Amex Delta Gold vs. Delta Platinum [2021]: What's Actually the Difference?

Which card between the Amex Delta Gold vs. Platinum is the better option for you? Find out as we compare these two Delta travel cards.
Last updated Jun 4, 2021 | By Ben Walker | Edited By Becca Borawski Jenkins
Amex Delta Gold vs. Delta Platinum

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American Express has partnered with Delta Air Lines to offer unique credit card products you won’t find anywhere else. This includes the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card and the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card.

If you’re a Delta flyer, it could make sense to have either of these cards in your wallet. But is one better for you than the other? What’s actually different when you compare the two?

In this Amex Delta Gold vs. Platinum comparison, you’ll learn about each card’s similarities and differences when it comes to their benefits and features. This will help you choose a card based on your needs and goals.

In this article

Amex Delta Gold vs. Delta Platinum

As two Amex Delta cards, the Amex Delta Gold and Amex Delta Platinum are bound to have a number of similarities. They’re both designed for travelers who prefer flying Delta and they both make use of the Delta SkyMiles rewards program, whether it’s for earning or redeeming miles.

However, these two cards are not exactly the same. For example, both cards offer a free checked bag on Delta flights, but the Amex Delta Gold has a potential Delta credit benefit, whereas the Amex Delta Platinum provides more premium travel benefits. The table below will give you a better understanding of which card might align more closely with what you’re looking for.

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card

Card type Travel Travel
Credit card issuer American Express American Express
Annual fee $99 (waived first year) (See rates and fees). Terms apply. $250 (See rates and fees). Terms apply.
Welcome bonus Earn 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months (plus, earn up to $50 in statement credits on eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants in the first 3 months) Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 MQMs after spending $2,000 in purchases in the first 3 months (plus, earn up to $100 in statement credits on eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants in the first 3 months)
Rewards rate 2X miles on qualifying Delta purchases, at restaurants, and at U.S supermarkets; and 1 mile per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases 3X miles per dollar spent on purchases made directly with Delta and at hotels; 2X miles per dollar spent at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets; and 1X miles for every dollar spent on all other eligible purchases
Redemption methods
  • Delta SkyMiles can be redeemed for Delta travel, Delta gift cards, magazine subscriptions, and charitable donations
  • Miles can also be used on Delta partner flights, including Hawaiian Airlines, Korean Air, and Virgin Atlantic
  • Delta SkyMiles can be redeemed for Delta travel, Delta gift cards, magazine subscriptions, and charitable donations
  • Miles can also be used on Delta partner flights, including Hawaiian Airlines, Korean Air, and Virgin Atlantic
Intro APR N/A N/A
Benefit incentives
  • Receive $100 Delta flight credit if you spend $10,000 in a calendar year
  • Receive 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) if you spend $25,000, up to two times in a calendar year
Travel perks
  • First checked bag is free on Delta flights
  • Priority boarding on Delta flights
  • Receive 20% back on eligible Delta in-flight purchases
  • Car rental loss and damage insurance for damage to or theft of an eligible rental vehicle
  • Baggage insurance for lost, stolen, or damaged baggage
  • Exclusive access to events with American Express Experiences
  • Global assist hotline with 24/7 availability while traveling
  • Select benefits require enrollment
  • First checked bag is free on Delta flights
  • Priority boarding on Delta flights
  • Receive 20% back on eligible Delta in-flight purchases
  • Car rental loss and damage insurance for damage to or theft of an eligible rental vehicle
  • Baggage insurance for lost, stolen, or damaged baggage
  • Exclusive access to events with American Express Experiences
  • Global assist hotline with 24/7 availability while traveling
  • Complimentary annual companion certificate each year you renew your card
  • Fee credit reimbursement for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry
  • Exclusive $39 access rate per person to Delta Sky Clubs for you and up to two guests
  • Trip delay insurance for additional expenses when your covered trip is delayed more than 12 hours
  • Select benefits require enrollment
Other benefits
  • Purchase protection for covered purchases that are accidentally damaged or stolen
  • Extended warranty coverage that extends eligible original manufacturer’s warranty by up to one year
  • Complimentary ShopRunner membership for free two-day shipping from over 100 stores
  • Select benefits require enrollment
  • Purchase protection for covered purchases that are accidentally damaged or stolen
  • Extended warranty coverage that extends eligible original manufacturer’s warranty by up to one year
  • Complimentary ShopRunner membership for free two-day shipping from over 100 stores
  • Select benefits require enrollment
Foreign transaction fee None (See rates and fees) None (See rates and fees)
Credit score needed Excellent, Good Excellent, Good
Learn how to apply Learn how to apply

What both cards excel at

Comparing the Amex Delta Gold vs. Platinum reveals plenty of similarities, which is to be expected from two Delta credit cards. Here are the ways these two cards overlap:

