Reviews Blue Delta SkyMiles card from American Express review

Blue Delta SkyMiles card from American Express review

Published: September 11, 2017
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Airline Rating:
2.7 rating
2.7 rating
2.7 / 5
Rewards Value: 1.5
Annual Percentage Rate: 0.8
Rewards Flexibility: 4.4
Flight Options: 4.3
Features: 3.0

In a nutshell:

While the rewards can’t compare to a premium airline card with an annual fee, the Blue Delta SkyMiles card is your best option for earning airline miles without having to pay an annual fee.

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Rewards Rate

  • 2:1 Eligible Delta purchases
  • 2:1 U.S. restaurants
  • 1:1 other purchases

Sign-up Bonus
10,000 miles if you spend $500 in first 3 months

Annual Bonus
None

Annual Fee
$0

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($15,900 spend)
$298

APR
16.74-25.74% (variable)

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • Miles don’t expire
  • No blackout dates
  • No limits to how many miles you can earn
  • One-way flights allowed
  • Miles + cash option available for some rewards flights
  • Large number of airline partners

Cons

  • $25 fee for phone bookings, $35 for Ticket Office bookings
  • Stopovers not permitted
  • Fuel surcharges on some partners and on Delta one-way flights from Europe

Flight Options

  • Airline partners: 19
  • Daily flights: 14,500
  • Destinations: 800
  • Countries served: 170

Other Notable Features: 20% discount on in-flight Delta purchases, car rental insurance, free roadside assistance, event presales, lowest hotel rate guarantee, return protection, purchase protection, extended warranty

No Annual Fee Rating:
3.7 rating
3.7 rating
3.7 / 5
Rewards Value: 3.6
Annual Percentage Rate: 0.2
Rewards Flexibility: 4.4
Features: 3.0

In a nutshell:

For fledgling cardholders not ready to commit to an airline card with an annual fee, the Blue Delta SkyMiles card is a good option to earn SkyMiles.

Learn more about this card

Rewards Rate

  • 2:1 Eligible Delta purchases
  • 2:1 U.S. restaurants
  • 1:1 other purchases

Sign-up Bonus
10,000 miles if you spend $500 in first 3 months

Annual Fee
$0

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($15,900 spend)
$298

APR
16.74-25.74% (variable)

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • Miles don’t expire
  • No blackout dates
  • No limits to how many miles you can earn
  • One-way flights allowed
  • Miles + cash option available for some rewards flights
  • Large number of airline partners

Cons

  • $25 fee for phone bookings, $35 for Ticket Office bookings
  • Stopovers not permitted
  • Fuel surcharges on some partners and on Delta one-way flights from Europe

Other Notable Features: 20% discount on in-flight Delta purchases, car rental insurance, free roadside assistance, event presales, lowest hotel rate guarantee, return protection, purchase protection, extended warranty

Rewards Rating:
3.4 rating
3.4 rating
3.4 / 5
Rewards Value: 2.9
Annual Percentage Rate: 0.4
Rewards Flexibility: 4.4
Features: 3.0

In a nutshell:

You can earn miles at a fairly high rate with this no-annual-fee airline card, but you can find several flexible travel cards — and even a few cash back cards — that offer more flexible and more valuable rewards.

Learn more about this card

Rewards Rate

  • 2:1 Eligible Delta purchases
  • 2:1 U.S. restaurants
  • 1:1 other purchases

Sign-up Bonus
10,000 miles if you spend $500 in first 3 months

Annual Fee
$0

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($15,900 spend)
$298

APR
16.74-25.74% (variable)

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • Miles don’t expire
  • No blackout dates
  • No limits to how many miles you can earn
  • One-way flights allowed
  • Miles + cash option available for some rewards flights
  • Large number of airline partners

Cons

  • $25 fee for phone bookings, $35 for Ticket Office bookings
  • Stopovers not permitted
  • Fuel surcharges on some partners and on Delta one-way flights from Europe

Other Notable Features: 20% discount on in-flight Delta purchases, car rental insurance, free roadside assistance, event presales, lowest hotel rate guarantee, return protection, purchase protection, extended warranty

Travel Rating:
3.2 rating
3.2 rating
3.2 / 5
Rewards Value: 2.5
Annual Percentage Rate: 0.4
Rewards Flexibility: 4.4
Features: 3.0

In a nutshell:

While the rewards on the Blue Delta SkyMiles card are pretty valuable for a no-annual-fee card, cardholders would likely get better use out of a general travel rewards card with more flexible point options.

