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Credit Cards

Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card review: Loaded with benefits for avid Delta flyers

The Reserve card is great for Delta frequent fliers who want travel benefits and lounge access.

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Mongkol Chuewong

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card is a luxury co-branded airline card designed for travelers who fly with Delta often and want to upgrade their travel experience. As you spend on the card, you will earn Delta SkyMiles that are redeemable for free flights on Delta and its partners. In addition, the card gives benefits like free checked bags and complimentary access to Delta SkyClub and Amex Centurion airport lounges.

Select reviews the Delta Reserve card, analyzing its welcome bonus offer and other benefits to help you decide if it deserves a spot in your wallet.

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card review

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card

On the American Express secure site
  • Rewards

    Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases.

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 95,000 bonus miles after you spend $6,000 in purchases on your new card in your first 6 months.

  • Annual fee

    $550

  • Intro APR

    N/A

  • Regular APR

    18.74% - 27.74% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    N/A

  • Foreign transaction fees

    None

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

See rates and fees, terms apply.

Welcome bonus

Once you are approved for the card, you will be able to earn a welcome offer.

Earn 95,000 bonus miles after you spend $6,000 in purchases on your new card in your first 6 months. Offer ends 11/9/22.

Even at a modest 1 cent per point valuation, that bonus alone is $950 worth of Delta SkyMiles within the first six months of having the card. However, you can likely get more value from SkyMiles than that, meaning this bonus could easily be worth over $950 in travel.

Benefits and perks

The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card comes with a wide variety of benefits and perks for Delta flyers. When you have the card, you will have access to the following benefits:

  • Spending categories: You can earn 3X miles for every dollar spent directly with Delta and 1X mile for every dollar spent on all other eligible purchases.
  • Status Boost: You can earn up to 60,000 MQMs per year. You'll earn 15,000 MQMs each time you spend $30,000 per calendar year (up to four times). Typically, you only earn MQMs through flying, but these MQMs earned through spending will help you gain Delta elite status faster.
  • MQD waiver: Waive the Medallion Qualifying Dollar (MQD) requirement towards Delta elite status (up to Platinum status) that year if you make at least $25,000 in purchases with the Delta Reserve card.
  • First checked bag free on Delta flights: When you pay with your Delta Reserve card, up to nine people on the same flight itinerary will get one free checked bag. This perk can save cardholders up to $240 on a round-trip flight for a family of four.
  • Annual companion certificate: Think of this as a buy-one-get-one free ticket. When you book a Main Cabin, Delta Comfort+®, or Domestic First Class seat on Delta, you can bring a friend or family member, and all you need to do is pay the taxes for the second person. However, this certificate is restricted to the flights within continental U.S. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $80 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.
  • TSA PreCheck/Global Entry credit: The Delta Reserve card gives you can get a $100 statement credit to pay for either program. Global Entry is $100 for a five-year membership, and includes the benefits of TSA PreCheck.
  • Complimentary Delta SkyClub and Centurion Lounge access: With the Delta Reserve, you will receive complimentary access to both the Delta SkyClub and American Express Centurion Lounges. However, the Centurion Lounge is only available when you use your Reserve card to book the flight. As for the Delta SkyClub, you'll also receive two guest passes each year to use when your traveling with friends or family.
  • Complimentary seat upgrades: When you fly Delta, you will receive upgrade priority over other Medallion members in the same status level.
  • Travel coverages: The Delta Reserve card offers travel insurance coverage, including trip cancellation, trip delay, rental car insurance and luggage insurance.

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.

Of all the benefits, the most unique one is the widespread access to Delta SkyClub and American Express Centurion lounges. You'll have dozens of lounges to choose from across the U.S., and even a few abroad. You'll be able to enjoy a long list of amenities, including: food, drinks, Wi-Fi, showers and most importantly — a relaxing atmosphere away from a busy airport terminal.

