Delta Skymiles Reserve Credit Card Review

While the $550 annual fee may scare most people away, but it’s well worth it if you want to travel in comfort with a friend. 

Delta Skymiles Reserve Card

If you enjoy spending time in the Delta Sky Club lounges and flying first class, the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card might pay for itself, even with its steep annual fee. That’s thanks to two valuable benefits it features: complimentary access to Delta Sky Clubs, and an annual companion certificate that can be redeemed for a round-trip domestic first-class ticket.

These perks make the question of “should you get this card?” fairly clear-cut. If you’re sure you can make good use of these benefits, that alone could justify the cost. And if you can’t? This card probably isn’t an ideal choice for you.

Delta Skymiles Reserve Benefits

Let’s take a closer look at the benefits.

Credit Card Type: Airline

Annual Fee: $550

Interest Rate: The ongoing APR is 15.74% – 24.74% Variable APR

Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Welcome Bonus: Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at US restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership. Terms Apply.

Delta Skymiles Rewards:

  • 3 miles per dollar on eligible purchases made directly with Delta.
  • 1 mile per dollar spent on all other eligible purchases.
  • Terms will apply.

Most credit card review platforms value Delta miles at 0.9 cent each. This is a baseline value, drawn from real-world data on hundreds of economy routes, not a maximized value. In other words, you should aim for award redemptions that offer 0.9 cent or more in value from your Delta miles.

Delta Skymiles Benefits: 

  • Complimentary access to Delta Sky Club and American Express’s Centurion Lounge and two one-time guest passes to Delta Sky Clubs each year.
  • Annual companion certificate upon renewal (good for one round-trip domestic flight in first class, Delta Comfort+ or main cabin for someone traveling with you, less some taxes and fees).
  • Concierge service.
  • Credit of up to $100 for the application fee for either Global Entry or TSA Precheck.
  • First checked bag is free for you and up to eight other passengers traveling on the same reservation.
  • Priority boarding.
  • 20% savings on eligible in-flight purchases.
  • Terms apply.

Status Boost bonuses: Earn 15,000 Medallion Qualification Miles after spending $30,000 or more in eligible purchases on your card in a calendar year, and another 15,000 MQMs after spending $60,000. Terms will Apply.

Why you might want the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card

DELTA SKY CLUB ACCESS

Normally, you’d have to pay $545 for one year of individual access to the Delta Sky Club lounges — but with the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, membership is included. If you’re frequently looking for a reprieve from long layovers, this perk could largely make up for the card’s steep annual fee. And if you’re planning to have an authorized user on your account, it could be doubly valuable: Additional cardholders will have the same level of access to the Delta Sky Club as the primary cardholder, American Express confirms. Plus, every year you’ll get two one-time guest passes to Delta’s lounges. Your card will also get you into American Express Centurion Lounges when you’re flying Delta. Terms apply.

These lounges generally offer complimentary refreshments, booze, Wi-Fi, showers and comfortable seats. And they’re not as easy to access as they once were; in late 2018, the airline stopped selling single-day passes to its lounges. Terms apply.

COMPANION CERTIFICATE

One of the most valuable features on the Delta Reserve® Credit Card is its annual companion certificate. Unlike most companion certificates, it’s not limited to coach tickets; you can also use it for Delta Comfort+ or first-class tickets. That makes it potentially lucrative — that is, if you regularly buy Delta tickets in these fare classes.

To be sure, the certificate comes with some limitations. It can generally be used only to purchase round-trip fares within the contiguous 48 states (although cardholders living in Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands can take advantage if they meet certain requirements). Terms apply. Also, to redeem it, you and your companion must be flying in the same fare class; you can’t dispatch your traveling partner to first class while you fly coach.

A WAY TO WORK TOWARD ELITE STATUS

Most of the time, an airline credit card welcome offer will help you rack up miles quickly, but won’t get you any closer to elite status. The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card is different. It comes with a generous welcome bonus: Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at US restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership. Terms Apply.

That gets you significantly closer to Silver status, which you can earn after hitting 25,000 MQMs in a calendar year. That snags you certain benefits when flying with airline partners, savings on Delta Vacations packages (including those booked with miles) and more. (The Delta SkyMiles program has four elite status tiers, ranging from Silver to Diamond.)

Aside from that initial bonus, you can also earn more MQMs on this card if you’re a big spender. You’ll get 15,000 MQMs after spending $30,000 or more in eligible purchases on your card in a calendar year, up to four times in a calendar year. Terms apply.

How it compares with other Delta cards

In the pantheon of Delta credit cards, the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card stands out as the most premium. Out of all Delta cards, it comes with the richest benefits — and the highest annual fee. If you’re looking to earn miles with Delta but want to pay a lower annual fee, consider going with one of the other cards. 

Learn more by reading our Best Airline Credit Cards blog.

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