Which Delta Amex Welcome Bonus Is Best?

In the interest of full disclosure, One Mile At A Time earns a referral bonus for anyone that’s approved through some of the below links. These are the best publicly available offers that we have found for each card. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Please check out my advertiser policy for further details about our partners, including American Express, Capital One, Chase, and Citi, and thanks for your support!

Update: These offers for the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express, the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express, the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express and the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express have expired. Learn more about the current offers here.

Through September 19, 2018, we’re seeing increased welcome bonuses on Delta’s four co-branded Gold & Platinum American Express cards.

These offers are compelling, and among the best we’ve ever seen. The great news is also that you’re eligible for each of the cards, so if you applied for the two Gold cards in the past, you could apply for the Platinum cards this time around, for example.

With four different bonuses, one question I’ve been asked is which card is best to apply for. Is there a major difference between the personal and business versions, and between the Gold and Platinum versions? Here are my thoughts on that:

There’s virtually no difference between the business and personal version

The personal and business version of the Gold card have the same welcome bonus and annual fee, and the personal and business version of the Platinum card have the same welcome bonus and annual fee:

Aside from your intended spend purposes (are you using the card for business or personal purposes?), the only other real difference in deciding between the personal and business version of a particular card is that applying for Amex business cards (whether credit or charge) doesn’t count towards Chase’s 5/24 limit, and is quite risk free.

Redeem your SkyMiles for travel in Xiamen Air’s 787 business class

Comparing the welcome bonus of the Gold & Platinum cards

Valuing welcome bonuses is somewhat subjective, so my valuation is based on the following:

  • I value Delta SkyMiles at 1.2 cents each
  • The tricky thing to value is the 10,000 MQMs that comes with the welcome bonus on the Platinum cards; this can be hugely valuable if you’re going for status, while it’s virtually worthless if you’re not going for status

With that in mind, let’s crunch some numbers.

The Gold Delta SkyMiles Personal Card & Gold Delta SkyMiles Business Card are each offering:

  • 60,000 SkyMiles upon completing minimum spend; I value those miles at ~$720
  • The cards have $95 annual fees, waived for the first year

That means I value the welcome bonus on either of these cards at ~$720.

Meanwhile the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Personal Card & Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business Card are each offering:

  • 70,000 SkyMiles upon completing minimum spend; I value those miles at ~$840
  • 10,000 Medallion Qualifying Miles upon completing minimum spend; the value of that really depends on the person
  • The cards have a $195 annual fee

I value the miles at $840, but then you have to subtract the $195 annual fee, which brings the value of the bonus down to $645. This doesn’t factor in the MQMs, which could be extremely valuable if going for status with Delta.

Status with Delta can help you score upgrades

Bottom line

The welcome bonuses on all four co-branded Delta Gold & Platinum cards are worth considering, and largely I’d decide which to apply for based on which card you haven’t had before. For someone who hasn’t had any of the cards, and is looking to pick up 1-2 of the cards, my general advice would be as follows:

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  1. I signed up prior to the increased bonuses (50k after 1k spend), what are the chances I can get matched to the higher offer for the Personal Gold Card? And what method do you suggest for inquiring, chat, call, secure message?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. The Points Guy just released the best/worst US airlines for 2018. Would love to hear your thoughts on the list and whether or not you agree.

  3. @Lucky:

    In several posts now, you mention that applying for the Amex business card will not affect 5/24 status or even personal credit history. Can you please elaborate on how that works? Does it mean that if you have a card with Amex already and you apply for a business product, they will not perform a hard inquiry?

    I am asking because I want to apply for one of the Delta cards and also take advantage of a targeted offer (Citi) I received before the end of March. I have too many inquires in the past six months from cards I added to portfolio, so the less inquires the better. Thanks in advance.

  4. when you try to book a dummy airplane ticket there’s an option for the gold credit card instead of $50 statement credit they will give you 50,000 points with $150 statement credit.

  5. At each anniversary, the Platinum cards offer a free companion ticket which more than offsets the $195 annual fee. I have from both cards.

  6. I have the Gold (baggage fees for a single trip offset the annual fee), while my mother has the Platinum. Beware, the fare buckets which you can use the companion pass for are limited. There have been many years she’s not used her companion pass. If you’re flexible with travel plans, it’s not too difficult to use. BUT Delta’s banking on you letting it expire, which many people do and continue to pay the annual fee each year.

  7. @ Jim… I agree. Looking at getting the Platinum personal and downgrading my Gold to a no fee AMEX. It’s hard to look past Delta living in the southeast. Have JetBlue card for direct flights to Boston and NY and will get Alaska card for flights out West with free companion ticket.

  8. @Jim and the companion fare for delta does not include Hawaii , I have a Alaska credit card solely for the companion ticket to HNL

  9. Just DO NOT sign up for these cards. SkyMiles is the worst frequent flyer program I have ever seen and finding international premium cabin saver space is about as likely as winning the lottery. JFK-LHR rarely goes for less than 280,000 Miles one way and there is no end in sight to the devaluations (despite delta revenue fares not going up SkyMiles tickets have been climbing in cost for several years). Sure, finding saver award availability on Xiamen or China Airlines can be a good value, but finding availability requires a lot of patience and flexibility (not to mention how difficult it is to get agents to price connecting flights on these airlines to other parts of Asia).

    Both Aadvantage and MileagePlus are significantly better.

  10. SZ – I so agree. I’m sitting on 140K Delta miles, and they’re just junk. They won’t get me anywhere I want to go – USA to JNB, business class: 80K United, 70K AA, 70K Alaska, 300+K Delta. Ditto with flying to Delhi. Plus, unless you love huge American brands for all your daily and travel needs, a lot of people don’t take AmEx. I just turned my second Delta card back to AmEx. I hope now they’ll quit bothering me with their worthless come-ons.

  11. 1) I got the gold earlier this year and recently got the Platinum. The Platinum seems to provide the best ongoing value for Delta fliers, provided you can spend at least $25,000 annually on the card (MQM bonus, 35,000 Skymiles, companion pass, etc)

    2) Ella – 140,000 Skymiles are worth at least $1,400 if you use them to buy tickets. I also see decent value to Europe, and domestic redemptions are also solid. Are the the most luxurious program? No, but it has value.

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