EDIT 8/15: Since the big bonus for the Delta cards ended on July 26, I would highly recommend holding off on the Delta cards until the bonuses increase again.
FOMO is so real, huh? I get this all the time when I see card bonuses about to expire. July 26 is the last day to sign up for the big 60k Delta Gold and 70k Delta Platinum offers, so I thought it would be helpful if I did a little post on why you should or should not sign up for them. As a PSA, the increased bonuses are ONLY available via referral links, so do NOT sign up for the public 30k bonus links you’ll find on Delta’s website. You can apply for the Delta Gold card here and the Delta Platinum card here using our links, or ask a friend or family member for their link.
- Delta Gold: 60k Delta miles after 3k spend in 4 months. $0 annual fee first year, $95 after that. $50 statement credit after any purchase at Delta within 4 months.
- Delta Platinum: 70k Delta miles after 4k spend in 4 months. $195 annual fee, not waived first year. $100 statement credit after any purchase at Delta within 4 months.
So…let’s go through and see what the pros and cons are for signing up right now. First things first, the big reason for or against this card should be the sign-up bonus. If you can’t/won’t use the Delta miles, then there’s no point in adding another card to your repertoire (took me quite a few tries to spell that correctly). So, what could you do with the miles? If you decide the miles are valuable to you, then skip down to the pros/cons section below.
What are Delta miles worth?
Delta doesn’t publish an award chart, so you can’t tell exactly how many miles a flight is going to be just based on the region. However, generally flights are going to be 10-25k round trip domestically, about 60-80k miles for Europe flights, 30-45k for Caribbean, 50-80k for South America, 90-100k for Australia, and 60-80k for Asia. That’s VERY generalized, so I’ll give some more specific examples below for those destinations. A cool thing, however, is that shorter flights within the US can often have really good deals, like 11k miles round trip from Salt Lake to San Diego. I can never guarantee how much a certain route is going to cost, because it all depends on when and where you’re flying! In my experience, best value is domestic flights, Europe, and Australia. South America and the Caribbean are okay on Delta, but I’ve had better luck with American and United miles for those destinations instead. Who knows though – maybe I was just looking at the wrong time/places and you can find good deals for those routes.
Domestic Trips: Salt Lake to San Diego for 11k miles round trip, and Salt Lake to New York for 25k miles round trip.
Europe: SLC to Paris for 60k miles round trip. Not the lowest cost to Europe, but pretty dang close.
Australia: 90k miles round trip. It’s not the lowest cost of all the airlines, but it’s close. Also, there is tons of availability if you’re looking 8-10 months ahead of time. Delta has their own planes and partners with Virgin Australia, so that helps here.
Asia: 70k miles round trip. This is to Haneda, one of the Tokyo airports. Not the cheapest miles-wise, but pretty close to the rest of the pack.
Why SHOULD I sign up for the Delta cards?
- 60k (or 70k) miles is worth anywhere from $500-$1000+, so it’s a pretty good return as far as card applications go.
- If you are already over the 5/24 rule (i.e. have more than 5 new cards in the past 24 months) and can’t get more of the best Chase cards, this is one of the top bonuses available.
- If you have a spouse and/or SO, you can refer them for an additional 10k miles. Amex allows you to instantly refer other people to cards, so this means you can both get it in the next few days to up your take-home by 10k.
- You can get free checked bags with the Delta cards, which can save a lot of money for families on big trips.
- The gold card has $0 annual fee for the first year, so it’s a pretty low-risk entry.
- Even if you don’t think you’ll use the “statement credit” ($50 on Gold and $100 on Platinum for making a purchase on Delta), you can buy a Delta gift card to trigger the credit, and then re-sell the gift card on Raise or other websites for 84% of face value.
- Delta Platinum specifically – if you fly Delta a lot (for work maybe?) and are pretty close to hitting a new status tier with Delta, the 10k MQM (Medallian Qualifying Miles) bonus on the Delta Platinum card could be really helpful to bump you to the next status level.
- Delta Platinum specifically – The “companion fare” is interesting but you don’t get it until the second year, meaning you would have to pay the annual fee again before you get it. I honestly don’t think it’s that great of a deal, but you can read about it here in a pretty good article.
Why SHOULDN’T I sign up for the Delta cards?
- If you are under 5/24, you should strongly consider starting with the Chase cards first. Unless there is a really compelling reason from the above list (or you don’t want to get 5 Chase cards), I would say these Delta cards should wait until you’ve gotten your fill of Chase first.
- If you don’t check bags, the free checked bag wouldn’t help you.
- If you only want domestic travel, but you already have the Southwest Companion Pass. This really only applies to those with spouse/SO, but if you already have the companion pass you should be using that for all domestic/Caribbean travel. The miles cost for 1 + companion pass will almost always be lower than Delta’s cost for 2 people.
- If you don’t live near a Delta hub, Delta miles might be inconvenient. Obviously they have more flights out of their hubs (Salt Lake, LA, Atlanta, Detroit, Minneapolis, etc.), so if you aren’t close to one of those, then you may have to connect to your destination. You won’t usually pay more miles, but connecting can be annoying sometimes.
- If you want a set award chart to see how much each destination will cost in points, Delta isn’t for you. Delta doesn’t publish one, which means sometimes it will take some time to figure out how much different destinations will cost you points-wise.
The Delta bonuses are really intriguing. I wouldn’t say they are the best in the game right now by any means, but for someone who flies Delta a lot, or who has already run through a lot of other good card bonuses, they can be quite lucrative. The Delta gold is the easier, low-cost entry into Delta miles, but the Delta Platinum offers other benefits that might appeal to a more experienced traveler. Definitely do some more research before applying, but hopefully this is a good launching point for some who are intrigued!
As a reminder, the increased bonuses are ONLY available via referral links, so do NOT sign up for the public 30k bonus links you’ll find on Delta’s website. You can apply for the Delta Gold card here and the Delta Platinum card here using our links, or ask a friend or family member for their link.