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Delta Air Lines Boarding Zones — Everything You Need To Know

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Jeff Brownson

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Jeff got into the points and miles game in 2010 and since then has visited over 35 countries, flying mostly in first and business class. He’s a contributor to Traveling Dad and has spoken at the Chica...
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Airlines love to make the boarding process distinctly theirs by doing things their own way, so having a clear picture of the boarding procedures of every airline you fly can be a bit of a challenge.

Delta Air Lines has always tried to be different. You can see it in the name, where 2 words are used for “Air Lines” instead of the single word “Airlines.” And when it comes to boarding, Delta does things differently, too.

But don’t worry — once you understand what is being talked about, it’s not that hard to follow.

We know the terms, we understand the procedures, and we’ll make sure that you do, too. Let’s take a look at the details of the Delta Air Lines boarding process, and you’ll be ready the next time you fly.

Delta Air Lines Boarding Zones

Delta Boarding Gates
Image Credit: Leonard Zhukovsky via Shutterstock

It seems that Delta Air Lines couldn’t quite decide how it wanted to organize its aircraft boarding procedures. Or perhaps it just wanted to use fancy words to make its higher-tier customers feel more special.

Either way, it ended up with a mix of 10 numbered and named boarding groups, along with pre-boarding for certain customers and early boarding for others. Confusing, right?

We can only assume this leads to some cranky passengers who have boarding zone 1, but see 6 different groups of people get on the plane ahead of them.

Here are the details of who is eligible to board the plane in each of the groups that Delta uses, so you’ll know what to expect. You’ll never be that cranky passenger wondering why you aren’t on board yet!

SCROLL FOR MORE
Boarding ZoneEligibility
Pre-Boarding
  • Customers needing assistance or additional time to board
  • Active duty U.S. military personnel with ID
Delta One
First Class or Delta Premium Select
Diamond Medallion Members
Traveling With Small Children
  • Passengers traveling with car seats or strollers
Delta Comfort+
Sky Priority
Main Cabin 1
Main Cabin 2
  • Main cabin passengers
Main Cabin 3
  • Main cabin passengers booked in T, X, and V fare codes
Basic Economy

If you have any concerns about when your group is boarding, the Fly Delta app has a virtual queuing feature to let you know when your seat is boarding.

Fly Delta App
Image Credit: Delta

It should be noted that when departing Amsterdam (AMS) and Paris (CDG) on Delta flights, Silver Medallion members will not have their own priority boarding group. This is due to the boarding policies of Air France and KLM which operate at these 2 airports as their main hubs.

How To Get Priority Boarding

Pay for Priority Boarding

Delta Air Lines allows customers to purchase priority boarding for any flight operated by Delta or Delta Connection. The cost is $15 per flight, and it is one of the “Trip Extras” that Delta makes available to passengers.

Priority boarding, as well as the other available Trip Extras, can be purchased when booking your flight, through the Fly Delta app after booking, online when managing your trips, or at check-in.

Hot Tip: As a reminder — including Pre-Boarding and Early Boarding, Main Cabin 1 is actually the seventh group of passengers who are able to board the plane.

Once purchased, priority boarding will give you Main Cabin 1 boarding for your flight. It will be printed on your boarding pass, and you will be eligible to board when Main Cabin 1 is called.

After you have purchased Priority Boarding for a flight, it is tied to that specific flight and is non-refundable and non-transferable. That means that if you choose to change your flight at a later time, whether online, over the phone, or at the airport, you will forfeit the Priority Boarding pass that you have purchased.

Have the Right Credit Card

In addition, cardholders of Delta Gold card, Delta Platinum card, Delta Reserve card, Delta Gold Business card, Delta Platinum Business card, and Delta Reserve Business card will automatically receive Main Cabin 1 priority boarding as long as their SkyMiles numbers are on their reservations.

This benefit applies to the basic cardholder and is not available to additional authorized users on the card account. Up to 9 passengers traveling on the same reservation as the basic cardmember will be given Main Cabin 1 priority boarding as well.

