37 Benefits of the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card

Delta One Suites A350-900 rear view

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If you’re a Delta flyer, there’s a strong chance that you either have a Delta-branded credit card or have considered getting one. It’s a logical option if you fly frequently on the airline and want access to inflight benefits, elevated SkyMiles earning, and expanded redemption options for Delta flights.

While having a Delta-branded credit card certainly has value, which card you select makes a difference in the benefits you receive, how quickly you earn miles, and whether you’ll realize enough bottom-line value to offset any annual fee.

Since there are so many Delta-branded cards, selecting the card that perfectly aligns with your travel style might also present a challenge.

In this article, we’ll focus on one of the best Delta-branded cards, the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card.

The Delta Reserve card is packed with so many benefits for Delta flyers — it should be high on the list of consideration for a frequent Delta traveler.

In this article we’ll cover:

  • Earning SkyMiles on the Delta Reserve card
  • Card benefits when traveling with Delta
  • Redeeming your SkyMiles
  • How the card provides a faster path to Delta Medallion elite status
  • Additional card benefits

Let’s jump into the long list of reasons the Delta Reserve card stands out above the others and see if it’s truly the right Delta-branded card for you.

Earning Delta SkyMiles

1. A Generous Welcome Bonus

Welcome bonuses change, but you can count on jump-starting your earnings with tens of thousands of SkyMiles after meeting minimum spending requirements in the first 3 months after card approval.

New cardholders can also qualify during this period for Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQM) that count toward SkyMiles Medallion elite status.

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card
  • 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.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and 1X Mile on all other purchases
  • Complimentary access into Delta Sky Clubs and Centurion Lounges.
  • Terms Apply
  • Annual Fee: $550
  • For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Card, please click here.

2. Earn More on Delta Purchases

Every purchase you make with Delta earns 3x miles per dollar spent on the card. Qualifying purchases include flights purchased with Delta, upgrades, miles, seat selection, Delta Sky Club membership, and inflight Delta purchases of food, beverages, and headsets. Purchases made with Delta Vacations also qualify for 3x earnings.

Update: Now through, 12/31/20, cardholders will earn 5x miles on Delta purchases. You must register through your Amex Offers page.

3. Earn on Every Purchase You Make

Every purchase you make will earn 1 Delta SkyMile for every dollar spent on the card.

4. No Limit on Earning Miles

There is no limit to how many miles you can earn by spending on your Delta Reserve card.

5. Earn for Referring a Friend

Referral bonuses vary, but you will usually earn 10,000 miles to 20,000 Delta SkyMiles when you refer a friend who is approved for the Delta Reserve card or other Delta-branded Amex card.

6. Additional Users

Add authorized users to your Delta Reserve card and you will earn miles when they spend on their card.

Authorized users do not enjoy most of the benefits that are offered by the card. However, they do enjoy complimentary access to the Delta Sky Club and the Centurion Lounges.

The Delta Reserve card charges $175 for each additional authorized user per year, far less than you would pay for an annual lounge membership. See rates and fees.

Delta SkyClub at ATL
Receive complimentary access to Delta Sky Clubs and Centurion Lounges with your Delta Reserve card. Delta Sky Club Atlanta. Image Credit: Delta Air Lines

Delta Travel Benefits

The Delta Reserve card is loaded with benefits you can enjoy when traveling with Delta.

7. Access to Delta Sky Club Airport Lounges

Receive complimentary access to Delta Sky Clubs when flying the same day on a Delta-operated or marketed flight. You can bring up to 2 guests into the club with you for a discounted rate.

8. Access to Centurion Lounges

Cardholders traveling on a Delta operated or marketed flight can enjoy access to prestigious Centurion Lounges.

9. Complimentary Delta Sky Club Guest Passes

After card approval and at each card anniversary, the primary cardholder will receive 2 complimentary Delta Sky Club one-time use guest passes.

10. Priority Boarding

Make sure your Delta SkyMiles number is added to your reservation and enjoy Main Cabin 1 priority boarding for you and up to a maximum of 8 additional passengers traveling with you.

11. Free Checked Bag

You’ll be saving plenty of travel dollars with the free checked bag benefit available to you and up to 8 additional travelers on the same Delta flight reservation.

Delta domestic first class
Bring a friend or family member along for just the cost of taxes/fees using your first class companion ticket. Image Credit: Delta Air Lines

12. Delta SkyMiles Companion Certificate

At each card anniversary, you’ll receive a First Class, Comfort+, or Main Cabin companion certificate for just the cost of the taxes/fees (which cannot exceed $75).

Tickets must be for travel within the 48 contiguous states. For details on how to use your Delta companion certificate, access our article with everything you need to know.

13. Upgrade Priority

Delta Reserve cardmembers who have Medallion elite status will have priority for complimentary upgrades over other passengers within the same Medallion tier and fare class grouping.

14. Upgrade Eligibility

Delta Reserve cardmembers who do not have Medallion elite status will be eligible for complimentary upgrades after Medallion members.

15. Inflight Discounts

Receive 20% back as a statement credit when using your card for in-flight Delta purchases such as food, beverages, and headsets.

