Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card — Full Review [2021]

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Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card — Full Review [2021]

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"With complimentary Delta Sky Club Access!"

Delta loyalists will love the fast track to Delta elite status, lounge access, baggage benefits, and upgrade priority that comes with the Delta Reserve card.

Learn More (at Amex's secure site)

You’ve just gotten a promotion and will be traveling a lot more than you used to. You’re a bit worried that you’ll get frustrated and worn out by the constant airport and hotel scene.

If only there were a way to ensure you would have the best possible experience flying.

Luckily, you come across the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card and realize it has a lot of potential to make your travels easier, and you’ll earn a bunch of extra points to boot!

Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express - Snapshot

The Ideal Cardholder

Amex Delta Reserve Card Makes Business Travel Better
Kick back and relax, because with the Delta Reserve card, your travels will be much more comfortable…not to mention rewarding! Image Credit: Racorn via Shutterstock

How to Really Elevate Your Points

Once you have your Delta Reserve card, you will earn Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) and bonus miles after you make your very first purchase on the card.

This is unique, as most cards require you to meet a minimum spend within a few months.

Main Advantages of the Delta Reserve Card

So, what differentiates this card from the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card or the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card?

The Delta Reserve card can be a great card to carry if you are a regular traveler on Delta Air Lines.

Instead of just getting discounted Sky Club access, you have full complimentary access to the Club as well as access to American Express Centurion Lounges. As you travel more frequently, this benefit starts to pay itself off. They have locations at airports all around the world.

The other huge benefit of the Delta credit card is the Companion Certificate. This is valid for a round-trip ticket on any trip the primary cardmember is making in first class or main cabin.

You have to pay taxes and fees, but you can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars if you utilize this in the most valuable way! We recommend longer cross-country trips.

Cardmembers also get up to $20 back per month at U.S. restaurants, including dine-in and takeout, through December 31, 2021 (enroll through Amex Offers).

Bottom Line: Complimentary Sky Club and Centurion Lounge access is the main benefit of the Delta Reserve card.

Other Elite Status Benefits Offered

You can also get a few other perks of an elite status flyer on Delta by having the card.

Just by being a cardholder, you can check your first bag on Delta for free. This can save up to $50 on a round-trip flight. Priority boarding is also included, so you can make waiting in line a thing of the past.

Main Cabin 1 priority boarding is just after elite status members on Delta flights, so you’ll be able to get on the flight early, stow your carry-on bag, and settle in sooner.

You will also receive a 20% savings in the form of a statement credit on all eligible inflight purchases of food, beverages, movies, television shows, video games, and audio headsets. So enjoy!

Bottom Line: You will receive a free checked bag on Delta flights, Main Cabin 1 boarding, and 20% off inflight purchases for being a Delta Reserve cardmember.

Additional Card Benefits: Insurances and Protections

As a cardmember, you can also have more peace of mind (regardless of your mode of travel) with added protections, such as:

  • Baggage insurance
  • Premium roadside assistance
  • Car rental loss and damage insurance
  • Global assist hotline
  • Travel accident insurance

Terms and Conditions Apply for all benefits. Along with these insurance benefits, you’ll also get return protection, purchase protection, and an extended warranty for your purchases, plus cell phone protection.

The card also offers access to concierge staff both day and night. If you need details on a place to dine, a special event, or even finding the right gift for that special someone, help is available.

Your card will also provide you with discounts and presales to various concerts, sporting events, and shows, as well as to cardmember-only events.

Bottom Line: The Delta Reserve card offers much more than just a way to earn miles; it also provides you with travel protection and peace of mind on your purchases.

Some Things To Consider About the Delta Reserve Card

Before you go forward with applying for the card, there are a few items you should consider to ensure this is the right card for your specific needs.

For instance, the card does require a pretty steep annual fee. So you will want to be sure that it’s worth it to move forward! The Card Math section below can help you in determining that.

If you like Delta but don’t travel them enough for the Sky Club access to be valuable, you can consider the Delta Gold card.

