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The best Delta credit cards in 2021

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The best Delta Airlines credit cards in 2021:

If Delta is your airline of choice, having a co-branded Delta credit card can help you earn enough miles for your next award flight and enjoy other perks with the airline, such as a free checked bag. 

Luckily, you have no shortage of options to consider; Delta has seven credit cards that are co-branded with American Express, ranging from the no-annual-fee Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card to the premium Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card with a $550 annual fee (See Rates) and annual companion certificate perk.

Read on to learn more about the various Delta cards for consumers, and see which one is best for you. If you’re not locked into a particular airline, make sure to check out our guide to the best airline credit cards.

Best for occasional Delta flyers: Delta SkyMiles Gold cards

Annual Fee

$0 for the first year, then $99

Regular APR

15.74% – 24.74% variable

Featured Reward

70,000 Bonus Miles after spending $2,000 in purchases (plus a $200 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase) within your first 3 months (offer expires 7/28/2021)

Intro APR

0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months (offer expires 7/28/2021)

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  • Pros & Cons
  • Details

  • Pros
    • Earns bonus miles at restaurants and US supermarkets
    • Annual fee is waived the first year
    • You get a free checked bag and Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding on Delta flights
    Cons
    • Doesn’t go above and beyond in terms of benefits beyond Delta perks
    • Limited Time Offer: Earn 70,000 Bonus Miles after spending $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months and a $200 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
    • Limited Time Offer: Plus, get a 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months from the date of account opening, then a variable 15.74%-24.74%. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
    • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
    • Earn 2X Miles on Delta purchases, at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
    • $100 Delta Flight Credit: After you spend $10,000 in purchases on your card in a calendar year, receive a Credit to use toward future travel.
    • Enjoy a $0 introductory Annual Fee for the first year, then $99.
    • Terms Apply.


    Read Our Review
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    The Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card is the best option for someone who flies Delta a couple of times a year, but doesn’t travel regularly enough to use the heftier cards’ perks (more on that later). Right now, it’s offering a welcome bonus of 70,000 Bonus Miles after spending $2,000 in purchases (plus a $200 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase) within your first 3 months (offer expires 7/28/2021).

    Read more: Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express card review

    One of the biggest perks: The card offers a free first checked bag on Delta flights for the cardholder and up to eight companions on the same reservation. Delta charges $30 each way for a checked bag, so this can save up to $60 per person on a round-trip itinerary.

    Cardholders and travel companions also get Main Cabin Zone 1 priority boarding. This means you can board the plane sooner, giving you plenty of time to settle into your seat or find overhead space for any carry-on luggage. Zone 1 is after most Delta elite frequent flyers and premium-cabin passengers, but is usually within the first half of passengers to board.

    Other perks include a 20% discount on inflight purchases (in the form of a statement credit), such as food or drinks,  $100 Delta flight credit after you spend $10,000 on the card in a calendar year, and no foreign transaction fees (See Rates).

    Annual Fee

    $99, waived the first year

    Regular APR

    15.74% to 24.74% variable APR

    Credit Score

    Good to Excellent

    Featured Reward

    50,000 bonus miles and a $50 statement credit after spending $2,000 in purchases in your first 3 months from account opening

    Chevron iconIt indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Details

  • Pros
    • Annual fee waived the first year
    • Earns bonus miles on select business-related purchases as well as on Delta purchases
    • Get a free checked bag and Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding on Delta flights
    Cons
    • Doesn’t earn bonus miles on common expenses like dining
    • Welcome Offer: Earn 50,000 bonus miles and a $50 statement credit after spending $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
    • Additionally, take $100 off your next Delta flight – after you spend $10,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you will earn a $100 Delta Flight Credit to use toward future travel.
    • Earn 2 Miles on every dollar spent on eligible purchases made directly with Delta, on every dollar spent on eligible U.S. purchases for advertising in select media, on every dollar spent on eligible U.S. shipping purchases, on every eligible dollar spent at restaurants. Earn 1 Mile on every eligible dollar spent on other purchases.
    • Check or stow your bag with ease: First Checked Bag Free + Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding.
    • Pay no foreign transaction fees when you travel overseas.
    • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99.
    • Terms and limitations apply.
    • See Rates & Fees


    Read Our Review
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    If you’re a small-business owner, you might want to consider the business version of this card — the Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card — which also has an annual fee of $99, waived the first year (See Rates).

