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Blue Delta SkyMiles vs. Gold Delta SkyMiles: Which Offers More Miles?

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Delta and American Express recently updated their co-branded credit cards with new benefits and welcome offers. Both the Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card and Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card were impacted, and remain great credit cards for consumers who fly on the airline. Deciding which card is best for you boils down to several factors, including annual fees and benefits.

The Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card is the only $0 annual fee card that earns Delta miles with every purchase. However, the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card has more benefits, such as priority boarding and free checked luggage.

Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card vs. Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

Here’s how the two cards stack up:

vs. Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card
Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card
Welcome offer Earn 10,000 bonus miles after you spend $500 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. 70,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
Rewards Earn 2X Miles per dollar spent on Delta purchases and at restaurants, now worldwide. Earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Earn 2X Miles on Delta purchases, at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
Free checked luggage No First checked bag free
Priority boarding No Priority boarding for Main Cabin 1
Foreign transaction fee None None
Annual fee $0 $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99.
Rates & Fees To see rates & fees for the Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card please click here. To see rates and fees for the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card please click here.

Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card pros and cons

Pros

$0 annual fee. Even if you don’t fly Delta regularly, there is an upside to holding a card that earns miles with no costs to justify.

Solid benefits. Receive a 20% statement credit when using the card for in-flight purchases of food, beverages and audio headsets. The Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card also comes with purchase protection, extended warranty and exclusive access to ticket presales and cardmember-only events, including Broadway shows, concert tours and family and sporting events.

Foreign transaction fees. In terms of foreign transaction fees, there are None. Before the update of the card in January 2020, there was a foreign transaction fee of 2.7%.

Cons

No airline benefits. Unlike other Delta-branded cards, the Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card doesn’t offer you a free checked bag, nor does it come with priority boarding. You can’t buy a discounted Delta Sky Club® day pass with this card and it doesn’t help you earn Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQMs) that go toward elite status.

Meager travel benefits. The card only comes with secondary rental car insurance and access to the Global Assist Hotline.

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card pros and cons

Pros

Free checked bag and priority boarding. These are two great benefits for frequent Delta flyers. When you provide your Delta SkyMiles® number during booking, the free checked bag benefit applies to you and up to nine people traveling with you on the same reservation. If you were traveling with three other people each checking one bag, you would save $240 in one round trip, or $30 for each person, one way.

With priority boarding, you and your party of up to nine on the same reservation can board with Main Cabin 1 priority boarding after Medallion elite and Delta Comfort+® flyers, but before everyone else in the main cabin and basic economy.

Pay with cash and miles. You can use the Pay with Miles feature on both Delta cards, which allows you to use a mix of cash and miles to pay for airfare. For example: if your flight costs $250, you could apply 20,000 Delta SkyMiles to pay $200 of the airfare and pay the remaining $50 in cash.

$100 Delta flight credit. If you plan on using your Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card heavily, you can earn a $100 Delta flight credit after spending $10,000 on your card in a calendar year.

$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99. This is a great way to give the card a try for the first year without any hard cost.

Cons

No help with elite status. This is the only Delta consumer credit card with an annual fee that doesn’t help you earn toward elite status. The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card ($550 annual fee) offers bonus award miles and MQMs — based on distance flown and your fare class — for meeting spending goals. If you fly enough to earn Medallion elite status and want the boost toward status with spending, the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card may not offer the best overall value.

No companion certificate. The Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card is also the only one in the Delta card family that doesn’t offer a companion certificate while charging an annual fee of $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99. The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, on the other hand, offers a domestic first class, Delta Comfort+ or Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate every year. If you take a flight on Delta at least once a year with someone else, the companion certificate can offer great value.

Is there another no-annual-fee alternative for earning Delta SkyMiles?

If you don’t fly Delta regularly, a co-branded Delta card may not be the best fit for you. You may want to consider a no-annual-fee card where the rewards you earn can be turned into miles.

For example, The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express allows you to earn Membership Rewards that can be transferred to the Delta SkyMiles program.

The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express offers 2x points at U.S. supermarkets, on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1x), and 1x points on other purchases Plus, you can also earn a 20% Membership Rewards bonus after using the card a minimum of 20 times a month. This card comes with $0 annual fee.

Should you get a co-branded airline credit card?

Co-branded airline credit cards are a great option for some travelers, but not all. If you enjoy flying one airline primarily because of your location or preference, it can make sense to have a credit card co-branded with a particular airline for benefits such as free checked bags.

For example, it can make sense for consumers based in Atlanta or Salt Lake City to have a Delta credit card because the majority of flights going out of those airports are Delta. However, if you live in Los Angeles or New York City — you can fly nearly any airline. But what if you want the flexibility to use miles for free flights on various airlines?

In that case, it can be more fruitful to have a travel rewards credit card like The Platinum Card® from American Express or Chase Sapphire Reserve®. With these cards, you will earn American Express Membership Rewards or Chase Ultimate Rewards® respectively. These rewards can be transferred to a long list of frequent flyer programs. This allows for more flexibility in case you prefer to fly different airlines. However, know that The Platinum Card® from American Express has an annual fee of $550 and the Chase Sapphire Reserve® has a $550 annual fee.

Which card is right for you?

On the surface, it would seem that the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card is the better offer because of the larger welcome offer. However, it all depends on how often you travel and your travel needs.

The Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card with its $0 annual fee has its own charm, but it doesn’t have any real tangible flight benefits other than the 20% back on in-flight purchases.

The Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card comes with a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99. However, this can easily be made back in checked bag fees saved, the Delta flight credit and the broader earning categories when you spend on the card.

If you fly more than three times per year on Delta with checked bags and spend consistently using credit cards, the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card will most likely be the best choice. If less than that, the Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card may be the better option.

The information related to The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express has been independently collected by LendingTree and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication. Terms apply to American Express credit card offers. See americanexpress.com for more information.