Review: The Platinum Delta Amex is a serious contender for Delta regulars thanks to its companion certificate and other perks

The Platinum Delta SkyMiles Amex stands out from other airline credit cards thanks to its annual companion certificate.

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The Platinum Delta SkyMiles Amex stands out from other airline credit cards thanks to its annual companion certificate.
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Alyssa Powell/Business Insider

If you regularly find yourself traveling with Delta, you should know about the Platinum Delta SkyMiles credit card from American Express. This credit card rewards you with Delta miles on every purchase, but the biggest value comes in the form of an annual companion certificate.

The card can also boost you on your way to elite Delta status with MQM earnings, and it offers savings on every trip. When you factor in the limited-time bonus – and the handful of improvements coming to the card in 2020 – the Platinum Delta SkyMiles card becomes a serious contender for Delta regulars.

Keep in mind that we’re focusing on the rewards and perks that make these credit cards great options, not things like interest rates and late fees, which can far outweigh the value of any rewards.

When you’re working to earn credit card rewards, it’s important to practice financial discipline, like paying your balances off in full each month, making payments on time, and not spending more than you can afford to pay back. Basically, treat your credit card like a debit card.

Platinum Delta SkyMiles Amex card details

Annual fee: $195 ($250 if received on or after January 30, 2020)

Welcome bonus: 75,000 bonus miles and 5,000 MQMs after you spend $3,000 in the first three months. Plus, you can receive a $100 statement credit when you make a Delta purchase in the first three months. This offer is available until October 30, 2019.

Miles earning: 2 miles per dollar on Delta purchases, 1 mile per dollar on everything else. (Starting on January 30, 2020, the card will offer 3x miles at hotels and on Delta purchases, and 2x miles at restaurants and US supermarkets)

Foreign transaction fee: None

Welcome bonus

Delta and Amex just announced an overhaul to their lineup of co-branded airline credit cards, which will include new features and rewards categories as well as some increased annual fees. The card changes won’t take effect until January 30, 2020, but to celebrate they’re currently offering elevated welcome bonuses on select consumer Delta credit cards.

The Platinum Delta SkyMiles card is giving new cardholders 75,000 bonus miles and 5,000 MQMs toward elite status after $3,000 in purchases in the first three months after opening a new account. You’ll also get a $100 statement credit if you make a Delta purchase in the same three-month period.

This offer is only available until October 30, 2019, so don’t wait.

Those 75,000 miles are worth about $900 in free travel at Delta (based on The Points Guy’s subjective valuations).

Miles earning

For each regular purchase, you’ll get 1 Delta SkyMiles per dollar. At Delta, you’ll get 2 miles per dollar.

Savvy travel rewards card users probably recognize that this isn’t the best rewards-earning rate out there, especially for non-Delta purchases. The Platinum Delta SkyMiles Amex is great for its wide range of benefits and the high welcome bonus available now, but is not the best option out there for racking up rewards on every type of spending.

If you want to maximize your everyday spending by getting the highest return possible, you’ll want a card that earns more than 1 point or mile (or more than 1% cash back) on every dollar you spend – so not the Platinum Delta Amex for non-Delta purchases.

If you don’t want to keep track of bonus categories, a card like the Citi® Double Cash Card could make sense – it earns 1% back when you buy, and another 1% back when you pay off your balance, for a total of 2% back on all spending.

If you want to earn travel rewards, you could consider the Chase Freedom Unlimited, which earns 1.5% cash back on all spending, but can be combined with Chase Ultimate Rewards-earning cards to earn Chase points, which would get you 1.5x points on every dollar – equal to a 3% return on spending based on The Points Guy’s valuations;.

However, keep in mind the Platinum Delta card is getting new bonus categories in 2020. Starting on January 30, 2020, the card will earn:

  • 3x miles on Delta purchases (up from 2x miles)
  • 2x miles at restaurants and US supermarkets

These rates will make the Platinum Delta Amex a more enticing card to use for purchases beyond just booking Delta flights.

Benefits

Perks when you’re flying Delta

The card includes a domestic main cabin round-trip companion certificate each year after the card anniversary. This is like a buy-one-get-one-free coupon for a plane ticket. You just have to pay taxes and fees ($75 max) for the companion.

If you want to visit the Delta Sky Club lounge, the card also gets you and two guests a discounted $29 rate per person per visit (jumping to $39 per visit in 2020). Just remember that if you have the Platinum Card® from American Express (the non-Delta Platinum card), that card gets you free Sky Club access when you fly Delta.

The card gives you one free checked bag per trip, worth $60 per round-trip and Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding. On the plane, you’ll get 20% back as a statement credit for in-flight food, beverage, and audio headset purchases.

For those interested in elite elite status, the card offers 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after spending $25,000 in a calendar year. After reaching $50,000, it doubles to 20,000 MQMs.

It’s not a perk specific to Delta, but the Platinum Delta Amex is also adding up to a $100 statement credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck in 2020.

Travel coverage and benefits

Some American Express travel benefits extend beyond Delta and apply any time you travel. Those include rental car insurance, baggage insurance, and an emergency assistance hotline. The car rental loss and damage insurance coverage helps you save money on every car rental, as you can skip the car company’s expensive insurance plan knowing the card has your back.

The card also gives allows you to make purchases anywhere in the world American Express is accepted with no foreign transaction or exchange fees.

Purchase perks and protections

When you make a purchase with this card, you get additional insurance and protections. The card includes an additional year of your original manufacturer’s warranty where eligible. The card will pay for the value of an item you unsuccessfully attempt to return for up to 90 days after the purchase. Maybe most important, the item covers new purchases against theft and accidental damage for up to 120 days.

The card includes a complimentary ShopRunner membership, which works like Amazon Prime and gives you free two-day shipping at over 100 other stores. Amex also has some fun entertainment perks like exclusive presales, cardmember-only events, and other exclusive experiences.’

Is the Platinum Delta SkyMiles credit card right for you?

The card’s $195 annual fee – increasing to $250 in 2020 – makes this card a better choice for more frequent travelers on Delta. If you only take Delta a few times per year, you might consider the lower-tier Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express instead – it charges just $95 per year (waived the first year) and includes a handful of the same benefits, including the free checked bag.

If you want a real luxury card, look at the higher-tier Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express, which includes complimentary Delta Sky Club access when you’re traveling on the airline (and is even adding complimentary Amex Centurion Lounge access for same-day Delta flyers in 2020).

The Platinum Delta Amex card‘s rewards are just so-so, but they’re getting a significant improvement in 2020, when you’ll be able to earn 3x on Delta purchases and 2x at restaurants and US supermarkets. With the companion certificate and the ability to earn MQMs, the benefits stack up quickly for loyal Delta customers or those who find Delta is often the best choice for their needs. If Delta regularly makes it into your plans, this card is definitely worth considering.

Click here to learn more about the Platinum Delta SkyMiles card.