Overall, the earnings from this card are sub-par on daily expenses, so it may be worth pairing with another rewards credit card. However, the benefits of the card can quickly outweigh the hefty annual fee.

Rates and fees

The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card has a $550 annual fee. It does not have any foreign transaction fees*.

If you plan on carrying a balance month to month, this card may not be the best choice, as it has a high interest rate*. If you want to avoid accruing interest, consider a credit card with a 0% introductory APR offer.

Late payment fees can be up to $40*.

*See rates and fees.

Card comparison

Select analyzed two other travel credit cards with the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card to see how they match up with one another.

Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card vs. Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card

These cards both serve a similar type of traveler: someone who flies with Delta regularly and is on track to earn elite status with the airline.

However, each card serves a different purpose.

The Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card comes with excellent benefits, including:

  • Welcome offer: Earn 80,000 bonus miles after you spend $4,000 in purchases on your new card in your first 6 months.
  • Status Boost: Earn up to 20,000 MQMs with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs 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
  • Main cabin priority boarding
  • Annual companion pass for economy Main Cabin seat
  • $39 entry fee for Delta Sky Club lounge access for you and up to two guests when traveling on Delta flights
  • 20% back as statement credit on in-flight purchases
  • Check your first bag for free on Delta flights
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck enrollment
  • Terms apply

If you are deciding between the two cards, consider that the major differences are: discounted or complimentary lounge access, spending categories, being considered for upgrades when flying on Delta, and most notably — the annual fee difference of $250 and $550.

If you want the more luxurious experience and don't mind the premium annual fee, go with the Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card. If you only occasionally visit Delta SkyClubs and care less about upgrades, the Delta Platinum Amex may be the better choice of the two.

Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® is a well-known travel credit card that's popular thanks to its valuable rewards and modest $95 annual fee.

The card is currently offering a welcome offer where you can earn 60,000 points after spending $4,000 on eligible purchases in the first three months of account opening.

While you can't book Delta flights by transferring Chase rewards to the Delta SkyMiles program, you can book Delta flights through the Chase travel portal, or when transferring points to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, which is partners with Delta Air Lines.

The two cards in question are extremely different, and fit two very different types of cardholders. If you want flexibility with how you can spend your travel rewards, consider the Sapphire Preferred. If you only fly Delta and want to experience comfort during your travels, the Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card is a solid choice.

Who the Delta Reserve Amex Card is best for

The Delta Reserve Amex is best for avid Delta flyers who want a luxurious experience when they fly. Additionally, consider that if you fly to and from a few select airports, it will be in your best interest to see if they have a Delta SkyClub or Amex Centurion lounge location. If the airports you frequent don't, you may not be able to use to benefits to the fullest potential.

If you currently have (or would consider having) multiple rewards credit cards, the Delta Reserve Amex would be a great fit for you. Because the card only rewards Delta purchases higher than one point per dollar, it is best to pair this card with another rewards credit card. The Reserve could be worth keeping for the travel benefits alone while you put most of your spend on another card to maximize your points earning.

Bottom line

The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card is a great fit for Delta loyalists who want to upgrade their travel experience. Between access to the Delta SkyClub lounges, Centurion lounges, automatic consideration for upgraded seats when flying on Delta and the annual companion pass, the card is full of benefits to make flying more comfortable.

However, the card's $550 annual fee must be considered. It's important to remember that while earning miles for your next flight and having lounge access are enjoyable benefits, that stretching yourself financially in the process is not a good idea. But if you can stomach the annual fee and use the benefits of the card, the Delta Reserve Amex may be worth a spot in your wallet.

FAQs

Is the Delta Reserve worth it?

If you travel enough on Delta Air Lines and are able to utilize the benefits, especially the lounge access, the card can definitely be worth the $550 annual fee.

Is the Delta Reserve card metal?

Yes, the Delta Reserve card is metal.

For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card, click here.

For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, click here.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.
Plenty of rewards and benefits including 4X points per dollar for dining at restaurants worldwide