A Delta Amex perk many people overlook is the boarding zone it gives cardholders: “Main Cabin 1.”
But is this “priority boarding” benefit really a big deal? To those without Delta elite Medallion status, it can be very important.
Which Delta American Express Cards Have “Priority” Boarding?
The six “primary” Delta American Express cards (because we really don’t count the Delta Blue Amex card in these situations) each give Main Cabin 1 boarding to the primary cardholder and up to eight passengers on his/her confirmation number/PNR .
These cards are:
- Delta Reserve Credit Card from American Express
- Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card
- Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express
- Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business Credit Card from American Express
- Gold Delta SkyMiles Business Credit Card from American Express
- Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express
The first Delta Amex I had was the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express. I didn’t have any Delta status for about the first nine months I held the card — but I loved the “priority” boarding (I think it was called “Zone 1” back then). I prefer boarding the plane, getting settled, and relaxing. If that’s important to you, too, and you don’t hold Delta status, consider a Delta Amex whose color isn’t blue.
How Do I Add This Perk?
Simple. Just add your Delta American Express card number to your “My Wallet” on Delta.com or the Fly Delta app.
How Much of a “Priority” Position is Main Cabin 1?
This page displays the official list of Delta boarding zones.
In reality, though, it’s more like this:
- Passengers needing extra time
- Active duty military members with ID
- Families (though this group sometimes is called after first class)
- (If applicable) Delta One and Diamond Medallion members
- First Class (not applicable on CRJ-200s) and Diamond Medallion members
- Sky Priority (Platinum and Gold Medallion)
- Main Cabin 1 (Silver Medallion and Delta Amex cardholders)
- Main Cabin 2
- Main Cabin 3 — customers with T, X, and V fares
- Basic Economy
(And that’s not taking into account any Spirit, Virgin America, or Sun Country refugees who create “fun” boarding groups like “People whose names begin and ‘J’ and also were born during a month that also begins with ‘J’!” 😉 )
Here’s an example:
Great for People Who Carry On
My friend Rick just returned from a Delta trip (and saved good money, thanks to a recent welcome bonus on his Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express).
He didn’t check his Travelpro Maxlite 4 rollaboard but was booked on an “X” fare — meaning he’d normally fall into the Main Cabin 3 boarding group.
But because he holds a Delta Amex card, he received Main Cabin 1 boarding.
“If I didn’t have the Main Cabin 1 boarding,” he said, “There wouldn’t have been any space in the overboard bins by the time I boarded. I would have had to check my bag.”
Granted, not a huge problem. And he could’ve checked the bag for free because his Delta Platinum Amex allow the cardholder’s first bag to be checked free.
But he had tight connections, didn’t want to risk his bags not being transferred, and (most of all) just wanted all his stuff with him. So the Delta Platinum Amex was worth its weight in gold. (Or platinum, in case?)
Low Fare Classes — Including Basic Economy
Main Cabin 3 and Basic Economy boarding can feel like a walk of shame. Especially if the plane door is about to close and you’re scrambling to find overhead bin space.
So even if you’re a business traveler with no Delta status and your company books you into Basic Economy, a Delta Amex will stills score you Main Cabin 1 boarding.
Do Additional Cardholders Get This Benefit On Their Own?
No. Only the primary cardholder and up to eight others on his or her PNR receive the benefit.
What If I’m Gold, Platinum, or Diamond? Does This Benefit Apply to Me?
No. You receive Sky Priority. Or first class/Delta One if you’re a Diamond.
Ask away in the Comments section below!
Other Delta Amex Topics We’ve Covered This Month
Now is a fantastic opportunity to apply for Delta Amexes because many have great welcome bonuses — and you can lock in a year at their current annual fees.
We’ve covered several related topics during the past several weeks including:
- My Thoughts on the New Delta American Express Benefits, Fees, and More!
- 10 Things to Know About Bonus MQM on the Updated Delta Amex Cards
- What You Need to Know About the Delta Amex MQD Waiver
- Delta Main Cabin 1 Boarding: How Valuable is This Delta Amex Perk?
- Sky Club Access for Delta American Express Cards: Which Cards are Now Eligible?
- Saving Money with the Delta Amex Free First Checked Bag Benefit
- “No Status” Upgrades for Delta Reserve Cardholders?
- Is Centurion Lounge Access with a Delta Reserve Card Really That Great?
- Saving 20% on Delta Purchases Made Onboard During Flights with Delta American Express Cards
- A Mileage Run Without Getting On a Plane? Yes!
- Scoring More First Class Upgrades: How Delta American Express Cards Can Help
Big Welcome Bonuses Expire WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 30!
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