    The main difference is that the business version offers 2x miles on eligible U.S. purchases for advertising in select media and on eligible U.S. shipping purchases rather than on purchases at U.S. supermarkets. Both versions offer 2x miles on Delta purchases and restaurant purchases.

    Read more: The best small-business credit cards

    The Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card is currently offering a welcome bonus of 50,000 bonus miles and a $50 statement credit after spending $2,000 in purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.

    Best for frequent Delta flyers: Delta SkyMiles Platinum cards

    Regular APR

    15.74% to 24.74% variable

    Credit Score

    Good to Excellent

    Featured Reward

    90,000 Bonus Miles after spending $3,000 in purchases (plus a $200 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase) within your first 3 months (offer expires 7/28/2021)

    Intro APR

    0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months (offer expires 7/28/2021)

    Chevron iconIt indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Details

  • Pros
    • Earns bonus miles at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets
    • Annual companion certificate can help you recoup most, if not all, of the annual fee
    • You get a free checked bag and priority boarding on Delta flights
    Cons

    • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles after spending $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months and a $200 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
    • Limited Time Offer: Plus, get a 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months from the date of account opening, then a variable 15.74% – 24.74%. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
    • Accelerate your path to Medallion Status, with Status Boost®. Plus, in 2021 you can earn even more bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) to help you reach Medallion Status.
    • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
    • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
    • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
    • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
    • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
    • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
    • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
    • $250 Annual Fee.
    • Terms Apply.


    Read Our Review
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    If you fly Delta somewhat regularly, the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card is a better option, thanks to an often-overlooked benefit that can completely cover the annual fee each year. The card currently offers a welcome bonus of 90,000 Bonus Miles after spending $3,000 in purchases (plus a $200 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase) within your first 3 months (offer expires 7/28/2021).

    The Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card has most of the same perks as the Gold version, like priority boarding and free checked bags on Delta flights. The card also offers a Global Entry application fee credit of up to $100, and it gets cardholders access to Sky Club lounges at a discounted rate of $39 (See Rates).

    Read more: Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express card review

    However, the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card comes with another huge perk. After your first year with the card, you’ll get an annual domestic companion certificate each year at your cardmember anniversary. A Delta companion certificate is essentially a buy-one-get-one-free coupon. When you book an economy-class flight for yourself anywhere within the continental US, you can get a second ticket for free, other than minimal taxes and fees.

    The companion pass can easily cancel out the card’s $250 annual fee (See Rates). Plus, each year that you spend $25,000 or more on the card, you earn a bonus of 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) — up to two times — and have the Medallion Qualifying Dollar (MQD) requirement for most elite status levels waived (offer ends 12/31/21). 

    Read more: Depending on which Delta credit card you have, it could be easier to qualify for elite status without flying in 2021

    When you have Medallion status, you can enjoy things like free upgrades to first class or extra-legroom seats whenever you fly, subject to availability. Plus, throughout 2021 earn an additional 2,500 MQMs after making $25,000 in purchases, up to 2x. That’s in addition to the 10,000 MQMs that you would earn with Status Boost (through 12/31/2021).

    Regular APR

    15.74% to 24.74% variable APR

    Credit Score

    Good to Excellent

    Featured Reward

    60,000 bonus miles, 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs), and a $100 statement credit after spending $3,000 in purchases in your first 3 months from account opening