16. Global Entry or TSA PreCheck Credit

Receive a statement credit up to $100 every 4 years for Global Entry or $85 every 4.5 years for TSA PreCheck.

17. Discounted CLEAR Membership

Breeze past TSA security screening with your CLEAR membership. Your pre-stored biometric information allows you to simply approach the CLEAR kiosk, check-in with your eyes or fingerprints and you’re screened.

CLEAR membership costs $179 per year but Delta Reserve cardmembers receive a reduced price of just $109 per year.

Bottom Line: The frequent Delta traveler will receive a long list of Delta Reserve card benefits such as worldwide lounge access, free checked bags, priority boarding, upgrade eligibility, and discounted or reimbursed airport security fees. 

Redeeming Your Miles

Delta One Seat
Redeem your SkyMiles for lie-flat Delta One business class. Image Credit: Delta

You won’t have trouble using your SkyMiles as there are so many ways to redeem them. Having the Delta Reserve card allows you to earn more SkyMiles so we’ve included additional redemption options for using those miles, not just those limited to having the card.

18. Redeem Miles for Delta Award Flights

Delta doesn’t publish an award chart but award flights generally start at 10,000 SkyMiles. They also run frequent flash sales where award flights are discounted.

19. Redeem Miles for Flights With SkyTeam Alliance Partner Airlines

You can use miles to book award flights on SkyTeam Alliance airlines and on other partner airlines.

For some of the best ways to redeem your SkyMiles, check out this article for our list of creative ideas for award redemptions.

20. Pay With Miles

Cardmembers can pay for all or a portion of their qualifying Delta flight with miles. A minimum of 5,000 miles is required and every 5,000 miles equates to $50 in value toward the cost of an eligible fare.

21. Redeem for Seat Upgrades and Ticket Fees

Use your SkyMiles to purchase an upgraded seat during the booking process or upgrade a qualifying existing reservation using miles.

In addition, you can use your miles to pay for ticket change fees, award redeposit fees, and same-day confirm fees. Learn all about how to upgrade to business and first class with Delta.

22. Redeem for Sky Club Membership and Premium Drinks

SkyMiles can be used to purchase an Executive Sky Club Membership, which allows complimentary access for the cardholder and 2 guests, for 84,500 miles.

An individual Sky Club membership which allows 2 additional guests for $29 per guest, per visit can be purchased for 54,500 miles. While standard alcoholic beverages are complimentary in the Sky Club, you can treat yourself and use your miles to purchase premium drinks.

23. Redeem Miles at the SkyMiles Marketplace and More

Redeem your miles at the SkyMiles Marketplace and select from over 6,000 items including hotel rooms, rental cars, appliances, electronics, apparel, accessories, and more.

Your miles can also be used to purchase gift cards, magazines, or for a charitable donation.

Bottom Line: There are dozens of ways to redeem your SkyMiles but the best value will generally be for Delta and SkyTeam partner award flights. 

A Faster Path to Delta Medallion Elite Status

In order to achieve elite status with Delta, each year you must fly the required miles or segments (Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQMs) or Medallion Qualifying Segments (MQSs)) and spend a specific level with Delta (Medallion Qualifying Dollars, or MQDs).

Delta Elite Status Qualification
The Delta Reserve card offers a faster path to qualifying for Delta Medallion Elite status. Image Credit: Delta

Delta Reserve cardholders have the opportunity to earn elite MQMs that count toward elite status, waive revenue requirements by spending on their card, and gift earned MQMs.

Hot Tip: Wondering about the value of status with Delta? We have you covered with our full guides on Silver Medallion, Gold Medallion, and Platinum Medallion status with Delta. 

24. Earn MQMs with Status Boost™

Earn MQMs that count toward Medallion Elite status for spending on your card. When $30,000 is spent on the card in a calendar year, the cardholder earns 15,000 MQMs.

An additional 15,000 MQMs are earned when reaching $60,000 spent, another 15,000 MQMs at $90,000, and still an additional 15,000 MQMs at $120,000 spent in a calendar year. That’s a total of 60,000 MQMs that can be earned by spending on your Delta Reserve card.

Update: Through 12/31/20, cardholders will earn 500 bonus Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQMs) plus 500 bonus redeemable SkyMiles for every $1,000 in purchases, up to 25,000 bonus miles and 25,000 bonus MQMs. You must register for this offer through your Amex Offers page.

25. Waive the Medallion Elite Revenue MQD Requirement

When you spend $25,000 in a calendar year on your Delta Reserve card, you waive the MQD requirement for Silver, Gold, or Platinum Medallion elite status.

Spending $250,000 on your card in a calendar year will waive the MQD requirement for top Diamond Medallion status.

26. Gifting MQMs

As a Delta Reserve cardholder, you can gift the Medallion elite qualifying miles earned with Status Boost™ to another SkyMiles Medallion member.

Bottom Line: Spending on your Delta Reserve card can result in a faster path to elite status and the ability to gift MQMs to other SkyMiles Medallion members. 

