Is the Delta Reserve Credit Card from American Express worth it? | finder.com

Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express review – September 2018

We value our editorial independence, basing our comparison results, content and reviews on objective analysis without bias. But we may receive compensation when you click links on our site. Learn more about how we make money from our partners.

A rewards card for big spenders and hardcore Delta flyers.

30-second take

  • Get this card if you’re a regular Delta flyer and want accelerated earnings toward SkyMiles Medallion Status
  • Pick something else if you want a more flexible travel card or cash back.
  • Apply for this card with a good to excellent credit score of 680 or higher.
Product NameDelta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express
Card TypeAmerican Express
Annual Fee$450
APR (Annual Percentage Rate) for Purchases17.49%, 21.49% or 26.49% variable
Cash Advance Rate26.99% variable
Cash Advance Fee$5 or 3% of the cash advance amount, whichever is greater
Interest Free PeriodUp to 25 days
Late Payment FeeUp to $38
Returned Payment Fee$38
Additional Cardholder Fee$0
Minimum Age18 years of age
Welcome BonusEarn 40,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months
Reward Value per Dollar1 points
Rewards Points ExpiryNever

The basics

To start, any SkyMiles member who books a flight on Delta can earn 5x miles — even without this card. But using your earns you an additional 1x miles — a total 7 miles per dollar on your Delta purchase.

The Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express extends 1x miles on other Delta purchases, such as in-flight food and beverages.

If used often, other perks could save you a lot of money. Your first checked bag free, complimentary access to Delta Sky Clubs and 20% off Delta purchases received as a statement credit can add up quickly.

As you might have guessed, the Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express is best for regular Delta flyers who spend $30,000 or more annually — and who want the strongest benefits they can get for their loyalty.

How much are SkyMiles® worth?

The value of SkyMiles® varies by the product or service you redeem them for:

  • Redeem 35,700 miles for a $250 Delta gift card — or 0.70 cents per mile.
  • Redeem 26,900 miles for a two-piece Samsonite Tessera 2 set valued at $129 — or 0.47 cents per mile.
  • Redeem 72,800 miles for an iPad 9.7″ valued at $329 — or 0.45 cents per mile.
  • Redeem 10,000 miles for round-trip domestic fares starting at $130 — or 1.30 cents per mile.

Be aware that fares require you to pay taxes and fees associated with the tickets. To make the most of your Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express, try to redeem your miles for flights only.

The perks

  • Welcome offer.

    Earn 40,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months your account is open. This is a decent boost if you’re aiming for Medallion Status.

  • Earn miles.

    Delta purchases earn you 1x miles and 2x miles for every other purchase. Redeem miles for flights, seat upgrades, gift cards, shopping and more.

  • Miles boost.

    Spend $30,000 in a calendar year and get 15,000 MQMs and 15,000 bonus miles. Spend another $30,000 to earn 15,000 MQMs and 15,000 bonus miles. For big spenders looking to reach higher Medallion Status tiers, this is the way to go.

  • Delta Sky Club access.

    Get complimentary access to all Delta Sky Clubs and discounted access of $29 for up to two guests. Single-visit passes usually cost $59, so if you visit Delta Sky Clubs once a month, you could save $708 a year with this perk.

  • First checked bag free.

    Save up to $50 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. If you make one round-trip each month, you can save up to $600.

  • Companion certificate.

    Each year you renew your Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express, you receive a domestic first-class 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.

What are Medallion Qualification Miles?

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.

You’ll also like …

  • 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 special events.

  • Priority boarding.

    Get on your plane and settle in to your seat earlier with Zone 1 priority boarding.

  • No foreign transaction fees.

    Use your card internationally while traveling without the typical 3% transaction fee other cards charge.

  • In-flight savings.

    Get 20% back in statement credit when you use your card to pay for in-flight food, beverages and audio headsets.

  • Travel insurance.

    Get up to $500,000 in travel coverage, car rental insurance against theft and damage and baggage insurance.

  • 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.

You’ll find gems among the Delta Sky Clubs

You’ll find superb lounges in Delta Sky Club’s portfolio. Newer lounges include those at Newark Liberty International Airport and Minneapolis–St. Paul International Airport. Consider visiting the Sky Club at the Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport, which comes with an open-air Sky Deck.

Gold Delta SkyMiles Sky Deck

A single-visit pass to a Delta Sky Club usually costs $59. With the Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express, you get complimentary access.

What to watch out for

  • Annual fee.

    The Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express comes with an annual fee of $450.

  • High APR on purchases and balance transfers.

    All Delta cards come with relatively high APRs on purchases and balance transfers when compared with other American Express cards. For example, the Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express comes with a 17.49% to 26.49% APR, while the Amex EveryDay® Credit Card comes with an 14.74% to 25.74% 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 . You may also incur late and returned payment fees of up to $38.

