Is the Delta Reserve Credit Card from American Express worth it? | February 2018

Review: Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express – February 2018

The Reserve is for you if you spend big and are a hardcore Delta flyer.

  • Get this card if… you’re a regular Delta flyer and you want accelerated earnings for SkyMiles Medallion status.
  • Pick something else if… you don’t fly Delta and you don’t spend that much on your American Express card.

The Delta Reserve is the top-tier offering in the Delta collection of American Express cards. If you’re a hardcore Delta flyer, this one’s for you. It’s best if you spend more than $30,000 a year, can take advantage of a complimentary first class round-trip companion certificate and want free access to the Delta Sky Lounges.

Product NameDelta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express
Balance Transfer Rate (not intro)16.99% to 25.99% variable
APR for Purchases ( Purchase Rate )16.99% to 25.99% variable
Annual fee$450
Cash Advance Rate26.49% variable
Card TypeAmerican Express
Interest Free Period
The interest-free period on purchases is the period or number of days you do not have to pay interest on your card purchases. You will be charged interest either from the day you make a purchase or from the statement date, unless you pay the closing balance in full by the due date (or within the interest-free period) on your statement.
Up to 25 days
Returned Payment Fee$38
Foreign Currency Conversion Fee (AMEX)
Foreign currency conversion fees are charged when you make a transaction that is converted by a credit card network, such as MasterCard, Visa or American Express, from Australian dollars to a foreign currency. You’ll also incur a currency conversion fee if you make a purchase or obtain a cash advance in Australian dollars while overseas or shopping online with a foreign merchant or financial institution.
0% of transaction value
Minimum Credit ScoreFair (660-699)
Minimum Age18 years of age
Annual fee$450
Returned Payment Fee$38
Over The Credit Line Fee$0
Late Payment Fee$38
Cash Advance Fee$5 or 3% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater
Rewards ProgramAmerican Express Rewards
Bonus Points on Sign-up40,000
Rewards Points per $ spent (VISA/MC)2
Points ExpiryNever

The basics

When you book Delta flights as a SkyMiles member, you’ll get 5x miles. When you use your Delta Reserve card, you’ll get an additional 2x miles. All said, the Delta Reserve can bring your total haul up to 7x miles per dollar.

The Reserve card will also bring you 2x miles on other Delta purchases, such as in-flight food and beverages. And it offers small perks to enhance your Delta flights — first checked bag free, priority boarding and 20% off Delta purchases, received as statement credit.

As you might have guessed, the Reserve card is best for regular Delta flyers. You’ll accumulate miles anyway as a regular SkyMiles member, and the card simply sweetens the deal. So, scoop up the Reserve card if Delta is your go-to airline; otherwise, consider a travel credit card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred or the Barclaycard Arrival Plus.

Delta Reserve SkyMiles vs. other Delta cards

Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit CardPlatinum Delta SkyMiles Credit CardDelta Reserve Credit Card
Annual fee$0 for the first year, then $95$195$450 p.a.
Signup bonus30,000 miles; $50 statement credit5,000 Medallion Qualification Miles, 35,000 miles; $100 statement creditEarn 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) and @cc_bonus_points_signup@ bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
Delta perksFree first checked bag, priority boarding, 20% discount on Delta purchasesFree first checked bag, priority boarding, 20% discount on Delta purchasesFree first checked bag, priority boarding, 20% discount on Delta purchases
Mile earnings2x on Delta, 1x on all other eligible purchases2x on Delta, 1x on all other eligible purchases2x on Delta, 1x on all other eligible purchases
Miles BoostNoneSpend $25,000: 10,000 miles, 10,000 MQMsSpend $50,000: 10,000 miles, 10,000 MQMsSpend $30,000: 15,000 miles, 15,000 MQMsSpend $60,000: 15,000 miles, 15,000 MQMs
Annual companion certificateNoneDomestic main cabin round-tripDomestic first class or main cabin round-trip
Delta Sky ClubsReduced-price entry ($29)Reduced-price entry ($29)Complimentary entry
Foreign transaction feeNoneNoneNone

Each Delta card gives you similar basic benefits: The miles earnings are the same, and you’ll get small Delta perks like priority boarding.

