Cost / Benefit Analysis of my Delta Skymiles American Express Card

I already know for a fact that I get a LOT more value than the annual fee that I pay for my Delta American Express card. I have had some difficulty convincing others that it is worth it. This post will describe in detail how much I get from the card versus what I pay for having it in my wallet!

First the numbers:

Annual Fee: $150 per year

1 Delta Skymile earned for each $1 spent. 2 miles per dollar on Delta purchase. (plus various bonuses)

The Analysis:


  • 1 Free domestic (exclude HI) companion ticket per year. Value: $200-$500.
  • Free checked bag for having card. Value: $25 per flight ($50 per round trip!)
  • Discounted SkyClub Acess. Value $25 (normal visit for public is $50)
  • Miles earned. Value: varies but well more than $150 (up to $2000 in my case!)
  • Bonus Offers. Value: varies. Lots of double miles and Elite Status offers
The free domestic companion ticket (1 person flying the exact same round trip route as you) alone is worth more than the annual fee. The waived baggage fee adds up too. You only need 3 round trips in a year on Delta to break even. The SkyClub Lounge discounted access can be well worth the $25 if you are delayed severely. Having a comfortable seat, open bar, free snacks, less crowds, nice bathrooms, free internet, and a business area can be well worth it.

In my case the miles I earn alone far exceed $150 in fees. For the past 2 years I have scored award flights to Asia and back. This would not have been possible without using this card for all of my purchases. If I had bought the tickets with cash it would have cost me a total of $3,800 for both. Using miles I only pay taxes. Even if you add in the annual fees I only paid $555 out of pocket. I got great experiences, a cheaper vacation, and saved a lot of money too!

As you can see if you take full advantage of all the travel benefits associated with an airline miles card you can get a lot for $150 per year. Having this card has also helped me to maintain my elite status with Delta which comes with it's own benefits in addition to the ones list here. I get free upgrades to first class, can book an exit row seat, and so on. Be sure to fully analyzed your reward options and get the most for your money!