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Earn up to 90,000 Miles With These New Delta Credit Card Bonuses

By Eric Rosen

Sep 16, 2021

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You might snag a Delta One suite with the miles from one of these credit cards.

Courtesy of Delta

You might snag a Delta One suite with the miles from one of these credit cards.

Sign up for one of these Delta credit card offers to earn award miles for your next trip.

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Delta and American Express have launched a series of limited-time introductory offers worth between 70,000–90,000 miles for the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card, and the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card. These are among the highest bonuses ever extended by these cards, but they are only available through November 10, 2021. So if you burned through your stash of airline miles taking trips this summer and are looking to stock up on more for your 2022 plans, these three cards are worth considering. Here are the details on what makes these Delta Amex offers so attractive.

Bonus miles and more

Each of these three Delta Amex cards is offering one of its best-ever introductory offers. While similar terms have been available two other times within the past year, there’s no telling if or when they might return. So if you missed out on applying last time, now could be your best chance.

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

Thanks to its affordable annual fee (see rates and fees) and great day-of-travel perks, this card should suit Delta loyalists and more casual fliers alike.

  • Current welcome offer: Earn 70,000 bonus miles after spending $2,000 on new purchases within the first three months and a $200 statement credit after your first Delta purchase in the first three months. To give you some context, this card usually only offers between 35,000–40,000 bonus miles after spending $1,000 within the first three months. So while the spending requirement is doubled, so is the mileage bonus.
  • Earning: Earn two miles per dollar spent on Delta purchases as well as at restaurants worldwide, including on eligible delivery services, and at U.S. supermarkets. Earn one mile per dollar on everything else.
  • Other benefits: Cardholders and up to eight (yes, eight) companions can check a bag for free when flying Delta and enjoy priority boarding. The card confers 20 percent back on in-flight purchases of food, drinks, and audio headsets, too. Foreign transaction fees are waived (see rates and fees), and every calendar year you spend $10,000 or more on purchases, you receive a $100 Delta Flight Credit to put toward a future ticket.
  • Annual fee: No introductory annual fee the first year, then $99 (see rates and fees)

Why apply now?

The fact that this card’s current bonus is around twice as high as usual is reason enough to apply. However, the Delta SkyMiles Gold Amex’s earning structure also deserves attention because it racks up bonus miles at restaurants and supermarkets as well as on Delta purchases. If you fly Delta regularly but not enough to earn elite status, its flight-related perks can also amount to substantial savings.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

If Delta is your main squeeze, opt for this card instead for better earning rates and airline-specific perks.

  • Current welcome offer: You can earn an unprecedented 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) toward elite status after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months. This card’s typical introductory offer is just 40,000–50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 MQMs after spending $2,000 in the first three months. 
  • Earning: Earn three miles per dollar on Delta purchases and those made directly with hotels. Get two miles per dollar at U.S. supermarkets and at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery; earn one mile per dollar on everything else. 
  • Other benefits: Like the Gold version, this card comes with a free checked bag and priority boarding on Delta flights for the cardholder plus up to eight companions on the same reservation. Cardmembers are also eligible for a statement credit of up to $100 toward a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application once every four years (4.5 years for PreCheck). Perhaps most valuable at all, cardholders receive an annual companion certificate for a domestic round-trip itinerary in Main Cabin.
  • Annual fee: $250 (see rates and fees)

Why apply now?

It’s rare for an airline credit card to offer 90,000 bonus miles, which might be the best reason to apply right now. However, this card also rakes in the miles on both Delta and hotel purchases, as well as at grocery stores and restaurants.

What’s more, its annual companion certificate can be worth hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars if you redeem it for an otherwise expensive ticket. (Note: There are some fare class restrictions and other limitations, and you have to pay taxes and fees of no more than $75 for the companion ticket.) 

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Besides elite-qualifying MQMs you can earn with the intro offer, you can also accrue 10,000 of them by spending $25,000 or more on purchases with the card in a calendar year, up to a total of $50,000 in spending and 20,000 MQMs. (There’s a 25 percent bonus in 2021, so you’d earn 12,500 MQMs at $25,000 up to two times this year.) That’s a lot of money to lay out, but it’s also a big boost toward status. Plus, if you hit $25,000 spending in a calendar year, Delta’s normal annual airfare spending requirements for Silver, Gold, and Platinum Medallion status are waived. 

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card

This premium card comes with the best perks portfolio of all.