Earn Elite Status

Of course, the higher your elite status the sooner you’ll be able to board. For example, top-tier Delta Diamond Medallion elites are one of the first boarding groups. And Gold and Platinum Medallion members can board Sky Priority.

Check out our guide to earning Delta elite status for an in-depth look at how you can earn and status. And don’t forget that being Delta credit card holder is also beneficial when it comes to more easily earning elite status.

Bottom Line: Although you will still be behind premium cabin passengers and upper-level elites, purchasing priority boarding will get you on the plane at the same time as the lower-level elite passengers and before the rest of the main cabin passengers. So it might be worth the $15 cost if you want to make sure there’s space for your bag in the overhead bin near your seat.

How To Boost Your Delta SkyMiles Balance

There are plenty of ways to earn lots of Delta Air Lines SkyMiles so you can put your newfound boarding knowledge to use on your next award flight.

Flying paid flights on Delta and its airline partners is probably the most obvious way, but you can earn a serious amount of SkyMiles (including Medallion Qualifying Miles) with its co-branded American Express cards, too.

Depending on the level of benefits you are looking for, the number of Medallion Qualifying Miles you are looking to earn, and the annual fee you are willing to pay, there is sure to be a card that is right for you.

Delta and American Express even offer co-branded business cards so you can earn SkyMiles with all of your spending, whether it be for home or for work.

Recommended Delta Cards

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express CardTerms Apply / Rates & Fees

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

U.P. Rating
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

This card provides bonus SkyMiles on all purchases, along with a free checked bag, priority boarding, and discounted award flights.

Learn More(at Amex's secure site)

Apply With Confidence

Know if you're approved with no credit score impact

If you're approved and accept this Card, your credit score may be impacted.

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

This card provides bonus SkyMiles on all purchases, along with a free checked bag, priority boarding, and discounted award flights.
Earn 40,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
40,000 miles
$480
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $150.
20.99%-29.99% Variable
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

Frequent Delta flyers will love the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card. The card offers great benefits that will help save you money, effectively mimics low-level elite status with Delta SkyMiles, and helps you earn miles even faster, all for a low annual fee. Let’s dive into the benefits to see if the Delta Gold card is a good fit for your needs.

Pros

  • $100 Delta Stays Credit: You can earn up to $100 back annually on eligible prepaid Delta Stays bookings on delta.com.
  • Receive a $200 Delta Flight Credit to use toward future travel after you spend $10,000 in purchases in a year.
  • Card Members get 15% off when using miles to book Award Travel on Delta flights through delta.com and the Fly Delta app. Discount not applicable to partner-operated flights or to taxes and fees.
  • Bonus earning on Delta purchases and U.S. supermarket and worldwide restaurant purchases
  • First checked bag free on Delta flights
  • 20% back as a statement credit on in-flight purchases

Cons

  • Moderate annual fee
  • Earn rate for Delta flights is relatively low compared to other travel cards
  • Earn 40,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Enjoy a $0 introductory Annual Fee for the first year, then $150.
  • Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card Members get 15% off when using miles to book Award Travel on Delta flights through delta.com and the Fly Delta app. Discount not applicable to partner-operated flights or to taxes and fees.
  • $200 Delta Flight Credit: After you spend $10,000 in purchases in a year, you can receive a $200 Delta Flight Credit to use toward future travel.
  • Earn 2X Miles on Delta purchases, at U.S. Supermarkets and at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery in the U.S. Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • You can check your first bag free on Delta flights, saving up to $60 on a round-trip Delta flight per person. For a family of four that’s a potential savings of up to $240 per round-trip flight.
  • Receive Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding on Delta flights; board early, stow your carry-on bag and settle in sooner.
  • $100 Delta Stays Credit: Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card Members can earn up to $100 back annually on eligible prepaid Delta Stays bookings on delta.com.
  • Take up to $50 off the cost of your flight for every 5,000 miles you redeem with Pay with Miles when you book on delta.com.
  • Receive a 20% savings in the form of a statement credit on eligible Delta in-flight purchases after using your Card.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • With Send & Split®, you can send money and split your Card purchases with any other Venmo or PayPal user, directly from the Amex App. Enroll today.
  • Terms Apply.