    Consider other cards if …

    Compare cards with travel rewards

    Updated September 25th, 2018
    Name Product Welcome Bonus Reward Value per Dollar APR (Annual Percentage Rate) for Purchases Annual Fee
    1 points
    16.74% variable
    $195
    Enjoy unique excursions, privileged access to exclusive events and insider opportunities.
    1 points
    16.74% variable
    $495
    Mastercard Black Card members receive an annual $100 air travel credit toward flight-related purchases including airline tickets, baggage fees, upgrades and more.
    2 points
    16.74% variable
    $995
    Earn points every time you spend. Luxury Card enhances your purchasing power by providing you with one (1) point for every one dollar ($1) you spend. Every purchase gets you closer to the rewards you want.
    Earn 60,000 points after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months
    1 points
    None (Charge Card)
    $550
    Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel and 5X points on eligible hotels booked on amextravel.com.
    Earn 25,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months
    1 points
    None (Charge Card)
    $0 annual fee for the first year ($195 thereafter)
    25,000 bonus Membership Rewards® Points (up to $250 value) when you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months
    Earn 25,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days
    1.5 points
    16.74% to 24.74% variable
    $0
    An intro offer rewards cardholders with a $250 value (25,000 online bonus points) after spending $1,000 within the first 90 days of account opening
    Earn 50,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
    1 points
    17.74% to 24.74% variable
    $0 annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
    Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
    Earn 50,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first 90 days
    1.5 points
    17.74% to 24.74% variable
    $95
    Earn unlimited 2 points for every $1 spent on travel and dining purchases and 1.5 points for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
    Earn 50,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
    1 points
    17.74% to 24.74% variable
    $450
    Earn 50,000 BONUS POINTS after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening* — that's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
    Earn 50,000 miles after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months
    2 miles
    14.74%, 21.24% or 24.74% variable
    $0 annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
    Earn 40,000 miles after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months
    1 miles
    17.74% to 24.74% variable
    $0 annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
    40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.* Plus a $100 statement credit after your first purchase.
    Earn 40,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
    1 points
    17.74% to 24.74% variable
    $99
    40,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open

    Compare up to 4 providers

    What should I know before I apply?

    To apply for the Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express, 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.

    What credit score do I need?

    The Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express is a premium card, which means you’ll have a better chance of approval if you apply with a good to excellent credit score of 680 or higher. Applying with a higher credit score will potentially get you a larger credit line and a lower APR on purchases and balance transfers.

    What do customers say about the Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express?

    Customers say they love the opportunity to boost miles, the card’s companion certificate and all the other travel 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.

    Accredited by the Better Business Bureau since 1948, American Express earns an A+ from the BBB based on its internal criteria that considers a brand’s advertising and transparency in business practices.

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

    1. Visit the American Express website.
    2. Select the Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express from the list of cards. Click Apply now.
    3. Complete the application form.
    4. Review the details in your application and submit it.

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

    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.

    I got the card. Now what?

    • Set up autopay. Register for an online account or download the Amex mobile app to pay online. Consider setting up automatic payments, so that you never miss a statement date.
    • Avoid paying interest. After the close of each billing cycle, you have a grace period of 25 days to pay your balance. Pay on time to avoid any high penalty APR or fees.
    • Avoid paying fees. Late and returned payments come with hefty fees of up to $38. Balance transfers and cash advances also come with fees.
    • Enroll with ShopRunner. The Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express is designed for the loyal Delta flyer. But that doesn’t mean you don’t get shopping perks. ShopRunner upgrades orders through more than 100 online retailers to free two-day shipping. If you don’t like what you get, ship it back for free.
    • Customer support. Call the American Express customer service at 1-800-528-4800 or chat online with a rep.

    Want to earn more SkyMiles?

    In addition to the Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express you can apply for the Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card to earn 2x miles at US restaurants. The only Delta card that offers rewards for dining, the Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card comes with no annual fee and its welcome offer is easy to meet.

      Bottom line

      Travelers who are loyal to Delta should find the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card more than adequate. It comes with a generous welcome offer, accelerated earnings toward SkyMiles Medallion Status and travel perks like discounted Delta Sky Club access and a free companion certificate annually.

      But if you spend more than $30,000 a year, you might get even higher status with the Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express.

      Frequently asked questions

      Images: AmericanExpress.com

      Kliment Dukovski

      "Kliment Dukovski is a writer for finder.com. He specializes in global financial markets and personal finance, with a focus on credit cards. His main goal is to deliver honest and accurate information that will help you make the right financial decision. When he's not writing about finance-related subjects he writes sci-fi stories."

      Was this content helpful to you? No  Yes

      Ask an Expert

      You are about to post a question on finder.com:

      • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
      • finder.com is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
      • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
      • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

      Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Privacy and Cookies Policy and Terms of Use.
      Go to site