Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card Review
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card
CardRatings Editor's Analysis: Pros & Cons
- Cardholders enjoy complimentary access to Delta Sky Club® lounges around the globe.
- Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first three months of membership.
- Earn up to 60,000 MQMs with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $30,000 in purchases on your card in a calendar year, you can earn 15,000 MQMs 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.
- The annual fee is steep at $550, so this isn't the card for the casual Delta customer. To truly offset the fee, you'll need to take full advantage of all the perks, benefits and bonus earning opportunities available (See Rates and Fees; terms apply).
If you fly often and Delta is your preferred airline, the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card might be the card for you. It’s jam-packed with luxurious benefits that can enhance your travel experience and help you save money. American Express is a CardRatings advertiser.
The first benefit to catch your eye will likely be the welcome bonus. First-time cardholders can earn 50,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after spending $3,000 within the first three months of opening an account. And, every time you use the card to make a Delta purchase, you’ll earn 3X miles per dollar spent. For all other purchases, you’ll earn 1X mile per dollar.
On top of that, you can earn up to $100 in statement credits for qualifying purchases made at restaurants located in the U.S. This could help you treat yourself to a delicious meal at your favorite restaurant at home or while traveling. Here are some other major benefits:
DELTA SKYMILES® RESERVE AMEX CARD COMPANION CERTIFICATE
Primary cardholders receive a companion certificate each year upon renewal of the card. You can redeem the certificate when purchasing a round-trip Delta flight (Main Cabin, First Class or Delta Comfort+®) for a travel companion.
The offer is subject to government fees and taxes up to $75 (for flights itineraries with up to four flight segments). Still, not a bad deal…
If your goal is to reach Medallion® Status, the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card could help. For every $30,000 you spend (up to four times per year) on eligible Delta purchases in a calendar year, you’ll earn 15,000 MQMs.
Cardholders who qualify for one of the four Medallion Tiers — silver, gold, platinum or diamond — can unlock additional benefits. For instance, if you earn Silver Medallion status, you’ll earn seven miles for every dollar spent.
Cardholders who haven’t reached Medallion® status qualify for the Delta SkyMiles Complimentary Upgrade Program. As a member, you may upgrade your Main Cabin seat to a more comfortable DeltaComfort+® or First Class seat. Upgrades are subject to availability and Medallion® Members have first dibs.
DELTA SKY CLUB® ACCESS
Cardholders receive complimentary access to more than 50 Delta Sky Club® locations when catching a same-day Delta-Marketed or Delta-Operated flight. Once inside the club, you can relax and enjoy complimentary drinks, food and high-speed WiFi.
If you want to share the experience with a travel companion flying Delta, you can use two one-time travel guest passes annually. Or, you can bring up to two guests at a discounted rate.
CENTURION® LOUNGE ACCESS
You’ll also receive complimentary access to Centurion® lounges when flying Delta. These lounges offer complimentary signature cocktails, food prepared by local chefs and high-speed WiFi. Some locations even offer spa services, conference rooms and luggage lockers. You can bring up to two guests at a price of $50 per person.
GLOBAL ENTRY/TSA PRECHECK® REIMBURSEMENT
Avoid long customs and security lines by applying for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® membership. These programs allow you to skip the regular security and customs lines at the airport. If you apply and pay with the Delta Reserve SkyMiles Amex card, you’ll receive up to a $100 statement credit.
FREE CHECKED BAGS
When you use the card to book a Delta fight, your first checked bag will be free. This also applies to eight additional passengers flying under the same reservation. For a family of six, this represents a per roundtrip savings of up to $360.
If your trip is paid entirely with the card, you may qualify for trip interruption or cancellation insurance. This means that if your trip is canceled or shortened due to the weather, sickness or another eligible event, you can be reimbursed up to $10,000 per trip, and up to $20,000 per year.
20% BACK ON IN-FLIGHT PURCHASES
While flying Delta, you can receive a 20% discount in the form of a statement credit when you pre-purchase an eligible meal or purchase these in-flight items: audio headsets, alcoholic beverages and food.
