Amex Delta Reserve Credit Card Review: Is It Worth the High Price Tag?
The American Express Delta Reserve credit card gives cardholders a chance for good rewards, such as free companion tickets. Before you sign up though, be aware of the card’s high annual fee. You’ll need to make sure you’ll use it enough to reap the rewards.
What we like:
Complimentary Delta Sky Club access and an annual companion certificate
|Sign-Up Offer||5,000 Medallion Qualification Miles plus 75,000 bonus SkyMiles if you spend at least $5,000 within 3 months of account opening|
|Rewards Rate||2x miles for Delta purchases|
1x miles for everything else
|Regular APR||17.99% – 26.99%|
- If you’re a big spender, you can rack up a lot of rewards points and Delta Reserve MQM bonus points.
- You’ll get complimentary Delta Sky Club access.
- When you renew your card each year, you’ll get a round-trip companion certificate.
- You can get elite status upgrades with your MQMs.
- Your first checked bag will be free on Delta or Delta Connection flights.
- The annual fee is high.
- This card may not be worth it unless you’re a die-hard Delta customer.
- You’ll have to spend a lot annually to get all the free reward miles this card offers.
Recommended Credit Score
Is the Delta Reserve Credit Card Worth It?
The Delta Reserve credit card is a high-end American Express credit card. It’s for the frequent traveler, especially those who are loyal to Delta. If you don’t want to be limited in which airlines you fly with, you might want to look at our other airline credit cards.
The annual fee with the Amex Delta Reserve is high, but it’s not out of line with comparable cards, and the annual card benefits can offset that cost quickly. And while you won’t have the most flexibility with the Delta Reserve, you’ll find some great perks if you fully examine the benefits that the credit card offers.
In this review:
Delta Reserve Benefits
This card has solid benefits, including miles bonuses you can earn if you spend enough, priority boarding on Delta flights, access to priority checkpoints, companion certificates, premium roadside assistance, no foreign transaction fees, Medallion status upgrades, and in-flight savings of 20% on certain purchases. While there are a lot of benefits, the price of the card may not be justified unless you take advantage of them.
Delta Reserve MQM Bonus
If you get the Delta Reserve card, you’ll want to charge as much as possible to the card, while still paying it off each month. Doing so will help you accumulate bonus SkyMiles and MQMs.
SkyMiles can be redeemed for flight upgrades and free tickets on Delta or its partners. How many SkyMiles you earn per dollar spent is influenced by what your Medallion status is. You can earn anywhere from 5 miles per dollar with no status to 11 miles per dollar with Diamond status. The more Medallion Qualification Miles you earn, the higher your status will be.
The first milestone you have to meet is spending at least $5,000 on your card in your first three months to earn 5,000 MQMs and 75,000 SkyMiles.
MQM Rewards Tiers
There are four Medallion tiers for you to work toward: diamond, platinum, gold, and silver.
Diamond is the highest tier and it gives you benefits that include complimentary upgrade priority, customizable Choice Benefits, and the highest priority boarding.
The next highest level is platinum, and that gives you access to things like waived award ticket change fees and unlimited complimentary upgrades.
Gold level will also net you perks like unlimited complimentary upgrades and waived same-day change fees.
The silver level, the lowest level, will also earn you the unlimited complimentary upgrade perk, as well as priority boarding and waived baggage fees.
- Annual companion pass: Bring a friend on a domestic round-trip flight for just the fees.
- Lounge access: Airport lounges are like an oasis for weary travelers—they give you a calm and relaxing spot to kick back, away from the crowds, and they can even provide free meals during long layovers.
- Priority boarding: This gives you the chance to get on your plane earlier and be one of the first to stuff your carry-on bag in the overhead bin.
- Baggage Insurance: You’ll be reimbursed if your baggage is lost or delayed and you need to make temporary purchases.
- Car rental insurance: You’ll have some protection when you rent a car through your Delta Reserve benefits.
- 20% Savings on in-flight purchases: That can save you money on your food and drinks.
- No foreign transaction fees: That’s a money saver when traveling abroad.
Downsides of Delta Reserve Card
There are a few downsides to be aware of:
- High annual fee: The fee of $450 is hard to stomach for the casual traveler, and it only makes sense if you know you’ll take advantage of the card’s major benefits.
- Delta loyalty: This Delta card is only a bargain for those who have a lot of brand loyalty to the airline—most of the perks won’t apply if you’re not a frequent Delta flyer.
- Deep pockets: You’ll have to spend a lot, up to $60,000, to get the full rewards incentives available—the typical cardholder won’t have this kind of bankroll.
- Flexibility: While you can transfer SkyMiles to Delta airline partners, their program isn’t as flexible as Chase’s Ultimate Rewards program.
How it Compares to Similar Cards
The Delta Reserve card carries a larger price tag than some other travel credit cards. While some of the benefits may be worth that price tag, you’ll need to spend a lot to justify it. Unless you plan to fly with Delta multiple times per year (or at least once with a companion), you might be better off with another card.
Unlike the Chase Ultimate Rewards program, which is easy to understand, the maze of SkyMiles and MQMs and what it takes to get them is more complex.
Delta Reserve vs Delta Platinum
One card with a cheaper annual fee, at $195, is the Platinum Delta SkyMiles credit card. You can earn 5,000 MQMs and 75,000 bonus miles by spending $3,000 on your Platinum card within the first three months. And if you make a Delta purchase on your card within three months, you’ll also get a $100 statement credit.
If you’re a lower spender and don’t think you’ll fly with Delta more than once per year, the Platinum card may be a better option for you.
Delta Reserve vs Chase Sapphire Reserve
The Chase Sapphire Reserve charges an annual rate of $450 as well, but its rewards structure is easier to understand. You can get 50,000 points if you spend at least $4,000 on your card in the first three months. If you use those points through the Chase Ultimate Rewards program, that’s worth $750 in travel costs.
Additionally, you’ll receive a $300 annual travel credit, 3 points per $1 on travel and dining worldwide, and 1 point per $1 on all other purchases.
Both cards allow you to transfer rewards to their own partner airlines, so you should consider who you’re likely to fly with when making your decision.
Bottom Line: Is the Delta Reserve Credit Card Right for You?
If you are one of Delta’s biggest fans and a big spender, the Delta Reserve card will hold real value for you. If you’re a lighter spender or you want more flexibility from your rewards program, you’ll want to look elsewhere.3.79 Delta Reserve Credit Card
Author: Shannon Serpette
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