Financial Snapshot

  • APR: 20.99%-29.99% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Card Categories

Rewards Center

Delta SkyMiles Frequent Flyer Program

Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express CardTerms Apply / Rates & Fees

Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card

U.P. Rating
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

Receive 2x SkyMiles on Delta purchases, priority boarding, a free checked bag, and discounted award flights.

Learn More(at Amex's secure site)

Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card

Receive 2x SkyMiles on Delta purchases, priority boarding, a free checked bag, and discounted award flights.
Welcome Offer: Earn 55,000 Bonus Miles after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
55,000 Bonus Miles
$660
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $150
20.99% - 29.99% Variable
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

If Delta Air Lines is your first choice for business travel, and you’re always looking for more ways to earn Delta SkyMiles, this could be a great card option.

Being able to board the plane early and check your bag for free makes all the difference for a smooth flight. Plus, getting discounts on inflight purchases keeps money in your pocket and your small business.

It’s for those reasons and more that you choose to make purchases with the Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card.

Pros

  • Save 15% On Award Travel With TakeOff 15. Not applicable to partner-operated flights or to taxes and fees.
  • 2x SkyMiles per $1 on purchases made directly with Delta and at restaurants
  • 2x SkyMiles per $1 on U.S. purchases for advertising in select media and on U.S. shipping purchases on up to $50,000 in eligible purchases per category, per year.
  • Receive a $200 Delta Flight Credit to use toward future travel after you spend $10,000 in purchases in a year.
  • Receive an annual statement credit of up to $150 after using your Delta Gold American Express Card to book prepaid hotels or vacation rentals through Delta Stays on delta.com.
  • 1x SkyMile per $1 on all other purchases
  • First checked bag free
  • Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding
  • 20% inflight savings
  • Baggage insurance
  • Rental car insurance
  • Purchase protection
  • Extended warranty coverage

Cons

  • Doesn’t earn transferable rewards
  • Welcome Offer: Earn 55,000 Bonus Miles after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $150
  • Card Members save 15% when booking Award Travel with miles on Delta flights when using delta.com and the Fly Delta app. Discount not applicable to partner-operated flights or to taxes and fees.
  • Additionally, you can receive a $200 Delta Flight Credit to use toward future travel after you spend $10,000 in purchases in a year.
  • Earn 2 miles per dollar spent on purchases at U.S. Shipping providers and at U.S. providers for Advertising in select media on up to $50,000 of purchases per category, per year.
  • Earn 2 Miles on every dollar spent on eligible purchases made directly with Delta and on every eligible dollar spent at restaurants.
  • Earn 1 Mile on every eligible dollar spent on other purchases.
  • Check and stow your bag with ease: First Checked Bag Free on Delta Flights + Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding.
  • Elevate your travel experience with an annual statement credit of up to $150 after using your Delta Gold American Express Card to book prepaid hotels or vacation rentals through Delta Stays on delta.com.
  • Receive a 20% savings in the form of a statement credit on eligible Delta in-flight purchases after using your Card.
  • Pay no foreign transaction fees when you travel overseas.
  • Terms and limitations apply.

Financial Snapshot

  • APR: 20.99% - 29.99% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Card Categories

Rewards Center

Delta SkyMiles Frequent Flyer Program

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express CardTerms Apply / Rates & Fees

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

U.P. Rating
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

Frequent Delta travelers will enjoy this card's bonus categories, benefits, and ability to reach higher levels of elite status.

Learn More(at Amex's secure site)

Apply With Confidence

Know if you're approved with no credit score impact

If you're approved and accept this Card, your credit score may be impacted.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Frequent Delta travelers will enjoy this card's bonus categories, benefits, and ability to reach higher levels of elite status.
Earn 50,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
50,000 Bonus Miles
$600
$350
20.99%-29.99% Variable
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

The Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card can be a great option for those seeking additional ways to obtain a higher level of status — or to maintain their current status — with the airline.

