Delta Reserve Credit Card from American Express: Luxury benefits for regular Delta flyers

Delta Reserve Credit Card from American Express: Luxury benefits for regular Delta flyers

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

Editor's Rating

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This is a rather pricey Amex card for those who want to rack up Delta awards, and it is most appropriate for those whose spending will earn enough bonuses and perks to justify the annual fee which is $550.
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Editor's Rating

?
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"Our team rates credit cards objectively based on independent research, the features the credit card offers users, and how it compares with other available cards in its category. The ratings are the opinion of our editors, and are not influenced by any outside factors, including any compensation the site may receive from certain advertisers.","showIcon":false,"tooltipLabel":"?"}

This is a rather pricey Amex card for those who want to rack up Delta awards, and it is most appropriate for those whose spending will earn enough bonuses and perks to justify the annual fee which is $550.
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Terms apply to American Express credit card offers. See americanexpress.com for more information.

The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card is an outstanding choice for anyone who flies with Delta regularly. One of several Delta co-branded cards, The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card is the “king” of the group, with the most benefits and features. The card does come with a large annual fee, but if you utilize the benefits, it could make your flying experience much more enjoyable.

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card: Luxury benefits for regular Delta flyers

The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card comes with a wide array of features, such as lounge access, first checked bag free, priority boarding, a companion certificate and much more.

The Delta co-branded cards from American Express were revamped in early 2020, building in more benefits. For the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, these new benefits include a $100 statement credit for Global Entry/TSA PreCheck, a faster track to Medallion status and complimentary upgrades on Delta Air Lines. Unfortunately, all these changes come with an increased annual fee of $550 — still, if you fly Delta Air Lines often and take advantage of all these benefits, the fee is well worth it.

However, the card is limited in its spending categories. When you use the card for your expenses, you will Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases. Earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases.

While other Delta credit cards have more robust spending categories, the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card is an excellent credit card for travelers looking for a luxury experience.

For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Card, please click here

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card

$550

15.74%-24.74% Variable

Excellent/Good

  • Earn 40,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • NEW! With Status Boost™, earn 15,000 MQMs after you spend $30,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to four times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • NEW! Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free and Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding on Delta flights.
  • NEW! Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases.
  • Earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases.
  • Complimentary access into the Delta SkyClubs® for you when travelling on a Delta flight.
  • NEW! Enjoy complimentary access to The Centurion® Lounge when you book your Delta flight with your Reserve Card.
  • Receive a 20% savings in the form of a statement credit after you use your Card on eligible Delta in-flight purchases of food, beverages, and audio headsets.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $550  annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
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Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card benefits and features

In addition to earning Delta SkyMiles, the card comes with outstanding luxury benefits, such as complimentary flight upgrades and lounge access.

Great welcome offer

When you’re approved for the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, you will Earn 40,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.

The Delta SkyMiles earned can be used on any award flight on Delta or SkyTeam members. Since we value Delta SkyMiles at 1.2 cents per point, these miles are worth an estimated $480.

The Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) are part of earning Delta Medallion status. If you frequently fly with Delta Air Lines, these MQMs could be the boost you need to earn status this year.

Status boost

By earning the welcome offer, you will earn 10,000 MQMs. However, earning MQMs does not have to stop there.

The card gives you an additional 15,000 MQMs after you spend $30,000 in purchases on your card in a calendar year. You can do this up to 4 times per year, meaning you can earn 60,000 MQMs if you spend $120,000 in a calendar year.

This feature is extremely helpful for earning status. However, MQMs are not the only factor to earn Delta status. You also need Medallion Qualifying Dollars (MQDs).

MQD Waiver

The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card awards you an MQD waiver each year that you spend $25,000 on the card.

MQDs are used to measure how much money you spend with Delta Air Lines on flights. Normally, you would have to earn MQDs along with MQMs to qualify for a higher level of status. However, it can be difficult to spend enough on flights to reach the next level of status — for example, you would need to spend $9,000 with Delta Air Lines in a year to reach Platinum status.

Fortunately, with the MQD Waiver, you can waive the MQD requirement towards Platinum, Gold or Silver Medallion status. This makes status easier to reach for consumers who want to have status but don't fly enough to earn it.

Complimentary upgrades

If status isn’t important, but being upgraded is, the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card will automatically put you in line for upgrades. No other airline credit cards offer this feature, which easily makes the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card one of the best airline credit cards.

To use the upgrade feature, you’d just need to link your Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card to your Delta SkyMiles account. You will automatically be considered for an upgrade when you book your next flight.

If you’re on a busy route with regular business flyers, such as J.F.K. to San Francisco, your chances of scoring an upgrade are very low — on less busy routes, though, you may have a shot.

Airport lounge access

By having the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, you will receive access to Delta Sky Clubs around the world. Airport lounges are a great way to escape the madness of airports, and many lounges have amenities like high speed Wi-Fi, drinks, snacks, comfortable chairs and even showers.

