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Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card review

This premium Delta card has a $550 annual fee and benefits to match the cost.

finder.com’s rating: 4.3 / 5

★★★★★

The Delta Reserve‘s perks more than make up for the card’s annual fee. It comes with an assortment of travel perks, including an annual companion certificate worth hundreds of dollars or more. But the strength of the card lays in these perks: if you just want to earn Delta miles, you may be better served by a cheaper Delta offering.

  • Get this card if want access to luxury perks on Delta, including Centurion Lounge access and an annual companion certificate.
  • Pick something else if you don’t fly frequently enough or use enough travel perks to make up for the $550 fee you’ll pay every year.
  • Apply for this card with a good to excellent credit score of 670 or higher.

50,000

Miles as welcome offer

Up to 3x

Miles

$550

Annual fee

15.74% to 24.74%

Purchase APR (variable)

Details

Annual fee$550
Welcome OfferEarn 50,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after spending $3,000 in your first 3 months.
Also, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for purchases at US restaurants within the first 3 months.
Rewards3x miles on direct Delta purchases and 1x miles on all other eligible purchases.
Purchase APR15.74% to 24.74% variable
Balance transfer APRN/A
Recommended minimum credit score670
IssuerAmerican Express
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Review by


Kliment Dukovski is a credit cards and investments writer. He's written over 600 articles to help readers find and compare the best credit cards. Kliment has also written on money transfers, home loans and more. Previously, he ghostwrote guides and articles on foreign exchange, stock market trading and cryptocurrencies.

Expert review

The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card is the flagship luxury card from Delta. It carries a steep $550 annual fee, up to 3x miles on Delta purchases, and a bevy of travel benefits and features that more than make up for the cost of the card.

At $550 a year, we wish it offered more than 3x miles on eligible Delta purchases, a rate you’ll find with lower-priced Delta cards. However, there’s tremendous value in the card’s other perks, which notably include complimentary access to Delta Sky Clubs and Centurion lounges, and an annual companion certificate valid for Domestic First Class, Comfort+ or Main Cabin flights. Combined, these benefits can provide over $2,200 of value each year. This is by far the biggest complimentary value you can find on a Delta credit card and it more than makes up for the cost of the card each year.

This card also offers a solid 50,000 bonus miles and 10,000 MQM welcome offer after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months, which can easily net you a flight or two and have you on your way to the next tier of Delta’s loyalty program. You’ll also earn up to $100 in statement credit on eligible US restaurant purchases made within your first 3 months. This card is one of the few Delta cards to earn you additional Medallion Qualifying Miles as part of its perks. These Miles, known as MQMs, are essential for rising through the ranks of the Medallion elite program, which offers even more perks and benefits for SkyMiles as you ascend each tier.

One nitpick has less to do with the card itself and more with how Delta handles award flights: All fares require you to pay taxes and fees associated with the tickets. This includes a free flight booked with a companion certificate. Aside from that, this card is a terrific choice for travelers looking to take full advantage of the SkyMiles program and the card’s perks. If you simply want to earn SkyMiles on purchases, however, you’ll do just fine with a less expensive Delta card that earns similar miles, such as the Platinum or Gold versions.

How to apply for the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card?

  1. Click Apply now.
  2. Complete the application form.
  3. Review the details in your application and submit it.

How long will it take to get my Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card?

American Express automates its online conditional approval, which means you could see a decision on your application in minutes. If further verification is needed, it could take a few business days up to a few weeks to get a decision.

After approval, you should receive your new card by mail within 10 business days.

What should I know before I apply?

To apply for the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, you must be:

  • At least 18 years old.
  • A US resident.

Prepare to provide such information as your:

  • Name and address.
  • Email and phone number.
  • Social Security number and date of birth.
  • Annual income and income sources.

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card benefits

The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card has a lot to offer, so let’s break down the features you can expect with this card.

Delta SkyMiles perks

  • Welcome offer. Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. You’ll also earn up to $100 back in statement credit on eligible US restaurant purchases made within your first 3 months. Putting the solid bonus miles aside, the MQMs also offer a solid boost if you’re aiming for Medallion Status. Medallion Qualification Miles are a way to earn higher Medallion tiers in the Delta SkyMiles® Loyalty Program. You generally earn 1 MQM for each mile in your trip with Delta and its partners, with higher MQM rewards in first and business class. You can also achieve higher Medallion tiers by collecting Medallion Qualification Segments and Medallion Qualification Dollars.
  • Earn miles. Delta purchases earn you 3x miles, and you’ll earn 1x miles for every other purchase. You can redeem SkyMiles for flights, seat upgrades, gift cards, shopping and more.
  • Status boost. Until 12/31/2021, spend $3,000 on purchases in a calendar year and get 15,000 MQMs. You’ll earn this bonus up to four times each year, once for every $3,000 you spend. For big spenders looking to reach higher Medallion Status tiers, this is the way to go. Note that Delta used to offer bonus miles in addition to MQMs, but this was removed with the card’s refresh.

