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Question: For Delta SkyMiles members, is having The Platinum Card from American Express better than having a Delta co-branded American Express card for accumulating frequent flier points and services?

Answer: Why would you want to lock your miles into one airline? That’s the biggest piece of advice we can give you here. When earning miles and points, it’s the flexibility to be able to use them with any airline or hotel partner (among others) when you need them.

delta credit cards

Award Travel With Delta and Delta Credit Cards

If you sign up for a Delta co-branded American Express card (or even the mightier Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express), you are holding miles hostage in SkyMiles. The program has removed all transparency from its program. This means you will never know how much an award ticket costs you. Delta deleted award charts years ago with other airlines soon following.

How can you save up for that dream trip if you don’t know how much it will cost in miles?

Still, if you value their flash sales and don’t mind paying more miles than other airlines typically charge for a flight, Delta cards do hold value for some fliers. For example, if you live in a Delta hub city and value nonstop flights, it’s good to have.

However, note that The Platinum Card® from American Express is also a transfer partner with Delta.

The Platinum Card from American Express

With the Platinum Card from American Express, you earn Membership Rewards points. Cardholders can redeem these points like cash on most airlines or at hotel and travel partners. Of course, you can also transfer them to airline partners if you find an award that really suits you (including Delta SkyMiles).

There’s no need to tie up miles with Delta until you need to use them. Some of the best travel credit cards for beginners come with the benefit of flexibility which is a great way to get your feet wet. 

True, The Platinum Card® from American Express is a premium credit card. But when you factor in Priority Pass membership, rebates on services like Global Entry/TSA Pre-Check and Uber rides, an annual $200 airline credit, and 5x points on airfare booked directly with airlines or through the Amex portal, it’s a no brainer.

Delta Credit Cards

There are several perks that come with Delta credit cards. New cardholders have the ability to earn a nice welcome bonus (depending on the card) as long as they hit the minimum spend within the first 3 months of account opening.

Delta’s co-branded credit cards give you two miles per dollar spent, but only on Delta.

The Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express comes with access to Delta Sky Clubs, but only when flying on Delta. By the way, that same benefit comes with The Platinum Card. The Reserve card also gives Medallion members a slight edge when it comes to domestic upgrades.

But, those are becoming harder to score these days too.

One of the few areas where Delta cards have an edge is with free checked bags. The Reserve card offers the chance to buy discounted companion passes to the SkyClub ($29 per additional guest, up to two). It also has one companion certificate, as does the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express.

This means you can take along someone when you travel provided you purchase a qualifying fare. The Reserve card comes with bonus Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQM) boosts when you spend at least $25,000 in a calendar year.

In Summary

If you’re a heavy packer, have a hard time reaching the next Medallion tier and only fly Delta (and don’t care about other perks like Priority Pass and Uber), then perhaps a Delta co-branded American Express makes sense. But, for the vast majority of travelers (including many Delta fliers), The Platinum Card is the way to go.

Ramsey Qubein

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Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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