American Express is a popular card among Delta frequent flyers since the credit card issuer co-sponsors multiple credit cards with the airline.
Two of these options are the Amex Platinum Delta Credit Card and the Delta Reserve Card, both of which can earn Delta flyers bonus miles and Medallion Qualifications Miles (MQMs).
If you’re currently an Amex Platinum Delta card holder, you may be wondering if the Delta Reserve, marketed as the next tier up, is worth it. To help you make that decision, here are some of the similarities and differences between the two.
Amex Platinum Delta SkyMiles vs. Delta Reserve Credit Card
Both the Amex Platinum Delta SkyMiles card and the Delta Reserve card offer users rewards for everyday purchases and Delta purchases. If your focus is simply on everyday mile rewards, then the cards are strikingly similar. However, frequent flyers looking to increase their MQM status may find that, in some cases, the Reserve can be more valuable, although its perks come with a price – an annual fee $255 higher than Platinum Delta SkyMiles ($450 vs. $195).
Compare American Express Cards
American Express® Gold Card
- Earn 4X membership rewards points at restaurants
- 4X points at US supermarkets (up to $25,000 per year, then 1X)
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
- 6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets, up to $6,000 per year then 1%
- Earn 3% Cash Back on transit and 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations
The Platinum Card® from American Express
- Earn 5X points on flights booked directly with airlines or American Express Travel
- Earn 5X points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com
Amex Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card
Amex Platinum Delta SkyMiles card holders can expect an APR between 17.49% and 26.49% with an annual fee of $195. However, unlike some other co-branded Delta cards, like the Blue Delta SkyMiles Card, there are no foreign transaction fees. The Platinum SkyMilescard also extends the following benefits to card holders:
- Yearly round-trip companion certificate each year
- One mile per dollar for everyday purchases (e.g., groceries, restaurants, phone bill, etc.)
- Two miles per dollar spend on direct Delta purchases, including Sky Club memberships and passes, vacation packages, seat upgrades, and inflight purchases
- Free first bag checked on Delta flights
- Delta SkyMiles Boost: 10,0000 bonus miles and 10,000 MQMs after spending at least $25,000 in eligible purchases in a calendar year, plus earn an additional 10,000 bonus miles and 10,000 MQMs after spending $50,000
- Discounts on Delta Sky Club access ($29 per person), in-flight purchases (20 percent off food, beverages, audio headsets, etc.)
- Priority boarding
In addition, new card holders typically receive introductory bonus miles. The current offer, which ends September 19, 2018, is 70,000 bonus miles and 10,000 MQMs when new card holders make $3,000 in purchases within the first three months.
Amex Delta Reserve Credit Card
The Amex Delta Reserve Credit Card is designed for frequent Delta flyers who plan on making a significant amount of purchases using the card and are looking for “elite” perks, such as free access to the Sky Lounge and American Express’s Concierge Service, which can coordinate and arrange a variety of events for card holders.
The Delta Reserve APR is the same as the Platinum Delta card (17.49% to 26.49%), but the annual fee is $450 – not unusual for some premium American Express cards, but significantly higher compared to the Platinum Delta card.
Here are some of the perks provided by the Delta Reserve card.
- Yearly Domestic First class, Delta Comfort+, or Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year
- One mile per $1 for spent on everyday purchases (e.g., groceries, restaurants, phone bill, etc.)
- Two miles per $1 spent on direct Delta purchases, including Sky Club memberships and passes, vacation packages, seat upgrades, and inflight purchases
- Free first bag checked on Delta flight
- Discounts on Delta Sky Club access ($29 per person), in-flight purchases (20% off food, beverages, audio headsets, etc.)
- Concierge Service
- Delta SkyMiles Boost: 15,000 bonus miles and 15,000 MQMs after spending $30,000 in purchases in a calendar year. Plus, earn 15,000 MQMs and 15,000 bonus miles after spending $60,000.
- Priority Boarding
How to Upgrade the Amex Platinum Delta Credit Card to the Delta Reserve Card
If you are considering an upgrade from your Amex Platinum Delta Credit Card to the Delta Reserve card, check to see if you’re eligible by logging into your American Express account. Select the Delta Reserve Credit Card, and if available, select “Request an Upgrade.” From there, you can follow the steps to complete the application. If the option is not available, then you may not be eligible for the Delta Reserve card. Contact American Express for more details.
Should You Upgrade?
When it comes to the Platinum Delta SkyMiles card and the Delta Reserve card, there are very few differences that are compelling enough to justify the $450 annual fee that accompanies the Reserve card. So, if you’re not a consistent flyer or just a general card user (i.e., you’re not spending upwards of $60,000 on your card), the Platinum Delta SkyMiles card may be the best option.
With a $195 fee and overwhelmingly similar perks, it’s likely not worth the upgrade. However, if you’re planning to make $60,000 or more purchases on the card, then the Reserve card may be more attractive.
Author: Jeff Gitlen
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