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AmEx launches Blue Delta SkyMiles card with no annual fee

Summary

American Express has expanded its Delta SkyMiles product line with the launch of the Blue Delta SkyMiles card.

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The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date; however, some of the offers mentioned may have expired. Please see the bank’s website for the most current version of card offers; and please review our list of best credit cards, or use our CardMatch™ tool to find cards matched to your needs.

American Express has expanded its Delta SkyMiles product line with the launch of the Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express. Although the new card does not carry the same extensive list of airline perks as its SkyMiles counterparts, the Blue Delta card does offer something that its cohorts do not – no annual fee, ever.

The Blue Delta SkyMiles also gives cardholders 10,000 bonus miles after spending $500 in the first three months of card membership, along with rewards on every purchase, including:

  • 2 miles per dollar at U.S. restaurants
  • 2 miles per dollar on purchases made directly with Delta
  • 1 mile per dollar on all other purchases

Additionally, the Blue Delta SkyMiles card offers several travel perks, including a 20 percent discount on eligible in-flight Delta purchases and coverage against car rental theft or damage.

No-fee airline cards

The Blue Delta SkyMiles card joins the JetBlue card and the recently launched United TravelBank card as airline cards that do not charge annual fees. The main difference among these cards is their redemption options.

Perhaps the most restrictive is the United TravelBank card, which allows cardholders to earn TravelBank cash that can only be redeemed toward United flights. Unless you’re a frequent flyer on United Airlines, this won’t be your best bet.

JetBlue cardholders can redeem TrueBlue points toward a wider range of options, including JetBlue flights, JetBlue vacations, magazine subscriptions, charity and experiences. But keep in mind that JetBlue Airlines flies to a limited number of destinations and does not include much of the Midwest or Europe.

The Blue Delta SkyMiles card lets cardholders redeem miles toward travel on Delta and more than 15 airline partners, purchases at the SkyMiles Marketplace and charity.

Which Delta SkyMiles card is best for you?

While the Blue Delta SkyMiles card is a solid option for the casual traveler, American Express offers more options for avid travelers who are interested in earning more rewards and don’t mind paying an annual fee to enjoy more extensive travel perks.

You can see how the Blue, Gold and Platinum Delta SkyMiles cards compare in the table below. If you’re looking for the best overall value, then you should think twice about avoiding a card with an annual fee. By our estimates, the Gold Delta SkyMiles card – despite its $95 annual fee after the first year – has a better rewards value than the Blue Delta SkyMiles card, thanks to the Gold card’s ample introductory bonus. On top of a better rewards value, you also get better airline perks with the Gold card, including priority boarding and free checked luggage.

COMPARING DELTA SKYMILES CARDS
Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American ExpressGold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American ExpressPlatinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express
Rewards rate
  • 2 miles per dollar at U.S. restaurants
  • 2 miles per dollar on purchases made directly with Delta
  • 1 mile per dollar on general purchases
  • 2 miles per dollar on purchases made directly with Delta
  • 1 mile per dollar on general purchases
  • Terms apply
  • 2 miles per dollar at U.S. restaurants
  • 2 miles per dollar on purchases made directly with Delta
  • 1 mile per dollar on general purchases
Introductory bonus10,000 miles after $500 spend in first 3 months
  • 30,000 miles after $1,000 spend in first 3 months
  • $50 statement credit if you make a Delta purchase in first 3 months
  • 70,000 miles after $3,000 spend in first 3 months
  • 5,000 MQMs after $1,000 spend in first 3 months
  • $100 statement credit after making your first Delta purchase in first 3 months
Annual fee$0$0 first year, then $95$195
Yearly rewards value ($15,900 spend)$356$381$442
Foreign transaction fees2.7% of each transactionNoneNone
Pros
  • 20% discount on in-flight purchases
  • No annual fee
  • First checked bag free
  • Discounted Sky Club access
  • 20% discount on in-flight purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Priority boarding
  • Annual fee waived first year
  • First checked bag free
  • Discounted Sky Club access
  • 20% discount on in-flight purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Priority boarding
  • Free companion ticket
  • Miles boost: Earn up to 20,000 miles and 20,000 MQMs after $50,000 spend in a calendar year
Cons
  • Foreign transaction fees
  • First checked bag not free
  • No discount for Sky Club access
  • No free companion ticket
  • Annual fee not waived first year
The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date. Please see the bank’s website for the most current version of the offer.

First class, anyone?

If first class is your thing, you may want to consider the Delta Reserve card. In addition to all the travel perks offered by the Platinum card, the Reserve card offers concierge service and a complimentary domestic first class companion ticket each year upon renewal of your card. But these additional perks also come with a price tag of $450 each year.

So if you typically fly first class and want to have a companion accompany you in first class once a year, then the extra $255 per year – compared to the annual fee of the Platinum card – could easily be worth it. But if you don’t mind you and your companion flying coach, then the Gold card is the better choice among the two.

See related:Chase and United unveil a new airline rewards card with no annual fee, Borrow Delta SkyMiles now, earn them back later

The editorial content below is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. However, we do receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners. Learn more about our advertising policy

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Published: September 7, 2017

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