  • Current welcome offer: This card is currently offering 80,000 bonus miles plus 20,000 Medallion Qualification Miles after spending $5,000 on purchases within the first three months. Prior to this, the Delta Reserve Amex came with 40,000–50,000 bonus miles and 10,000 MQMs after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months.
  • Earning: Earn three miles per dollar on purchases made with Delta, and one mile per dollar on everything else.
  • Other benefits: Cardholders enjoy the same day-of-travel and Global Entry/TSA PreCheck benefits as with the Platinum version. However, they also get access to Delta Sky Clubs and American Express Centurion Lounges when traveling on a Delta-marketed or operated flight. The annual companion certificate this card includes is good for a round-trip domestic ticket in either Main Cabin, Comfort+, or first class, too.
  • Annual fee: $550 (see rates and fees)

Why apply now?

This particular welcome offer is among the best the Delta SkyMiles Reserve has ever offered. Unlike the Gold and Platinum versions, aimed at occasional travelers who want to accrue miles specifically with a credit card, the Delta SkyMiles Reserve is for frequent Delta passengers who can take advantage of its upscale perks.

First, its annual companion certificate is valid for travel in coach, Comfort+, or first class, so you can use it to save a lot of money if you fly up front, especially on more expensive routes.

If you fly through airports with Delta Sky Clubs and Amex Centurion Lounges regularly, this card is also valuable for its lounge access arrangements. If you tend to spend big on your rewards cards, this one will allow you to accumulate MQMs, which can be a nice lift toward the next tier of status. Cardmembers earn 15,000 MQMs after spending $30,000 on purchases in a calendar year, up to a total of $120,000 and 60,000 MQMs—enough for mid-level Gold Medallion status without taking a single flight. 

Which Delta SkyMiles credit card should you get?

If you’re trying to decide which Delta SkyMiles credit card you should get, conisder the following factors.

All three cards are fielding tremendous welcome offers, but the spending requirements are quite different. If $5,000 within three months would stretch your budget, forgo the Delta SkyMiles Reserve for the Delta SkyMiles Gold or Delta SkyMiles Platinum instead, which require $2,000 and $3,000, respectively, to fulfill their introductory terms.

Likewise, think about which card’s annual fee fits your financial means. The Delta SkyMiles Gold’s annual fee is just $99 after the first year, whereas the Delta SkyMiles Reserve will charge you $550 per year right off the bat. That might be too much to take on now.

Ask yourself which card has perks you will actually use, too. If you’re not going to visit Delta’s airport lounges frequently, it’s probably not worth getting the Delta SkyMiles Reserve. On the other hand, you might think the Delta SkyMiles Gold’s travel benefits will suffice. But ponder whether you would use the companion certificate and the Global Entry or TSA PreCheck statement credit included with the Delta SkyMiles Platinum or Reserve versions since those two benefits alone could make upgrading to the more expensive cards worthwhile.

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Finally, plot out where you tend to use your credit cards the most. If you spend a lot of money flying Delta, then either the Delta SkyMiles Platinum or Delta SkyMiles Reserve could be a good idea since they both earn three miles per dollar on Delta purchases compared with two using the Delta SkyMiles Gold. But if restaurants and supermarkets are your major expenses, your choice will likely come down to between the Delta SkyMiles Platinum and Delta SkyMiles Gold since those two earn extra miles at those merchants. 

By thinking about the financial requirements, the earning opportunities, and the perks specific to each card, you should be able to make the right choice for you quickly.

What are Delta SkyMiles worth?

Delta has been transforming its SkyMiles frequent flier program for years now so that miles are more closely pegged to a specific monetary value. Members earn between 5 and 11 miles per dollar on Delta flights based on their level of elite status. They can redeem those miles for various rewards, including airline tickets, plus nontravel options like magazine subscriptions, gift cards, and donations to charity.

In terms of travel rewards, Delta SkyMiles are worth around one cent apiece on Delta flights, and slightly less for travel on partners like Virgin Atlantic, Korean Air, and Air France/KLM. That means coach seats can be cheap, while international business class on long-haul flights can be exorbitant. 

For example, Delta recently held an award sale with flights starting at 2,000 miles one-way between Los Angeles and Seattle and 4,500 miles per direction between New York and Chicago or Miami. So theoretically, you could book 20 tickets at 4,500 miles each with the welcome bonus from the Delta SkyMiles Platinum alone.

Looking farther afield, a number of lucky fliers were recently able to book basic economy tickets from the United States to Mexico for just 10,000 miles round-trip and from North America to Europe and back for 26,000 miles. So with one of these credit card offers plus some strategic spending, you could soon have enough SkyMiles to fly a family of four round-trip to Europe.

Above all, keep in mind that these three Delta Amex credit card introductory bonuses will only be available until November 10, 2021. After that, there’s no telling if they will come around again. Although your travel plans might be on hold, now is an ideal time to pick up a new credit card to start earning rewards toward your next trip when you are ready. 

While the offers mentioned above are accurate at the time of publication, they are subject to change at any time, and may have changed or may no longer be available. This article was originally published on March 4, 2021, and was updated on April 26, June 17, and September 16, 2021, with new information.

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