Delta and Amex have a close relationship that’s worth billions of dollars per year to Delta, and as part of that they issue seven co-branded Delta Amex cards.
There’s a lot to know about these cards — some of the cards currently have increased welcome bonuses, and we’re also seeing big changes to these cards in 2020 — so I wanted to go through these cards one-by-one with detailed reviews.
Delta Platinum American Express Card
In this post I wanted to take a look at the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card. This is one of Amex’s premium co-branded Delta credit cards that offers lots of perks for the frequent Delta flyer.
The Delta Platinum Amex is undergoing some major changes as of January 2020. Below I’ll look at the current benefits, as well as the aspects of the benefits that are changing.
Welcome Bonus: 75K Miles + 5K MQMs + $100 Statement Credit
Through October 30, 2019, the Platinum Delta SkyMiles card is offering an increased welcome bonus:
- Earn 75,000 bonus SkyMiles after spending $3,000 within the first three months
- Earn 5,000 bonus Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQMs) after spending $3,000 within the first three months
- Earn a $100 statement credit after making a Delta purchase with your card in the first three months
As mentioned above, this bonus is only available for a few weeks, and this is also significantly better than the usual offering.
Redeem your SkyMiles for Vietnam Airlines business class
How The $100 Delta Statement Credit Works
How do you trigger the $100 statement credit? Here’s what you need to know:
- Any purchase made directly through Delta will trigger the statement credit; you don’t actually have to spend $100, but rather a $1 purchase would do the trick (if you were able to find something that cheap)
- The credit will be issued within 8-12 weeks of the eligible purchase, though in practice it typically posts much faster than that
- You can only earn that statement credit once
- It doesn’t matter who you’re making a purchase for, as long as it’s billed to your Delta credit card (so you could pay award ticket taxes for someone else’s ticket, for example)
Here are some practical ways you could use the credit:
- You can pay the taxes on an award ticket, as that starts at just $5.60
- You can pay a checked bag fee or upgrade your seat
- You can pay to boost your mileage earning on a trip
- You can purchase a drink or snack onboard your next Delta flight
- You can purchase a Delta SkyClub membership or day pass
- If you have SkyClub access, you can buy a premium drink in the SkyClub
The welcome bonus on the card is “once in a lifetime,” so it’s not available to you if you currently have the card, or if you’ve had the card in the past. However, note that you can get each “flavor” of the Delta Amex card, so you are eligible for this card if you’ve had the Gold or Reserve, or if you’ve had any of the business versions of the card.
Delta Platinum Amex Annual Fee
The Platinum Delta Amex has a $195 Annual Fee ($250 if application is received on or after 1/30/2020) (Rates & Fees).
So as you can see the annual fee is going up next year, which is all the more reason to apply now.
You can add additional users to the card at no extra cost.
Earning Miles With Delta Platinum Amex Card
As it stands, the Delta Platinum Amex Card offers:
- 2x SkyMiles for purchases directly with Delta
- 1x SkyMiles on all other purchases
The earnings rates on the card is improving, because as of January 30, 2020, the card will offer:
- 3x SkyMiles for purchases directly with Delta
- 3x SkyMiles for purchases made directly with hotels
- 2x SkyMiles at restaurants
- 2x SkyMiles at U.S. supermarkets
Starting next year you’ll earn bonus miles for dining and hotel purchases
These improved bonus categories are good news, though this still isn’t a very compelling card in terms of the return that it offers on spending comparing to some of the other options out there.
No Foreign Transaction Fees
If you are going to put spending on the Delta Platinum Amex, the good news is that there are no foreign transaction fees, so you can use the card abroad without potentially paying fees those high fees.
Platinum Delta Amex Card Perks & Benefits
The Platinum Delta Credit Card has an exceptional welcome bonus, though this isn’t a card I would be using for everyday spending (assuming you’re not going for Delta status), as there are better cards out there.
The real reason you’ll want to keep this card long-term is because of the perks and benefits that it offers, which for many people will more than offset the annual fee.
First I’ll take a look at the current perks, and then I’ll highlight some of the things changing as of 2020.
Annual Companion Certificate
Every year upon renewal of your card you can receive a domestic economy roundtrip companion certificate. You just have to pay the government-imposed taxes and fees for the companion. This is a great deal that can be worth significantly more than the annual fee in and of itself.
