- Bonus Miles: Earn 30,000 bonus miles toward Award Travel after you spend $500 on the Card within the first three months of Cardmembership.
- Earn As You Spend: Get 2X miles on Delta purchases and 1X miles for all other eligible dollars spent.
- Check your first bag free on every Delta flight - that's a savings of up to $200 per round trip for a family of four.
- Premium Travel Perks: Settle in sooner with Priority Boarding, and enjoy the skies with 20% in-flight savings to use toward meals, beverages, and movies awarded as a statement credit.
- $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
- Terms and Restrictions Apply.
This is an obvious choice for anyone who often flies Delta. Beyond that, this is a great starter card for a newbie. It offers 30,000 Delta SkyMiles when you reach the really low minimum spend of $500 in the first three months. There’s also no first year fee and some great benefits for Delta-flyers.
EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW
The Sign-Up Bonus
The 30,000 SkyMiles bonus is a great deal, especially considering the low minimum spend of $500. With 30,000 miles you can buy a round-trip economy ticket to anywhere in the Continental U.S., Alaska or Canada. So after spending $500, you’re essentially getting a free ticket.
If you’re looking for a card without a minimum spend requirement, American Express also offers a Platinum Delta SkyMiles card where you get 20,000 miles on first purchase and 5,000 miles when you add two additional card users to the account. However, there’s a $150 annual fee.
You’ll earn two miles for every dollar you spend on Delta purchases and one mile for everything else.
Delta has three different levels of award availability: low, medium, and high. The difference in mile cost between the three is more than double. A one-way economy ticket within the Continental United States, Alaska, or Canada costs 12,500 miles in a low-availability fare; a one-way ticket in high availability costs 30,000 miles.
In most instances, low-availability award seats are released when there are a lot of open seats left on a flight. So they’re usually only available within a month of the actual flight time. If, for instance, you wanted to book a flight to Cleveland six months out, you most likely wouldn’t find a 12,500 mile seat. If, however, you’re an adventurous type and you want to hop right on a flight to Nova Scotia tomorrow, you’ll have a much better shot at those low availability seats.
Here’s Delta’s complete breakdown of award ticket costs.
Pay with Miles
Alternately you can use your miles to pay for flights marked as “Pay with Miles eligible” when you’re logged into delta.com with your SkyMiles account. The redemptions are based on the cost of the ticket.
The redemption schedule is slightly complicated, but here are the basics:
• All fares under $100 cost 25,000 miles.
• For fares between $100 and $250, you can get $100 off the total cost if you redeem 10,000 miles; if you want to cover the full cost, the redemption increases to 25,000 miles for the first $100 of the flight plus 5,000 miles for each additional $50.
• For fares between $250 and $1,000, you’ll need to redeem 10,000 miles for the first $100, then 5,000 miles for each additional $50.
• For fares that cost $1,000 and above, you’ll need to redeem 10,000 miles for the first $100, then 10,000 miles for each additional $100.
Delta is a part of SkyTeam. That means your SkyMiles can be redeemed with any one of the SkyTeam airlines, including AeroMexico, AirFrance, Alitalia, KLM, and Korean Air.
One of the great perks of having this card is priority boarding on Delta flights. You’ll board in Zone 2, which means you’re going to get on the plane quickly enough for you to find a spot for your carry on.
First Bag Free
Another great perk is that your first checked bag on Delta flights is free. This can extend up to nine people on the same reservation. Each first-checked bag on domestic flights costs $25, so with a family of four going to Disneyworld, that’s a $200 round-trip savings.
All Delta in-flight food and entertainment is 20% off. So if you want to buy a movie or a chicken sandwich, you’ll save 20%.
American Express has phenomenal online customer support and average over-the-phone support.
Foreign Transaction Fees
American Express has a 2.7% fee.
There is also a Gold Delta SkyMiles Business card available. You can see my review here.
WAYS YOU CAN USE MILES
With those 30,000 bonus miles, I might fly from Savannah, Ga., to Anchorage, Ala., pick up a cruise ship down to Seattle and fly from Seattle back to Savannah. This type of booking, called open-jaw, is permitted on Delta. Or I could just do a round trip to Anchorage or New York City.
I used the card not long ago for a family trip to St John, USVI. With four adults and all that grandbaby stuff, we saved a ton on checked baggage.
RICK’S FINAL WORD
This is a great start card for somebody just getting in the game. It’s great to learn the ropes with. I don’t personally have this card anymore, but I’ll sign up for it at some point in the future just for the 30,000 bonus miles.
When I do get the card again, I’ll spend the $500 minimum spend and probably let it sit there—unless I’m on a Delta flight. I wouldn’t use this as an everyday card (I have my Chase Sapphire and SPG for that), but I’m deeply involved. However, for the casual sportsman, this is a great option.
CAN YOU GET IT?
You’ll need a FICO score of around 700.
If you currently don’t have an open Delta SkyMiles card and haven’t had one for 12 months, you’ll be considered a new applicant.