There are big differences between the cards, though. To decide on one, consider how much you’ll spend on Delta flights and how much you care about SkyMiles status.

SIGNUP BONUS: The Gold card offers bonus miles only. The Platinum card offers bonus miles as well as Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs). Curiously, the Reserve has a relatively small mile bonus — although it offers the most MQMs.

  • Verdict: If you don’t care about MQMs, the Gold card is a good choice. The Platinum card has a good mix of miles and MQMs. The Reserve offers 10,000 MQMs, but you’d really be getting it for its powerful Miles Boost-.

What are Medallion Qualification Miles?

Collect Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) to achieve higher Medallion Status tiers in the Delta SkyMiles frequent flyer program. You can also achieve higher status by collecting Medallion Qualification Segments (MQSs) and Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs).

To learn more about Medallion Status, check out the Delta website.

MILES BOOST: The Platinum and Reserve cards pull away from the Gold card with Miles Boost — you’ll get more miles and MQMs based on your spending. But you have to spend a substantial amount to qualify: $25,000 for the Platinum and $30,000 for the Reserve. If you can exceed those spending thresholds, however, you could get to Silver status (which requires 25,000 MQMs) just by using your American Express card.

  • Verdict: It depends on how much you spend a year. If you spend less than $25,000 a year, Miles Boost doesn’t matter and you should lean toward the Gold card. If you do exceed that spending threshold, the Platinum and Reserve become contenders.

COMPANION CERTIFICATE: This perk might make a difference if you’re on the fence between the Gold and Platinum. Each year you renew your Platinum card, you’ll get a complimentary Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate. The Gold doesn’t offer one. Meanwhile, the Reserve gives you a companion certificate too — except you get one for either a main cabin or first class flight.

  • Verdict: If you take a guest on a domestic round-trip flight at least once a year, the Platinum makes sense. It alone could make the $195 annual fee worth paying. Of course, the Reserve’s companion certificate is only an upgrade if you plan to take someone on a first class flight.

ANNUAL FEE: The Gold card has an intro annual fee of $0, and it costs $95 annually thereafter. The clearest line is between the Platinum and the Reserve is that the former has a $195 annual fee, and the latter costs $450 p.a. annually.

  • Verdict: Choosing between the Platinum and the Reserve comes down to how much you value MQMs and whether you’ll take advantage of the Reserve’s first class companion certificate.

DELTA SKY CLUBS: This is a cool sweetener that can break the tie. The Gold and Platinum cards offer reduced-price entry for $29, but the Reserve offers complimentary entry.

  • Verdict: Consider whether you’ll use the Delta Sky Clubs. Paying $29 here and there might not hurt the wallet too much, but getting free entry could save you tons of money if you’re a Sky Club regular.

The perks

  • SIGNUP BONUS: Miles and Medallion Qualification Miles.

After your first purchase within the first year, get 10,000 miles and 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles.

  • MILES: More miles on Delta purchases.

Earn 2x miles on eligible Delta purchases like flight tickets, food, beverages and movies. This is on top of the 5x miles as a SkyMiles member. Earn 1x mile on other eligible purchases. Redeem miles for flights on Delta and Delta’s partner airlines.

  • LOUNGE ACCESS: Complimentary entry into Delta Sky Clubs.

The other two Delta cards only give you reduced-price entry. With the Delta Reserve, you’ll get free entry. Bring up to two guests for the reduced price of $29 each.

You’ll find gems among the Delta Sky Clubs

Delta has been renovating their Sky Clubs, and you’ll find superb lounges in their portfolio. A few of the 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 Credit Card from American Express

A Single Visit Pass to a Delta Sky Club costs $59. With the Gold Delta SkyMiles card, you can buy a pass for $29.

  • MILES BOOST: Earn bonus miles as you spend.

When you spend $30,000 or more in a calendar year, you’ll earn 15,000 bonus miles and 15,000 Medallion Qualification Miles. When you spend $60,000 or more, you’ll get another 15,000 miles and 15,000 MQMs.

