The American Express Delta Reserve Card is a great premium credit card for Delta fans who want the cream of the crop in Delta benefits. This card is an excellent choice for true Delta loyalists who travel frequently. It has a $550 annual fee (NOT waived the first year), but lots of benefits to boot.

This card is not the same as the Chase Sapphire Reserve or the US Bank Altitude Reserve. The former is Chase’s most premium credit card and the latter is US Bank’s most premium credit card. Neither of these cards earn Delta SkyMiles.

 

Earning

Earning Structure

The Delta Reserve Card earns 3x SkyMiles on all purchases made directly with Delta. Such purchases include airfare, Sky Club membership, and vacation packages. All other purchases earn one SkyMile per dollar.

Furthermore, Amex and Delta are offering a sign-up bonus worth 40,000 SkyMiles and 10,000 MQMs for the Delta Reserve Card. It can be earned after spending $5,000 within the first three months. This bonus is comparable to those from premium credit cards.

Miles Boost / Status Boost

Like the Delta Platinum Card, the Delta Reserve Card has access to the Miles Boost program, which lets cardholders earn more points after spending $30,000. To be exact, cardholders can earn 15,000 SkyMiles and 15,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after spending $30,000. Cardholders can repeat the process up to four times per calendar year. Therefore, it is possible to receive up to 60,000 bonus MQMs.

Spending more than $30,000 per year on the Delta Reserve Card is not recommended because of opportunity cost. In other words, travelers can realize more value by spending $30,000 on other credit cards. Delta Reserve cardholders will prevent yourself from hitting sign-up bonuses, earning more valuable points and miles, and taking opportunities.

 

Burning

The Delta Reserve Card gives you a few ways to redeem your SkyMiles.

The most obvious way to redeem Delta SkyMiles is for airfare. Miles can go a long way for airfare, but cardholders need to do some research to get maximum value. This is because Delta does not have a rewards chart posted online.

Miles + Cash is a great option for those who don’t have many miles. This option is also nice for those who are short a few miles for a certain redemption. Many co-branded cards have this option and its nice to see Delta have it too.

Delta also offers vacation packages that can be purchases with miles. This is nice for those who don’t want to do much research and planning for their next vacation. It’s also great for last-minute trips.

Plus, cardholders can also use SkyMiles to upgrade their seat or even get membership to the Delta SkyClub. Gift cards and donations to charity are two other options for redemption.

 

Benefits

As both a premium and a co-branded airline card, the Delta Reserve Card’s value lies in its perks. Most of the $550 annual fee could be justified here. The Delta Reserve gives cardholders everything Delta has to offer in the way of perks. It the best credit card for Delta loyalists aside from probably the American Express Platinum Card.

Complimentary SkyClub Lounge Access

Complimentary lounge access is a common perk among premium credit cards. The Delta Reserve Card is no exception as it offers complimentary SkyClub Lounge access. Cardholders just need their Delta Reserve Card and boarding pass to get in. However, this perk is redundant for American Express Platinum cardholders as they receive it too.

Delta Concierge

This perk is a phone line that can help Reserve cardholders with anything Delta-related from reservations to cancellations. Concierge service is a common perk among premium Amex cards. But its not often spoken about. Having a private phone line can help Reserve cardholders bypass long waiting times for customer service, saving valuable time.

Annual Companion Certificate

This is another huge benefit offered with the Delta Reserve Card. Cardholders will receive one complimentary Companion Certificate for a round-trip ticket every time you pay your annual fee. The certificate gives cardholders the opportunity to fly someone else with them for free. It could be worth hundreds of dollars, depending on the flight and when the ticket is booked.

The certificate offered with this card includes First Class, Comfort+ and Main Cabin classes. This is a nice upgrade from the Delta Platinum Card, whose certificate only includes Main Cabin tickets.

The caveat is that cardholders can only redeem the certificate at Delta.com. It cannot be redeemed it via phone reservation or any other way. Certificates will appear on the primary cardholder’s Delta.com account upon paying the Delta Reserve Card’s annual fee.

