Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card Review
Editor’s Score: (N/A)
- Intro bonus:
- Annual fee:
- Regular APR:
15.74% to 24.74% Variable
- Recommended credit score:
670-850 (Good to Excellent)
Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases.
Earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases.
- Valuable welcome offer
- Includes Delta Sky Club access
- Status Boost program lets you achieve Delta Medallion status through credit card spend
- Comes with frequent flyer perks
- High APR
- High annual fee
- No bonus rewards categories outside of Delta purchases
The Bottom Line
The Delta SkyMiles Reserve Amex Card is definitely pricey at $550 per year, but it offers some valuable benefits for frequent travelers, including Delta Sky Club access and an annual companion pass. This card also makes it possible to work toward elite status through credit card spending alone.
Additional Card Details
- Qualify for up to $100 in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants made within three months of account opening
- Earn 15,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) when you spend $30,000 in purchases in a calendar year, up to four times
- Qualify for a Medallion Qualification Dollar (MQD) Waiver toward Medallion status after spending $25,000 on purchases within a year
- Complimentary access to Delta Sky Clubs — comparable individual membership costs $545 annually
- Complimentary access to Amex Centurion Lounges
- Annual companion certificate toward round-trip first class, Delta Comfort+, or main cabin fare
- Upgrade priority over other members within the same Medallion status level
- Complimentary upgrades
- First checked bag free on Delta flights
- Fee credit toward Global Entry or TSA Precheck membership
- 20% back on in-flight purchases
- Travel and purchase protections
- Global Assist hotline
Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card Full Review
The Delta SkyMiles Reserve Amex is a premium co-branded airline credit card with valuable benefits for loyal Delta travelers. Due to this card’s high annual fee, it’s best for frequent flyers who can use its travel-based perks often.
The Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card charges a $550 annual fee. If you’re a frequent Delta flyer, the benefits can more than make up that cost — but consider how much value you’ll get based on your regular travel spending before you apply.
When you sign up for the Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card, you can earn 50,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 on purchases within three months of account opening.
You can also qualify for up to $100 in statement credit for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants made within three months of account opening.
This card does not offer an introductory APR on purchases or balance transfers.
This card’s rewards are largely limited to your airline spending — you’ll earn 3 miles per dollar on Delta purchases and 1 mile per dollar on all other purchases.
In addition to the $550 annual fee, the Delta SkyMiles Reserve Amex Card can charge a 5% (minimum $10) cash advance fee if you use your card to get cash at an ATM. If you pay late or have a payment returned, you may incur a fee up to $40 and a penalty APR up to 29.99%. There are no foreign transaction fees for purchases you make abroad.
The variable APR for this card ranges from 15.74% to 24.74%, depending on your creditworthiness.
The Delta SkyMiles Reserve Amex Card comes with quite a few perks, which can help frequent Delta flyers maximize time at airports and in the air. These include upgrade priority, complimentary upgrades (even without elite status), and a first checked bag free on Delta flights. Cardholders also get an annual companion certificate for a round-trip flight in any cabin each year, including First Class.
Other benefits include a fee credit toward Global Entry or TSA Precheck membership and complimentary membership with Delta Sky Clubs (retail value of Delta Sky Club membership starts at $545) and Amex Centurion Lounges.
You can use your Delta Reserve card spending to work toward elite airline status with Delta, too. The card’s Status Boost program gives you 15,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) when you spend $30,000 in purchases in a calendar year, up to four times.
This airline credit card also comes with complimentary insurance benefits including a baggage insurance plan, trip delay coverage, trip cancellation and interruption insurance, and secondary auto rental coverage. Access to a Global Assist hotline is also included.
Benefits of Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card
While the Delta SkyMiles Reserve is light on rewards, its added benefits are the most valuable feature. Not only can you enjoy annual companions passes and lounge access while in the airport, but you can use your spending to move up Medallion status tiers with Delta.
If you signed up for this card and spent $30,000 within a year and earned the welcome offer, for example, you would automatically qualify for Delta Silver Medallion status. That’s because you would earn 10,000 MQMs in the welcome offer and another 15,000 MQMs using Status Boost. This would net you 25,000 MQMs and the MQD waiver you get for spending at least $25,000 on your card within a year.
Drawbacks of Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card
The biggest downside of this card is its lack of bonus rewards categories. You’ll only earn 1 mile per dollar on non-Delta spending. This earning rate makes it very difficult to rack up miles over time, and it’s subpar when you compare it to other Delta credit cards.
For example, with the Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card, which has a $250 annual fee, you can earn 3 miles per dollar on Delta purchases and purchases with hotels, 2 miles per dollar on dining at restaurants worldwide and at U.S. supermarkets, and 1 mile per dollar on other purchases.
Another drawback of this card is its $550 annual fee. While this fee can be worth it if you utilize Delta Sky Clubs and American Express Centurion Lounges often, you may want to pick a less expensive Delta card if you don’t travel very frequently. The Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card may be a worthwhile alternative for lounge access, for example, since you can visit Delta Sky Clubs at a $39 per-visit rate.
Finally, it’s worth noting that this card’s airport lounge benefit (along with many of its other perks) only works when you fly with Delta. If you fly a bunch of different airlines and want to make sure you have lounge access when you need it, consider travel credit cards that offer Priority Pass Select membership.
How to Use Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card
Start maximizing the Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card by spending at least $3,000 on purchases within three months of account opening. This will help you earn the welcome offer, which includes 50,000 bonus miles and 10,000 MQMs toward elite status. And if you spend at least $100 at restaurants in the U.S. in that same time period, you can also qualify for up to $100 in statement credits.
From there make sure you use your card for any spending you do with Delta. You won’t earn more than 1 mile per dollar on other purchases, but you will earn more MQMs and MQDs toward Medallion status each year after meeting certain spending thresholds, so it can still make sense to put non-Delta spending on your card if you want to increase your status tiers. Also make sure you use your card to pay for Global Entry or TSA Precheck membership for yourself or someone else. Doing so will trigger a statement credit of up to $100, depending on the program you choose.
Most importantly, pay your card balance in full each month and avoid charging more than you can afford. Not only is the Delta SkyMiles Reserve card’s annual fee expensive, but the interest rate on any revolving balance can quickly become costly. If you need to pay down credit card charges over time, consider a 0% APR credit card.
Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card Compared to Other Cards
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card
Editor’s Score: (N/A)
Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card
Editor’s Score: (4.15/5)
Is the Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card Right for You?
As the most premium of Delta’s co-branded credit cards with American Express, this card makes most sense for those who fly often and exclusively choose Delta Air Lines when booking flights.
One of the most compelling reasons to choose this card over other Delta credit cards is if you want Delta Sky Club membership and plan to pay for it anyway. The cost of an individual membership starts at $545 already, so you can pay essentially the same amount and get all the additional benefits of this card, too.
If you enjoy earning miles toward Delta flights but you’re looking to increase your rewards on everyday spending outside of Delta purchases, consider another Delta co-branded option with rewards on dining or groceries — like the Delta SkyMiles Platinum or Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card. And if you’re not loyal only to Delta when you fly, a general travel rewards card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve can still offer premium benefits and perks with rewards you can put toward more flexible travel options.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Do you get Sky Priority with the Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card?
Sky Priority is available to select Delta Medallion members and select Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Australia elite members as well as guests flying in premium cabins. You read more about whether you qualify on Delta’s Sky Priority page.
Is the Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card a metal credit card?
Yes, the Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card is a metal credit card.
Does the Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card come with TSA Precheck?
The Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card comes with a fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck membership.
Does the Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card charge foreign transaction fees?
The Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card does not charge foreign transaction fees.