If redeeming the certificate there are some things to be aware of:
- It’s valid for roundtrip travel within the 48 contiguous United States
- Residents of Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico, or the USVI with SkyMiles accounts registered in those regions can use the certificate for travel from their home territory to the 48 contiguous United States
- You have to pay the government taxes for the second traveler on the reservation
- Companion certificates are only valid for travel in the L, U, T, X, and V fare classes
- You can’t combine a companion certificate with eCoupons
- Travel has to be completed by the expiration date of the certificate
- You have to pay for the ticket using a Delta Amex card
- In the event you need to change your ticket, you’ll pay a $200 per person change fee
Earn Medallion Qualifying Miles
Delta is one of the airlines that makes it easiest to earn status through credit card spending. With the Delta Amex Platinum Card you can be well on your way towards status with qualifying spending:
- Earn 10,000 MQMs and 10,000 bonus redeemable miles after spending $25,000 or more in eligible purchases in a calendar year
- Earn an additional 10,000 MQMs and 10,000 bonus redeemable miles after spending an additional $25,000 in eligible purchases in a calendar year
Note that as of January 30, 2020, you’ll only earn the MQMs for spending, and you’ll no longer earn the bonus redeemable miles.
First Checked Bag Free
Just for having the Platinum Delta Card you get a first checked bag free, which would otherwise cost $30 one-way per person:
- This benefit is limited to the primary cardmember and anyone traveling on the same reservation with them (up to nine people)
- You don’t have to pay for your flight with your Delta Amex, though you do need to have your SkyMiles number in the reservation
This is a great value, given that you’ll usually pay $60 per person roundtrip for a checked bag. So if you’re traveling with someone then you’re looking at $120 roundtrip in fees.
Save on checked bag fees with the Delta Platinum Amex
Just for having the card you receive Main Cabin 1 priority boarding. This helps maximize your odds of finding space for your carry-on and getting to your seat sooner. Just make sure the primary cardmember’s SkyMiles number is linked to the reservation.
20% Delta Inflight Savings
If you have the Platinum Delta Amex then you can save 20% in the form of a statement credit for eligible pre-purchased meals, and in-flight purchases of food, alcoholic beverages, and audio headsets, on Delta flights. Allow 8-12 weeks for the statement credit to post.
Save on inflight purchases with the card
Discounted SkyClub Access
Delta SkyClubs are among the best airline lounges in the US. If you have the Platinum Delta Amex then you can buy SkyClub access for $29 per person per visit. With a long layover that could represent a good value.
Note that as of January 30, 2020, the cost per visit per person will be increased to $39, which isn’t as much of a bargain.
The SkyClub Seattle is one of my favorite US airline lounges
Delta Medallion Qualifying Dollar (MQD) Waiver
In order to earn status with Delta you need to earn a certain number of elite miles (MQMs) or elite segments (MQSs), and you also need to earn a certain number of elite qualifying dollars (MQDs).
With the Delta Platinum American Express you can receive a waiver of the MQD requirement for qualifying spending:
- Spend $25,000 on the card within the qualification year to get an MQD waiver for Silver, Gold, or Platinum status
- Spend $250,000 on the card within the qualification year to get an MQD waiver for Diamond status
Spending on this card can help you earn status
Pay With Miles
Delta has a Pay With Miles feature, where if you have a Delta co-branded credit card you can redeem miles for one cent each towards a Delta flight purchase (in increments of 5,000 miles/$50). That’s not the best deal in the world, though this is a feature that’s exclusively available to those with an eligible card.
Some people find this to be useful since they can redeem their miles towards flights, and then they still earn elite miles for taking those flights.
For example, the welcome bonus on this card includes 75,000 SkyMiles, so those can potentially be redeemed for $750 towards travel on Delta.
Pay With Points is a feature that many SkyMiles members value
One of the great features of Amex cards is access to Amex Offers, which offers savings or bonus points on purchases with all kinds of retailers. There’s huge value to be had in getting as many Amex cards as possible, so that you can get these offers on multiple cards.
Amex Offers could save you hundreds of dollars per year. You can access these offers by logging into your account and scrolling down to the bottom of your account summary page.