  • Free checked bag: Delta baggage fees may turn you off from flying Delta, as it adds to the already potentially high cost of paying for a flight. But both the Amex Delta Gold and Platinum get you your first checked bag for free on Delta flights. This applies to both the cardmember and passengers flying on the same reservation as the cardmember. There is a maximum of nine waived bag fees per reservation with this benefit.
  • In-flight savings: If you often buy in-flight food, beverages, or audio headsets while flying Delta, getting 20% back in the form of statement credits can add up.
  • Priority boarding: Main Cabin 1 priority boarding on Delta flights lets you board early so you can stow your baggage and get settled easier.
  • Foreign transaction fee: It makes sense to carry a card that doesn’t have foreign transaction fees if you frequently travel abroad so you aren’t racking up unnecessary expenses. Neither the Amex Delta Gold nor Platinum has foreign transaction fees.
  • Redemption options: Both cards earn Delta SkyMiles, which can be redeemed for various things through the SkyMiles rewards program. This includes Delta gift cards, Delta travel, magazine subscriptions, charitable donations, and more. Delta travel includes award flights with Delta and partner airlines, seat upgrades, Delta Sky Club memberships, and Delta Vacations. How much Delta SkyMiles are worth remains the same no matter which of these two cards you used to earn them.
  • Purchase protection: Cardholders can receive up to $1,000 per claim for covered purchases that are stolen or damaged on up to $50,000 per calendar year.
  • Extended warranty coverage: Cardholders receive up to one extra year of extended warranty coverage on eligible purchases that have original manufacturer’s warranties of five years or fewer.
  • American Express Experiences: With both cards, you can receive exclusive access to ticket presales for a variety of events. This could include Broadway shows, concerts, sporting events, and more.

4 important differences between Amex Delta Gold and Amex Delta Platinum

One of the best ways to find a new card that suits your needs is to compare credit cards and spot the differences between them. This will help you see where one card’s benefits may align with your needs more than another. When you compare the Amex Delta Gold vs. Platinum, you’ll find these key differences:

1. Annual fee

The Amex Delta Gold has an annual fee of $99 (waived first year), whereas the Amex Delta Platinum has a $250 annual fee. If you look at this from the perspective of which card will cost more in annual fees each year, the Amex Delta Gold is the less expensive option. You can learn more about this card in our Amex Delta Gold review.

But don’t forget to factor in other benefits of each card when looking at their annual costs. For example, the Amex Delta Platinum offers a complimentary companion certificate each year when you renew your card. If you use this certificate for a round-trip flight that costs at least $250, you’ve already offset the $250 annual fee. If the flight costs more, it’s bonus savings.

Great Welcome Offer and Continuing Rewards

Benefits

  • Earn 40,000 bonus miles after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
  • Earn up to $50 in statement credits on purchases at U.S. restaurants in the first 3 months
  • 2X miles on purchases with Delta, at restaurants, and at U.S. supermarkets
  • Check your first bag free on Delta flights
  • Annual fee is waived your first year
  • $99 annual fee. Terms apply.
  • See rates and fees

2. Earning potential

The earning potential is similar on both cards, but one of them is clearly better than the other. Here’s how the earning rates stack up:

  • The Amex Delta Gold earns 2X miles on qualifying Delta purchases, at restaurants, and at U.S supermarkets; and 1 mile per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases
  • The Amex Delta Platinum earns 3X miles per dollar spent on purchases made directly with Delta and at hotels; 2X miles per dollar spent at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets; and 1X miles for every dollar spent on all other eligible purchases

Overall, the Amex Delta Platinum edges out the Amex Delta Gold with increased opportunities to earn Delta SkyMiles on your purchases. You can learn more about this card in our Amex Delta Platinum review.

Free Bag & Priority Boarding

Benefits

  • Earn 50,000 miles and 5,000 MQMs after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months
  • Earn up to $100 in statement credits on purchases at U.S. restaurants in the first 3 months
  • 3X miles on purchases made directly with Delta and at hotels
  • First checked bag free on Delta flights
  • Statement credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry
  • $250 annual fee. Terms apply.
  • See rates and fees

3. Travel benefits

Both cards offer some of the same travel benefits, such as a free first checked bag and priority boarding on Delta flights, but you get a lot of differences as well. For example, the Amex Delta Gold offers $100 in Delta flight credits if you spend $10,000 on your card in a calendar year, which isn’t available on the Amex Delta Platinum.

However, the Amex Delta Platinum provides loads more benefits overall, including a way to earn up to 20,000 MQMs each calendar year by spending $50,000. That could get you closer to your next Medallion status. In addition, you get an annual companion certificate, application fee reimbursement for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry, and $39 entry rates for Delta Sky Club access. Select benefits require enrollment.

If you’re after Delta elite status, lounge access, and premium benefits, the Amex Delta Platinum outperforms the Amex Delta Gold. 