There are other airline cards available if you aren’t a huge fan of the benefits on this one. For example, you may be more drawn to the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® if you are an American Airlines flyer.

It doesn’t require big spends to get bonuses, yet still allows you to get some decent awards.

Finally, you may prefer a card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Chase Freedom Unlimited®, which are general travel rewards credit cards.

Bottom Line: Although the Delta Reserve card comes with a steep annual fee, it can still be well worth it, given its many perks. However, infrequent travelers or lower spenders may want to consider an alternative.

How to Get the Most Out of the Delta Reserve Card

Even though the Delta Reserve card allows you to get rewards in a number of different ways, the key focus of this card is its travel benefits.

Using the card on items that you purchase directly from Delta — such as travel, inflight beverages, and even gift cards — can help to rack up the reward points.

However, even if you are not a big traveler, you can still pile on the bonus miles by using the card for everyday purchases like groceries, gas, and even your utility bills.

Great Card If

  • You are a frequent traveler who uses Delta Air Lines and/or its partners
  • You travel both within the United States and internationally
  • You plan to renew your card each year

Don't Get If

  • You are not a frequent traveler
  • You do travel frequently, but not on Delta Air Lines or any of its affiliate partner airlines

Delta Reserve Card — Fees

  • Annual Fee
    • $550
  • Foreign Transaction Fees
  • Interest Rates
    • 15.74%-24.74% Variable
  • Late fees
    • Up to $40
    • Penalty APR: 29.99% Variable
  • Cash Advance APR
    • 25.24% Variable
    • Fee: Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater.
  • Additional Info

Best Way to Maximize Delta SkyMiles

Below are some tips for using your Delta Reserve card to maximize your reward points!

Tip #1: Be sure to use the card for any and all purchases. This will help you not only to earn miles but reach a higher elite status tier, which itself will earn you lots more miles!

Tip #2: When you reach Silver Medallion status, you will earn a bonus of 2x SkyMiles per dollar directly through the Delta SkyMiles program when you purchase Delta flights.

Tip #3: Shop in the SkyMiles shopping portal for anything you need to purchase online in order to get bonus SkyMiles for whatever you buy!

Tip #4: While you’ll receive complimentary access to the Delta Sky Club for yourself, you can also get up to 2 guests in at a discounted rate.

Tip #5: Sign up to the Delta SkyMiles Dining Program for the easiest and most passive way to earn SkyMiles. You’ll earn miles when you’re just out eating with friends on a Friday night.

With the dining program, you associate your card with your account. Any time you dine at a restaurant that is a partner of the airline, you will receive between 3-5 bonus miles!

Earn Delta SkyMiles with the Dining Program
Sign up to the Delta SkyMiles Dining Program and earn miles just for going out and eating with your friends on any given night! Image Credit: Monkey Business Images via Shutterstock

Best Way to Redeem Delta SkyMiles

Like with some reward card programs, it can be difficult to figure out exactly how to redeem your Delta points. The following are some of our recommended methods.

Pay with Miles: If you do not have enough miles to “pay” for your entire flight, you also have the option of using points to simply help offset the cost of paying for the entire flight in cash.

With Pay with Miles, you will spend miles in chunks of 5,000 at a redemption value of $50. This is $0.01 per mile, which isn’t the best, but is good if you have some spare miles and want to save some cash.

Redeem for flights with Delta:  One of your primary options is to redeem your SkyMiles frequent flyer miles for flights with Delta.

While they no longer have an award chart, you will pay similar prices to those of the other major airlines, starting around 10,000 miles for a one-way domestic ticket.

Your reward points will go the furthest when redeemed for international travel in business and first class, where they could be valued at around $0.02 each!

The exact mileage amount will depend on where you travel, as well as the seat class.

Redeem for flights on SkyTeam:  Similarly, you could take your miles and redeem them with SkyTeam partners. You will very likely get even greater than $0.02 value on many of these.

