The Best Credit Cards to Use for Delta Airlines Purchases

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Are you using the best credit card for Delta Airlines purchases? By using the following rewards credit cards to earn the most rewards points possible and additional travel perks like free checked bags and Delta SkyClub access. Depending on what Delta rewards you want to earn, there are several options to choose from.

Best Credit Cards to use for Delta Airlines purchases.

Amex Delta Co-Branded Credit Cards

For the Delta enthusiast, Delta partners with American Express and offers four different co-brand credit cards to choose from:

  • Blue Delta SkyMiles Credit Card
  • Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card
  • Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card (Expired)
  • Delta Reserve Credit Card

With any of these cards, you will enjoy the following perks:

  • 2 Delta SkyMiles on every Delta purchase
  • 1 SkyMile for all non-Delta purchases
  • 20% in-flight savings

In addition to these everyday purchases rewards that can be redeemed for Delta award flights, you will also enjoy additional benefits with each card.

Blue Delta SkyMiles Credit Card

Annual Fee: $0

The Blue Delta SkyMiles is a great option for budget conscious travelers and frequent flyers who want a secondary rewards card–you fly Delta at least once a year but not enough to justify owning a Delta credit card with an annual fee.

Besides the 2x SkyMiles bonus on Delta Airlines purchases, you will also earn 2x SkyMiles at every U.S. restaurant.

Because the Blue Delta SkyMiles card is a fee-free card, you won’t enjoy any of the additional card benefits that come from the other co-brand Delta credit cards.

Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card

Annual Fee: $0 the first year then $95

With the Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card, you will enjoy benefits including free checked bags and priority boarding:

Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card (Expired)

Annual Fee: $195

The Platinum Delta SkyMiles is a great option for frequent flyers and its the first co-brand Delta credit card that offers Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) as a welcome offer–the Blue Delta and Gold Delta only offer bonus SkyMiles.

In addition to the nine free checked bags, priority boarding, and discount SkyClub access, you’ll also have these additional card benefits to enjoy:

  • Annual round-trip domestic main cabin companion ticket
  • Bonus 10,000 SkyMiles and 10,000 MQMs by making $25,000 and $50,000 in annual purchases
    (up to 20,000 bonus SkyMiles and 20,000 MQMs)

The annual companion certificate is your card anniversary bonus. Your travel companion flies for a free round-trip in the main cabin and all you have to pay is up to $75 in fees and taxes.

Delta Reserve Credit Card

Delta credit cards

Annual Fee: $450

Premium travelers will enjoy the Delta Reserve Credit Card with the following card benefits:

  • First checked bag flies free for you and 8 passengers
  • Free Delta SkyClub access for primary cardholders ($29 for two additional guests)
  • 15,000 SkyMiles and MQM bonus after spending $30,000 and $60,000 per year
  • Delta Reserve Companion Certificate for domestic first class, comfort+, or main cabin round-trip

The Delta Reserve Companion Certificate anniversary bonus lets your travel companion get a free round-trip on any domestic route; all you have to pay is up to $75 in taxes and fees.

Chase Sapphire Preferred

Annual Fee: $0 then $95

Casual Delta customers might find more value in a flexible travel rewards card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred. You will earn 2 Chase Ultimate Rewards points on all travel and dining purchases and 1 point for everything else.

You can redeem your rewards points for 1.25 cents each through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal; most travel credit cards have a maximum redemption value of 1 cent each for award flights. Your points are automatically worth 25% more because of the travel redemption bonus.

What makes the Sapphire Preferred even more valuable is the ability to transfer your Ultimate Rewards points directly to a frequent flyer program on a 1:1 basis. While Delta isn’t a Chase travel partner, you can transfer your point to Air France Flying Blue or Korean Air to book a partner flight on Delta.

Chase Sapphire Reserve

Annual Fee: $450

The Chase Sapphire Reserve is the premium version of the Sapphire Preferred. You will 3x points on all travel and dining purchases, transfer your points to a Chase travel partner, or redeem them through the Chase travel portal for 1.5 cents each (even Delta flights!).

As a premium travel card, you will also enjoy the following benefits:

  • $300 annual travel credit
  • Complimentary Priority Pass Select lounge access
  • Global Entry/TSA Precheck application fee reimbursement

The $300 annual travel credit can be used for airfare, checked baggage fees, and in-flight purchases. Basically, if the expenses can earn 3x bonus points, it’s eligible for the credit. The Chase Sapphire Reserve also comes with a nice 50,000 point sign-up bonus after spending $4,000 in 3 months.

Platinum Card from American Express

Amex Platinum metal

Annual Fee: $550

Because of the Amex-Delta relationship, the Amex Platinum also has several Delta-friendly travel benefits including 1:1 point transfers and complimentary Delta SkyClub access.

For starters, you will earn 5x Amex Membership Rewards on all airfare booked directly through the carrier or AmexTravel.com. You can then transfer your points on a 1:1 basis directly to Delta and the other Amex air travel partners.

Unless you want free checked bags or the annual Delta companion ticket, the Amex Platinum can easily be the best non-Delta credit card when your primary focus is earning points instead of travel benefits.

Besides the 5x point bonus and the direct 1:1 Delta points transfer option, you will enjoy the following travel benefits:

  • $200 air travel credit
  • $200 Uber credits
  • Global Entry/TSA Precheck Application Fee Reimbursement
  • Free lounge access to Delta SkyClub, Priority Pass, The Centurion, and International American Express

Premier Rewards Gold from American Express

American Express’ pretty Premier Rewards Gold Card (Photo: American Express)

Annual Fee: $0 then $195

The Premier Rewards Gold from American Express isn’t as benefit-rich as the Amex Platinum but you can still transfer your points on a 1:1 basis to Delta and the $100 annual travel credit offsets your baggage fees and in-flight purchases.

You will also earn the following 3-2-1 purchase rewards:

  • 3x points on all airfare purchased directly from the airline
  • 2x points at U.S. gas stations, restaurants, and supermarkets
  • 1x point for all remaining purchases

If you don’t fly Delta regularly, but still want the ability to transfer your points on a 1:1 basis, the Amex PRG provides a happy medium when you can’t justify owning the Amex Platinum.

Starwood Preferred Guest from American Express (Expired)

Annual Fee: $0 then $95

The Starwood Amex is a hotel loyalty card that earns up to 5x bonus Starpoints on Starwood and Marriott stays, but you can still transfer your points on a 1:1 basis to Delta.

You can get a 5,000 point bonus when you transfer at least 20,000 Starpoints at once.

By linking your Starwood and SkyMiles accounts together, you can also earn 1 Starpoint for each dollar spent on Delta ticket purchases.

If you don’t currently own the Amex SPG, you may want to act quickly. New Starwood credit cards will launch in 2018 with potentially different offers.

Summary on the Best Credit Cards for Delta Airline Purchases

American Express and Chase will be your two most Delta-friendly travel credit card issuers. For convenience and Delta travel benefits, the co-brand cards will be your best option. If you aren’t deadset on earning Delta SkyMiles with every purchase, there are some of the to choose from as well.

Mary Renking

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The Best Credit Cards to Use for Delta Airlines Purchases
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About the Author

Mary Renking
Mary writes about how to book travel with award miles & points, reviews top travel credit cards, and basic rewards news.

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