The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card is designed to provide Delta enthusiasts with powerful benefits and rewards. It provides cardholders with time-saving and money-saving benefits, while providing travelers with coveted access to airport lounges for added convenience.
In addition, the card offers many other travel benefits, including Delta Sky Club access, annual companion passes, points for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fees, and a host of travel protections.
However, because of the high annual fee ($550), only consumers who fly enough Delta flights to take advantage of the card’s benefits should consider using it.
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card
- Introductory bonus: Earn 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $5,000 with your new card in the first 3 months.
- APR: 15.99%-24.99% variable
- Referral credit: excellent/good
- Bonus rate: Earn 3x miles on Delta Air Lines purchases. Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Annual fee: $550
- Introductory Purchase APR: not applicable
While the Delta SkyMiles Reserve card offers cardholders a lot of value, it does have limitations. At least at first glance, the rewards are relatively low and only for fares purchased through Delta. It’s not a card for everyday shopping, or a card for infrequent travel.
However, you can earn more miles by moving up your Delta membership tier, and the card will accelerate. The basic SkyMiles membership that comes with the card will earn you 5x extra miles on Delta’s tickets for every dollar earned on the card.
Earn more miles by earning Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) towards Medallion status. Diamond, the highest Medallion tier, earns 11x miles per dollar on Delta fares, and Reserve members earn 3x miles. This will give cardholders 14 times the total miles earned per dollar on Delta flights.
If you fly Delta frequently, you’ll find the card’s powerful travel benefits useful. Make sure you use all of them to justify the $550 annual fee. Among the most valuable are access to Centurion Lounge and Delta Sky Club, credits for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fees, and annual companion airfare.
Global arrivals and airport lounge access are especially valuable for permanent travelers, as they reduce TSA time and keep you away from the hustle and bustle of the airport.
However, the card doesn’t come with travel credits like other high-end travel cards to ease the high annual fee. (See American Express Platinum Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve or Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Card).
Enter the Centurion Lounge
Global Entry/TSA PreCheck Application Fee Credit
Companion Annual Pass
A Faster Path to Medallion Status
Generous welcome bonus
No foreign transaction fees
Low card rewards
High annual fee
No travel credits
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Things to consider
Reward Rate: This card offers 3x miles per dollar, but only 1x miles on Delta purchases and all other eligible purchases. If you don’t fly a lot, you won’t make much money. However, you can earn up to 14x more miles on Delta flights by earning Medallion status and upgrading your membership tiers: Silver, Gold, Platinum and Diamond.
High annual fee: The annual fee is $550. So take advantage of all the advantages to get the most out of you.
Global Entry/TSA Application Fee Credit: Enroll in Global Entry ($100) or TSA PreCheck ($85) every four years. It gets you through the TSA faster, and if you choose Global Entry, it speeds up the customs process when you return to or leave the country. Additionally, a $100 or $85 fee credit can help lower your annual fee for the year you apply.
Delta SkyMiles Reserve Card Benefits
- While the annual fee can be exciting, cardholders receive a wide range of benefits that provide a lot of value.
- Upgrade to Medallion Status: Earn up to 15,000 Medallion Status Miles (up to 60,000 MQMs) up to 4 times in a calendar year for every $30,000 spent on your card.
- Medallion Qualification Dollar Waiver: Make $25,000 worth of purchases on the card to waive the MQD requirement for Silver, Gold, or Platinum Medallion status.
- Centurion Lounge Access: Book with your Delta Card and get access to 14 luxury Centurion lounges worldwide.
- Delta Sky Club Access: Access to the Delta Sky Club airport lounge and two one-time Delta Sky Club guest passes per year.
- Delta Annual Companion Certificate: When you renew your card annually, you will receive a Companion Certificate on every domestic First Class, Delta Comfort+ or return flight in the main cabin.
- Upgrade Priority: Priority over other non-reserved cardholders for Medallion Members.
- Free Upgrades: If you’re not yet a Medallion Member, you can still get priority for upgrades after your Medallion membership.
- Global Entry/TSA PreCheck Application Fee Credit: You will receive a Global Entry ($100) or TSA PreCheck ($85) application fee credit every four years.
