Delta Platinum Amex Card Review (2019)

Filed Under: American Express, Credit Card Reviews
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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

Card Eligibility

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.

You can read more about Amex’s general application restrictions here.

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.

Delta 737Save on checked bag fees with the Delta Platinum Amex

Priority Boarding

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

Amex Offers

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.

ShopRunner Membership

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.

However:

  • 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

If you’re considering the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Amex, it’s possible you may also be looking at the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card (review). So, which card makes the most sense?

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.

If you want to learn more about the Platinum Delta Amex Card or apply, follow this link.

Apply Now

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).

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Comments
  1. @Lucky, Thank you for the great write up this. Just one thing, not trying to argue..
    ..
    “As of now spending on this card can be worth it to get an MQD waiver. However, as of January 1, 2020, spending on this card will no longer count towards an MQD waiver.”

    Why even mentioning it if it is going away in two months?

  2. I’m trying to see if the 3X Hotels and 2x Restaurants will balance out the “disappearing” 10,000 bonus skymiles at $25,000 spent.
    ….
    Correct me if I;m wrong, currently, other then Direct Delta purchases, everything is 1 skymiles per $1 spent.
    Next year, Hotel is 3x and Restaurant is 2x per $1 spent.

    Today, if I spend $5,000 in hotel, $1000 in Restaurant, and $19,000 on something else in a Year to get to $25,000—> I get 5,000 Skymiles + 1,000 Skymiles + 19,000 Skymiles + 10,000 bonus Skymiles = 35,000 skymiles
    —————-
    Next year, if I spend $5,000 in hotel, $1000 in Restaurant, and $19,000 on something else in a Year to get to $25,000–> I get 15,000 Skymiles+2,000 Skymiles+19,000 Skymiles = 36,000 Skymiles
    —————-
    but I’m paying $55 more per year for card for 1,000 miles.
    Hmmmm I don’t know…

  3. Further analyzing this,
    Next year, if I spend $10,000 in hotel, $1000 in Restaurant, and $14,000 on something else in a Year to get to $25,000–> I get 30,000 Skymiles+2,000 Skymiles+14,000 Skymiles = 46,000 Skymiles

    So to really make this card work, while can’t get tickets directly from Delta (many of us are bound to corporate purchases that not Direct Delta purchases), the golden egg is in the Hotel spending.

  4. Ben, I need your help: I applied for the Delta AmEx Reserve card the day before the offer expired on 9/17/19. The offer from Delta’s website was 70k bonus miles after $3k spend in 3 months and 10k MQM’s. AmEx has now changed it to 75k bonus miles and 5k MQM’s and are claiming the offer I applied for never existed. Do you have any way of corroborating the offer for the Reserve AmEx? I have contacted Delta and they say their offers change all the time and have no way of proving “back offers”. This doesn’t seem right as someone should have a record of them. I have had AmEx do this before in changing another offer after I received a Bonvoy card so I no longer trust them but Delta should have a record of their website offers. Do you recall being aware of my offer that was on their website mid September?

  5. I have thought hard about the changes they made for this card in 2020, and I think we might have misunderstood what Amex (and Delta?) is trying to do.

    One of the bigger and negative change is the 10,000 redeemable miles at $25,000 spending mark. I personally think they are not removing this completely. I think they are moving this into a more “dynamic” model.

    See, right now, in both my Amex Gold and Amex Platinum cards (not Delta cards), there are Amex offers for 4,000 points for $8,000 spending (which makes it 1.5 points/$ effectively). Furthermore, there are multiple of “earn extra points/$ spends” on multiple categories. Delta Gold card this year has 4 skymiles/$ for insurance spends.

    So, here is my current theory: Amex and Delta would still do 10,000 miles for $25,000 spend, but they will do it as Amex Offer. And the number may be different. It may be 4,000 miles for $8,000 (just like Gold and Platinum right now). Or whatever. I think they are trying to go dynamic (hey, dynamism is Delta’s operation word, right?).

    In that case, I think the only real *real* devaluations are $29 -> $39 entrance fee and the $55 increase in annual fee (which magically matches Amex Gold; hmm; and Delta Reserve matches Amex Platinum exactly; more hmmm). Personally, I plan for this card sometime next Jan (after I get below 5/24 and do some Chase shuffling), and I don’t think the valuation of this card has changed that much.

  6. I was able to use my AmEx Gold to pay for the tickets I booked with the companion cert, earlier this week. Am I missing something?!

  7. Not sure I completely agree about SkyClubs being “among the best airline lounges in the US.” United and American, as terrible as they are operationally and with their in-flight product, seem to have Delta soundly beat when it comes to lounge quality.

  8. @Lucky, do you plan to use this card to secure Delta Diamond status with the MQMs? With DL potentially expanding in Miami and your recent post about airline status, curious what strategy you are taking for DL 2020 status.

  9. @Endre

    You sure do calculate a lot for someone who only pay and fly international First Class.

    I agree to your math but you did forget to factor in opportunity costs for not earning the x3 x5 on other cards.

    I see this (and other DL Amex) card as the only way to buy MQM and MQD waivers (and the signup bonus). You can build a better card portfolio and ignore all these cards if you don’t need to “buy” SkyMiles status. Buying up 250k for Diamond is their greatest scam ever. Imagine how far can 250k Skymiles get you, probably half way to Europe. Imagine how far 250k MR, UR, TYP can get you, sure beats having diamond any day. The 2 best perks of Diamond is harder to get anything out of it. GUC never confirms until at the gate, and lately doesn’t even have space. Domestic F upgrades are a joke. There are probably 30 Diamonds on every flight out of ATL and half the flight have some medallion status. Fewer upgrades = little Diamond benefit.

    Now SkyMiles is a good program and DL is a good airline (but miles are still useless), I just don’t think it is worth it buy Diamond status with the card, maybe Platinum if you are close to qualification.

  10. Thank you for the news. I also received an offer email, and I was wondering if I am eligible for this signing bonus offer as I used to have this card a while back and canceled it about three years ago. Any ideas?

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