  • INVITE A GUEST TO FLY: Get a complimentary annual companion certificate when you renew.

Each year you renew your Delta Reserve card, you’ll receive a Domestic first class or main cabin round-trip companion certificate. This allows you take a guest on a first class or main cabin round-trip domestic flight for free (after taxes and fees).

  • DELTA BENEFITS: Small perks to enhance your Delta flights.

Check your first bag free and get priority boarding when flying Delta. Get 20% off as statement credit when you make in-flight Delta purchases.

You’ll also like…

  • Concierge service. As a cardholder, you’ll have access to the Concierge service. Use it to make arrangements for dining or special events.
  • No foreign transaction fees. You can use your card internationally without incurring fees.
  • Travel protection. You’ll have access to the American Express Global Assist Hotline and Roadside Assistance Hotline, which you can use if you find yourself in a pinch on vacation. Also, get complimentary car rental, travel accident and baggage insurance.
  • Purchase benefits. Get extended warranties and return protection on eligible items.
  • Cardmember-only entertainment. As a cardholder, you’ll have access to exclusive events and ticket presales.

What to watch out for

  • Annual fee. The Delta Reserve card comes with an annual fee of $450 p.a..
  • Not as widely accepted overseas. Because the Delta Reserve card is an American Express, you might not have as many opportunities to use it overseas as you would with a Visa or Mastercard.
  • It hurts to pay late. Making late or returned payments could saddle you with a penalty APR as high as 29.99%. You may also incur late and returned-payment fees as high as $38.

Consider other cards if…

  • You don’t fly often on Delta. The Delta Reserve card is a good choice if you’re a regular Delta flyer. But you can only spend miles at Delta and Delta’s partner airlines. If you want flexible travel points, consider cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred or the Barclaycard Arrival Plus. If you regularly fly on an airline other than Delta, consider a co-branded airline card.
  • You want cash back. The Delta Reserve card offers miles, not cash back. For cash back, go for a card like the Citi Double Cash or the Blue Cash Preferred from American Express.