- Free First Checked Bag: Free first checked bag fees and save up to $60 on round-trip flights.
- 20% off in-flight purchases: 20% off in-flight purchases such as food, beverages or headphones.
- Premium Global Helpline: 24/7 access to medical, legal, financial or other assistance when traveling 100 miles or more from home.
- Baggage Insurance: If your bag is damaged, stolen or lost on a regular carrier, you can pay up to $1,250 for carry-on baggage and up to $500 for checked baggage. Make sure you charge the fare to the card you want to insure.
- Travel Delay Insurance: If your trip is delayed for 6 hours or more due to insurance, you can get up to $500 in reimbursement for essentials like groceries and toiletries. Apply up to twice a year.
- Trip Cancellation Insurance: If your trip is cancelled or delayed for insurance reasons, you can be reimbursed up to $10,000 per trip, up to a maximum of $20,000 per year.
- Car Rental Insurance: Decline insurance offered by car rental companies and charge your card in full. Your rental has damage and theft insurance.
- Return Protection: AmEx can refund you if the retailer does not return it within 90 days of purchase. Up to $300 per item, up to $1,000 per calendar year.
- Purchase Protection: Your new purchases are protected against damage and theft for 90 days. Up to $10,000 per claim, up to $50,000 per calendar year.
- Extended Warranty: If the warranty is five years or less, you can extend the manufacturer’s warranty by one year.
Travel Rewards and Medallion Status
While the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card allows you to earn high reward rates on flights, it’s not the best choice for everyday expenses.
You’ll earn 3X Miles on eligible Delta purchases, including flights and travel booked through Delta Vacations, but only 1X Miles on everything else. Combine it with another card, like American Express’ Blue Cash Preferred, for groceries and gas, or get a flat-rate card like the Citi Double Cash Card that earns rewards on everything.
Additionally, this card earns Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) to help you achieve Delta Medallion status. Medallion members can enjoy benefits such as priority boarding, free upgrades, baggage fee waivers and more. Earn 15,000 Medallion Status Miles (up to a maximum of 60,000 MQMs) for every $30,000 you spend on the Card, up to four times per year. However, Silver status starts at 25,000 Medallion Status Miles, so unless you spend a lot of money on the card each year, you may not be able to achieve that.
However, if you can achieve Medallion status, the card will become even more valuable. Each Medallion membership tier provides additional miles on Delta flights. Silver offers 7x miles per dollar, Gold 8x miles, Platinum 9x and Diamond 11x miles.
By earning Diamond Medallion status, cardholders can earn 14x miles per dollar spent on Delta flights. 3X Miles for Cards and 11X Miles for Medallion Status. But this requires considerable expenditure to achieve.
To achieve Diamond status, cardholders must accumulate 125,000 MQMs or 140 Medallion Qualifying Segments (MQS; the number of flights you take without Basic Economy) and $15,000 in Medallion Qualifying Dollars in a calendar year (MQD; money spent on a Delta ticket). However, spending $250,000 or more in a calendar year using your Reserve Card can waive Diamond’s MQD requirement.
The maximum fee for the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card is an annual fee of $550. But it also offers unique travel perks to offset this, such as: B. Complimentary access to the exclusive Centurion Lounge and Delta Sky Club with other American Express Delta cards for $39 per visit per person. Annual companion certificates for round-trip domestic flights worth hundreds of dollars or more can also justify the cost. If you want to take full advantage of these benefits, this card might be worth your time.
How is it different from other travel rewards cards?
The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card is ideal for frequent travelers who want to earn miles on Delta flights with free airport lounge access. Travelers who prefer to earn rewards on flights and hotels should choose the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card.
Looking for a card with a lower annual fee but still want to fly with Delta? The Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card has an introductory annual fee of $0 for the first year and $99 thereafter. With this card, you can also earn great rewards on everyday purchases in restaurants worldwide and in US supermarkets.
If you don’t like flying with just one airline, consider a regular travel card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred. Or, if you’re looking for a premium card, consider the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Both cards offer Chase’s travel partners great perks and great point-transfer benefits.
The American Express Platinum Card is also very popular. It offers an incredible array of benefits, including the broadest airport lounge access of any card and a slew of travel credits to ease the hefty annual fee.