A key feature of this card is the ability to earn bonus Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs) that are essential for earning Delta status. This could help you get closer to earning a handful of valuable benefits with the airline.

Pros

  • 3x SkyMiles per $1 spent on Delta purchases
  • 3x SkyMiles per $1 spent on purchases made directly with hotels
  • 2x SkyMiles per $1 spent at restaurants (including takeout and delivery) and U.S. supermarkets
  • 1x SkyMile per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases
  • Card Members get 15% off when using miles to book Award Travel on Delta flights through delta.com and the Fly Delta app. Discount not applicable to partner-operated flights or to taxes and fees.
  • Receive a Companion Certificate on Main Cabin domestic, Caribbean, or Central American roundtrip flights to select destinations each year after renewal of your Card. Taxes and fees will apply.
  • Receive $2,500 MQDs each year and get closer to Status with MQD Headstart.
  • Complimentary first checked bag
  • Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding
  • $120 Resy Credit: Earn up to $10 per month in statement credits on eligible Resy purchases.
  • $120 Rideshare Credit: Earn up to $10 back in statement credits each month on U.S. rideshare purchases with select providers upon enrollment.
  • Application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
  • 20% back on inflight purchases
  • $150 Delta Stays Credit: Earn up to $150 back annually on eligible prepaid Delta Stays bookings on delta.com.

Cons

  • $350 annual fee (rates & fees)
  • Does not earn transferable rewards
  • Earn 50,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Receive a Companion Certificate on Main Cabin domestic, Caribbean, or Central American roundtrip flights each year after renewal of your Card. The Companion Ticket requires payment of government-imposed taxes and fees of no more than $80 for roundtrip domestic flights and no more than $250 for roundtrip international flights (both for itineraries with up to four flight segments). Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Receive $2,500 Medallion® Qualification Dollars each Medallion Qualification Year and get closer to Status with MQD Headstart.
  • Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card Members get 15% off when using miles to book Award Travel on Delta flights through delta.com and the Fly Delta app. Discount not applicable to partner-operated flights or to taxes and fees.
  • Earn $1 Medallion® Qualification Dollar for each $20 of purchases made on your Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card in a calendar year and get a boost toward achieving Medallion Status for next Medallion Year.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • $120 Resy Credit: With the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card Resy Credit, earn up to $10 per month in statement credits on eligible Resy purchases using your enrolled Card.
  • $120 Rideshare Credit: You can earn up to $10 back in statement credits each month on U.S. rideshare purchases with select providers after you pay with your Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card. Enrollment Required.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Receive Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding on Delta flights; board early, stow your carry-on bag and settle in sooner.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®: Receive $100 back for Global Entry or up to $85 back for TSA PreCheck® after you apply through any Official Enrollment Provider. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
  • Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card Members with an eligible ticket will be added to the Complimentary Upgrade list, after Delta SkyMiles Medallion Members and Reserve Card Members.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $350 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.

Financial Snapshot

  • APR: 20.99%-29.99% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Card Categories

Rewards Center

Delta Air Lines SkyMiles

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express CardTerms Apply / Rates & Fees

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card

U.P. Rating
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

Between great perks and the potential to earn plenty of SkyMiles, this card is a must-have for frequent Delta travelers.

Learn More(at Amex's secure site)

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card

Between great perks and the potential to earn plenty of SkyMiles, this card is a must-have for frequent Delta travelers.
Welcome Offer: Earn 65,000 Bonus Miles after spending $6,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
65,000 Bonus Miles
$780
$350
20.99% - 29.99% Variable
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

As a small business owner and frequent Delta flyer, the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card is your go-to credit card.

You like knowing you’re earning 3x SkyMiles per dollar for purchases with Delta; benefits like no foreign transaction fees, priority boarding, and a free checked bag for each flight only sweeten the deal (rates & fees).

