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Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card: Great Rewards for Frequent Flyers

This airline credit card is only worthwhile for those who fly at least several times per year on Delta.

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
Apply Now with American Express
CNET’S PICK
Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card
Apply Now

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
See Rates & Fees Terms apply
Apply Now
On American Express’s secure website
Intro Offer
Earn 90,000 miles Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months.
Annual fee
$350
APR
20.99%-29.99% Variable
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.
Rewards Rate
3x
Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
2x
Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery in the U.S. and at U.S. supermarkets.
1x
Earn 1X Miles 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

The Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card stands out not only among the family of co-branded Delta and American Express cards, but among all airline cards. Its rewards program captures more categories with higher rewards rates than its competitors.

The question with this card is whether you fly frequently enough -- specifically on Delta -- to make the $350 annual fee (see rates and fees) worth it. If you only fly a handful of times a year or like to switch up airlines, you may be better off with one of this card’s less expensive younger siblings, the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card or Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card.

There are other perks that make the cost worthwhile, including a welcome offer and a handful of perks meant to improve your travel experiences. This card also offers ways to earn rewards toward Delta Medallion Status, which can earn you additional travel upgrades in addition to the regular rewards program and benefits. 

Below, we explore the offer in-depth and compare it with those from similar airline and more general travel credit cards if you don’t want to be limited to Delta or want a lower annual fee.

Rewards and welcome offer

The way you earn rewards with the Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card is more similar to a general travel credit card than an airline-specific card. You’ll earn a 1x mile flat rate and 3x miles on Delta flights, but you can also round out your travel rewards by earning 3x miles on hotels (if you book with the hotels directly), and 2x miles on dining at restaurants and groceries at U.S. supermarkets. This is a great system if you’re looking to apply all of your rewards toward future Delta flights.

For the welcome offer, you’ll earn 90,000 bonus miles after spending $4,000 in purchases in the first six months -- a decent welcome bonus among airline cards with annual fees. 

Read more: The Platinum Card® from American Express Review

Perks during your travels

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.

Other perks you can receive when using this card for Delta or partner flights include:

  • Your first checked bag is free. This offer applies for up to nine total people booked on your reservation. A free first checked bag is a common offer among similar cards, but this one extends the offer to more guests than most.
  • Annual companion fare. You’ll receive a Main Cabin Domestic, Caribbean or Central American round-trip companion certificate every year after card renewal. You may have to pay up to $80 for roundtrip domestic flights and up to $250 for roundtrip international flights in taxes and fees, and baggage charges and other restrictions may apply. Some version of this benefit is common among airline cards. 
  • American Express will credit you for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry. You can get a $100 statement credit for Global Entry (which includes TSA PreCheck) every four years or $85 for TSA PreCheck every 4.5 years. These programs can help you move faster through security and customs lines at select airports. This is a common perk among higher-end travel credit cards but rare across airline credit cards.
  • A 20% savings on in-flight purchases. This is a pretty standard perk across airline cards. The savings apply to in-flight food and alcoholic beverage purchases, as well as audio sets and prepurchased meals. The savings comes in the form of a statement credit after you pay the full price up front.

In addition, the Delta SkyMiles Platinum Card from American Express offers extensive travel insurance coverage* competitive with the best airline or travel credit cards. It covers nearly all the bases: a baggage insurance plan*, car rental loss and damage insurance* and trip delay insurance*. Your flights and car rentals must be paid for with your card for these policies to apply.

Earning Delta Medallion Status

Some airline credit cards participate in additional loyalty programs that can earn you extra perks. With your Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express card, you can earn Medallion Qualification Dollars, or MQDs, that help you earn Delta Medallion Status. There are four Delta Medallion Status tiers: Silver, Gold, Platinum and Diamond. 

With each tier, you earn increasing benefits, and higher tiers earn you more rewards miles on your Delta SkyMiles account. You can also build up your account to earn perks like complimentary upgrade status, waived baggage fees, bonus miles, Sky Club membership, gift cards and more.

You’ll reach different status levels by earning various combinations of the below:

  • Earn $1 MQD for each $20 of purchases made on your Platinum card in a calendar year and get a boost toward achieving elevated Medallion Status for next Medallion Year.
  • Receive $2,500 Medallion Qualification Dollars each Medallion Qualification Year and get closer to Status with MQD Headstart.
  • Earn $1 MQD per $1 spent on the ticket price for a flight operated by Delta or by one of its partners or per $1 spent on a Delta Vacation experience.

Remember to always input your Delta SkyMiles frequent flyer number when booking your Delta flights with the Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card so that your earnings can be credited to your account.

