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American Express Delta SkyMiles Gold vs. American Express Gold Card

Both cards offer cardholders travel perks and rewards, but one has a huge advantage.

CNET'S PICK
Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card
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Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

7.25/10 CNET Rating CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards
Intro Offer
Earn 40,000 Miles Earn 40,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
Annual fee
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $150.
APR
20.99%-29.99% Variable
Rewards rate
1x - 2x Earn 2X Miles on Delta purchases, at U.S. Supermarkets and at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery in the U.S.; Earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases.
Fees
2x
Earn 2X Miles on Delta purchases, at U.S. Supermarkets and at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery in the U.S.
1x
Earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases.
Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more
Best for
Fees
Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more
American Express® Gold Card
Learn More

American Express® Gold Card

7.5/10 CNET Rating CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards
Intro Offer
60,000 Membership Rewards® Points Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
Annual fee
$250
APR
See Pay Over Time APR
Rewards rate
3x - 4x Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.; Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).; Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
Rewards
Rewards redemption
Travel benefits
Welcome offer
4x
Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4x
Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3x
Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more
Best for
Rewards
Rewards redemption
Travel benefits
Welcome offer
Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more

With the sheer number of travel credit cards on the market, it can be difficult to pick the one that’s right for you. The American Express® Gold Card** is a popular option for people who eat out or travel frequently, while the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card** is a less expensive and rewarding option for Delta flyers.

If you can afford the $250 annual fee (see rates and fees), the American Express Gold Card will be the better choice. It offers more perks for travelers and better rewards for people who love to eat out. It also doesn’t keep you locked into a single airline. The rewards earned by the Gold card can also be used for a variety of bounties.

In contrast, the Delta SkyMiles Gold is a midrange airline credit card. It’s less expensive compared to the Amex Gold, but it has limited use considering it’s designed only around Delta Airlines.

Comparing rewards

Winner: American Express Gold Card

When it comes to earning potential, the American Express Gold card has the Delta SkyMiles beat. It earns roughly double the rewards and covers a wider range of purchases. It earns: 

  • 4x points per dollar at restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
  • 4x points per dollar (on the first $25,000 spent per calendar year, then 1x) at U.S. supermarkets 
  • 3x points for flights booked directly with airlines or through amextravel.com
  • 1x for other purchases

Comparatively, the Delta SkyMiles Gold card earns:

  • 2x miles per dollar at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery in the U.S.
  • 2x miles at U.S. supermarkets
  • 2x miles for Delta purchases
  • 1x for other purchases

If you spend a lot eating out and on airfare, the Amex Gold will be the more lucrative choice. 

Rewards redemption

Winner: American Express Gold Card

The Amex Gold Card provides more flexibility in terms of the airlines you can fly with and how you can redeem your points. In addition to statement credits and travel bookings, Amex offers a wide selection of travel partners you can transfer your points to in order to fund your travels. Meanwhile, you can only redeem your miles earned with the Delta SkyMiles Gold for flights with Delta.

In terms of value, we found that Delta miles are typically worth about 1 to 1.2 cents, while Amex Membership Rewards® points are worth 1 cent so long as you redeem for airfare through American Express Travel. Other redemption options could yield a different per-point value. With those valuations in mind, that would mean the Delta card earns up to a 2.4% return while the Amex Gold card earns a return of up to 4% when redeeming for airfare.

Welcome offer

Winner: American Express Gold Card

You must keep the redemption rates in mind when comparing these welcome offers.

  • American Express Gold: Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first six months of Card Membership
  • Delta SkyMiles Gold: Earn 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months

With those point and mile values, the Delta SkyMiles offer equates to $400 to $480 in value (assuming a redemption rate of 1 to 1.2 cent per mile), while the American Express Gold card’s offer would equal $600 (at an assumed redemption rate of 1 cent per point).

However, were you to redeem rewards for anything but airfare, those estimations would change. Better to think of this as more of a general guideline of what the welcome offers could be worth, rather than as if they were set in stone.

Still, Delta SkyMiles Gold’s payout has a much lower spending requirement, making it easier for travelers to reach. But its payout is much smaller than what you’d get from the American Express Gold Card’s bonus.

Fees

Winner: Delta SkyMiles Gold

When it comes to annual fees, the Delta SkyMiles Gold is the winner as it has a lower fee than the Amex Gold card. The Delta card has an annual fee of $150 ($0 intro annual fee for the first year) while the Amex Gold costs $250 annually. Taken at face value that might seem enough reason to go with the Delta SkyMiles, but in exchange for its high annual fee the Amex Gold comes with a number of annual credits.