Plus, you can redeem your SkyMiles for travel on Delta and its partner airlines, saving you money. It’s a no-brainer!

Pros

  • Save 15% On Award Travel With TakeOff 15. Not applicable to partner-operated flights or to taxes and fees.
  • 3x SkyMiles per $1 spent on Delta and hotel purchases
  • 1.5x SkyMiles per $1 spent on purchases of $5,000 or more, up to 50,000 additional SkyMiles per calendar year
  • 1x SkyMile per $1 on all other purchases
  • Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding
  • Get closer to elevated Status next Medallion® Year with MQD Headstart and MQD Boost: receive $2,500 Medallion Qualification Dollars each Medallion Qualification Year and earn $1 MQD for each $20 of purchases with your Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card.
  • First checked bag free
  • Annual companion certificate
  • 20% discount on inflight purchases
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee statement credit
  • Trip delay insurance
  • Baggage insurance
  • Rental car insurance
  • Purchase protection and extended warranty coverage
  • $120 Resy Credit (up to $10 per month in statement credits) on eligible purchases with your card
  • Earn up to $10 back each month after using your enrolled Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card for U.S. rideshare purchases with select providers.
  • Card Members with an eligible ticket will be added to the Complimentary Upgrade list, after Delta SkyMiles Medallion Members and Reserve Card Members. Ticket must be purchased on or after February 1, 2024, to be eligible to receive a complimentary upgrade.
  • Annual statement credit of up to $200 after using your card to book prepaid hotels or vacation rentals through Delta Stays on delta.com.

Cons

  • $350 annual fee (rates & fees)
  • Does not earn transferable rewards
  • Welcome Offer: Earn 65,000 Bonus Miles after spending $6,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Enjoy a Companion Certificate each year after renewal of your Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card. The Companion Ticket requires payment of government-imposed taxes and fees of no more than $80 for roundtrip domestic flights and no more than $250 for roundtrip international flights (both for itineraries with up to four flight segments). Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Earn 1.5X miles* on eligible transit and U.S. shipping purchases, plus single eligible purchases of $5,000 or more. Terms and miles cap apply. *If your purchase qualifies for a category that has a higher mileage accelerator, only the higher accelerator will apply.
  • Get closer to elevated Status next Medallion® Year with MQD Headstart and MQD Boost: receive $2,500 Medallion Qualification Dollars each Medallion Qualification Year and earn $1 MQD for each $20 of purchases with your Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card.
  • Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card Members save 15% when using miles to book Award Travel on Delta flights through delta.com and the Fly Delta app. Discount not applicable to partner-operated flights or to taxes and fees.
  • With the $120 Resy Credit, earn up to $10 per month in statement credits on eligible Resy purchases using your enrolled Card.
  • Earn up to $10 back each month after using your enrolled Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card for U.S. rideshare purchases with select providers.
  • Not a Medallion Member? Card Members with an eligible ticket will be added to the Complimentary Upgrade list, after Delta SkyMiles Medallion Members and Reserve Card Members. Ticket must be purchased on or after February 1, 2024 to be eligible to receive a complimentary upgrade.
  • Receive Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding on Delta flights; board early, stow your carry-on bag and settle in sooner.
  • Elevate your travel experience with an annual statement credit of up to $200 after using your Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card to book prepaid hotels or vacation rentals through Delta Stays on delta.com.
  • Terms and limitations apply.

Financial Snapshot

  • APR: 20.99% - 29.99% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Card Categories

Rewards Center

Delta Air Lines SkyMiles Frequent Flyer Program

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express CardTerms Apply / Rates & Fees

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card

U.P. Rating
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

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

Learn More(at Amex's secure site)

Apply With Confidence

Know if you're approved with no credit score impact

If you're approved and accept this Card, your credit score may be impacted.