Travel Protection and Benefits

Airport Delay Unsplash
Travel protection can help when a covered event disrupts your trip. Image Credit: Sebastian Dreßen via Unsplash

The Delta Reserve card comes with trip protections and benefits that can save you money and provide assistance when things go wrong during your travels.

27. Trip Cancellation and Interruption Coverage

Pay for your round-trip ticket with your Delta Reserve card and receive up to $10,000 per trip, $50,000 per year for a covered event. There are also a number of other cards that offer this type of insurance.

28. Trip Delay Coverage

If your trip is delayed 6 hours or more, you could receive up to $500 reimbursement for incidentals.

29. Baggage Insurance Plan

Receive up to $1,250 for carry-on baggage and $500 for checked baggage that is lost, stolen, or damaged.

30. Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance

Reserve and pay for your rental car with your Delta Reserve card, decline the rental agency’s collision damage coverage, and you could be covered for damage and theft of your rental car.

This coverage is secondary to any other car insurance covering such a loss.

31. Global Assist Hotline

Get help with emergency transportation, finding an English-speaking doctor, a legal referral, or assistance with other travel emergencies.

The referral service is free, however, the cardholder is responsible for any actual services provided.

32. Concierge Services

Receive 24/7 assistance with dinner reservations, tickets to events, and more.

33. No Foreign Transaction Fees

Take your card with you when you travel as no foreign transaction fees will be charged on your purchases.

Shopping Protections and Benefits

34. Return Protection

Purchase an eligible item with your card and if the merchant won’t accept a return within 90 dates from the date of purchase, you could receive a return protection benefit of up to $300 per item, up to a maximum of $1,000 per cardmember account per year.

35. Purchase Protection

For purchase protection, receive up to $10,000 per eligible item purchased with your card if the item is damaged or stolen. Coverage is for 120 days (90 days for New York residents) from the date of purchase and the maximum benefit is $50,000 per year.

36. Extended Warranty

The manufacturer’s warranty of 3 years or less on an eligible item (purchased with your card) will be extended for 1 additional year.

37. The American Express Auto Purchasing Program

Receive a discounted price on your new vehicle, up to $2,000 in post-purchase benefits, and be able to charge at least $2,000 of the purchase price on your card.

Final Thoughts

If you’re a frequent Delta traveler, the benefits of having the Delta Reserve card are many, especially if you’re currently paying for a Delta Sky Club membership.

An annual Executive Sky Club membership that includes 2 guests can cost far more than the annual fee on the card, making it a wise choice if you value lounge access and are paying for it.

The addition of access to Centurion Lounges is also valuable as this is a perk that cannot be purchased separately.

If you can use the companion certificate, free checked bag, and other Delta-related benefits that come with the card, it’s a solid choice.

If you fly additional airlines frequently, you may consider the Platinum Card® from American Express which also offers complimentary Delta Sky Club and Centurion Lounge access plus a long list of premium benefits including hotel elite status and statement credits.

To help you decide which card is best for you, take a moment to review our comparison of The Amex Platinum vs. the Delta Reserve card.

Frequently asked questions

Is the Delta Reserve card worth it?

For frequent Delta flyers, the card is worth it.

For example, if you are currently paying for a Sky Club membership, or thinking about getting a membership, know that you could save a lot of money by having the Delta Reserve card. An individual annual Sky Club membership is $545 plus $39 per guest, per visit (effective January 30, 2020).

Additionally, the first class companion certificate can alone be worth the annual fee. Add in the benefits of a free checked bag, priority boarding, and complimentary Sky Club guest passes and you’ve found enough value to make the card worth it.

Does Delta elite status come with the Delta Reserve card?

No, you do not receive Delta Medallion elite status with the Delta Reserve card.

However, the card does offer a faster way to qualify for elite status by spending on the card. With Status Boost, you earn qualifying miles that count toward elite status.

When you spend $30,000 on the card in a calendar year, you receive 15,000 Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQMs) toward elite status. For every $30,000 of additional spending, you’ll receive another 15,000 MQMs, up to a total of 60,000 MQMs per year.

You also have the option of gifting these MQMs to another SkyMiles Medallion member.

Can I transfer my Delta SkyMiles to other airlines?

While you cannot transfer your miles to another airline, you can redeem your miles for award tickets on several airline partners including SkyTeam Alliance airlines.

How does Delta Pay with Miles work?

When booking a qualifying flight, Delta-branded credit cardmembers have the option to pay for all, or a portion, of their flight with miles.

Each mile you redeem with the Pay with Miles option results in a 1 cent credit towards the cost of your flight. For example, redeeming 30,000 miles will reduce the cost of your flight by $300.

Additionally, you will earn MQDs and MQMs on the portion of your ticket that is paid for with cash.

The minimum amount of miles you can redeem for Pay with Miles is 5,000.

Christine Krzyszton

About Christine Krzyszton

Christine, who lives in Northern Michigan, travels about 300,000 miles a year despite her remote location. Her expertise is traveling the world on a weekend with no pre-determined destination in mind, letting the cost of the airfare determine where she will go. She has over four million flown miles and elite status on all three major domestic carriers.

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