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34 Benefits of the Amex Delta Reserve Credit Card [$6,900+ Value]

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Christine Krzyszton
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Christine Krzyszton

Senior Finance Contributor

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Christine ran her own business developing and managing insurance and financial services. This stoked a passion for points and miles and she now has over 2 dozen credit cards and creates in-depth, deta...
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If you’re a frequent Delta flyer, you likely have a Delta-branded credit card or have considered getting one. It’s a logical option if you fly often with the airline and want access to inflight benefits, elevated SkyMiles earnings, 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 realize enough bottom-line value to offset any annual fee.

Since there are so many Delta-branded cards, it can be overwhelming to select the card that best suits your travel style.

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

The Delta Reserve card is packed with so many benefits for Delta flyers that it’s a top choice for frequent Delta travelers. Let’s examine the long list of reasons this card stands out above the others and see if it’s truly the right Delta-branded card for you.

Earning Delta SkyMiles

1. Start Off With a Generous Welcome Bonus ($1,080)

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. Here is the current welcome bonus of the Delta Reserve card: Earn 60,000 miles after you spend $5,000 in purchases in the first 6 months.

2. Earn 3x Miles on Delta Purchases ($180)

Every purchase you make with Delta earns 3 miles per dollar you spend 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.

If you spend $5,000 annually with Delta, you earn 15,000 SkyMiles, which we value at around $180.

3. Get Miles for Every Purchase You Make ($360)

Every eligible dollar you spend on the card earns 1 Delta SkyMile.

On an estimated monthly spend of $2,500, you earn 30,000 SkyMiles from nonbonus spending annually, which we value at around $360.

Hot Tip:

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

4. Earn Miles for Referring a Friend ($120)

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

If you refer 1 friend every year, we estimate that you will earn 10,000 SkyMiles per year, which we value at $120.

Delta Travel Benefits

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

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

5. Get Access to Delta Sky Club Airport Lounges ($200)

Receive complimentary access to Delta Sky Clubs when flying the same day on a Delta-operated or Delta-marketed flight. You can bring up to 2 guests into the club with you for a discounted rate. We value this benefit at $200, though you may receive much better value depending on how often you fly Delta.

Delta has recently announced coming changes to its access policy for Sky Clubs. Effective February 1, 2025, Reserve Card Members will only receive 15 complimentary visits per year to the Delta Sky Club. To earn an unlimited number of visits each year, you’ll need to spend $75,000 or more on your card in a calendar year.

6. Access Centurion Lounges ($200)

Cardholders traveling on a Delta-operated or Delta-marketed flight booked with their Delta Reserve card can access prestigious Centurion Lounges. Although Centurion Lounges are generally much nicer than Delta Sky Clubs, we value Centurion Lounge access at around $200.

7. Receive Complimentary Delta Sky Club Guest Passes ($100)

After card approval and at each card anniversary, you receive 4 complimentary Delta Sky Club single-use guest passes, though you can only use 2 guest passes per visit.

Because single-visit passes have been discontinued and companion guest passes now cost $50, we value 4 one-time-use guest passes at a discounted rate of $100.

8. Share Lounge Access With Authorized Users ($100)

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

Authorized users do not receive most of the benefits that are offered to primary card users. However, they do get complimentary access to Delta Sky Club when flying on a same-day Delta flight and Centurion Lounges when you book your Delta flight with your Delta Reserve card.

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

We value this benefit at around $100.

9. Take Advantage of Priority Boarding ($50)

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.

We estimate this benefit to be worth around $50 per year.

10. Save With a Free Checked Bag ($100)

With the free checked bag benefit available to you and up to 8 additional travelers on the same Delta flight reservation, you can save plenty of money. Most commonly, your first checked bag is around $30, so we estimate the value of this benefit at around $100 per year. You might save much more than $100 per year, though.

11. Earn an Annual Delta SkyMiles Companion Certificate ($500)

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

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

Tickets must be for travel within the 48 contiguous states. Since this certificate is valid for a ticket all the way up until first class, we peg this benefit at $500.

Hot Tip:

12. Receive Upgrade Priority ($5)

Delta Reserve cardmembers who have Medallion elite status have priority for complimentary upgrades over other passengers within the same Medallion tier and fare class grouping. We value this benefit at $5 because the upgrade odds don’t change appreciably from this benefit.

13. Get Upgrade Eligibility ($5)

Delta Reserve cardmembers who do not have Medallion elite status are eligible for complimentary upgrades after Medallion members. Having upgrade priority is great, but you have the most bottom-of-the-barrel upgrade priority. Essentially, you only get upgraded ahead of travelers flying on Delta who don’t have SkyMiles accounts. We value this benefit at $5.

14. Save With Inflight Discounts ($20)

Receive 20% back as a statement credit when using your card for inflight Delta purchases such as food, beverages, and headsets. Assuming you spend $100 per year on inflight purchases, this benefit translates to a value of $20.

15. Use the Global Entry or TSA PreCheck Credit ($100)

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

Bottom Line:

Frequent Delta travelers get numerous Delta Reserve card benefits, including worldwide lounge access, free checked bags, priority boarding, and upgrade eligibility.

