The American Express Delta Reserve Card is a great card for Delta fans who want the most benefits possible. This verdant card offers the cream of the crop in benefits for Delta flyers. This card is recommended this card for true Delta loyalists who travel frequently.

The Delta Reserve Card’s annual fee is currently $450 (NOT waived the first year). However, it is increasing to $550 on January 30, 2020. This is the first of many changes coming to the Delta Reserve Card.

 

Earning

Earning Structure

Like the other Delta cards, earning is not this card’s strong suit. It earns 2x SkyMiles on all purchases made directly with Delta. Such purchases include airfare, Sky Club membership, and vacation packages. All other purchases earn one SkyMile per dollar. However, starting on January 30, 2020, the Delta Reserve will earn 3x SkyMiles on Delta purchases. This is one of many changes to come for the Delta Reserve.

The Delta Reserve Card has an elevated sign-up bonus worth 40,000 SkyMiles and 10,000 MQMs. It can be earned after spending $5,000 in the first three months.

Miles Boost / Status Boost

Like the Delta Platinum Card, the Delta Reserve Card has access to the Miles Boost program, which lets you earn more points after spending $30,000. To be exact, you can earn 15,000 SkyMiles and 15,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after spending $30,000. Cardholders can currently repeat this twice per calendar year. Starting on January 30, 2020, cardholders can repeat the process up to four times per calendar year. Therefore, you can receive up to 60,000 bonus MQMs.

Also starting on January 30, 2020, you won’t earn bonus redeemable miles after spending $30,000 or multiples thereof. Until that date, you can earn 15,000 bonus MQMs and 15,000 bonus redeemable miles at each threshold.

Nonetheless, I would not put $30,000 or more on the Delta Reserve Card because you can put it on other cards. You will prevent yourself from hitting sign-up bonuses, earning more valuable points and miles, and taking opportunities.

 

Burning

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

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

Miles + Cash is a great option if you don’t have many miles or if you’re short a few miles for a certain redemption. Many co-branded cards have this option and it’s nice to see Delta have it too.

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

You can also use SkyMiles to upgrade your seat. Gift cards and donations to charity are two other options for redemption.

 

Benefits

As both a premium and a co-branded airline card, the Delta Reserve Card’s value lies in its perks. Most, if not all, of the $450 annual fee ($550 starting on January 30, 2020) could be justified here. The Delta Reserve gives you everything Delta has to offer in the way of perks. This card is the cream of the crop for Delta loyalists aside from probably the American Express Platinum Card.

Complimentary SkyClub Lounge Access

Complimentary lounge access is a common perk among premium credit cards. The Delta Reserve Card is no exception as it offers complimentary SkyClub Lounge access. All you need is your Delta Reserve Card and boarding pass.

This perk is redundant for American Express Platinum cardholders as they receive it too. I would not worry about this perk if you also have an Amex Platinum Card.

Delta Concierge

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

Annual Companion Certificate

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

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

The catch is that you can only redeem the certificate at Delta.com. You cannot redeem it via phone reservation or any other way. It will appear on your Delta.com account upon paying your annual fee.

Free Checked Bags

Delta lets cardholders and up to eight other people in the same reservation check their first bags for free on any round trip flight. This perk can be worth around $60 per person if your bag complies. It can be very useful if you’re traveling with a family or a large group of people.

Priority Boarding

Cardholders can also board their flights early. This is awesome because you can avoid the traffic from the general public when boarding. Fewer people also makes it easier for you to find your seat and you get first choice of overhead storage bin space.

20% Discount on In-Flight Purchases

Receive 20% off in-flight purchases when you use your Delta card. This is nice for in-flight meals, entertainment, or other incidentals.

No Foreign Transaction Fees

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

 

Upcoming Benefits

The Delta Reserve Card is receiving a plethora of new benefits starting in January 2020:

Travel Insurances

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

You can receive up to $10,000 if your air travel gets cancelled or interrupted for a qualifying reason. Furthermore, you can be reimbursed up to $500 if your flight gets delayed at least six hours. One use of any of these insurances can justify the card’s annual fee.

American Express Centurion Lounge Access

Complimentary Centurion Lounge access when flying Delta same day, though guests will cost $50 each. This is probably the most significant new perk because cardholders will receive access to a growing number of Amex lounges. Furthermore, cardholders in the right airports will have alternatives for Delta SkyClubs if they are crowded.

Delta SkyClub Passes

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

Global Entry / Pre-TSA Fee Waiver Credit

This common perk is also coming to the Delta Reserve. Cardholders will receive one credit every 4-5 years.

 

Rules & Regulations

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

 

Similar Cards

What if the Delta Gold Card is not right for you? Check out the following cards for other options:

American Express Platinum Delta SkyMiles Card

This card is like the Reserve Card, but without the Concierge Service and complimentary Sky Club Lounge Access. The Delta Platinum Card has a more affordable $195 annual fee (NOT waived the first year) and most of the same benefits to match.

The Reserve Card has two more benefits than the Platinum Card: Delta Concierge and free SkyLounge access. It also has a bigger version of the Miles Boost program. You can earn 15,000 SkyMiles and 15,000 MQMs for spending $30,000 per calendar year. This can be done twice per calendar year like with the Platinum Card. However, I don’t recommend partaking in the program for the same reasons.

This card has a sign-up bonus worth 35,000 SkyMiles and 5,000 MQMs. It can be earned after spending $2,000 in the first three months.

American Express Platinum Card

This card is not the same as the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Card. Instead, this is American Express’ top charge card (aside from the Centurion Card). This card has an annual fee of $550 (NOT waived the first year) and more universal travel benefits than any other card in the industry.

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

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

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

 

Final Draw

The American Express Delta Reserve Card is the best card for true Delta loyalists. Its value lies in its numerous perks and earning opportunities for big spenders. This is especially true after American Express and Delta add more benefits and lounges to access in January 2020.

More casual Delta flyers and the average traveler should look at other cards. But Delta loyalists who are big spenders and want perks will love the Delta Reserve.

 

Apply Today: American Express Delta Reserve Card