The total number of travelers passing through the security gates actually doubled in June 2021 compared to June 2020 as per Transportation Security Administration. So, if you are also planning to travel more this year or shortly, choosing the right airlines with the right loyalty program should be your number one priority.
American and Delta are the two best-rated US airlines. So, if you are trying to decide between these two full-service carriers, here is a quick preview into the big American vs. Delta debate:
- Flight destinations
- Airline credit card availability
- In-flight experience
Here is what needs to be considered when comparing the two best-rated US airlines - Delta and American.
American Airlines fly to approximately 350 destinations in over 50 countries. The airline is a part of the 14-airline OneWorld Alliance.
Top Domestic Airports
6. Los Angeles
8. New York
11. San Antonio
12. San Francisco
Delta airline is a part of the 19-airlines of the SkyTeam Alliance. Delta has its headquarters in Atlanta and can reach approximately 300 destinations in more than 50 countries.
Top Domestic Airports
4. Los Angeles
6. New York
7. Salt Lake City
Winner for offering most options - American Airlines
American Airlines offers three personalized credit card types within its Citi AAdvantage lineup. The cards will provide you with multiple benefits.
Depending on the type of credit card you sign up for, you can qualify for 10,000, 50,000, or even 65,000 welcome bonus miles after meeting their spending requirements. The annual fee for these cards can range from $0- $450.
The best-rated US airlines like American do not stop at just one credit card. They also are co-branded with the Red World Elite Mastercard through Barclays. The benefits of this include:
1. 60,000 miles after paying the $99 annual fee
2. Making your first purchase on the card
3. 2 miles for every dollar spent on the American Airlines
4. A mile spent on every dollar spent on other purchases
5. $25 annual WiFi statement credit on American airlines
6. 25% off on the in-flight food and beverages
7. Companion certificates on your account anniversary
Delta Airlines offer multiple card options through American Express. Some benefits you can expect on the card include:
Depending on the card you choose, you can earn 10,000, 70,000, 80,000, or 90,000 as welcome bonus miles upon reaching a minimum spend on your account in the first three months of your membership. The annual fee for the cards can range anywhere from $0-$550.
Winner for offering the best deals here - Delta Airlines
The American Airlines loyalty program lets you earn multiple mile points for purchasing through American Airlines and its partner airlines. You can gain numerous benefits on hotels, car rentals, cruises, vacation packages, and much more.
If we analyze the value here, every American Airlines AAdvantage mile is worth 1.2 cents. Even though American Airlines have paused on mileage expiration through December 2021, miles usually expire after 18 months if there is no activity in your AAdvantage account.
Miles can also be redeemed for travel by flights, upgrades, car rental services, hotels, luxury experiences, Admirals Club memberships, and much more. If you happen to acquire Elite Qualifying Miles, you can also be eligible for elite status.
One of the best-rated US airlines, Delta SkyMiles, is valued at 1.3 cents each. The most significant benefit of these miles is that they never expire, which is a big plus compared to other airlines.
The Delta SkyMiles offer you more miles by flying on Delta and its partner airlines, including Hawaiian, Air France, and Virgin Atlantic. Members can also earn SkyMiles with their Delta credit cards. Their Medallion Status Elite members can earn more miles for every dollar they spend on any Delta flight.
The SkyMiles can be redeemed for hotel bookings, flights, upgrades, access to their Sky Club lounges, merchandise, luxury experiences, and other travel-related purchases. However, when you go ahead to redeem your miles, Delta can limit your redemption compared to American airlines.
Winner for offering ease of miles - American Airlines
So, when it comes to other add-on fees like baggage, seating, etc., which airlines will emerge victoriously?
If you are flying economy on any American Airlines plane, you get to bring a carry-on bag and a personal item aboard. There is no extra charge for it. So, as long as you bring items that fit inside the overhead bins or under the seat in front of you, you are good.
The checked bag fee starts at $30 for the first bag and can go further up depending on your additional baggage.
If you are traveling with your pets, you will have to pay a $125 fee to bring your pet on board in an approved carry-on kennel. The kennel must meet the airline standards. Unaccompanied minors can incur an additional $150 fee, exclusive of taxes for one way.
When it comes to Delta, similar baggage rules can apply for economy passengers. Travelers can bring along a carry-on bag with personal items on the plane at no extra charge. For your standard checked bags, you can expect a small fee which starts at roughly $30 for the first bag.
Delta is also known to charge an additional fee of $150 for unaccompanied minors. And if you are looking forward to traveling with your pets on Delta, you will be charged $125 for one side. For larger pets that do not meet the cabin requirements by the airlines, you can get them shipped across your destinations through their cargos at variable prices.
Some credit cardholders with a Medallion status in their SkyMiles can also get their fee waived on their first checked-in bag.
Winner for offering a lower fee - Delta Airlines
American airlines can offer lots of experiences that might not even be expected from a modern airline carrier. High-speed in-flight WiFi, movies, and music just happen to be a few of these options. On most of these flights, you need your own phone/iPad or your laptop to access entertainment instead of the built-in screen on the back of the seat in front of you. There is no freeway to text on American Airlines apart from the app-based messaging you can do while connected to the in-flight WiFi.
Delta offers a pretty streamlined approach to in-flight entertainment. Delta Studio, the airlines’ entertainment suite, offers its passengers plenty of options for movies, TV shows, podcasts, and music, which can be accessed through their built-in seat screens.
Delta Airlines also offers its travelers free texting on iMessage, WhatsApp, or Facebook Messenger. This makes it easy for the passengers to stay connected with their loved ones even when flying high at 35,000 in the air.
Winner for offering the best in-flight experiences - Delta Airlines
So, if you are considering which of these two best-rated US airlines to choose, think carefully. When it comes to comparing the experiences between American Airlines or Delta Airlines, Delta indeed is a clear winner. Although it does not offer as many flight routes as American Airlines, Delta has superior in-flight services and experiences. In addition, their helpful and convenient SkyMiles credit card benefits are like the cherry on the cake!