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

By Eric Rosen

Mar 5, 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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Aside from actually flying, one of the best, fastest ways to rack up frequent flier miles is to sign up for an airline credit card. That’s even truer now than usual thanks to some of the best welcome offers that have ever been available. The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card, Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card, and Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card, for instance, are all offering new applicants the opportunity to earn a Companion Pass. And just this past week, the United℠ Explorer Card, the United Club℠ Infinite Card, and the United Gateway℠ Card debuted new, higher introductory bonuses

Now, Delta is getting into the mix with a slew of new welcome offers for three of its credit cards. You can earn up to 90,000 bonus miles with the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card and the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card in particular, all of which will come in handy for when you are ready to start booking flights again.

Bonus miles and more

Three Delta credit cards are offering much higher welcome bonuses than usual. Which one is right for you will come down to which card’s initial spending requirement and annual fee fit your budget, and which one offers the most perks you will take advantage of while traveling.

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

With a relatively low annual fee, this card earns bonus miles in numerous spending categories.

  • Current welcome offer: Earn 70,000 bonus miles after spending $2,000 on new purchases within the first three months—offer ends April 28, 2021. For some context, the card was previously only offering 35,000 bonus miles after spending $1,000 within the first three months—so the spending is doubled, but so are the miles.
  • 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 get a free checked bag when flying Delta and enjoy priority boarding as well as 20 percent back on in-flight purchases of food, drinks, and audio headsets. The card waives foreign transaction fees, and for 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: $0 for the first year, then $99

Why apply now?

There are several reasons this particular card might be of interest. First, you can earn twice the bonus miles as usual, making this one of the best sign-up offers the Delta SkyMiles Gold Amex has ever offered. While many airline credit cards only earn bonus miles on tickets and other carrier-specific purchases, this one also racks up extra miles on charges at restaurants and supermarkets, making it an attractive option for everyday use. Plus, because its annual fee is waived for the first year, you get to take it for a test flight at no expense, and in the meantime, you can enjoy all those travel perks if you do end up flying Delta in 2021.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Want to boost your earning even more, and get credit toward elite status to boot? The Delta SkyMiles Platinum Amex might be the right card for you.

  • Current welcome offer: Now through April 28, 2021, you can earn a whopping 90,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months. Contrast that with the typical introductory offer of just 40,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) toward elite status 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, then 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. Cardholders 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 of all, cardholders get an annual companion certificate for a domestic round-trip itinerary in Main Cabin.
  • Annual fee: $250

Why apply now?

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This card has changed its welcome offer dramatically. While you won’t rack up any Medallion Qualification Miles toward status, you can count on earning more than twice the usual amount of award miles (those you can redeem for travel).

Several other features set this card apart, too. First, its earning rates are solid, not just for Delta-specific and other travel purchases, but also on everyday charges like grocery and restaurant tabs. The annual companion certificate is potentially worth hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars if you leverage it for an otherwise expensive ticket. (Note that 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.) Folks with this card can also purchase passes for themselves and up to two guests to Delta SkyClubs at a reduced rate of $39 per person (instead of $59) when traveling on Delta or partner flights.

Although you won’t earn any MQMs by signing up, you can still earn 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. That’s a lot of money, but it can also be a big boost toward that next Medallion tier, and remember that if you hit $25,000 in a calendar year, the normal annual airfare spending requirements for Silver, Gold, and Platinum are waived. 

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card

A high annual fee brings equally high rewards in the case of this top-shelf card.

  • Current welcome offer: This card is currently offering 80,000 bonus miles plus 20,000 MQMs after spending $5,000 within the first three months. Before, this card came with just 40,000 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 benefits on Delta as with the other two cards. However, they also get access to Delta Sky Clubs and American Express Centurion Lounges when traveling on a flight marketed or operated by Delta. The annual companion certificate this card confers is good for a round-trip domestic ticket in either Main Cabin, Comfort+, or first class, too.
  • Annual fee: $550

Why apply now?

This welcome offer is the best this card has ever offered, with more award miles and MQMs toward status than it has posted before—and perhaps the boost you need before you start making travel plans again. 

As opposed to the Gold and Platinum versions, which are geared toward more casual travelers who want to rack up miles specifically with a credit card, the Delta SkyMiles Reserve is targeted to frequent Delta passengers who can really leverage its premium perks. Basically, if you’re not going to hit up Delta Sky Clubs and Amex Centurion Lounges frequently, this card probably isn’t for you. That said, since its annual companion certificate is valid for travel in either coach or first class, you can use it to save a lot of money if you fly up front, especially on more expensive routes like between the coasts or from the U.S. mainland to Hawaii.

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Another clue this card is meant specifically for big spenders? Cardholders 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. If that kind of purchase power is in your wheelhouse, you could hit mid-level Gold Medallion status without taking a single flight. Carry this card, and you also get upgrade priority over other elites in your same tier who don’t have it. 

What can you do with Delta SkyMiles?

Delta SkyMiles are slowly but surely being transformed into a currency in their own right, redeemable in ways beyond airline tickets. These include things like Delta Sky Club memberships or passes and seat upgrades, as well as merchandise, gift cards, and charitable donations.

But you’ll probably still get the best value from them by using them for travel, both on Delta and other partner airlines like Air France/KLM, Korean Air, and Virgin Atlantic. Due to a series of recent changes to the SkyMiles program, you will typically need fewer of them to book flights on Delta itself than those on other carriers, and expect to burn a lot of them if you hope to fly in business class. However, there are still some bargains if you are a little flexible.

For example, Delta was recently offering short domestic flights, such as between Seattle and Los Angeles, starting at a mere 2,000 miles each way, and from New York to Miami and Chicago as well as from Atlanta to Minneapolis–St. Paul for just 4,500 miles each way. From that perspective, the bonus miles you could earn with the Delta SkyMiles Platinum or Delta SkyMiles Reserve would be worth up to 40 to 45 one-way regional flights. That’s incredible.

Not exotic enough for you? The airline also recently had an award sale with basic economy tickets between the United States and Mexico or Costa Rica for as few as 10,000 miles round trip, and from North America to Europe for just 26,000 miles round trip. So one of these offers (plus a little strategic spending to earn a few more miles) could be enough to fly a family of four to Europe for a vacation.

Right now might not seem like the best time to sign up for a new airline credit card, especially if you don’t have concrete plans to travel anytime soon. However, these welcome offers alone are well worth considering due to how much higher they are than normal. And if you are a regular Delta customer, you should have one of the airline’s cards to ensure you enjoy perks such as priority boarding and free checked bags whenever you do fly. Those benefits, plus the ability to rack up bonus miles on everyday spending might have you hopping back on board even sooner than you think.

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.

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