Compare other American Express credit cards

Rates last updated February 19th, 2018
Name Product APR for Purchases ( Purchase Rate ) Intro APR for Balance Transfer Annual fee Product Description
Wells Fargo Propel 365 American Express® Card
15.24% to 23.24% variable
0% Intro APR for 12 months (with $5 minimum, 5% balance transfer fee)
$0 annual fee for the first year ($45 thereafter)
20,000 bonus points if you spend $3,000 (net purchases) in first 3 months
Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card
14.24% to 26.24% variable
0% Intro APR for 12 months (with whichever is greater, $5 or 3% balance transfer fee)
$0
20000 bonus points if you spend $1,000 (net purchases) in first 3 months
Blue from American Express® Card
16.49%, 19.49% or 21.49% variable
16.49%, 19.49% or 21.49%% Intro APR for within 60 days of account opening (with whichever is greater, $5 or 3% balance transfer fee)
$0
Earn rewards with no annual fee.
Blue Sky from American Express® Card
18.49%, 21.49% or 23.49% variable
18.4921.4923.49% Intro APR for within 60 days of account opening (with whichever is greater, $5 or 3% balance transfer fee)
$0
Flexible travel rewards and no annual fee.
Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express
16.99% to 25.99% variable
16.9925.99% Intro APR for 60 days of account opening (with whichever is greater, 5% or 3% balance transfer fee)
$0
Earn 50000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after spending $1,000 or more in purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership.
Hilton Honors™ Surpass® Card from American Express
16.24% to 20.24% variable
16.2420.24% Intro APR for 60 days of account opening (with whichever is greater, $5 or 3% balance transfer fee)
$75
Earn 100000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after spending $3,000 in purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership.
American Express Serve®
FREE ATM withdrawals at over 24,000 MoneyPass® ATM locations nationwide.
The Mercedes-Benz Credit Card from American Express
16.49% variable
16.49% Intro APR for 60 days of account opening (with whichever is greater, $5 or 3% balance transfer fee)
$95
Earn 10000 Membership Rewards ® points after using your new Card to make $1,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
Plenti® Credit Card from Amex
15.99% to 25.99% variable
15.9925.99% Intro APR for 60 days of account opening (with whichever is greater, $5 or 3% balance transfer fee)
$0
Earn 5000 Plenti® points after you spend $250 in purchases on your Plenti® Credit Card from Amex within your first 3 months of Card Membership.
Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card
16.99% to 25.99% variable
16.99% to 25.99%% Intro APR for 60 days of account opening (with whichever is greater, $5 or 3% balance transfer fee)
$195
Earn 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs)
and 35000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new card in your first 3 months. In addition, earn a $100 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new card within your first 3 months.
Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card
16.99% to 25.99% variable
16.99% to 25.99%% Intro APR for 60 days of account opening (with whichever is greater, $5 or 3% balance transfer fee)
$0 annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
Earn 30000 bonus miles after you make $1,000 in purchases on your new card within your first 3 months and a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months.
Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express
16.99% to 25.99% variable
$450
Earn 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) and 40000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card
16.99% to 25.99% variable
16.99% to 25.99% variable% Intro APR for 60 days (with whichever is greater, $5 or 3% balance transfer fee)
$195
Earn bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
American Express® Green Card
No interest charges because you pay your balance in full each month
$0 annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
Shop with more confidence
Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express
No interest charges because you pay your balance in full each month
$0 annual fee for the first year ($195 thereafter)
More Points. More Rewards.
The Platinum Card® from American Express
No interest charges because you pay your balance in full each month
$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.
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
14.24% to 25.24% variable
0% Intro APR for first 15 months (with whichever is greater, $5 or 3% balance transfer fee)
$0
Earn $150 back after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. You will receive the $150 back in the form of a statement credit.
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
14.24% to 25.24% variable
0% Intro APR for 12 months (with whichever is greater, $5 or 3% balance transfer fee)
$95
Earn $200 back after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. You will receive the $200 back in the form of a statement credit.
Amex EveryDay® Credit Card
14.24% to 24.24% variable
0% Intro APR for first 12 months (with whichever is greater, $5 or 3% balance transfer fee)
$0
Earn 10000 Membership Rewards® Points after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card
14.24% to 24.24% variable
0% Intro APR for 12 months (with whichever is greater, $5 or 3% balance transfer fee)
$95
Earn 15000 Membership Rewards Points after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Credit Card
16.49% to 20.49% variable
16.4920.49 % Intro APR for 60 days (with whichever is greater, $5 or 3% balance transfer fee)
$0 annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
Earn 25000 bonus Starpoints® after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
USAA Secured Card American Express®
11.15% to 21.15% variable
$35
You can get travel benefits (no foreign transaction fees), retail benefits and collision damage waiver coverage on your rental car.
USAA Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card
13.15% to 27.15% variable
$0
Get high cash back rewards on most purchases, including gasoline, groceries and military base purchases.

Compare up to 4 providers

What to know before you apply

To apply for the Delta Reserve card, you must be:

  • At least 18 years old
  • A US resident

What credit score do I need?

You’ll have a better chance of being approved for the Delta Reserve card if you apply with a good to excellent credit score of 680 or higher.

How to apply for the card

1. On the American Express website, click Apply Now.
2. Fill out the application form, providing information like your Social Security number, home address, income source and total annual income.

How long will it take to be approved?

Because conditional credit card approval is automated on the website, you can get a decision on your application within 60 seconds.

I got the card. Now what?

  • Making payments. Register an account at the American Express website to pay your balance online. You can also enroll in autopay.
  • Avoiding interest payments. After the close of each billing cycle, you have a grace period of 25 days to pay your balance. If you do, you won’t pay interest on your purchases.
  • Avoiding fees. Late and returned payments come with hefty fees of up to $38. Balance transfers and cash advances also come with fees.
  • Customer service. Help documents aren’t easily accessible on the American Express website, but you can call 800-528-4800 for customer service. According to market research company J.D. Power, cardholders give American Express high marks in customer interaction.

Bottom line

Most frequent Delta flyers will find the Platinum SkyMiles card more than adequate. But if you’re a super-loyal Delta customer who’s after higher status tiers, the Reserve card is for you.

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