Delta Reserve Card from American Express: Top-Shelf Rewards for Premium Customers [2019]

The Delta Reserve Card rewards loyal flyers who spend with Delta regularly.
5 minute read | 8/9/19Aug. 9, 2019

The Delta Reserve Card from American Express (learn more) is the airline’s premium card, offering the most rewards and benefits of available Delta cards. Both SkyMiles and Medallion Qualification Miles are included in the welcome offer, plus you can get perks like free annual companion fares, free access to Sky Club lounges around the world, double points for purchases with Delta, and one free checked bag per flight.

Take a closer look at what you get in this Delta Reserve credit card review and whether it’s worth the $450 annual fee.

Delta Reserve Credit Card from American Express

Delta Reserve Credit Card from American Express

Delta Reserve Credit Card from American Express

Benefits

  • 75,000 Bonus Miles and 5,000 Medallion Qualification Miles welcome bonus
  • Generous rewards rate for Delta flyers
  • Complimentary Sky Club access
  • No foreign transaction fee


Who should get this card?

The Delta Reserve card from American Express is likely best for people who fly Delta regularly — think monthly or more frequently — or plan to spend a lot using the card. The best rewards come with purchases made through Delta, and with a $450 annual fee you’ll want to make sure you get those rewards as often as possible.

Very frequent travelers will benefit from the Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) that come with the welcome offer, and those who plan to spend between $30,000 and $60,000 on their card in a year will get even more with bonus miles awarded at those levels.

If you’re looking for a Delta card that offers a free companion fare, priority boarding, or free checked bags, this one delivers. However, there are other Delta cards that offer these benefits as well — and at a lower annual fee.

Card basics

Annual Fee $450
Welcome Bonus Earn 5,000 Medallion Qualification Miles and 75,000 Bonus Miles after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months
Recommended Credit Score Excellent, Good
Foreign Transaction Fee None

Top card benefits

  • Generous welcome offer: Earn 5,000 Medallion Qualification Miles and 75,000 Bonus Miles after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months. Depending on where you’re flying and what class, those miles could amount to one or more free fares. You’ll also be nearly halfway to Silver Medallion Status.
  • Double miles when you fly with Delta: You earn one mile for every dollar you spend day to day, but you’ll get double that amount when you use your card to make purchases directly with Delta, including tickets through Delta.com, upgrades, inflight purchases, Sky Club membership, Delta vacations, and more.
  • Annual companion fare: Get a companion certificate — good for a round-trip Domestic First Class, Delta Comfort+, or Domestic Main Cabin ticket — every year your card renews.
  • Complimentary Delta Sky Club: Enjoy the perks of Delta’s Sky Clubs at any airport for free; up to two guests can also enter the club for $29 each.
  • Additional miles bonuses: If you spend $30,000 in purchases on your card in one year, you can earn an additional 15,000 MQMs and 15,000 bonus SkyMiles. If you spend $60,000 in purchases, you can earn an additional 15,000 MQMs and 15,000 bonus SkyMiles.

Earning & redeeming

Best ways to earn

Earning SkyMiles with the Delta Reserve card is pretty straightforward: You get 2X per dollar spent on purchases made directly with Delta and 1X for every eligible dollar you spend on purchases. You can purchase tickets through the Delta website, but paying for fares, bags, upgrades, entrance to the Sky Club for companions, food and drinks onboard a flight, and even audio headsets also count toward double miles.

Categories Rewards rate
Purchases directly with Delta 2X
All other eligible purchases 1X

Earning MQMs is a little different. These are earned based on the distance and fare class you fly and are only used to qualify you for Medallion Status, which offers an elevated level of service and benefits as you fly.

You can get 10,000 MQMs within three months of getting your card, but the lowest tier of Medallion Status requires 25,000 MQM miles and having spent at least $3,000 on Delta flights in one year. Your MQM earnings reset annually (though they can roll over to the next year in some cases), whereas SkyMiles don’t. SkyMiles can be redeemed for fares, upgrades, baggage fees, and even products through the SkyMiles Marketplace, vacations, and gift cards.

Maximizing your redemptions

Make sure to take advantage of the annual companion fare each year, checking one bag per ticket for free, and spending time in the Delta Sky Club while you’re waiting at the airport. Those alone can make up for the $450 annual fee. 

Shop the Delta website for fares you can use your miles on to get added savings. Smart shopping can help your miles amount to several free flights, depending on your destination and what class you want to fly.

Common questions

Is the Delta Reserve Credit Card worth it?

Though the rewards of this card are the highest among all of Delta’s credit cards, you also have to either fly or spend a lot to earn them. The annual companion fare, one free checked bag per ticket, free access to Delta Sky Club, and priority boarding are all great perks. 

However, you can get most of that with the Platinum Delta SkyMiles card and save $255 a year on the annual fee, or the Gold Delta SkyMiles card, which has a $95 yearly fee (waived the first year).

Compare all of Delta’s credit cards before deciding which is best for your travel habits.

Do you get priority boarding with the Delta Reserve Credit Card?

All of the higher-tier Delta cards — Gold Delta SkyMiles, Platinum Delta SkyMiles, and Delta Reserve — offer Main Cabin 1 boarding. This group boards after Delta One, First Class, Delta Premium Select, Delta Comfort+, and Sky Priority customers but before main cabin passenger groups.

Does the Delta Reserve Credit Card help with seat upgrades?

When it comes to upgrade priority on Delta flights, it’s more about your Medallion Status than your credit card. Delta Reserve cardholders can receive upgrade priority, but they have to be a Medallion member and will only have priority over members within the same level and fare class.

Does the Delta Reserve Credit Card offer airport lounge access?

Yes! The cardholder gets complimentary access to Delta Sky Club lounges worldwide. They can also bring up to two companions, who can access the lounge for $29 each.

Other cards to consider

The Delta Reserve card is a great choice for loyal Delta fans who fly the airline regularly and are looking for the maximum amount of benefit from being such a frequent flyer. But before deciding to apply for this card, take a look at these other options that may fit your needs better.

The Platinum Card from American Express offers extensive travel benefits that can be used for a wide variety of purposes. With the welcome offer, you could earn 60,000 membership rewards points after sending $5,000 in the first 3 months. 

From there, you earn 5X points per dollar spent on eligible airfare and hotel purchases, and 1X points per dollar on all other eligible purchases. You also get free Uber credits monthly, a $200 annual airline fee credit, and unlimited access to American Express airport lounges.

The Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express is another option to consider, as it offers many of the same perks as the Delta Reserve card. You’ll enjoy Main Cabin 1 priority boarding, free first checked bag, a discounted rate for Sky Club access, no foreign transaction fees, and discounts on inflight purchases, all for a $95 annual fee.

Delta Reserve Credit Card from American Express

Delta Reserve Credit Card from American Express

Delta Reserve Credit Card from American Express

Special Offer

Earn 5,000 Medallion Qualification Miles and 75,000 Bonus Miles after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months

See how these cards compare:

The Platinum Card from American Express
The Platinum Card from American Express
  • 60,000 Membership Rewards points welcome offer
  • 5X points on eligible flights and hotels
  • $15 in Uber cash for U.S. rides each month (plus a bonus $20 in December) and $200 airline fee credit each year
  • Access to Centurion and Priority Pass airport lounges
  • Terms apply
Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express
Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express
  • 30,000 bonus miles welcome offer
  • 2X miles on purchases made directly with Delta, 1X mile per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases
  • Check your first bag free on Delta flights
  • Annual fee is waived your first year
  • Terms apply

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