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Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express review

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A rewards card for big spenders and hardcore Delta flyers.

  • 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 670 or higher.

75,000

Miles as welcome offer

Up to 2x

Miles

$450

Annual fee

17.49% to 26.49%

Purchase APR (variable)

Details

Product NameDelta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express
Card typeAmerican Express
Annual fee$450
Purchase APR17.49% to 26.49% variable
Balance transfer APR17.49% to 26.49% variable
Balance transfer fee$5 or 3% of the transaction, whichever is greater
Cash advance rate26.99% variable
Cash advance fee$10 or 5% of the cash advance amount, whichever is greater
Penalty APR29.99% variable
Foreign transaction feeNone
Interest free periodUp to 25 days
Late payment feeUp to $39
Returned payment feeUp to $39
Additional cardholder fee$0
Rates & feesrates & fees

Limited time offer for the Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express

Delta is preparing to relaunch the Delta SkyMiles line of cards, with the new versions of the cards touching down on January 30, 2020. As part of this relaunch, the annual fee of the Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express is increasing to $550. However, if you apply and are approved for the card between October 1, 2019 and October 30, 2019, you’ll receive a limited-time welcome offer for the price of the current annual fee:

  • 75,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQMs) after spending $5,000 in eligible purchases on the card in the first 3 months

Once approved, you’ll enjoy this new welcome offer once you open your account, while the card’s refreshed benefits will be available starting January 30, 2020.

The basics

To start, any SkyMiles member who books a flight on Delta can earn 5x miles — even without this card. But using your Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express earns you an additional 2x miles — for a total of 7 miles per dollar on your Delta purchase.

The Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express extends 2x miles on other Delta purchases, such as in-flight food and beverages. For all other qualifying purchases, you’ll earn 1 mile per dollar spent.

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 on purchases 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. Here’s an example of redemption values from the provider website at the time of writing:

  • 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.

How does the Delta SkyMiles program work?

The perks

  • Welcome offer.

    Earn 75,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $5,000 on purchases 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 2x miles, and you’ll earn 1x miles for every other purchase. Redeem miles for flights, seat upgrades, gift cards, shopping and more.

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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express companion certificate: A stellar travel benefit

The card’s companion certificate is especially valuable if redeemed for a domestic first-class flight. Our March 2019 analysis finds it could be worth over $1,000, which easily covers the card’s annual fee.

This isn’t the only Delta card with a companion certificate. The Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express offers one too, albeit only for domestic Main Cabin round-trip flights.

  • 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.

  • Miles boost.

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

How to earn Delta SkyMiles quickly

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Is the annual fee worth it?

The Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express is priced at a premium: $450 a year. But if you’re a frequent Delta flyer and you like traveling in style, the card’s value could far outweigh the cost.

Accelerated rewards on Delta purchases

To break even on the annual fee with rewards alone, you’ll need 32,143 miles. This is based on our February 2019 analysis that values each Delta mile at 1.4 cents each.

You can earn these miles by spending:

  • $16,072 on Delta purchases.
  • $32,143 on other eligible purchases.

Valuable welcome offer

According to our February 2019 valuation, 75,000 miles are worth $1,050 — an excellent value. That’s more than you’ll earn with many other premium cards.

Attractive travel benefits

The following benefits could give you a stellar annual value of $2,296:

Benefit Estimated 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

This doesn’t include the annual bonus miles you could earn upon reaching the spending requirement. It also doesn’t include secondary benefits like travel insurance and purchase protection.

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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 select events.

  • Priority boarding.

    Get on your plane and settle in to your seat earlier with Main Cabin 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.

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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% variable APR, while the Amex EveryDay® Credit Card comes with an 14.74% to 25.74% 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 $39.

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Compare cards with travel rewards

Updated October 17th, 2019
Name Product Welcome offer Rewards Annual fee Filter values
75,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
7x points on Hilton Honors purchases, 5x at US restaurants, US supermarkets and US gas stations, 3x on all other purchases
$0
Earn 75,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the card within your first 3 months of card membership. Rates & fees
20,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
1.25x miles on all purchases and 10x miles at hotels.com/venture
$0
Earn 20,000 bonus miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.
N/A
1x points on all purchases with 2% point value when you redeem for airfare and 1.5% for cash back
$495
Receive an annual $100 air travel credit toward flight-related purchases including airline tickets, baggage fees, upgrades and more.
60,000 miles after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months, plus $50 when you make a Delta purchase in the same timeframe
2x miles on Delta purchases and 1x miles on all other purchases
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
Earn 60,000 miles after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months, plus $50 when you make a direct Delta purchase in the same timeframe. Rates & fees
50,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months
2x miles on all purchases and 10x miles at hotels.com/venture
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
Earn 50,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.

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 670 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 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.

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.

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 from American Express to earn 2x miles at US restaurants. The only Delta card that offers rewards for dining, the Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express comes with no annual fee (see rates & fees) and its welcome offer is easy to meet.

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

  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 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 don’t accidentally 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 $39. 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.
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How do I redeem miles from the Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express?

After the end of each month, you’ll see your miles in your Delta SkyMiles account within eight to 12 weeks. Log in to this account to redeem your rewards.

Redeem miles for rewards such as:

  • Delta flights.
  • Delta Vacations, Delta Private Jets and SkyMiles Experiences.
  • Delta Sky Club membership.
  • Flight upgrades, Delta products and premium beverages.
  • Partner flights.
  • Hotel stays.
  • Rental cars.
  • Merchandise.
  • Gift, transfer or donate miles.

You can find great deals on Delta flights — for example, on Main Cabin flights to Canada and Delta One international flights.

Also, keep an eye out for high-value partner flights. Delta is a member of the SkyTeam alliance, and it partners with non-alliance carriers like WestJet and Virgin Atlantic.

    Bottom line

    Travelers who are loyal to Delta should find the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express 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 on purchases a year, you might get even higher status with the Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express.

    Frequently asked questions

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    Disclaimer

    Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

    Rates and fees

    Images: AmericanExpress.com

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