Redeeming Your Miles

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.

Passenger resting in Delta One
Redeem your SkyMiles for lie-flat Delta One business class. Image Credit: Delta

16. Redeem Fewer Miles for Delta Award Flights ($50)

Delta doesn’t publish an award chart, but award flights generally start at 10,000 SkyMiles. Delta also runs frequent flash sales where award flights are discounted. Cardholders receive a 15% discount on award flights. We value the ability to redeem SkyMiles for Delta award flights at at least $50.

17. Redeem Miles for Flights With SkyTeam Alliance Partner Airlines ($50)

You can use miles to book award flights on SkyTeam Alliance airlines and on other partner airlines. This used to be a lot more valuable, but Delta has since devalued its miles relentlessly, so we value this perk at $50.

Hot Tip:

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

18. Pay With Miles ($25)

Cardmembers can use miles to pay for all or a portion of their qualifying Delta flight. 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.

In general, Delta SkyMiles award redemptions yield around 1.2 cents per mile, which is better than the Pay with Miles benefit. But in the event of blackout dates or other complications, having Pay with Miles can be useful. We value this benefit at $25.

19. Redeem Miles for Seat Upgrades and Ticket Fees ($50)

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 confirmation fees. We value this benefit at $50.

20. Redeem Miles on the SkyMiles Marketplace and More ($10)

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

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

Because this is a pretty low-value way to redeem SkyMiles, we peg this benefit at $10. We’d only recommend it if you never intend to fly on Delta or SkyTeam partners again.

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

To achieve elite status with Delta, each year, you must earn the specified number of Medallion Qualification Dollars, or MQDs.

Delta Elite Status levels 2024
You’ll need to earn at least $5,000 MQDs to reach Silver.

Delta Reserve cardholders have additional benefits relating to a faster path to earning Delta elite status.

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. 

21. Earn MQDs With Spending via the MQD Boost ($1,250)

You can earn MQDs at a rate of 1 MQD per $10 spent on your Delta Reserve card. There is no limit to the amount of MQDs that you can earn through spending on the Delta Reserve card. Delta refers to this benefit as an “MQD Boost.” Solely through spending on your card, you may find yourself getting close to Gold status, and you may get pretty close to Platinum or Diamond status, too. While the exact value of this benefit depends on how much you spend on your card, we estimate the value of this benefit at $1,250.

22. Get an MQD Headstart ($750)

In addition to the MQD Boost, Delta Reserve cardholders can also get an MQD Headstart. All Delta Reserve cardholders receive an MQD Headstart of $2,500 MQDs at the start of each current Medallion Qualification Year. That puts you halfway to Silver status before the year has even started. Since we value Silver status at around $1,100, we value this head start at $750 since you’re also getting closer to the benefits of the higher-value statuses of Gold, Platinum, and Diamond.

Bottom Line:

Spending on your Delta Reserve card can result in a faster path to elite status.

Travel Protection and Benefits

Traveler waiting at the airport departure area for his delayed flight
You’re covered for trip delays with the Delta Reserve card. Image Credit: Chalabala via Adobe Stock

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.

23. Trip Cancellation and Interruption Coverage ($100)

Pay for your round-trip ticket with your Delta Reserve card and receive up to $10,000 per trip, $20,000 per calendar year. We value this coverage at around $100.

24. Trip Delay Coverage ($200)

If your trip is delayed 6 hours or more, you could receive up to $500 reimbursement for incidentals, up to 2 claims per card per year. We value this coverage at around $200 because delays seem to be a more prevalent part of traveling nowadays.

25. Baggage Insurance Plan ($25)

Receive up to $1,250 for carry-on baggage and $500 for checked baggage that is lost, stolen, or damaged. We value this benefit at around $25.

26. Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance ($50)

If you reserve and pay for your rental car with your Delta Reserve card and decline the rental agency’s collision damage coverage, 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. We estimate the value of this benefit to be $50.

27. Premium Global Assist Hotline ($25)

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. By our estimates, this benefit is worth around $25.

28. Concierge Services ($25)

Receive 24/7 assistance with dinner reservations, tickets to events, and more. If you maximized this benefit, you’d probably get a value of around $25.

29. No Foreign Transaction Fees ($100)

Take your card with you when you travel, as no foreign transaction fees will be charged on your purchases (rates and fees). Foreign transaction fees are usually around 3%, so we assume you’d get a value of $100 every year if you made around $3,333 of foreign transactions every year.

Shopping Protections and Benefits

30. Return Protection ($30)

Purchase an eligible item with your card, and if the merchant won’t accept a return within 90 days 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.

We value this benefit at around $30.

31. Purchase Protection ($100)

For purchase protection, you can 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.

We value this benefit at around $100, though filing a claim on a valuable item can save you thousands of dollars.

32. Extended Warranty ($100)

When you make a purchase with your card, any manufacturer’s warranty of 3 years or less on an eligible item is extended for 1 additional year. This warranty is worth around $100 by our estimates, but it depends on what types of purchases you make.

33. American Express Auto Purchasing Program ($100)

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 when you buy a car using the American Express Auto Purchasing Program. We value this benefit at around $100.