To redeem with SkyTeam, you can research flights either on the partner’s search portal or through Delta’s rewards portal. Not all flights will show up however, so you will likely have to do research elsewhere.

When you want to book, if the flight you want is not in the Delta portal, you will have to call a Delta customer service representative to use the miles.

While the card itself doesn’t offer partners, as a Delta frequent flyer member you will have access to the SkyTeam Alliance, as well as a number of other airlines to choose from.

AeroflotGaruda Indonesia
Aerolineas ArgentinasKenya Airways
Air EuropaKorean Air
Air FranceMiddle East Airlines
AlitaliaSaudia Airlines
Delta Air LinesTarom
China AirlinesVietnam Airlines
China EasternXiamen Airlines
Czech Airlines

Non-Alliance partners include: Great Lakes Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Alaska Airlines, Virgin Australia, GOL, Hawaiian Airlines, WestJet

Non-Airline Partners

Delta SkyMiles members will also have access to numerous hotel and other non-carrier partners.

Hotel partners: Hilton, IHG, Marriott, Radisson, Accor Hotels, Langham, Hotel JAL, Maritim, Millennium, New Otani, Nikko, Okura, Prince, Shangri-La, Taj, Worldhotels

There are additional partners that may be found for cruise lines, car rentals, dining, and household services. The options are nearly unlimited, and include partners for both earning and redeeming!

Alternative Cards to the Delta Reserve Card

We’ve looked at the Amex Platinum Card vs. the Delta Reserve Card, comparing earnings, redemption options, and benefits for both cards.

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

The Gritty Details: Everything Else You Need to Know

Before you move forward with applying for the card, it is important that you have a thorough understanding of exactly how everything works.

Many of these intricate details will be included in your Cardmember Agreement, so if you want an expanded explanation, you can go there and refer to it.

However, note that American Express reserves the right to change it at any time.

Your Sky Club and Centurion access will only work if you are traveling on a Delta coded or operated flight.

The companion ticket also has some rules behind it, but should be nothing surprising: you just need to be flying along with your companion on the same ticket in order to redeem it.

Note that while it is not a feature of the card itself, Delta has a “rollover” policy where any extra MQMs earned are rolled into next year’s status.

Other Unique Features

The Delta Reserve card offers a number of nice perks, and these are all listed below.

Delta Sky Club access – Card members have complimentary access to the Delta Sky Club, where they can enjoy beverages and snacks, as well as Wi-Fi access, satellite TV, private restrooms, and more!

Concierge service – Concierge service is available to cardholders day or night. Regardless of whether you need to select a restaurant, show, or even a personalized gift – just give the service a call.

Priority boarding – You’ll receive Zone 1 priority boarding on Delta flights so you can board the plane early, stow your carry-on bag, and settle into your seat.

Free first checked bag when flying Delta – Cardholders can also check their first bag for free, saving up to $50 on a round-trip Delta flight.

20% savings on inflight purchases – Cardmembers can even save on inflight purchases like food, beverages, and entertainment items.

Pay with Miles – Using Pay with Miles, you can exchange 5,000 extra miles for $50 for anything.

Baggage insurance plan – Travel in comfort knowing that you’ll be covered by the baggage insurance plan if your bag is lost, stolen, or damaged when you purchase your ticket with your card.

Car rental loss and damage insurance – Having something happen to a rental car can ruin your entire trip. But, when you reserve the vehicle using your card, you can be covered.

Premium roadside assistance – Need a tow or a jumpstart? As a card member, you can have up to 4 services per year.

Global assist hotline – An emergency when you’re away from home can be frightening. When you’re traveling more than 100 miles, legal, medical, financial, and other types of help are just a phone call away with this card.

Travel accident insurance – You can help to protect those you care about financially with travel accident insurance through your card from American Express. This coverage can provide financial security if you’ve paid for your fare using your credit card.

Extended warranty – An extended warranty is available for all purchases made with the card.

Purchase protection – If your item is damaged or stolen, you will be covered up to a certain amount for your purchase.