However, you will need to present a Delta boarding pass to enter, and you will not be able to bring a guest without using one of the guest passes that come with the card. You will receive two one-time passes each year.

In addition to the Delta Sky Club, you will receive access to American Express Centurion Lounges when you book a Delta flight using the card. Amex’s 12 Centurion lounges (with more to come) are known for their level of exclusivity and luxury, including premium amenities and delicious food created by world-renowned chefs. The only other way to gain access to Centurion lounges is membership with The Platinum Card® from American Express, The Business Platinum Card® from American Express or The Centurion® Card from American Express.

How does the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card compare to other credit cards?

The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card is an excellent option for a card in its class, but it does have a high annual fee, and is best for consumers who fly solely with Delta Air Lines. Here are some alternatives if the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card doesn’t fit your needs:

Similar benefits for a lower price

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Card

$250

15.74%-24.74% Variable

Good/Excellent

  • Earn 60,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months, Offer Expires 10/28/2020.
  • NEW! Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card.*Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • NEW! With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 MQMs after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • NEW! Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta Flights.
  • NEW! Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
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The Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Card is a great option for Delta flyers that don’t want to spend $550 on an annual fee. At less than half the annual fee ($250), the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Card offers great benefits.

Earn 60,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months, Offer Expires 10/28/2020. .

As you spend on the card, you will earn the following rewards:

  • 3 points per dollar on hotels and Delta purchases
  • 2 points per dollar at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets
  • 1 point per dollar on all other purchases

This card also comes with many of the same benefits as the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, including one free checked bag, priority boarding, an annual companion certificate and a $100 credit for Global Entry/TSA PreCheck.

The Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Card doesn’t offer complimentary Delta Sky Club access — however, you can still access Delta Sky Club lounges for you and up to two guests for $39 per person.

For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Card, please click here

Similar benefits, different spending opportunities

United Club℠ Infinite Card

  • On Chase's Secure Website

$525

16.49% - 23.49% Variable

Excellent

  • Earn 100,000 Bonus Miles
  • Earn 4 miles per $1 spent on United purchases including tickets, Economy Plus, inflight food, beverages and Wi-Fi, and other United charges.
  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on all other travel
  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on dining at restaurants and eligible delivery services including GrubHub, Caviar, Seamless and DoorDash
  • Earn 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Up to $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck™ Fee Credit
  • Free first and second checked bags - a savings of up to $320 per roundtrip. Terms Apply
  • 25% back as a statement credit on purchases of food, beverages and Wi-Fi onboard United-operated flight when you pay with your Club Card
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The United Club℠ Infinite Card is a very similar card to the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card.

It comes with many of the same benefits, including airport lounge access (to United Club lounges), free checked bags (up to two per flight) and a statement credit for Global Entry/TSA PreCheck. It doesn’t give you free flight upgrades, nor access to Amex Centurion lounges. However, its earning categories are much more robust than the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card:

  • 4 miles per $1 spent on United Airlines purchases
  • 2 miles per $1 spent on all travel purchases
  • 2 miles $1 on dining
  • 1 mile per $1 on all other purchases

Between the two cards, the United Club℠ Infinite Card may be a better option for everyday spending.

A better option if you fly multiple airlines

The Platinum Card® from American Express

$550

See Pay Over Time APR

Good/Excellent

  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Enjoy VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status available to Basic Card Member only.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts® program at over 1,000 properties. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. That's up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
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The Platinum Card® from American Express, which has the same $550 annual fee, is an outstanding charge card that has similar benefits to the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card. However, The Platinum Card® from American Express may better serve someone who flies with different airlines and doesn’t value airline status.

As you spend on The Platinum Card® from American Express, you will earn:

  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel and 5X Membership Rewards® points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.

As you can see, The Platinum Card® from American Express offers more point-earning opportunities for travelers who aren’t brand loyal. You will also have access to more lounges across the world. Furthermore, it’s easier to earn back value from this card than the Delta Reserve because of all of its valuable travel credits, including a $200 airline fee credit and up to $200 in yearly Uber credits.

If you are a loyal Delta flyer, you might stick with the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, since it helps you earn Delta status (with significant spending) and you are eligible for seat upgrades.

Overall, however, most travelers would likely benefit more from The Platinum Card® from American Express.

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here

The information related to the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Card has been collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication. Terms apply.

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Brett Holzhauer

Brett Holzhauer is ValuePenguin’s travel rewards expert, focusing on credit card rewards maximization, consumer travel trends, and personal finance news. He has earned and burned over 5 million points and miles throughout his travels, saving him roughly $75,000 in travel expenses.

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which ValuePenguin receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). ValuePenguin does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

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.

Example of how we calculate the rewards rates: When redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred points are worth $0.0125 each. The card awards 2 points on travel and dining and 1 point on everything else. Therefore, we say the card has a 2.5% rewards rate on dining and travel (2 x $0.0125) and a 1.25% rewards rate on everything else (1 x $0.0125).

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