Other cards to consider

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

If you like Delta airlines but don’t fly enough to justify the annual fee of the Platinum version, the Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card offers similarly well-rounded rewards categories for an airline card, though the spread and multipliers are more limited. You earn 2x miles at restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and Delta purchases, and 1x miles on all other eligible purchases. The annual fee is $0 introductory for the first year, then $150 thereafter (see rates and fees). The perks are more limited, but there are some staples like free first checked bags, 20% back on eligible in-flight purchases, car rental loss and damage insurance*, and priority boarding. You can’t earn rewards toward Medallion Status with this card.

See our full review of the Delta SkyMiles Gold card for more information.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is one of our favorite travel credit cards. It is more flexible than airline-specific credit cards, since it lets you earn and redeem rewards for travel on various airlines. You’ll earn 5x points on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards, Chase’s travel portal. While this may seem a little limiting, you can book various airlines with no blackout dates. Alternatively, you can earn 2x points on all other travel purchases booked outside of Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3x points on dining, online grocery purchases (excluding at Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs), and select streaming services, plus 1x points on all other purchases. Points are worth $0.0125 each when redeemed for travel through Chase, which is a pretty good redemption rate.

Check out more details about the welcome bonus and travel perks in our full review of the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

How Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card compares to other cards

CNET’S PICK
Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card
Apply Now

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
See Rates & Fees Terms apply
Intro Offer
Earn 90,000 miles Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months.
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.
Apply Now
On American Express’s secure website
Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card
Apply Now

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
See Rates & Fees Terms apply
Intro Offer
Earn 70,000 Miles Earn 70,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months.
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 restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery in the U.S. and at U.S. supermarkets.; Earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases.
Apply Now
On American Express’s secure website
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Learn More

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

9/10 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 bonus points Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
Annual fee
$95
APR
21.49% – 28.49% Variable
Intro Purchase APR
N/A
Rewards rate
1x – 5x 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.; 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries.; 2x on all other travel purchases.; 1x on all other purchases.

FAQs

Airline credit cards reward users with points or miles from an airline’s frequent flyer program, which can be redeemed for flights with that airline. Sometimes you can transfer those points to one of the airline’s travel partners, though this option varies from airline to airline.

Airline credit cards operate like loyalty programs in that you stay in a closed-loop rewards system. You earn rewards when you purchase flights on the airline, and you can use those points for future bookings. Some airline credit cards also reward cardholders for making purchases at restaurants, grocery stores or other categories, but given the average reward rate of airline credit cards for those categories, we generally advise paying for those purchases with a cash-back credit card or general travel rewards credit card.

Some common benefits of an airline credit card include:

  • Waived checked baggage fees
  • Priority boarding
  • Lounge access (during some, not all, itineraries)
  • Accelerated airline status qualification
  • Complimentary or reduced companion fares
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credits
  • Generous sign-on bonuses

While airline credit cards offer rewards in the form of an airline’s miles or points, many general travel rewards credit cards have their own systems, like American Express’ Membership Rewards points or Chase’s Ultimate Rewards points. General travel credit card points can be used to redeem travel (with any available airline) through the card issuer’s travel portal, or for a potentially higher value, transferred to an airline partner. You also earn extra points on any travel purchase, regardless of the airline.

Though they may charge higher annual fees, the general travel rewards credit cards tend to offer superior return rates and, since they cover a much greater range of purchases, they are often the better option. Even the best airline credit card is typically less flexible than general travel cards. Given their relative inflexibility, airline credit cards are best for travelers who want to take advantage of airline-specific perks. If you often spend on upgraded boardings or checked bags and you always fly with the same airline, these cards can save you money.

If you’re not loyal to one airline, rarely check bags and don’t care about your frequent flyer status, a general travel credit card is a better choice.

Our approach

We review the cards that are in the highest demand and offer the best benefits. We scour the fine print so there aren’t any surprises when you open an account. We find the key factors that make a card stand out and compare them with other top cards. That way, readers can opt for a different card with similar features if our pick isn’t right for them. Our reviews are regularly checked and updated to incorporate new recommendations, as well as to reflect changes in offers and the market.

*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.

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

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

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.

Jaclyn is a CNET Money editor who relishes the sweet spot between numbers and words. With responsibility for overseeing CNET's credit card coverage, she writes and edits news, reviews and advice. She has experience covering business, personal finance and economics, and previously managed contracts and investments as a real estate agent. Her tech interests include Tesla, SpaceX, The Boring Company and Neuralink.