Delta Amex Gold Vs. Platinum: Crunching The Numbers

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Update: These offers for the Delta SkyMiles® Credit Cards are expired. Learn more about the current offer here.

UPDATE: The limited time offers on the Delta Amex cards are expired, though the other information in this post is still relevant. You can find the best current credit card offers here.


Through July 6, 2016, we’re seeing increased sign-up bonuses on four of Delta’s co-branded credit cards. These include the following:

Details of the card sign-up bonuses

The Gold Delta Personal Amex and Gold Delta Business Amex are each offering the following sign-up bonus:

  • 50,000 SkyMiles after making $2,000 in purchases within three months
  • $50 statement credit after making Delta purchase within three months
  • $95 annual fee, waived the first year

Meanwhile the Platinum Delta Personal Amex and Platinum Delta Business Amex are each offering the following sign-up bonus:

  • 60,000 SkyMiles after making $2,000 in purchases within three months
  • 10,000 Medallion Qualifying Miles
  • $100 statement credit after making Delta purchase within three months
  • $195 annual fee

As I’ve shown, you can quite easily apply for both of these cards same day, and earn the sign-up bonuses on both cards — for example, Ford was recently approved for both the Gold Delta Personal Amex and Gold Delta Business Amex.

Delta-Amex-Approval-4

Crunching the numbers on which bonus is better

Personally I value Delta SkyMiles at 1.3 cents each. While there are some downsides to SkyMiles, they are still fantastic for international business class redemptions on their partner airlines, like China Airlines, China Eastern, Korean Air, Air France, KLM, Virgin Atlantic, etc.

There’s a general approach to take towards valuing miles, but there’s no science to specific valuations. Comparing the sign-up bonuses of the Gold and Platinum cards varies based on:

  • How much you value SkyMiles
  • How much you value the $50 and $100 Delta statement credits offered by the Gold and Platinum cards, respectively (in practice these can typically be used to purchase Delta gift cards)
  • How much you value the Medallion Qualifying Miles offered by the Platinum card, which don’t come with the Gold card

So using my valuation of 1.3 cents per Delta SkyMiles, and assuming you value the statement credits at face value (since you can buy a Delta gift card, and I’m guessing most of us would eventually book a ticket on Delta), let’s compare the numbers for the card within the first year.

Here are the numbers for the Gold Delta Personal Amex and Gold Delta Business Amex:

  • $650 worth of miles (50,000 SkyMiles after making $2,000 in purchases within three months)
  • $50 statement credit after making Delta purchase within three months
  • Annual fee waived the first year

That means you’re getting $700 of value, without an annual fee the first year.

Meanwhile here are numbers for the Platinum Delta Personal Amex and Platinum Delta Business Amex:

  • $780 worth of miles (60,000 SkyMiles after making $2,000 in purchases within three months)
  • $100 statement credit after making Delta purchase within three months
  • 10,000 Medallion Qualifying Miles
  • $195 annual fee

You’re getting $880 of value, though there’s a $195 annual fee, making the value $685. This doesn’t account for the value of the 10,000 MQMs, which can help you qualify for Medallion status.

I’d note that you can also earn up to 20,000 additional MQMs on the Platinum Card per year — 10,000 bonus MQMs after spending $25,000 in a calendar year, and an additional 10,000 MQMs after spending a total of $50,000 in a calendar year.

Bottom line

If your goal is to earn Delta miles without actually going for status with Delta, I think the sign-up bonuses on the Gold Delta Personal Amex and Gold Delta Business Amex are more compelling. The fact that you pay $195 less in annual fees the first year is worth more than the 10,000 additional redeemable miles and $50 additional statement credit, at least based on my valuation.

However, if you are planning on going for status with Delta, the Platinum Delta Personal Amex and Platinum Delta Business Amex are the way to go, since these cards offer MQMs towards status. This can be valuable even if you’d qualify for status anyway, since Delta offers rollover MQMs, meaning you can bank those MQMs for next year.


Non-Affiliate Product Disclaimer: The information for the Platinum Delta Skymiles Business and Gold Delta Skymiles has been collected independently by One Mile At A Time. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

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Comments

  1. I’ve already had both of the Gold cards, so Platinum is next on my list. The $100 credit somewhat negates the fee, but I fly Delta or their partners rarely so I’m holding out to see if the bonus gets even bigger in the future. A 75k on the Platinum would be nice.

  2. 50k is the new 30, and 70k is the new 50. The Delta Gold has even already been that high recently. Hard pass.

  3. Lucky, another two differentiating points between the Gold Skymiles Card and the Platinum Skymiles card are:

    1. The Delta Platinum Amex earns 10,000 redeemable Skymiles after spending $25,000 in addition to the 10,000 MQM’s you earn and another 10,000 redeemable Skymiles after spending $50,000 in a calendar year in addition to the second batch of 10,000 MQMs.

    2. The Delta Platinum Amex offers a companion ticket good within the 48 contiguous United States where you only pay taxes and fees. However, it does require you to book an L,U, or T fare which are some of the least expensive and most restrictive fares.

    These two additional features should make the Platinum Amex more compelling than the Gold Amex especially for anyone who is able to take advantage of the companion pass since you are only paying an extra $15 over the Gold card for both of these benefits during the first year.

  4. Since I already have personal gold, the offer site ONLY offers me a NO-BONUS upgrde.

    How do I get the 60,000 bonus for Platinum???

  5. Tom have you tried opening the link incognito mode? That should show you the bonus and you would get the full bonus.

  6. @JC — just a note that you won’t get the Platinum companion ticket in your first year, but at renewal

  7. Just one comment – Delta miles are good forever, even if you cancel the card. Something to think about.

  8. @Tom – The last time I looked at my Amex account they offered the 60K. However, if you can’t get it, simply browse in incognito mode on Chrome or using IE click on tools, then inprivate browsing. You will surely get the 60K offers that way. I’m in the same boat you are, had the gold, pat is the next option.

  9. @Joyjv: MQM rolls over only if you have qualified for one of the medallion levels for the following year. For example, you only have 30,000 MQM and reached the MQD required (or waived with $25K DL AMEX spend), then 5000 MQM will roll over into the next year.

  10. Can i get both bonuses if i apply and get approved for both delta gold personal and delta platinum personal?

  11. On Delta Platinum you can purchase a gift certificate for Delta airlines and it will trigger the $100 statement credit. I’ve just done it. I chose $50, but I think a lesser amount might also work. I already had the gold delta cards but wasn’t flying and it did not even occur to me to purchase gift cards, so I missed out. lucky, please share this in the future when these cards have good bonuses again.

  12. Greetings. I have a 70,000 Delta Platinum Amex referral available. Comes with a companion certificate on every anniversary.

    If you would like one, please email me at: emma98115 [at] gmail dot com. Please don’t reply to this post. your email won’t show or be delivered to me, so email me directly.

    Have a wonderful day!
    Emma

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