Free Checked Bags

Delta lets the primary cardholder and up to eight other people in the same reservation check their first bags for free on any round-trip flight. This perk can be worth around $50 per person for each compliant bag. It can be very useful for those who are traveling with a family or a large group of people.

Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding

Cardholders may board their flight early with Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding. This is awesome because cardholders can avoid the traffic from the general public when boarding. Fewer people also makes it easier for cardholders to find their seat and receive first choice of overhead storage bin space.

20% Discount on In-Flight Purchases

Plus, cardholders receive 20% off in-flight purchases when using their Delta Gold Card. This is nice for in-flight meals, entertainment, or other incidentals.

No Foreign Transaction Fees

Cardholders can save 2.7% on all your international purchases because there are no pesky foreign exchange fees.

Travel Insurances

Cardholders may take advantage of Amex’s Trip Delay, Trip Cancellation, and Trip Interruption Insurances starting in January 2020.

Plus, cardholders can receive up to $10,000 if their air travel gets cancelled or interrupted for a qualifying reason. Furthermore, cardholders may be reimbursed up to $500 if their flight gets delayed at least six hours. One use of any of these insurances can justify the Delta Reserve Card’s annual fee.

American Express Centurion Lounge Access

Cardholders also receive complimentary Centurion Lounge access when flying Delta same day, though guests will cost $50 each. This is an excellent perk that will receive access to a growing number of Amex lounges. Furthermore, cardholders in certain airports will have alternatives for Delta SkyClubs if they are crowded.

Delta SkyClub Passes

Cardholders will receive two complimentary Delta SkyClub passes annually (in addition to the membership offered with the card).

Global Entry / Pre-TSA Fee Waiver Credit

Cardholders will receive one Global Entry / Pre-TSA credit every 4-5 years with this ubiquitous premium credit card perk.

 

Rules & Regulations

This card is subject to Amex’s Once Per Lifetime Rule, which states that cardholders can only receive a sign-up bonus on any card once ever. Therefore, prospective cardholders should apply for this card when the sign-up bonus is as high as possible.

 

Similar Cards

American Express Platinum Delta SkyMiles Card

The Delta Platinum SkyMiles Card is very similar to the Delta Reserve Card. But the Platinum Card does not offer Concierge Service and complimentary Sky Club Lounge Access. The Delta Platinum Card also has a more affordable $250 annual fee (NOT waived the first year) and most of the same benefits to match.

Plus, Amex and Delta are offering a sign-up bonus worth 35,000 SkyMiles and 5,000 MQMs. It can be earned after spending $2,000 within the first three months. This bonus is much easier to earn than that of the Delta Reserve Card. But it is not as valuable for the most loyal Delta fans.

American Express Platinum Card

The American Express Platinum Card is American Express’ flagship charge card (aside from the Centurion Card). It has an annual fee of $550 (NOT waived the first year). But it also has more universal travel benefits than any other card in the industry.

Plus, the Platinum Card earns 5x Membership Rewards (MR) points for airfare booked directly with the airline and travel from amextravel.com. Delta flights booked with the airline using the Platinum card count towards the 5x category. It also earns one MR for all non-bonus spend.

The Amex Platinum Card is unrivaled in the way of perks. It offers Sky Club Lounge Access and access to a plethora of other airport lounges, including Centurion Lounges. The Platinum Card also offers status from two major hotel chains, hundreds of dollars of annual credits, and much more.

But that’s not all! Amex is offering a public sign-up bonus worth 60,000 MR points. This bonus can be earned by spending $5,000 within the first three months. It’s also more valuable for more travelers than the Delta Reserve’s bonus. That’s because MR points are more versatile than Delta SkyMiles.

The Platinum Card is better for frequent travelers who are not loyal to Delta. It’s also better for those who want more benefits than the Delta Reserve has to offer. However, those who want to stock up on MQMs and SkyMiles would want the Delta Reserve (or another Delta card).

 

Final Draw

The American Express Delta Reserve Card is the best credit card for true Delta loyalists. Its value lies in its numerous perks and earning opportunities for big spenders. More casual Delta flyers and the average traveler should look at other cards. But Delta loyalists who are big spenders and want perks will love the Delta Reserve.

 

Apply Today: American Express Delta Reserve Card