4. Travel insurance

Travel insurance isn’t typically a top priority when choosing a travel credit card, but it can come in handy when you need it and it could end up saving you hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Both credit card offers include car rental loss and damage insurance, but the Amex Delta Platinum adds on trip delay insurance and baggage insurance as well for further protection while traveling.

Which card should you choose?

Both the Amex Delta Gold and Platinum are designed for travelers who like to fly Delta and want to earn bonus miles on everyday purchases such as groceries and dining. But to choose the best credit card between the two requires looking at your lifestyle and spending habits.

Both cards have annual fees, but the annual fee of $99 (waived first year) on the Amex Delta Gold is much lower than the $250 on the Amex Delta Platinum. If you don’t want to worry about a high annual cost, the Amex Delta Gold is likely the better option. But the annual companion certificate on the Amex Delta Platinum can easily offset that cost, which is something you have to consider.

It’s also worth considering how often you travel and fly Delta throughout the year. If you’re only an occasional Delta flyer, you may not need a lot of travel benefits, and the Amex Delta Gold could suit you well enough. But if you travel frequently, the additional travel benefits on the Amex Delta Platinum can offer you loads of value.

In addition, look at how the earning potential varies with each card. Let’s say you spend $500 on Delta flights, $500 on hotel stays, $500 on dining, and $500 on groceries on the year. Here’s how your miles earned would stack up with each card:

  • Amex Delta Gold: You would earn 3,500 miles. That’s 2X miles on qualifying Delta purchases, at restaurants, and at U.S supermarkets; and 1 mile per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases.
  • Amex Delta Platinum: You would earn 5,000 miles. That’s 3X miles per dollar spent on purchases made directly with Delta and at hotels; 2X miles per dollar spent at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets; and 1X miles for every dollar spent on all other eligible purchases.

The Platinum Card has the higher earning potential overall, but only if you’re using it on its bonus categories. However, both cards enable you to earn miles on everyday purchases. The Amex Delta Gold could still make sense if you want to earn miles on everyday spending, but don’t spend much on airfare or other travel expenses each year. The Amex Delta Platinum likely makes more sense if you’re traveling more, both for its premium benefits and for its bonus categories.

FAQs

Can I upgrade my Delta Gold Amex to Platinum?

Yes, you can likely upgrade your Delta Gold Amex to a Delta Platinum Amex. Upgrades from American Express are typically available after you’ve had a card for at least one year, though it’s possible to receive a targeted upgrade offer from Amex before hitting the year mark.

However, be aware that taking an upgrade offer may not be as rewarding as directly signing up for the new Amex card you want. For example, you might be able to earn a welcome bonus by taking an upgrade opportunity, but the welcome offer from directly signing up for the card would likely be higher than the upgrade offer.

Is the Delta Gold Amex worth it?

The Delta Gold Amex is worth it if you want to earn Delta SkyMiles on everyday purchases to help fuel your Delta travels. If you are a frequent flyer, the miles you earn from purchases and the first free checked bag benefit could easily offset the annual fee of $99 (waived first year). But if you want premium travel benefits, the Delta Platinum Amex is likely the better option.

Is the Delta Platinum Amex worth it?

The Delta Platinum Amex is worth it for frequent Delta flyers who want premium benefits and the opportunity to earn additional MQMs for Delta elite statuses. The $250 annual fee may seem steep, but the annual companion certificate benefit can easily offset this annual cost. With that fee covered, additional benefits such as travel insurance, TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fee credit, and free first checked bag are all bonuses. Select benefits require enrollment.


Bottom line

The best card for you between the Amex Delta Gold vs. Platinum is the one that aligns most with your financial goals. Both cards can help you earn Delta SkyMiles on everyday purchases, but one might be better than the other depending on how often you travel and whether you want premium travel benefits.

If these cards don’t suit your needs, consider one of the cards on our list of the best travel credit cards instead. A card like The Platinum Card® from American Express earns Membership Rewards points, which can be transferred to multiple travel partners, including Delta Air Lines. You can learn more about this card in our American Express Platinum Card review.

Great Welcome Offer and Continuing Rewards

Benefits

  • Earn 40,000 bonus miles after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
  • Earn up to $50 in statement credits on purchases at U.S. restaurants in the first 3 months
  • 2X miles on purchases with Delta, at restaurants, and at U.S. supermarkets
  • Check your first bag free on Delta flights
  • Annual fee is waived your first year
  • $99 annual fee. Terms apply.
  • See rates and fees

Author Details

Ben Walker Ben Walker is a credit cards and travel writer at FinanceBuzz who loves helping others achieve their travel goals through financially-sound decisions. For nearly a decade, he has been using credit card points and miles for the sole purpose of traveling the world. Ben has been featured in The Washington Post, MSN, Debt.com, and Finder.com.