Learn more about this card

Rewards Rate

  • 2:1 Eligible Delta purchases
  • 2:1 U.S. restaurants
  • 1:1 other purchases

Sign-up Bonus
10,000 miles if you spend $500 in first 3 months

Annual Fee
$0

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($15,900 spend)
$298

APR
16.74-25.74% (variable)

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • Miles don’t expire
  • No blackout dates
  • No limits to how many miles you can earn
  • One-way flights allowed
  • Miles + cash option available for some rewards flights
  • Large number of airline partners

Cons

  • $25 fee for phone bookings, $35 for Ticket Office bookings
  • Stopovers not permitted
  • Fuel surcharges on some partners and on Delta one-way flights from Europe

Other Notable Features: 20% discount on in-flight Delta purchases, car rental insurance, free roadside assistance, event presales, lowest hotel rate guarantee, return protection, purchase protection, extended warranty

Until recently, there’s been a notable lack of co-branded airline credit cards that don’t charge annual fees. With American Express’s latest entry to the rewards card space – the Blue Delta SkyMiles card – at last there’s a worthy contender for casual travelers seeking to earn airline miles without all the maintenance that comes with a premium airline card.

Unlike its no-annual-fee competitor – the JetBlue card – the Blue Delta SkyMiles card gives you access to a large airline network. And, unlike another recent addition to the airline card category – the United TravelBank card – the Blue Delta card rewards you in actual airline miles (The TravelBank card instead rewards you in “TravelBank cash,” which you can only use to get discounts on United airfare), which means – if you are looking for a low-budget way to wet your feet in airline miles, the Blue Delta SkyMiles card is a good starter card.

Good rewards rate

The rewards earning rate on the Blue Delta SkyMiles card is actually better than the next card up in the Delta card hierarchy, the Gold Delta SkyMiles card. For a $95 annual fee, the Gold card offers a mere 2 miles per dollar spent on Delta purchases and 1 mile per dollar on the rest of your purchases. The Blue Delta SkyMiles card, in comparison, offers the same 2 miles per dollar on Delta purchases and an additional 2-mile bonus on U.S. restaurant purchases.

Though you would have to spend an exceptionally large amount at restaurants to outdo the rest of the benefits on the Gold card – including its 30,000-point sign-up bonus, not to mention free luggage on all Delta flights – the restaurant bonus is a nice benefit for budget travelers who are likely to spend a fair amount on dining out.

Meager sign-up bonus

The Blue Delta SkyMiles card offers a very modest 10,000-mile bonus to new cardholders who manage to spend $500 in the first three months of membership. Though this is not nearly as impressive as the 30,000- to 50,000-point bonuses offered by other airline cards, at least it’s budget friendly. Those giant bonuses are tied to high annual fees and higher spending requirements.

Fairly flexible redemption

The Blue Delta card is pretty flexible on redeeming rewards. There’s no limit to how many miles you can collect, miles don’t expire and Delta doesn’t impose blackout dates on rewards flights. Also, you can redeem miles not only for Delta flights, but also flights on any of Delta’s 19 partners in the SkyTeam alliance, which means SkyMiles can take you practically anywhere you want to go.

On the downside, you’ll need to watch out for fuel surcharges on flights from some of Delta’s partner airlines, which can be high.

American Express benefits

As an American Express card, the Blue Delta SkyMiles card entitles you to some nifty benefits, including purchase protections, car rental insurance and free roadside assistance.

However, while airline cards with annual fees usually offer airline perks such as priority boarding and free checked luggage, the Blue Delta SkyMiles card doesn’t have much to offer in the way of perks. You get a 20 percent discount on in-flight Delta purchases, not much else.

For loyal Delta travelers: The Delta Gold card is the better deal

If you’ve reached this point and decided that you’re ready to take the plunge into SkyMiles, we would ask you to consider: Why not just go with the Gold Delta SkyMiles card? Sure, it comes with a $95 annual fee, but it also includes airline perks such as priority boarding and – notably – a free checked bag on every flight. That’s a $25 value per flight, which means – if you travel on Delta at least twice a year – you’ve covered the annual fee.

Also, the card comes with a 30,000-point sign-up bonus and a $50 statement credit for adding an authorized user and making a purchase on the card – that amounts to more than $400 in value in the first year.

For travel newbies: Find a flexible points card

If you’re looking for a simple card to get started in the rewards card game, you can find better options with a flexible points travel card. With flexible rewards points, you have many ways to redeem your rewards, including cash back, merchandise and travel on any airline, which means you won’t be restricted to flying on a single airline.

The Discover it Miles card is an excellent option for travel newbies. There’s no annual fee and you earn 1.5 miles for every dollar that you spend. Plus, the card doubles those miles at the end of your first year of card membership. You can purchase airfare from any airline or website that you please and redeem your miles for statement credits to cover those purchases. Or, you can redeem your miles for cash back at a rate of 1 cent per mile.

Why get the Blue Delta SkyMiles card?

  • You’re a frequent Delta flier who doesn’t want to pay the annual fee for the Gold Delta SkyMiles card.
  • You’re looking for a no-annual-fee airline card that gives you the best flight options.

How to use the Blue Delta SkyMiles card:

  • Use the card for all your restaurant and Delta purchases.
  • Spend at least $500 on the card in the first three months to earn the sign-up bonus.

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