Delta SkyMiles Credit Card Comparison: Fast Track to Award Flights & Elite Status

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Climb Higher with Delta SkyMiles Credit Cards

I recently wrote a blog post about the American Express Platinum Card, Best Rewards Card for VIP Swag At The Airport, being my personal favorite card for elite flyer style perks because it does not restrict me to any single miles program.

This is because, as many of you faithful Travel Abstract readers already know, I prefer to take the “loyalty” out of customer loyalty programs by optimizing programs based on my travel style and not the other way around.

So pinning myself down to any particular airline is just not gonna happen.

Plus the fact I am based out of NYC, where most major airlines have a hub airport, also helps.

But if you are a die hard flyer of only one airline than you would want to stick with the airline credit cards of that specific airline so you can get the biggest improvement in your travel lifestyle.  The Delta SkyMiles is a good example of this value proposition because they have three different versions of their card to specifically target leisure, business or luxury travelers based on the signup bonus offers and card benefits.

Delta SkyMiles Credit Card Comparison

One such example of this is with the Delta airline credit cards offered by American Express.

If you have to have elite status but don’t fly enough to earn it there are not too many options open for you to become an elite and this where the Delta AMEX cards come into the equation.

American Express offers three different credit cards for flyers who just want to earn free flights and those who are looking for a boost to earning elite status with Delta.

The key is to find the card that maximizes your habits and fulfills your needs the best:

Features Gold Delta Delta Platinum AMEX Delta Reserve Card
Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card Reserve Delta SkyMiles Credit Card
Signup Bonus 30,000 Skymiles 30,000 Skymiles + 5,000 MQM 10,000 MQM
Annual Spending Bonus 0 20,000 MQM & 20,000 SkyMiles 30,000 SkyMiles & 30,000 MQM
Annual Spend $0 $50,000 $60,000
First Checked Bag Free Yes Yes Yes
SkyClub Lounge Access No No Yes
24/7 Concierge No No Yes
Priority Boarding Zone 2 Zone 2 No
Delta Purchases Miles Rate 2 SkyMiles per $1 2 SkyMiles per $1 2 SkyMiles per $1
Default Purchase Miles Rate 1 SkyMiles per $1 1 SkyMiles per $1 1 SkyMiles per $1
Annual Fee $0 first year then $95 $150 $450

*The MQMs are not redeemable and only count towards Medallion status.

Ready, Set, Spend!

I would not recommend applying for the Platinum or Reserve Delta SkyMiles credit cards unless you are a big spender and know you can meet the annual spend requirements for all the MQM.

For those of you thinking of applying today, be forwarned, according to the T&C’s:

The close of the calendar year is December 31, without regard to the time of the year that the account is opened.

You would have just under 4 months to fulfill the Delta Platinum $50,000 or Delta Reserve’s $60,000 in annual spend for the bonus MQM.

That is not a strategy that I would ever employ. Pass!

Big Spender track to Platinum

Seeing as how Cardmembers can apply for and receive the signup bonus rewards from all of the cards but are only eligible to receive one annual Eligible Spending bonus for each type.

A big spender could theoretically get both the Delta Platinum and Reserve cards for all 65,000 MQM and you would only be 10,000 MQM away from Platinum status.

Another way it could be a huge benefit is if you are a current Platinum Medallion elite, sitting at 85,000 MQM mark, the extra 65,000 MQM would get you Diamond Medallion status.

Delta Reserve Card vs Delta Platinum Card

The Delta Platinum and Reserve Delta airline credit cards allow all Eligible Spending by the Additional Cardmember(s) will count towards the Basic Cardmember’s spend level to reach the Miles Boost threshold.

Where the Reserve Delta card gets interesting is that the MQMs can be kept by the Basic Cardmember or gifted to someone else.

If you are feeling particularly generous you can help out a family member or significant other reach Medallion status on your MQM donation.

But make sure that they are not an Additional Cardmember(s) because they are not eligible to receive miles through Miles Boost.

However all Eligible Spending by the Additional Cardmember(s) will count towards the Basic Cardmember’s spend level to reach the Miles Boost threshold.

If you are recruiting the entire family to reach the annual spend bonus those MQM’s will most likely be staying in your SkyMiles account.

You Get What You Pay For

For somebody who does not expect to even reach bottom level silver elite status, you need 25,000 MQM, with Delta than you would want to stick with the Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card.

It is hard to beat the Gold Delta Amex with its 30,000 SkyMiles after $500 spend and waived annual fee for just the regular leisure Delta flyer.

But if your sole purpose is to bump up your Delta elite status for the ongoing perks than the other Platinum and Reserve cards are the only contenders for you.

If you can comfortably meet the required annual spend on the Delta Platinum and are within 25,000 MQM of your desired elite status, pull the trigger.

However, if you need 40,000 MQM to reach your next elite tiercard you should, and can meet the cards annual spend requirement, the Delta Reserve AMEX is your only option.

The MQM bonuses of the Delta Platinum Card and Delta Reserve Card do act as a sort of perpetual bonus.

Almost like an anniversary bonus for each year you have the card but only if you meet the annual spend requirments.

It is nice to have the ability to earn the MQM each year and upgrade your elite status.

You can find applications for all three of the Delta AMEX cards by clicking on “APPLY NOW” below:


Photo by: A330

written by

Head of Travel Swagger Squad at The Travel Abstract Headquarters

5 Responses to "Delta SkyMiles Credit Card Comparison: Fast Track to Award Flights & Elite Status"

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    [...] than not those perks are derived from frequent flyer miles or special airline credit cards like the Delta SkyMiles credit card. They are not perfect but you can use them to save $1,000s on travel every year. So next time you [...]

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    [...] it is next to improbable that you will earn enough miles for your next trip. When finding the right travel rewards card you should research which airline will fly you to your destination, consider how many miles the [...]

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    [...] you weren’t able to get in on the targeted offer the regular American Express Delta Card offer for 30,000 SkyMiles is still a good [...]


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