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Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express – Review

Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express – Review

Learn more about this card and find out how you can apply here.

The Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express is an airline credit card with an extremely generous portfolio of perks for frequent Delta flyers and a travel rewards program that favors Delta purchases. The rewards program is similar to the American Express Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card (and its cousin, Gold Delta SkyMiles for Business). However, Platinum Delta SkyMiles’s frequent flyer perks definitely step it up from the Gold level, and the rewards program has an added component that rewards heavy spending with accelerated progress toward Delta’s Medallion status thresholds.

Though Platinum Delta SkyMiles is a generous travel rewards credit card by any stretch of the imagination, it’s also pricey: its annual fee is $195, and is not waived in the first year (as is the case with many less-generous travel rewards cards). If you want this card in your wallet, you need to use it often enough – and fly Delta frequently enough – to make it worth the cost.

This card has a three-part welcome offer. First, when you spend at least $1,000 within three months of opening your account, you receive 35,000 bonus Delta SkyMiles. That’s good for at least one domestic economy round-trip ticket, and possibly as many as three domestic economy one-ways. Second, the same $1,000 spend entitles you to 5,000 bonus Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs). And third, you get a $100 statement credit when you make a Delta purchase with your card within the same three-month period.

To truly understand how this card works, you need some background on Delta’s Medallion status program.

Medallion has four tiers: Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond. All confer generous benefits for frequent Delta flyers, including complimentary class and preferred seating upgrades, accelerating MQM and SkyMiles earnings, priority boarding, and waived fees (including baggage and standby). Medallion benefits become more attractive as you ascend the tier ladder, with Diamond status (the highest status) conferring a complimentary Delta Sky Club (airport lounge) membership and two Global Entry application vouchers.

To achieve Medallion status levels, you need to combine adequate MQMs (miles calculated as a multiple of total distance flown on each flight, usually 100% of distance in economy and 200% of distance in first class) or Medallion Qualification Segments (MQSs – basically, any Delta flight segment) and adequate Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs – dollars spent with Delta, including base fares, surcharges, and certain upgrades) within a calendar year. You then earn Medallion status for the remainder of the current year and all of the subsequent year.

Silver Medallion status requires 25,000 MQMs or 30 MQSs and $3,000 MQDs; Gold Medallion status requires 50,000 MQMs or 60 MQSs and $6,000 MQDs; Platinum Medallion status requires 75,000 MQMs or 100 MQSs and $9,000 MQDs; and Diamond Medallion status requires 125,000 MQMs or 140 MQSs and $15,000 MQDs.

Every $1 spent on Delta purchases (including airfare, lounge passes, in-flight purchases, and other incidental expenditures) earns 2 Delta SkyMiles, with no limits on how much you can earn. All other purchases earn an unlimited 1 SkyMile per $1 spent. Accumulated SkyMiles can be redeemed for Delta airfare.

Redemption thresholds vary, but generally start at 10,000 SkyMiles for some domestic economy one-ways and 12,500 SkyMiles for a broader range of domestic flights with more flexible travel dates. Keep in mind that Delta’s redemption tables are not set in stone – certain travel times, dates, and destinations (for example, peak-season weekend flights versus off-season weekday flights to popular vacation destinations) may require more SkyMiles.

Point values are likewise variable – they generally range between $0.005 to $0.02 at redemption, but can be higher or lower. In general, expensive long-haul flights offer better value than cheap short-haul flights. If you don’t have enough SkyMiles to redeem for a full fare, you can use Delta’s Pay With Miles feature (an exclusive benefit for Amex Gold and Platinum Delta SkyMiles cardholders) to reduce the cost of your desired fare. Pay With Miles redemptions require at least 5,000 SkyMiles and always value miles at $0.01 apiece, so a 10,000-SkyMile Pay With Miles redemption equates to a $100 fare reduction.

It’s also possible to redeem SkyMiles at the Delta SkyMiles MarketPlace for merchandise, gift cards, and special experiences (such as musical performances). However, MarketPlace redemptions usually undervalue miles – in many cases, at significantly less than $0.01 apiece. On the other hand, MarketPlace redemption thresholds are lower – sometimes as low as 2,000 SkyMiles.

