The Delta Reserve Credit Card is the premium offering among the Skymiles credit cards from American Express and Delta Airlines. We examined whether the cards features were worth its high $450 annual fee with an in-depth analysis of all its features, bonuses and benefits.
The first thing that jumps out at you about the Delta Reserve Credit Card from American Express is heft annual fee of $450 dollars. The high cost is an immediate sign that this card is not for everyone. With multiple available bonuses offering consumers Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) the card is designed for consumers that are especially high travel spender and status focused.
While other cards have relatively easy to achieve bonus offers, two of the three offers require a higher than normal spending threshold (30,000 and 60,000 in annual spend) to qualify. Changes to the Delta Skymiles lounge program has also made the lounge access benefits less worthwhile, with a per person fee of $29 dollars now required. The additional companion certificate perk does help to offset the cost of the card, though many other airline affiliated credit cards have a similar benefit at a much lower cost.
Overall the Delta Reserve is a card that caters to frequent Delta flyers that are willing to pay a lot to help amplify their status levels. With recent changes to Delta's travel benefits however, many of the peripheral perks of the card have been significantly devalued.
|Foreign Transaction Fee||No Foreign Transaction Fee|
The Reserve is the only Delta card that offers a companion certificate similar to those available with other cards. Each year upon renewal, cardholds receive this benefit that acts as a 2 for the price of 1 coupon on any domestic first class of economy class fare. With the high cost of cross country flights these days, the companion certificate can be worth hundreds of dollars each year.
Value Estimate: $500 dollars
Delta Skyclub Access
The Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express provides cardholders with complimentary access to Delta Sky Club®, as long as they provide a same-day airline boarding pass to club agents. In addition to this, cardmembers may bring up to 2 guests and children under the age of 21 with them, at a discounted rate of $29 per person - provided that they are travelling on the same reservation. A single day pass to Delta Sky Club® costs $59 - which means you could save up to $119 through this perk (if you bring 2 guests with you).
Value Estimate: $119 dollars
The rewards structure for the Reserve is pretty simple and doesn't offer much on top of the other Skymiles cards. It has the standard 2x miles on Delta Air Lines and Delta Vacation package purchases wtih 1 mile per dollar on everything else. Given the high annual fees, this card is not really one for consumers that are looking to build rewards through spending.
The real differentiating feature of the Reserve are in the bonuses. With cardholders eligible for 40,000 bonus miles and MQMs (30,000 of which are availble every year) the core value proposition is in helping you get higher status in Delta's medallion program.
The knock on these bonuses is that they're pretty hard to acheive for the average consumer, requiring $30,000 in annual spending for the first MQM threshold and $60,000 in spending for the second. With limited ways to get MQMs under normal circumstances, the annual additional boost the card promises is enough for for a full status upgrade.
Under the new changes MQMs alone are not enough to award you status with Delta Airlines, and flyers are required to spend a commensurate amount called Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs) on actual ticket purchases. Skymiles credit card holders get a waiver from the MQD requirement if they spend over $25,000 on the card.
Comments and Questions
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Info about the following cards: American Express® Gold Card, Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express, Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card, Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express, Hilton Honors Surpass® Credit Card, American Express® Blue Sky, American Express® Green Card, The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express, The Plenti® Credit Card from Amex, Blue from American Express®, Platinum Card® from American Express Exclusively for Mercedes-Benz, Bluebird, Centurion® Card from American Express, Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card, and American Express Cash Magnet℠ Card has been collected independently by ValuePenguin. The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.
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How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.