Airport perks

  • Delta Sky Club and Centurion lounge access. Get complimentary access to all Delta Sky Clubs and two one-time guest passes after opening your account and each year you renew. You’ll get discounted access of $39 for up to two guests after using the one-time passes. Single-visit passes were once $59 each, so if you visit Delta Sky Clubs once a month, you effectively save $708 a year with this perk. And new to the Delta Reserve‘s refresh is the addition of complimentary Centurion lounge access if you book your flight with your Delta card.
  • TSA Pre✓® or Global Entry statement credit. New to the Delta Reserve is an application fee statement credit toward TSA Pre✓® or Global Entry. While it was strange the Delta Reserve didn’t have this benefit sooner, its addition is appreciated.
  • Priority boarding. Get on your plane and settle in to your seat earlier with Main Cabin 1 priority boarding.
  • First checked bag free. Save up to $60 round-trip with your card, which waives fees for your first checked bag. This benefit applies to up to nine passengers traveling on your reservation.
  • Delta flight perks

  • Companion certificate. Each year you renew your Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, you receive a domestic first-class, Comfort+ or main-cabin round-trip companion certificate. This allows you to take a guest on a first-class or main cabin round-trip domestic flight for just the cost of taxes and fees. The companion certificate could easily offset the card’s annual fee. The card’s companion certificate is especially valuable if redeemed for a domestic first-class flight. Our April 2021 analysis finds it could be worth over $1,000, which easily covers the card’s annual fee.
  • In-flight savings. Get 20% back in statement credit when you use your card to pay for in-flight food, beverages and audio headsets.

Other perks

  • Concierge service. As a cardholder, you get access to a service that can help you arrange dining, get information about an area you’re traveling to or set up select events.
  • No foreign transaction fees. Use your card internationally while traveling without the typical 3% transaction fee other cards charge.
  • Global assistance. Get access to medical, legal, financial and other emergency services when traveling more than 100 miles from home.
  • Purchase protection. Get a refund on eligible purchases, even if a merchant won’t accept it back, and get protection against damage or theft for your phone or other eligible items.
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Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card drawbacks

  • Annual fee. The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card comes with an annual fee of $550.
  • High APR on purchases. All Delta cards come with relatively high APRs on purchases when compared with other American Express cards. For example, the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card comes with a 15.74% to 24.74% variable APR, while the Amex EveryDay® Credit Card comes with an 12.99% to 23.99% variable APR.
  • Not widely accepted overseas. American Express is not as widely accepted outside the States as Visa or Mastercard is, which could limit your payment options when traveling abroad.
  • Steep penalties for late payments. Making late or returned payments could cost you a penalty APR as high as 29.99% variable. You may also incur late and returned payment fees of up to $40.
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Compare Delta Reserve to similar credit cards

Here’s a look at how the Delta Reserve stacks up against two entry-level airline cards on the market. If you want to know more about how each Delta card compares against one another, check out our best Delta credit card page for more information.

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card

★★★★★

Finder Rating: 4.3 / 5

Terms apply, see rates & fees
Go to site

Minimum credit score

670

Annual fee

$550

Purchase APR

15.74% to 24.74% variable

Balance transfer APR

N/A

Rewards

3x miles on direct Delta purchases and 1x miles on all other eligible purchases.

Welcome offer

Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after spending $3,000 in your first 3 months.
Also, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for purchases at US restaurants within the first 3 months.

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

★★★★★

Finder Rating: 4 / 5

Terms apply, see rates & fees
Go to site

Minimum credit score

670

Annual fee

$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($99 thereafter)

Purchase APR

15.74% to 24.74% variable

Balance transfer APR

N/A

Rewards

2x miles on Delta purchases, restaurants and at US supermarkets and 1x miles on all other eligible purchases

Welcome offer

Earn 40,000 bonus miles after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months.
Also, earn up to $50 back in statement credits for purchases at US restaurants within the first 3 months of membership

How much is the Delta Reserve worth each year?

The following benefits could give you a stellar annual value of more than $2,321:

BenefitEstimated annual value
Complimentary Delta Sky Club access$545
Annual companion certificate$1,261
First checked bag free$300
Main Cabin 1 priority boarding$150
In-flight savings$40
Global Entry/TSA Pre✓® application fee credit$25

Note this is a conservative estimate, as it doesn’t include benefits like access to the Centurion lounge, Status Boost MQMs, travel insurance and purchase protection.Back to top

Delta Reserve reviews and complaints

Customers say they love the opportunity to boost miles, the card’s companion certificate and all the other airline rewards. Still, you’ll find complaints online about ultimately low credit limits, which customers say made reaching Medallion Status difficult. At least one Redditor warns that it’s only great if you spend a lot, given its steep annual fee.

The American Express Company has been accredited with the Better Business Bureau since 1948 and earns an overall A+ rating as of April 2021. However, 90% of its reviews are negative and it has nearly 3,400 customer complaints. Amex cardholders in general complain of rude customer service reps, missing statement credit and issues disputing charges.

The company earns a Trustpilot score of 2 out of 5 as of April 2021. Many negative reviews cite unhelpful customer service and inflexible company policies. Positive reviews say the company employs pleasant customer service representatives. Overall, your mileage may vary with American Express customer support.

How has this card changed over time?

DateBefore card updateAfter card update
April 29, 2021Welcome offer: 80,000 bonus miles and 20,000 MQMs after you spend $5,000 in your first 3 months Welcome offer:80,000 bonus miles and 20,000 MQMs after you spend $5,000 in your first 3 months and a $200 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months
July 29, 2021Welcome offer: 80,000 bonus miles and 20,000 MQMs after you spend $5,000 in your first 3 months and a $200 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months Welcome offer: 50,000 bonus miles and 10,000 MQMs after you spend $3,000 in your first 3 months, and up to $100 back as statement credit on eligible purchases at US restaurants during that same time period.

Bottom line

Travelers who are loyal to Delta should find the Delta Reserve worth it primarily for the travel perks, companion pass and boosted MQMs available through the card. It’s the best choice for taking advantage of Delta luxury perks while pushing to climb the Medallion status ranks as quickly as possible.

However, the Delta Reserve‘s mile earning rates aren’t especially impressive for a luxury card. For that reason, the mid-level Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card may be sufficient if you’re simply interested in building Delta SkyMiles without the need for excess luxury perks.

If neither card strikes your fancy, you can compare all airline cards to find one that offers the best combination of perks and rewards versus cost for your needs.Back to top

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