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card

Delta loyalists will love the fast track to Delta elite status, lounge access, baggage benefits, and upgrade priority with the Delta Reserve card.
Earn 60,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $5,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
60,000 Bonus Miles
$720
$650
20.99%-29.99% Variable
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card is a stellar option for frequent travelers who always fly with Delta thanks to its MQD Headstart towards status boost, lounge access, annual companion certificate, and many other great benefits.

Here is a full look at everything the Delta Reserve card can offer to you to help you decide whether the card deserves a place in your wallet.

Pros

  • 3x SkyMiles per $1 on Delta purchases
  • 1x SkyMile per $1 on all other eligible purchases
  • Card Members get 15% off when using miles to book Award Travel on Delta flights.
  • Receive $2,500 MQM each year and get closer to Status with MQD Headstart.
  • Receive a Companion Certificate on First Class, Delta Comfort+®, or Main Cabin domestic, Caribbean, or Central American roundtrip flights to select destinations each year after renewal.
  • $240 Resy Credit: Earn up to $20 per month in statement credits on eligible Resy purchases upon enrollment.
  • $120 Rideshare Credit: Earn up to $10 back in statement credits each month on U.S. rideshare purchases with select providers upon enrollment.
  • Application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.
  • $200 Delta Stays Statement Credit: Earn up to $200 back in the form of a statement credit annually on eligible prepaid Delta Stays bookings on delta.com.
  • Access to Complimentary Upgrades and Upgrade Priority
  • Free checked bag
  • 20% back on inflight purchases

Cons

  • $650 annual fee (rates & fees)
  • No bonus categories other than Delta purchases
  • Earn 60,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $5,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Enjoy complimentary access to the Delta Sky Club® and bring up to two guests or immediate family members at a rate of $50 per person per visit when flying Delta. Effective 2/1/25, Reserve Card Members will receive 15 Visits per year to the Delta Sky Club; to earn an unlimited number of Visits each year starting on 2/1/25, the total eligible purchases on the Card must equal $75,000 or more between 1/1/24 and 12/31/24, and each calendar year thereafter.
  • Receive four Delta Sky Club® One-Time Guest Passes each year when you fly together on Delta. After that, you may bring up to two guests at a per-visit rate of $50 per person, per location.
  • Enjoy complimentary access to The Centurion® Lounge when you book a Delta flight with your Reserve Card.
  • Receive $2,500 Medallion® Qualification Dollars each Medallion Qualification Year and get closer to Status with MQD Headstart.
  • Earn $1 Medallion® Qualification Dollar for each $10 of purchases made on your Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card in a calendar year and get a boost toward achieving elevated Medallion Status for next Medallion Year.
  • Receive a Companion Certificate on First Class, Delta Comfort+®, or Main Cabin domestic, Caribbean, or Central American roundtrip flights each year after renewal of your Card. The Companion Ticket requires payment of government-imposed taxes and fees of no more than $80 for roundtrip domestic flights and no more than $250 for roundtrip international flights (both for itineraries with up to four flight segments). Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • $240 Resy Credit: With the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card Resy Credit, earn up to $20 per month in statement credits on eligible Resy purchases using your enrolled Card.
  • $120 Rideshare Credit: You can earn up to $10 back in statement credits each month on U.S. rideshare purchases with select providers after you pay with your Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card. Enrollment Required.
  • Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card Members get 15% off when using miles to book Award Travel on Delta flights through delta.com and the Fly Delta app. Discount not applicable to partner-operated flights or to taxes and fees.
  • With your Card receive upgrade priority over other Medallion Members within the same Medallion level and fare class.
  • Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card Members with an eligible ticket will be added to the Complimentary Upgrade list, after Delta SkyMiles Medallion Members.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $650 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.

Financial Snapshot

  • APR: 20.99%-29.99% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Card Categories

Rewards Center

Delta SkyMiles Airline Loyalty Program

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express CardTerms Apply / Rates & Fees

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card

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Receive priority boarding, complimentary access to Delta Sky Club and Centurion Lounges, concierge support, and an annual companion certificate.