34. Cell Phone Protection ($750)

Cardholders and authorized users receive up to $1,600 in cell phone protection (2 claims per year with up to $800 for each claim) against theft and damage, including cosmetic damage (like a cracked phone screen). Each claim has a $50 deductible, and your monthly phone bill should be paid with your Delta Reserve card to receive coverage.

Assuming you make 1 claim, you’d get $750 of value after the $50 deductible.

Final Thoughts

If you’re a frequent Delta traveler, there can be significant benefits to having the Delta Reserve card, 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 this card, making it a wise choice if you value lounge access and are paying for it. Just keep in mind that, starting in February 2025, you’ll be limited to 15 annual Sky Club visits unless you spend at least $75,000 per year on your card.

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 Centurion Lounge access and Delta Sky Club access (when flying Delta same-day) 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 card vs. the Delta Reserve card.

For the car rental collision damage coverage benefit of the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, car rental loss and damage insurance can provide coverage up to $50,000 for theft of or damage to most rental vehicles when you use your eligible card to reserve and pay for the entire eligible vehicle rental and decline the collision damage waiver or similar option offered by the commercial car rental company. This product provides secondary coverage and does not include liability coverage. Not all vehicle types or rentals are covered. Geographic restrictions apply. Eligibility and benefit level varies by card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply. Visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company.

For the baggage insurance plan benefit of the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, baggage insurance plan coverage can be in effect for eligible persons for eligible lost, damaged, or stolen baggage during their travel on a common carrier (e.g. plane, train, ship, or bus) when the entire fare for a common carrier vehicle ticket for the trip (one-way or round-trip) is charged to an eligible account. Coverage can be provided for up to $1,250 for carry-on baggage and up to $500 for checked baggage, in excess of coverage provided by the common carrier (e.g. plane, train, ship, or bus). For New York state residents, there is a $10,000 aggregate maximum limit for all covered persons per covered Trip. Eligibility and benefit level varies by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply.  Visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company.

For the purchase protection benefit of the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, purchase protection is an embedded benefit of your card membership and requires no enrollment. It can help protect covered purchases made on your eligible card when they’re accidentally damaged, stolen, or lost, for up to 90 days from the covered purchase date. The coverage is limited up to $10,000 per occurrence, up to $50,000 per card member account per calendar year. Coverage limits apply. Eligibility and benefit level varies by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company.

For the trip cancellation and interruption insurance benefit of the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, the maximum benefit amount for Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance is $10,000 per Covered Trip and $20,000 per Eligible Card per 12 consecutive month period. Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply. Visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG Company.

For the trip delay insurance coverage benefit of the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, up to $300 per covered trip that is delayed for more than 12 hours; and 2 claims per eligible card per 12 consecutive month period. Eligibility and benefit level varies by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG Company.

For the extended warranty benefit of the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, when an American Express® card member charges a covered purchase to an eligible card, extended warranty can provide up to one extra year added to the original manufacturer’s warranty. Applies to warranties of five (5) years or less. Coverage is up to the actual amount charged to your card for the item up to a maximum of $10,000; not to exceed $50,000 per card member account per calendar year. Eligibility and benefit level varies by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company.

For the return protection benefit of the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, you may return eligible purchases to American Express if the seller won’t take them back up to 90 days from the date of purchase. American Express may refund the full purchase price excluding shipping and handling, up to $300 per item, up to a maximum of $1,000 per calendar year per Card account, if you purchased it entirely with your eligible American Express® Card. Purchases must be made in the U.S. or its territories. Eligibility and benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply.

For the premium global assist hotline benefit of the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, you can rely on Global Assist Hotline 24 hours a day / 7 days a week for medical, legal, financial or other select emergency coordination and assistance services while traveling more than 100 miles away from your home. Plus, we may provide emergency medical transportation assistance and related services. Third-party service costs may be your responsibility. Eligibility and benefit level varies by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. If approved and coordinated by premium global assist hotline, emergency medical transportation assistance may be provided at no cost. In any other circumstance, Card Members may be responsible for the costs charged by third-party service providers.

For the Cell Phone Protection benefit of the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, coverage for a stolen or damaged eligible cellular wireless telephone is subject to the terms, conditions, exclusions and limits of liability of this benefit. The maximum liability is $800, per claim, per eligible card Account. Each claim is subject to a $50 deductible. Coverage is limited to two (2) claims per Eligible Card Account per 12 month period. Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply. Visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG Company.

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

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 are considering getting one, you could save a lot of money by having the Delta Reserve card. An individual annual Sky Club membership is $695.

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. You’ll get $2,500 Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs) each year just for having the card. You’ll also earn 1 MQD for every $10 you spend on your Delta Reserve card each year.

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 toward the cost of your flight. For example, redeeming 30,000 miles reduces the cost of your flight by $300.

Additionally, you earn MQDs 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.

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About Christine Krzyszton

Christine ran her own business developing and managing insurance and financial services. This stoked a passion for points and miles and she now has over 2 dozen credit cards and creates in-depth, detailed content for UP.

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