frequent-flyer miles or
rewards points quickly is to
open a credit card and earn its new member bonus
. This is
arguably the best way to boost your stock of points and get you
closer to a big award trip.

There are two key things to keep in mind when opening a card for
the welcome bonus.

The first is whether an offer on a card is the highest you
expect to be able to earn.

The second is whether the card offers enough ongoing value for
it to be worth keeping after the first year.

For anyone who flies Delta Air Lines — even occasionally —
right now is an ideal time to open a new card because both of those
considerations are met.

Until April 3, Delta’s three main consumer credit cards
are offering their highest-ever publicly available welcome
offers.

Plus, the three cards each offer a ton of ongoing value, whether
you’re a casual flyer or a hard-core Delta loyalist.

Read on to learn more about the three cards, and see which one
is best for you.

Best for the casual Delta flyer:
The Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American
Express

Welcome offer: 60,000 Delta SkyMiles when you
spend $2,000 in the first three months. Plus, get a $50 statement
credit when you make any Delta purchase in the first three
months.

The
Gold Delta SkyMiles card
is the best of the three for the
casual Delta flyer, someone who finds themself on the airline a
couple of times a year, but doesn’t fly regularly enough to use the
heftier cards’ perks (more on that later).

One of the biggest perks: The card offers a
free first checked bag
for the cardholder and up to eight
people on the same reservation. Delta charges $30 each way for a
checked bag, so this can save up to $60 per person on a round-trip
itinerary.

Cardholders and travel companions also get Zone 1 priority
boarding. This means you can board the plane sooner, giving you
plenty of time to settle into your seat or find overhead space for
any carry-on
luggage
. Zone 1 is after most Delta elite frequent flyers and
extra-legroom passengers, but is usually within the first half of
passengers to board.

Other perks include discounted day passes to Delta Sky
Club airport lounges
— $29 per day pass — as well as a 20%
discount on in-flight purchases (in the form of a statement
credit), such as food or drinks, and no
foreign transaction fees
.

Like the other Delta cards, the
Gold SkyMiles card
earns 2x Delta SkyMiles on eligible Delta
purchases, and 1x mile on everything else.

The Gold
Delta card
 has an annual fee of $95, which is waived the first
year. This is a great value considering the perks, not to mention
the welcome bonus — 60,000 SkyMiles is more than enough for two
round-trip flights across the United States, and is just shy of
enough for a round-trip to Europe.
The card normally offers 30,000 SkyMiles
.

Best for more regular flyers: The
Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American
Express

Welcome offer: 75,000 Delta SkyMiles and 5,000
Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) when you spend $3,000 in the
first three months. Plus, get a $100 statement credit when you make
any Delta purchase in the first three months.

If you fly somewhat regularly, the
Platinum Delta SkyMiles card
is a better option, thanks to an
often-overlooked benefit that can completely cover the $195 annual
fee each year.

The
Platinum Delta card
has most of the same perks as the Gold
version, like priority boarding, free checked bags, 2x SkyMiles on
Delta purchases and discounted Sky Club access.

However, the Platinum
Delta
 comes with a huge perk — it’s so useful that I’m
planning on keeping my card indefinitely.

After your first year with the card, you’ll get an annual
domestic companion pass each year at your card-member anniversary.

A Delta companion pass
is essentially a buy-one-get-one-free
coupon. When you book an economy-class flight for yourself anywhere
within the continental US, you can get a second ticket for free,
other than minimal taxes and fees.

The companion pass completely blows away the annual fee for me,
which is $195 and isn’t waived the first year. My wife and I fly
domestically at least a few times a year, whether it’s to visit
family or friends, or to go on vacation. So I save my companion
pass until we’re taking a flight together that costs more than $195
each. You can read
more about the Delta companion pass benefit here
.

While you don’t get a companion pass the first year, the 75,000
SkyMiles from the welcome offer more than outweigh the annual fee
— that’s enough to fly from the US to just about anywhere in
Europe round-trip.

The MQMs in the welcome bonus can be a boost for anyone looking
to earn or keep Delta Medallion frequent-flyer status. Plus, each
year that you spend $25,000 or more on the card, you earn a bonus
10,000 SkyMiles, 10,000 MQMs, and have the Medallion Qualifying
Dollar (MQD) requirement for most elite status levels waived.

When you have Medallion status, you can enjoy things like free
upgrades to first class or extra-legroom seats whenever you fly,
subject to availability.

Best for Delta Medallion frequent flyers: The
Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express

Welcome offer: 75,000 Delta SkyMiles and 5,000
Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) when you spend $5,000 in the
first three months. 

The Delta
Reserve card
 has a higher, $450 annual fee, but it has a few
additional perks that can make it worthwhile for some frequent
flyers. 

Like the Platinum SkyMiles card, it offers a domestic companion
pass. However, that pass can be used for first-class tickets, not
just economy.

Additionally, the Delta
Reserve
 offers full access to Delta Sky Club airport lounges
whenever the cardholder is flying with Delta (the Gold and Platinum
SkyMiles cards offer discounts on single-access Sky Club
passes).

The
Reserve
has one other major perk, which can be crucial for
travelers who hold Delta Medallion elite status.

Delta Medallion members are eligible for complimentary,
space-available upgrades to first class and Delta One on flights
within the US and the region, including Mexico and Central America,
and extra-legroom seats on international flights.

Upgrades clear in hierarchical order based on a number of
factors, including each passenger’s Medallion status level, the
original fare class they booked, and a few other factors. The first
tiebreaker for people with the same Medallion level and fare class:
whether they hold the Delta Reserve card. Reserve cardholders will
be prioritized over those without it. If there’s only one seat left
and two members are still tied and both have the Reserve, it
continues down the list of tiebreakers.

For travelers who fly a lot and frequently find themselves one
or two upgrade-list spots away from getting that first-class seat,
holding the Reserve can be extremely valuable. 

$95 annual fee: Click
here to learn more about the Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from
American Express from Insider Picks’ partner: The Points Guy.

$195 annual fee: Click
here to learn more about the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card
from American Express from Insider Picks’ partner: The Points
Guy
$450 annual fee: Click
here to learn more about the Delta Reserve Credit Card from
American Express from Insider Picks’ partner: The Points Guy

SEE ALSO: An
often-overlooked hotel credit card with a 120,000-point sign-up
bonus can offer a ton of value, even for people who don’t travel a
lot


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Source: FS – All-Travel destinations-News
Gold, Platinum, or Reserve: We break down which Delta AmEx credit card gets flyers the most value