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Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card

Receive priority boarding, complimentary access to Delta Sky Club and Centurion Lounges, concierge support, and an annual companion certificate.
Welcome Offer: Earn 75,000 Bonus Miles after spending $10,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
75,000 Bonus Miles
$900
$650
20.99% - 29.99% Variable
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card is a premium card option for small business owners who are both frequent travelers and Delta loyalists.

While the annual fee may be steep, the card comes loaded with perks and benefits that all frequent Delta flyers are sure to love. Let’s take a look at what makes the card unique, and why it may be a great fit for your wallet.

Pros

  • 3x miles per dollar on Delta purchases
  • 1.5x miles per dollar on eligible transit, U.S. shipping and office supply stores, plus all eligible purchases after you spend $150,000 in a year
  • Save 15% On Award Travel With TakeOff 15. Not applicable to partner-operated flights or to taxes and fees.
  • Complimentary Delta Sky Club® access and bring up to two guests or immediate family at a rate of $50 per person per visit. Effective 2/1/25, Reserve Card Members will receive 15 Visits per year to the Delta Sky Club; to earn an unlimited number of Visits each year starting on 2/1/25, the total eligible purchases on the Card must equal $75,000 or more between 1/1/24 and 12/31/24, and each calendar year thereafter.
  • Complimentary Amex Centurion Lounge access when flying Delta
  • MQD Headstart and MQD Boost: Receive $2,500 Medallion Qualification Dollars each Medallion Qualification Year and earn $1 MQD for each $10 on purchases with your card
  • Receive a Companion Certificate on First Class, Delta Comfort+®, or Main Cabin domestic, Caribbean, or Central American roundtrip flights each year after renewal of your Card. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Access to complimentary flight upgrades and priority boarding (Main Cabin 1)
  • $240 Resy Credit: Earn up to $20 per month [in statement credits] on eligible Resy purchases using your enrolled card.
  • Earn up to $10 back each month after using your enrolled card for U.S. rideshare purchases with select providers.
  • Up to $250 annual statement credit after using your card to book prepaid hotels or vacation rentals through Delta Stays on delta.com.

Cons

  • High annual fee
  • Does not earn many miles for purchases outside of Delta spend
  • Rewards are not transferable
  • Welcome Offer: Earn 75,000 Bonus Miles after spending $10,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Enter Delta Sky Club® at no cost. Effective 2/1/25, Reserve Card Members will receive 15 Visits per year to the Delta Sky Club; to earn an unlimited number of Visits each year starting on 2/1/25, the total eligible purchases on the Card must equal $75,000 or more between 1/1/24 and 12/31/24, and each calendar year thereafter.
  • Earn 3 miles per dollar on eligible Delta purchases.
  • Get closer to elevated Status next Medallion® Year with MQD Headstart and MQD Boost: receive $2,500 Medallion Qualification Dollars each Medallion Qualification Year and earn $1 MQD for each $10 on purchases with your Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card.
  • Receive a Companion Certificate on First Class, Delta Comfort+®, or Main Cabin domestic, Caribbean, or Central American roundtrip flights each year after renewal of your Card. The Companion Ticket requires payment of government-imposed taxes and fees of no more than $80 for roundtrip domestic flights and no more than $250 for roundtrip international flights (both for itineraries with up to four flight segments). Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • With the $240 Resy Credit, earn up to $20 per month in statement credits on eligible Resy purchases using your enrolled Card.
  • Earn up to $10 back each month after using your enrolled Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card for U.S. rideshare purchases with select providers.
  • Save 15% when booking Award Travel on Delta flights. Not applicable to partner-operated flights or to taxes and fees.
  • Not a Medallion Member? Card Members with an eligible ticket will be added to the Complimentary Upgrade list, after Delta SkyMiles Medallion Members.
  • As a benefit of Card Membership, you can check your first bag free on Delta flights, saving up to $60 on a round-trip Delta flight per person. For a family of four that’s a potential savings of up to $240 per round-trip flight. When you purchase a Delta flight with your Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business Card, you will receive complimentary access to The Centurion® Lounge or Escape Lounge – The Centurion® Studio Partner.
  • Receive Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding on Delta flights; board early, stow your carry-on bag and settle in sooner.
  • Elevate your travel experience with an annual statement credit of up to $250  after using your Delta Reserve Business American Express Card to book prepaid hotels or vacation rentals through Delta Stays on delta.com.
  • Pay no foreign transaction fees when you travel overseas.
  • Terms and limitations apply.