Both cards offer no foreign transaction fees, but both carry a standard late or returned payment fee and cash advance fee (Delta SkyMiles Gold see rates and fees; American Express Gold see rates and fees).

Travel benefits

Winner: American Express Gold Card

The Amex Gold offers more for your travel, which makes sense considering it has a much higher annual fee. Take a look at the additional card perks for the Amex Gold and the Delta SkyMiles Gold:

Both cards feature some strong perks, however, the Amex Gold Card has the upper hand considering there’s no spending requirement to qualify for its annual credits. That said, because of its higher annual fee, you’ll want to be sure that it matches your budget and that you spend enough on travel and dining to make it a lucrative choice.

Card perks

Amex Gold perksDelta SkyMiles Gold perks
Up to $120 dining statement credit each year ($10 each month) at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar, and select Shake Shack locations$200 Delta flight credit for spending $10,000 in purchases in a calendar year
Up to $120 Uber Cash each year (up to $10 each month) on rides and eats in the U.S.Up to $100 Delta Stays Credit each calendar year on eligible prepaid Delta Stays bookings on delta.com
The Hotel Collection ($100 experience credit each year when you stay at one of the hotels, minimum 2-night stay required. Experience credit varies by property).First checked bag free
Baggage insurance plan*20% back as a statement credit on eligible inflight Delta purchases
Car rental loss and damage insurance (secondary)*Baggage insurance plan*
Purchase protection*Car rental loss and damage insurance (secondary)*
Extended warranty*Purchase protection*
Extended warranty*
Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.
CNET’S PICK
Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card
Learn More

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

7.25/10 CNET Rating CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards
Intro Offer
Earn 40,000 Miles Earn 40,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
Annual fee
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $150.
APR
20.99%-29.99% Variable
Intro Purchase APR
N/A
Rewards rate
1x – 2x Earn 2X Miles on Delta purchases, at U.S. Supermarkets and at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery in the U.S.; Earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases.
American Express® Gold Card
Learn More

American Express® Gold Card

7.5/10 CNET Rating CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards
Intro Offer
60,000 Membership Rewards® Points Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
Annual fee
$250
APR
See Pay Over Time APR
Intro Purchase APR
N/A
Rewards rate
3x – 4x Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.; Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).; Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card
Learn More

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

8/10 CNET Rating CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards
Intro Offer
Earn 50,000 miles Earn 50,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
Annual fee
$350
APR
20.99%-29.99% Variable
Intro Purchase APR
N/A
Rewards rate
1x – 3x Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.; Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets.; Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.

**All information about the Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card, American Express Gold Card, and the Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card has been collected independently by CNET and has not been reviewed by the issuer.

The bottom line

If the Amex Gold Card fits into your budget, it’ll be the better card to choose. It offers roughly double the rewards of the Delta Gold card in certain rewards categories without the restriction of only having to fly with Delta. Its annual statement credits offer a slight reprieve from the $250 annual fee so long as you can utilize them each year.

 

However, if you don’t spend enough on travel or eating out each year to justify its high annual fee, consider another credit card. Take a look at our best credit cards with no annual fee to find the right one for you.

FAQs

A foreign transaction fee takes place when you make a purchase in another country that would typically require a currency other than US dollars. If the credit card has a foreign transaction fee, you’ll be charged a percentage for every transaction, usually 3%.

You can, but you’ll only earn 1x mile per dollar for the purchase, and you’ll miss out on any Delta-centric perks including a free checked bag and 20% back on eligible inflight purchases.

Amex Membership Rewards points are typically worth 1 cent so long as you use them for airfare through American Express Travel. Other redemption options will provide a different valuation. We found that Delta miles are typically worth 1 to 1.2 cents.

For rates and fees of the American Express Gold Card, click here.

For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card, click here.

*Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions, and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by Amex Assurance Company.

The editorial content on this page is based solely on objective, independent assessments by our writers and is not influenced by advertising or partnerships. It has not been provided or commissioned by any third party. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products or services offered by our partners.

Evan Zimmer has been writing about finance for years. After graduating with a journalism degree from SUNY Oswego, he wrote credit card content for Credit Card Insider (now Money Tips) before moving to ZDNET Finance to cover credit card, banking and blockchain news. He currently works with CNET Money to bring readers the most accurate and up-to-date financial information. Otherwise, you can find him reading, rock climbing, snowboarding and enjoying the outdoors.