- Earn a $300 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months.
- $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95.
- Buy Now, Pay Later: Enjoy $0 intro plan fees when you use Plan It® to split up large purchases into monthly installments. Pay $0 plan fees on plans created during the first 12 months after account opening. Plans created after that will have a monthly plan fee up to 1.33% of each purchase amount moved into a plan based on the plan duration, the APR that would otherwise apply to the purchase, and other factors.
- Low intro APR: 0% for 12 months on purchases from the date of account opening, then a variable rate, 13.99% to 23.99%
- 6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%).
- 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions.
- 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations and on transit (including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more).
- 1% Cash Back on other purchases.
- Cash Back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.
- Terms Apply.
Although the annual fee for this card is $550, it might be worth it for someone who travels a lot with Delta. If you take advantage of the plethora of benefits the card offers, you can quickly offset the annual fee. See Rates and Fees; terms apply.
For example, if you earn the 50,000 bonus miles, receive the $100 statement credit for eligible restaurant purchases and receive a statement credit for Global Entry, that would be more than enough to offset the annual fee within the first year of opening the card.
However, if you don’t travel often or if Delta isn’t your favorite airline, the fee likely isn’t worth it.
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card vs. Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card
If you fly Delta often but not enough to justify the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card's hefty annual membership fee, here’s another option to consider.
The Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card has a $250 annual fee, and it’s better for earning miles on everyday purchases. You can earn 3X miles per dollar on purchases made directly with hotels; 2X miles per dollar spent at restaurants (including takeout and delivery), and 2X miles per dollar spent at U.S. grocery stores. This is in addition to 3X miles earned per dollar spent directly with Delta, and 1X mile on all other purchases.
The welcome offers are similar. A key difference, though, is that the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum card has a lower minimum spend requirement. You can earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 MQMs after spending $2,000 on eligible purchases within the first three months of opening the card.
The Delta SkyMiles® Platinum card offers some of the same benefits as the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve card, such as free check bags, an annual companion certificate and priority boarding. However, with the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum card, you don’t get complimentary access to Delta Sky Club Lounges.
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card vs. The Platinum Card® from American Express
If you prefer a card that offers a ton of ways to earn travel rewards, The Platinum Card® from American Express could be a better fit.
The Platinum Card® from American Express has a much higher fee of $695 but offers a ton of premium perks. To begin with, you can earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on purchases within the first six months of opening your card. Plus, the card comes with several credits, such as up to a $200 airline fee credit; up to a $200 hotel credit; up to a $240 digital entertainment credit, and more. Terms apply. Enrollment may be required for select perks.
With the Amex Platinum card, you can earn 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or via AmexTravel.com (up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year) and 5X points on prepaid hotel purchases made on AmexTravel.com.
Lastly, cardholders have access to the American Express Global Lounge Collection® which includes more than 1,300 airport lounges across 140 countries and counting.
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Do you travel often but Delta isn’t your favorite airline? The Chase Sapphire Reserve® credit card could be a better fit.
This card has an annual fee of $550 and has a welcome bonus of 50,000 bonus points, which you can earn by spending $4,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening the card. The points are valued at $750 when you book travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® travel portal.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve® card offers more ways for you to earn bonus rewards than the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve card. You can earn 5X points on flights purchased through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal; 10X points on hotels and rental cars purchased through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal; 3X points on other travel (after earning your $300 travel reimbursement), and more.
Plus, you receive a complimentary Priority Pass Select membership, which grants you access to over 1,000 VIP airport lounges worldwide.
The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card is a good card if you fly with Delta frequently and can take advantage of its many perks. If you spend a lot of money on Delta flights and want to reach an elite status quickly, it is worthy of your consideration.
However, if you fly often but Delta isn’t your preferred airline, you’ll likely benefit more by picking a more flexible premium travel rewards card.
To see the rates and fees for the American Express cards in this post, please visit the following links: Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card (See Rates and Fees; terms apply); Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card (See Rates and Fees; terms apply); The Platinum Card® from American Express (See Rates and Fees; terms apply)