Financial Snapshot

  • APR: 20.99% - 29.99% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Card Categories

Rewards Center

Delta SkyMiles Frequent Flyer Program

Final Thoughts

Delta Air Lines is an airline that people seem to love or hate, though it’s not because of the slightly confusing boarding procedure we’ve outlined. With a little explanation, this boarding process isn’t difficult to understand at all.

What people like about Delta is that the inflight experience is one of the best available for domestic U.S. carriers. However, the SkyMiles loyalty program has gotten a bad reputation over the past several years. Things like the removal of award charts and devaluations have made it very difficult to set a goal and save up for an award flight.

As the SkyMiles program continues to evolve (in a positive way, hopefully), you may be more likely to find yourself boarding a Delta Air Lines flight. Use the information we’ve provided above to understand the details of the boarding procedure, and you will be able to comfortably board your flight without any stress.

See you at the gate soon!

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

Frequently Asked Questions

How many boarding groups are there on Delta?

Delta Air Lines uses 10 different boarding zones for its flights. These include pre-boarding for children, premium passenger boarding, Sky Priority passengers, partner elites, and 3 numbered boarding zones, among several different groups.

Are Delta Air Lines flights assigned seating?

Yes, Delta Air Lines uses assigned seating for its flights. Seat assignments can be easily selected when booking eligible tickets or at check-in and can also be assigned or changed by gate agents at the airport.

Who is allowed to preboard on Delta?

Customers needing assistance or additional time to board and active duty U.S. military personnel with ID are allowed to preboard Delta flights. Families traveling with small children and with car seats or strollers can board after Delta One and First Class or Delta Premium Select passengers, but before a majority of boarding groups.

Who is in the first class boarding zone on Delta?

The First Class or Delta Premium Select boarding zone on Delta flights includes first class customers and Delta Premium Select customers.

Who is in the Sky Priority boarding zone on Delta?

The Sky Priority boarding zone on Delta includes:

  • Platinum Medallion members
  • Gold Medallion members
  • Flying Blue Platinum and Gold members
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Gold members
  • LATAM Pass Black Signature, Black, and Platinum members
  • Virgin Australia Platinum and Gold members
  • GOL Smiles Diamond members
  • SkyTeam Elite Plus members

Who is in zone 1 on Delta?

Boarding Main Cabin 1 on Delta includes:

  • Silver Medallion members
  • Delta Corporate travelers
  • Priority Boarding Trip Extra customers
  • Cardholders of the Delta Gold card, Delta Platinum card, Delta Reserve card, Delta Gold Business card, Delta Platinum Business card, and Delta Reserve Business card
  • Flying Blue Silver members
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Silver members
  • LATAM Pass Gold+ members
  • WestJet Rewards Silver members
  • SkyTeam Elite members

Who is in zone 2 on Delta?

Boarding Main Cabin 2 on Delta includes main cabin passengers who do not have any elite status and do not hold one of the premium co-branded credit cards.

Who is in zone 3 on Delta?

Boarding Main Cabin 3 on Delta includes main cabin passengers who are booked in T, X, and V fares and do not have any elite status or hold a co-branded credit card.

Who is in zone 4 on Delta?

The final boarding group for Delta includes basic economy passengers (fare code E).

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About Jeff Brownson

Since discovering miles and points in 2010, Jeff has traveled to over 35 countries, flying in first class, business class, and sometimes even in coach. Whether he’s staying in a hostel dorm, or in a luxury suite at a 5 star hotel, Jeff is constantly looking for the best deal to make travel as close to free as possible.

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