For having the Delta Platinum Amex you get a ShopRunner membership, which gets you free two day shipping on eligible items at a network of 100+ online stores. You just have to enroll in your complimentary membership and can then start taking advantage of it.
Coming In 2020: TSA Pre-Check Or Global Entry Credit
While this isn’t yet a feature, starting in 2020 the card will offer a Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check credit once every four years. This can save you big time both at security and immigration, and is something I highly recommend signing up for if eligible.
Coming In 2020: Trip Delay Coverage
As of January 1, 2020, American Express is adding travel coverage to many of their premium credit cards, including the Delta Platinum Card. Amex will offer reimbursement for trip delays, as follows:
- Valid for roundtrip tickets paid for entirely with your card (this would include paying taxes on an award ticket with your card)
- This will apply if you’re delayed by at least 12 hours, in which case you can be reimbursed up to $500 per trip for necessary expenses, like hotels, meals, and other essentials
2020 Delta Platinum American Express Changes
Significant changes are being made to the Delta American Express cards. I hit on most of them above, though just to recap them, here’s what’s changing for the Platinum Delta Credit Card as of 2020.
The positive changes to the Platinum Card include:
- The card will earn 3x SkyMiles on Delta purchases and hotels (currently the card offers 2x miles on Delta and 1x miles on hotels), and 2x miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets (currently it offers 1x miles in those categories)
- The card will offer a TSA Pre-Check credit once every four years
The negative changes to the Platinum Card include:
- The card will continue to offer 10,000 bonus MQMs when you spend $25,000 and an additional 10,000 bonus MQMs when you spend $50,000 (as it does now), but it will no longer offer 10,000 bonus redeemable miles at each of these thresholds
- The cost for discounted Delta SkyClub access will be increased from $29 to $39 per person per visit
- As of January 30, 2020, the card’s annual fee will be increased to $250 from $195
Is The Delta Platinum Amex Worth It?
The Platinum Delta Credit Card isn’t necessarily the best card for the casual Delta flyer, and it’s also not a card I’d recommend putting much spending on, unless you value the MQMs that you can earn through spending, or unless you want to spend money on the card to get an MQD waiver.
- This card has an excellent welcome bonus that includes bonus SkyMiles, bonus Medallion Qualifying Miles, and a statement credit for making a Delta purchase
- This card has really strong perks, ranging from a companion certificate to a first checked bag free to priority boarding to savings on flight purchases, and more
Bigger picture, is the card worth it, though? There are a couple more things to consider.
Quick Comparison: Platinum Delta Amex Vs. Gold Delta Amex
The way I generally view it, the Gold Card is a good option for the occasional Delta flyer looking for basic perks, while the Platinum Card is a better option for the most frequent Delta flyer.
Here are some of the main differences of the Gold in comparison to the Platinum:
- The Gold Card has a welcome bonus of 60,000 bonus SkyMiles plus a $50 statement credit after making a Delta purchase, so it’s not quite as good
- The Gold Card only has a $95 annual fee (Rates & Fees), and with the current offer it’s waived for the first 12 months
- The Gold Card offers most of the basic perks that the occasional Delta flyer may appreciate, like a first checked bag free, 20% savings on inflight purchases, and more
- The Gold Card doesn’t offer the chance to earn MQMs, and as of 2020 won’t offer an MQD waiver
Earn Amex Membership Rewards Points
If you are looking to earn Delta SkyMiles through credit card spending then consider using a card earning Amex Membership Rewards points. That’s because these points can be transferred to Delta SkyMiles at a 1:1 ratio, and you can in many cases earn points at a much faster rate.
Platinum Delta Amex Card Summary
At the moment the Platinum Delta Credit Card has an exceptional welcome bonus that includes redeemable miles, elite miles, and a statement credit. At a minimum you can redeem 75,000 SkyMiles for $750 worth of travel on Delta, and that doesn’t include the statement credit or elite miles.
On top of that, this is a solid card in terms of the perks for those who fly Delta moderately or frequently.
For many, the annual companion certificate will more than justify the annual fee in and of itself, without even accounting for all of the other perks.
Some will also find it worth spending money on the card, either to get an MQD waiver, or to earn MQMs for spending.
The following links will direct you to the rates and fees for mentioned American Express Cards. These include: Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express (Rates & Fees), and Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express (Rates & Fees).