By Chad Morris


5 Min. To Read

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If you fly regularly on Delta Air Lines, American Express offers a card that earns miles in the company’s frequent flyer program, SkyMiles. In fact, there are three Delta SkyMiles cards. They have different levels of rewards with different annual fees.

The first one is the Gold Delta SkyMiles card. It comes with the lowest annual fee, $95, but provides some good benefits. The card earns one mile for every dollar spent on purchases, and there is no annual maximum on the number of miles that can be earned.

Next in line is the Platinum Delta SkyMiles card. It costs $195 per year and earns the same level of miles: one mile for every dollar spent. Like the Gold card, the Platinum version also has no maximum on the number of miles that can be accumulated.

The most prestigious card is the Delta Reserve card. It carries a hefty $450 annual fee, but earns two miles per dollar spent on Delta purchases. It receives one mile for all other purchases.

All three Delta SkyMiles cards carry a host of nice perks, including a free checked bag on all Delta flights. Normally, the airline charges $25. None of the cards imposes any surcharges on purchases made in a foreign currency. This is a generous policy, because American Express cardholders usually must pay 2.7%.

All three cards grant access to Delta Sky Club, the airline’s posh airport lounge. Gold and Platinum members pay $29 for each visit, which is a discounted rate. Both cards offer the same reduced rate to two traveling companions. The Reserve card offers access to the Sky Club for free to the cardholder, while guests pay $29.

Delta Sky Club lounges come with private restrooms, complimentary beverages and snacks, satellite TV, magazines and newspapers, wifi access, and personalized flight support. Delta lounges are located in several major global cities, including Honolulu, Melbourne, Los Angeles, Montreal, and San Francisco.

All three cards also come with priority boarding. Purchases made in-flight with any card qualify for a 20% discount, which is issued as a statement credit. A global assist hotline is available to all cardmembers who travel more than 100 miles from home. AmEx offers medical, financial, legal, and other assistance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in emergency situations. The bank will help with passport replacement, missing luggage, and wires of funds. There are fees for some of these services, however.

Miles that are earned with Delta’s American Express cards can be used not just on Delta flights, but also on travel with some of Delta’s partners. These airlines include Virgin Atlantic, Hawaiian Airlines, KLM, Alitalia, Air France, China Eastern, and Korean Air. In total, there are 26 Delta affiliates.

The Delta SkyMiles cards also offer car rental insurance that covers damage or theft. The entire rental must be paid for with a SkyMiles card, and the vehicle’s collision damage waiver must be declined at the car counter by the cardholder.

AmEx provides assistance with entertainment events as well. SkyMiles cardholders are eligible for help with concert tours, Broadway shows, family and sporting events, and ticket presales. Some local events are held for cardmembers only.

Smartphone users will benefit from the cards’ generous insurance for mobile devices. Any phone purchased with a SkyMiles card automatically receives coverage for accidental damage, up to $1,000 per occurrence and $50,000 per calendar year.

The Reserve card offers some opulent perks that the other two cards don’t have. For instance, Delta provides concierge services around the clock to Reserve members. The airline will assist Reserve cardholders with finding a restaurant or arranging the details of an upcoming event. Cardholders also get a free domestic round-trip first class ticket for one companion after renewing the Reserve card each year. Taxes and fees are the responsibility of the cardholder.

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