When you renew your card (at your annual renewal date), you get one companion certificate, good for one domestic economy round-trip flight. To use the certificate, the designated companion needs to be traveling with the primary cardholder, who must purchase the ticket (and pay any government taxes and fees on the companion fare) with his or her Platinum Delta SkyMiles credit card.

When you spend at least $25,000 on your card (in total purchases) in a calendar year, you get 10,000 bonus Medallion Qualification Miles and 10,000 bonus SkyMiles. When you clear the $50,000 annual spending threshold within a calendar year, you get an additional 10,000 MQMs and 10,000 SkyMiles, for a total potential spending bonus of 20,000 MQMs and 20,000 SkyMiles.

If you spend at least $25,000 in a calendar year with your Platinum Delta SkyMiles card and have earned the requisite MQMs or Medallion Qualifying Segments (MQSs) to reach a given Medallion status level, Delta waives that level’s MQD requirements. For instance, if you’ve accumulated the 50,000 MQMs necessary for Gold Medallion status, you don’t need the $6,000 MQDs normally required to complete Gold qualification.

Platinum Delta SkyMiles has a host of additional Delta travel benefits, including one free checked bag for the cardholder ($25 value per one-way segment); up to three discounted Delta Sky Club (airport lounge) passes on every trip ($29 per pass, regularly valued at $59); 20% off all in-flight purchases; and priority boarding (prior to general group boarding).

This card features several general travel benefits that don’t require cardholders to fly with Delta. These include complimentary loss and damage insurance for rental cars paid in full with the SkyMiles card; baggage insurance for lost, stolen, or damaged baggage; 24/7 global assistance for travelers more than 100 miles from home; and 24/7 roadside assistance.

Platinum Delta SkyMiles has several benefits and protections for shoppers, all underwritten by American Express. These include extended warranties (up to one year) on items with original warranties of five years or less, and purchase protection (reimbursement) for broken or stolen items within three months (90 days) of purchase.

There is a $195 annual fee, but no foreign transaction fee. Balance transfers and cash advances both cost the greater of $5 or 3%. Late and returned payments both cost $37.

This card requires excellent credit.

Delta is a major U.S. airline with several hubs and hundreds of destination cities. Indeed, much of the U.S. population lives close to an airport served by Delta or its affiliates. These consumers comprise Platinum Delta SkyMiles’ target audience – though, given its stringent credit requirements and limited appeal to people who don’t spend heavily, it’s only appropriate for a small fraction of them.

On the other hand, if you belong to the relatively small cohort of U.S. consumers who don’t live within easy reach of a Delta airport, the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express definitely isn’t appropriate for you. The good news is that there’s probably at least one airline credit card – or perhaps a general purpose travel card, such as Chase Sapphire Preferred – that is a better fit.

Learn more about this card and find out how you can apply here.

The Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express is an excellent card for frequent, heavy-spending Delta flyers who want to accelerate their progress toward Delta’s Medallion status tiers, which confer tremendously generous benefits that increase in value as you rise through the ranks. On the other hand, Platinum Delta SkyMiles is decidedly not meant for people who don’t spend enough to offset the high annual fee, nor those who aren’t especially loyal to Delta.

Accelerated Medallion status, an excellent welcome offer, the annual Companion Certificate, SkyMiles bonuses, airport lounge benefits, generous Delta and general travel benefits, and no foreign transaction fees are all great. Limited rewards portability, poor redemption values at SkyMiles MarketPlace, slow SkyMiles accumulation on non-Delta spending, and no automatic loyalty status all hurt. Overall, a very good card for heavy-spending Delta loyalists.

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Categories: American Express, Credit and Debt, Credit Cards, Lifestyle, Reviews, Travel

Brian Martucci writes about frugal living, entrepreneurship, and innovative ideas. When he’s not interviewing small business owners or investigating time- and money-saving strategies for Money Crashers readers, he’s probably out exploring a new trail or sampling a novel cuisine. Find him on Twitter @Brian_Martucci.

Comments Disclosure: The below responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express – Review

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