    Chevron iconIt indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Details

  • Pros
    • First bag checked free and Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding on Delta flights
    • Annual companion certificate benefit helps you recoup the annual fee
    • You can earn MQMs toward Delta elite status by meeting annual spending thresholds
    • Application fee credit of up to $100 for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
    Cons
    • Doesn’t earn bonus miles on everyday purchase categories like dining and office supply stores
    • Welcome Offer: Earn 60,000 bonus miles, 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs), and a $100 statement credit after spending $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
    • Earn 3 Miles on every dollar spent on eligible purchases made directly with Delta and on every eligible dollar spent on purchases made directly with hotels.
    • Earn 1.5 miles per dollar on single eligible purchases of $5,000 or more (that’s an extra half mile per dollar), up to 50,000 additional miles per year. 1 Mile on every eligible dollar spent on other purchases.
    • With Status Boost®, earn 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your card in a calendar year, up to 2x per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Plus, throughout 2021 earn an additional 2,500 MQMs after making $25,000 in purchases, up to 2x. That’s in addition to the 10,000 MQMs that you would earn with Status Boost.
    • Status-like benefits: First Check Bag Free on Delta flights + Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding.
    • Terms and limitations apply.
    • See Rates & Fees


    Read Our Review
    Read Our ReviewA looong arrow, pointing right

    If you’re a frequent Delta flyer and you want a small-business card, check out the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card, which also has a $250 annual fee (See Rates). One unique benefit of this card is the ability to earn 1.5x miles on single eligible purchases of $5,000 or more (up to 50,000 additional miles per calendar year).

    Read more: Amex Delta SkyMiles Gold card vs Amex Delta SkyMiles Platinum card: Which is a better option for you?

    Right now, the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card welcome bonus is 90,000 Bonus Miles after spending $3,000 in purchases (plus a $200 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase) within your first 3 months (offer expires 7/28/2021).

    Best for airport lounge access: Delta SkyMiles Reserve cards

    Regular APR

    15.74% to 24.74% variable APR

    Featured Reward

    80,000 Bonus Miles and 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $5,000 in purchases (plus a $200 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase) in your first 3 months (offer expires 7/28/2021)

    Chevron iconIt indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Details

  • Pros
    • Annual companion certificate benefit, which is valid for domestic first class and Comfort+ as well as the main cabin
    • Access to Delta Sky Clubs and American Express Centurion Lounges when you’re flying Delta
    • Earns 3x miles on Delta purchases
    Cons
    • Very high annual fee
    • Doesn’t offer bonus miles on non-Delta purchases
    • Limited Time Offer: Earn 80,000 Bonus Miles and 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $5,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months and a $200 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
    • Accelerate your path to Medallion Status, with Status Boost®. Plus, in 2021 you can earn even more bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) to help you reach Medallion Status.
    • Complimentary access into the Delta SkyClubs® for you when traveling on a Delta flight.
    • Enjoy complimentary access to The Centurion® Lounge when you book your Delta flight with your Reserve Card.
    • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
    • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
    • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases.
    • Earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases.
    • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
    • $550 annual fee.
    • Terms Apply.


    Read Our Review
    Read Our ReviewA looong arrow, pointing right

    The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card has a higher $550 annual fee (See Rates), but it has a few additional perks that can make it worthwhile for some frequent flyers. Right now, it’s offering an intro bonus of 80,000 Bonus Miles and 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $5,000 in purchases (plus a $200 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase) in your first 3 months (offer expires 7/28/2021).

    Like the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card, it offers an annual domestic companion certificate. However, the Delta Reserve’s pass can be used for first-class tickets, not just economy.

    Read more: Delta SkyMiles Reserve card review

    Additionally, the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card offers access to Delta Sky Club airport lounges whenever the cardholder is flying with Delta. Plus, Reserve cardholders can now access Amex Centurion Lounges when they’re flying Delta. Centurion Lounges are known for their high-end complimentary food and drink, so this is a great value-added perk.

    Other recently added benefits include two Delta Sky Club one-time guest passes, up to $100 for a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit, and access to complimentary upgrades for non-elite Delta members. 

    The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card has one other major perk, which can be crucial for travelers who hold Delta Medallion elite status. Delta Medallion members are eligible for complimentary, space-available upgrades to first class and Delta One on flights within the US and the region, including Mexico and Central America, and extra-legroom seats on international flights.

    Read more: Airline credit cards from Delta, Southwest, and more can help you earn elite status — in some cases, you can qualify without setting foot on a plane

    Upgrades clear in a hierarchical order based on a number of factors, including each passenger’s status level, the original fare class they booked, and a few other factors. The first tiebreaker for people with the same Medallion level and fare class: whether they hold the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card. Reserve cardholders will be prioritized over those without it. If there’s only one seat left and two members are still tied and both have the Reserve, it continues down the list of tiebreakers.