Return protection – If you can’t return your item to the original vendor within 90 days of purchase, you will be covered to get up to $300 per item back.

Travel accident insurance – When traveling on major carriers, you’ll have travel accident insurance that covers you in case of emergency.

ShopRunner – Get complimentary access to this shopping service, which offers free online shipping through hundreds of online shops. You must enroll and log in to use the service.

Medallion Qualification Dollar waiver – You are exempt from having to meet the MQDs to reach any level of elite status.

Entertainment access or membership experiences – You will have access to any Amex Entertainment event, including pre-sales to sporting events, concerts, and shows.

Frequently asked questions

Is the Delta Reserve card worth it?

If you are a frequent traveler, then the card can be well worth it, even with the annual fee.

For this to be the case, you’d have to fly on Delta Air Lines and/or on any of the affiliated SkyTeam Partners.

One of the key reasons for this is that you can accumulate rewards points right off the bat when you make your very first purchase; you’ll get MQMs and bonus miles.

If you plan to use this card for regular purchases, the points can really add up! For starters, you’ll earn 2 miles for each dollar you spend directly with Delta. If you travel with this airline a lot, that can help to pile on the points.

On top of that, you can also save money while traveling by receiving a 20% savings on your inflight purchases of food and other items.

But the perks don’t end there! If you purchase an item and you want or need extra protection, your card can offer that, too. For example, purchase protection and extended warranty options are also available as a cardmember.

Do the points on a Delta credit card ever expire or go away?

Because the miles earned will have to be transferred to Delta SkyMiles right away, the points on the card will not ever expire or go away, even if you cancel all your American Express rewards cards.

How does the Delta Reserve card compare to the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card?

The Delta Reserve card is focused more on the Sky Club access.

However, the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express is probably the most valuable of the three cards offered. It may not earn the most points, but it has access to all Sky Clubs, regardless of which airline you are flying.

What is a good card to use in conjunction with the Delta Reserve card?

You can use any of the other Membership Rewards cards, such as The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express or The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Card from American Express, then later transfer those points to Delta Air Lines.

What is the Delta Reserve card upgrade priority?

You will receive upgrades according to your current ticket and status. If you are an elite status member, you will get priority. Cardmembers get priority over the regular customers.

Alex Miller

About Alex Miller

Alex has been traveling for over 25 years and from a young age was lucky enough to set out on numerous family trips all over the world, which gave him the travel bug. Alex has since earned millions of travel points and miles, mainly through maximizing credit card sign-up bonuses and taking every opportunity to earn the most points possible on each dollar spent.

Travel prices are about to surge from pent-up demand.

Use this points strategy to lock in pennies-on-the-dollar pricing in 2021, all without being a frequent flyer...

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Disclaimer: Any comments listed below are not from the bank advertiser, nor have they been reviewed or approved by them. No responsibility will be taken by the bank advertiser for these comments.


  1. How much would you have to fly in order to go from silver to gold status with the reserve card?


    • The MQM (Medallion Qualifying Miles) requirement for Silver Medallion status with Delta is 25,000 MQMs. The MQM requirement for Gold Medallion status is 50,000 MQMs. If you had the Delta Reserve credit card and spent $30,000 on the card in a calendar year you would receive a total of 25,000 MQMs for that spending (10,000 MQMs for spending $3000 in the first 3 months and another 15,000 MQMs when you reach $30,000 in total spending).

      You could then reach Gold status by earning another 25,000 MQMs by flying or by spending an additional $30,000 (total of $60,000) to earn another 15,000 MQMs and that would leave you with only needing to earn 10,000 MQMs from flying. Keep in mind that all of this activity has to be completed in a calendar year. I hope this answers your question.


  2. George B May 8, 2019

    The real value of the card is the First Class companion certificate. I just got back from a MIA-SFO FC RT booking for $1,150. Now that price would be great, for an annual First Class transcon for two; to the West Coast or Vegas! That alone pays for the card, let alone for the Lounge Benefits, which can’t be bought (as of Jan 2019) for day pass, at any price!


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