Best American Express Airline Credit Cards

Interior of airplane with people sitting on seats.
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American Express has long had a reputation as a service-oriented company, so it makes sense that it offers a wide range of airline credit cards tailored to the needs of various travelers. However, currently, the American Express line of airline credit cards is tied solely to Delta Airlines.

About American Express Airline Credit Cards

What this means is that American Express has a great range of options for Delta flyers, but those flying other airlines might want to look into using a different card issuer.

Here are the four best airline credit cards offered by American Express, with explanations of how they differ and what type of flyer might be most appropriate for each card.

Credit Card Features
Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card Best for: Regular Delta Flyers
  • 90,000 bonus miles after you make $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months
  • 15.74% to 24.74% variable APR
  • $39 Delta Sky Club Access per visit/per person
  • 20% Back on In-Flight purchases
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre Check®
  • First Checked Bag Free
  • Priority Boarding
  • Status boost after $25,000 AND $50,000 eligible purchases
Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card Best for: Casual Delta Flyers
  • Earn 70,000 bonus miles after you make $1,000 in purchases on your new Card, in the first 3 months
    15.74% to 24.74% variable APR
  • Earn up to $50 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at US restaurants on your new Card in your first 3 month
  • $100 Delta Flight Credit, after $10,000 spent in the first year
  • 20% back on In-flight purchases
  • First checked bag free
  • Priority Boarding
Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card Best for: One-Time Delta Flyers
  • Earn 10,000 bonus miles after you spend $500 in eligible purchases on your new Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card in the first 3 months
  • 15.74% to 24.74% variable APR
  • 20% Back on In-Flight purchases
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card Best for: Upper-Tier Elite Delta Flyers
  • 80,000 bonus miles after you make $5,000 in purchases in first 3 months
    15.74% to 24.74% variable APR
  • Earn $100 in statement credits for eligible purchases at US restaurants in the first 3 months
  • 20% back on In-Flight purchases
  • Access to complimentary upgrades
  • Complimentary access to SkyLounge and Centurion Lounge
  • Two one time guest passes to lounge
  • Companion travel certificates
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre Check®
  • No charge for first checked bag
  • Priority boarding
  • Status boost after every $30,000 in purchases up to $120,000

Earn More Perks From Your Credit Card

Best Credit Card for Regular Delta Flyers

If Delta is your preferred airline but you don’t live in an airport, the Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card might be the right card for you.

The card regularly offers a 50,000 mile sign-up bonus, but until Nov. 10, 2021 you’ll earn a whopping 90,000 miles if you spend $3,000 in the first three months of card ownership. Additionally, you’ll earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles, making it easier to qualify for elite status.

Additional Perks

Additional airline perks that a regular Delta flyer may enjoy include 20% back on in-flight purchases, a fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre Check, priority boarding and a free bag every time you fly. The card also offers discounted access to the Delta Sky Club, at just $39 per visit per person.

Mileage kickers of three miles for every dollar apply to Delta purchases and those made directly with hotels, making the card a bit more enticing even for non-Delta flyers. The card also offers double miles at supermarkets and restaurants, in addition to one mile for each dollar on all other purchases.

Annual Fee

A $250 annual fee comes with card membership, however, which is why it benefits regular travelers the most, as they’re more likely to earn enough points to offset the fee. Heavy spenders can earn an additional 10,000 MQMs after reaching the $25,000 and $50,000 spending thresholds.

Best Credit Card for Casual Delta Flyers

If Delta is your preferred airline but you don’t fly too frequently, the $0 annual fee Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card might be more your speed. The card still offers a free checked bag on all flights, in addition to priority boarding and 20% of in-flight purchases, all conveniences that even an infrequent traveler can enjoy. After $10,000 spent in the first year, cardholders can also receive a $100 Delta eCredit for a flight.

As with the other American Express Delta airlines cards, there’s currently an enhanced sign-up bonus available through Nov. 10, 2021. For the Delta SkyMiles American Express Blue Card, new cardholders can earn a significant 70,000 bonus miles after just $2,000 in purchases in the first three months after account opening.

Earn More Perks From Your Credit Card

This is on top of up to $50 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants in the first three months. The card also offers double miles on all Delta and restaurant purchases.

With no annual fee, this is the perfect card for the occasional flyer to keep in their wallet for the times they do hop on a Delta flight.

Best Credit Card for One-Time Delta Flyers

If you’re looking for an American Express airline card and don’t expect to fly too much, the Delta SkyMiles Blue American Express Card might offer value for you. This card does not have an annual membership fee and has a sign-up bonus 10,000 miles after you spend $500 in eligible purchases in the first three months. For those times you do fly on Delta, the card also offers 20% back on in-flight purchases.

Best Credit Card for Upper-Tier Elite Delta Flyers

Frequent Delta flyers looking for the best perks from a credit card will appreciate all the features and benefits of the Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card. For starters, the usual 60,000-mile sign-up bonus has been increased to 80,000 until Nov. 10, 2021, after spending $5,000 in the first three months after account opening. The sign-up bonus also includes 20,000 Medallion Qualifying Miles to help you reach elite status faster.

The biggest drawback to this card is the hefty $550 annual fee, but customers that fly Delta a lot can easily get more value out of the card. For example, in addition to complimentary access to the Delta SkyLounge and the American Express Centurion lounge, cardholders are offered two one-time guest passes. Additional features and benefits include the following:

  • Earn $100 in statement credits for U.S. purchases for the first three months
  • 20% back on in-flight purchases
  • Access to complimentary upgrades
  • Companion travel certificates
  • Fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre Check®
  • Fee waiver for the first checked bag
  • Priority boarding in Main Cabin 1
  • Status boost after every $30,000 in purchases up to $120,000

The bottom line is that for frequent Delta flyers, the Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express provides a host of attractive features and services.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by American Express. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone and have not been endorsed by American Express.

About the Author

After earning a B.A. in English with a Specialization in Business from UCLA, John Csiszar worked in the financial services industry as a registered representative for 18 years. Along the way, Csiszar earned both Certified Financial Planner and Registered Investment Adviser designations, in addition to being licensed as a life agent, while working for both a major Wall Street wirehouse and for his own investment advisory firm. During his time as an advisor, Csiszar managed over $100 million in client assets while providing individualized investment plans for hundreds of clients.

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