    For travelers who fly a lot and frequently find themselves one or two upgrade-list spots away from getting that first-class seat, holding the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card can be extremely valuable. 

    Regular APR

    15.74% to 24.74% variable APR

    Credit Score

    Good to Excellent

    Featured Reward

    60,000 bonus miles, 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs), and a $100 statement credit after spending $4,000 in purchases in your first 3 months from account opening

    Chevron iconIt indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Details

  • Pros
    • Annual companion certificate that works in domestic first class
    • Access to Delta Sky Clubs and American Express Centurion Lounges when you’re flying Delta
    • Earns 3x miles on Delta purchases
    Cons
    • Very high annual fee
    • No bonus miles on non-Delta purchases
    • Welcome Offer: Earn 60,000 bonus miles, 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs), and a $100 statement credit after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
    • With Status Boost®, earn 15,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $30,000 in purchases on your card in a calendar year, up to 4x per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Plus, throughout 2021 earn an additional 3,750 MQMs after making $30,000 in purchases, up to 4x. That’s in addition to the 15,000 MQMs that you would earn with Status Boost.
    • Complimentary Delta Sky Club® Access and complimentary access to The Centurion® Lounge when you book your Delta flight with your Reserve Card.
    • After you spend $150,000 on your Card in a calendar year, you earn 1.5 Miles per dollar (that’s an extra half mile per dollar) on eligible purchases the rest of the year. If your purchase qualifies for a category that has a higher mileage accelerator, only the higher accelerator will apply.
    • Pay no foreign transaction fees when you spend overseas.
    • Earn 3 Miles on every dollar spent on eligible purchases made directly with Delta.
    • Terms and limitations apply.
    • See Rates & Fees

    There’s also the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card, which offers similar benefits for small-business users, but there’s a difference in earning rates. With the business version, after you spend $150,000 in purchases on your card in a calendar year, you can earn 1.5x miles on eligible purchases the rest of the calendar year.

    Read more: The best credit cards to use for large purchases — get bonus rewards, purchase protection, and more

    The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card offers a welcome bonus of 60,000 bonus miles, 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs), and a $100 statement credit after spending $4,000 in purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.

    Best with no annual fee: Delta SkyMiles Blue card

    Regular APR

    15.74% to 24.74% variable APR

    Credit Score

    Good to Excellent

    Featured Reward

    10,000 miles after you spend $500 in the first 3 months from account opening

    Chevron iconIt indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Details

  • Pros
    • No annual fee
    • Earns bonus miles at US restaurants
    Cons
    • Doesn’t offer benefits like a free checked bag when you fly Delta
    • Earn 10,000 bonus miles after you spend $500 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
    • No Annual Fee.
    • Earn 2X Miles per dollar at restaurants, now worldwide.
    • Earn 2X Miles per dollar spent on Delta purchases.
    • Earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases.
    • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
    • Receive a 20% savings in the form of a statement credit after you use your Card on eligible Delta in-flight purchases of food, beverages, and audio headsets.
    • Terms Apply.


    Read Our Review
    Read Our ReviewA looong arrow, pointing right

    If you want to earn Delta miles on your everyday spending without paying an annual fee, the Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card could be worth a look, with a bonus of 10,000 miles after you spend $500 in the first 3 months from account opening .

    It offers relatively limited benefits, but it waives foreign transaction fees, and you’ll get 20% off eligible inflight purchases on Delta when you pay with the card.

    Read more: Delta SkyMiles Blue American Express card review

    If you already have an American Express card that earns Membership Rewards points, like The Platinum Card® from American Express
    or The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express, remember that you can transfer your points to Delta at a 1:1 ratio, so you may not need a Delta co-branded card if you don’t want the additional perks offered by the options with annual fees.

    Sarah Silbert is the Senior Reviews Editor at Personal Finance Insider. She oversees the vertical’s guides and reviews, covering topics including banking, credit cards, insurance, investing, and mortgages. Her goal is to empower readers to make smart, informed financial decisions.

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