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Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card Review

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Updated April 4, 2024
card_name

The card_name is one of the best credit cards on the market — and with a annual_fees annual fee (Rates & Fees), it had better be.

Terms and Conditions may apply to offers and benefits on this page.

Annual fees of that magnitude are a nonstarter for many. But they shouldn’t be. Just a few minutes of simple arithmetic can help you decide if a card’s benefits will save you more money than you’re paying in annual fees. Believe it or not, this card can save you a lot more than annual_fees per year if you fly Delta with regularity.

The card’s intro offer alone can be worth well over $1,000. You’ll bonus_miles_full

Let’s take a look at the many ways this card can immediately skyrocket your quality of travel.

TIME's Take

The card_name has huge upside, with lounge access worth nearly $700 per year, a valuable annual companion certificate, elite status boosts, and more. The card’s earning rates leave plenty to be desired, however, and is not a lucrative option for your everyday purchases. You’ll still benefit from the card’s ongoing benefits, even if it stays at the bottom of your sock drawer.

Who is the card for?

The card_name is the single greatest card for those who fly Delta regularly.

Yes, it comes with standard benefits that you’ll find on the best airline credit cards. You’ll get priority boarding practically guaranteeing that you’ll have plenty of overhead bin space to choose from; you’ll get the first checked bag free for you and up to eight companions on the same reservation; and you’ll get 20% back when you use the card to make inflight purchases. But this card also offers benefits that amplify your experience in the air and on the ground in a way that very few airline credit cards do.

Its annual_fees annual fee is steep, but you can quickly decide if the card is for you by asking yourself the following questions:

  • Do you value access to Delta Sky Club airport lounges? The card_name lets you enter Sky Clubs whenever you’re flying on Delta. A paid Sky Club membership that grants the same access costs $695 per year — meaning the card is a no-brainer for anyone who would otherwise pay cash for access. Plus, the card_name lets you enter Amex Centurion Lounges (considered to be the highest-quality domestic airport lounges) when flying Delta.
  • Do you fly with a travel buddy at least once per year? The card_name comes with an annual companion certificate that lets you bring a friend or family member once per year on a roundtrip flight within the Continental U.S. for just the cost of taxes and fees. Your companion will be booked in the same class as you, whether you’re in economy or first class (just note that not all fare buckets are eligible).

If you’re interested in earning Delta SkyMiles quickly, this card will not serve you much aside from the fact you will bonus_miles_full. Also, because most of the card’s perks revolve solely around Delta, its benefits (such as free checked bags and priority boarding) won’t help you when flying other airlines — even if you book one of Delta’s partners with Delta miles.

Rewards Structure

Earning rewards

The card_name is not popular for its rewards earning rates. You’ll earn 3 miles per dollar for Delta purchases and 1 mile per dollar for all other eligible purchases.

There are many other credit cards that can earn Delta miles faster. For example, the card_name earns points that you can instantly transfer to Delta at a 1:1 ratio. It’s got extremely generous bonus categories that allow you to rack up rewards quickly. For example, you can earn 4 points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 in spending per year, then 1x) and at restaurants.

Redeeming rewards

Delta miles can be used to fly on much more than just Delta. You can fly on any of Delta’s partners, including Air France, Virgin Atlantic, LATAM, Hawaiian Airlines and more. In other words, you can get to just about anywhere in the world with Delta miles.

The price you’ll get per mile varies dramatically depending on how you use them. Award prices tend to be competitive (and occasionally a steal) domestically — but prices for international flights can be outlandish. A one-way business class flight to Europe may cost over 200,000 miles where a similar flight through a competitor like American Airlines or United Airlines may cost around 60,000 miles.

Delta has a feature available only to Amex Delta card holders called Pay With Miles. This allows you to redeem your miles for a flat $0.01 each toward paid Delta flights. It’s a great way to ensure that you never get a value lower than $0.01 for your rewards. The only catch is that you’ll have to pay in increments of $50 (or 5,000 miles).

Additional hidden perks

15% award discount

All annual fee-incurring Delta credit cards give you a 15% discount on Delta-operated award flights. As long as your credit card is linked to your account, you’ll automatically see the discount at checkout.

Priority upgrades

Just for holding the card_name, your name will automatically be put on the complimentary upgrade list with every flight. Those with elite status will be ahead of you on the flight, but this may still occasionally come in handy. Also, if you have Delta elite status, this card will give you upgrade priority over others with your same level of status.

TSA PreCheck/Global Entry statement credits*

is an insanely valuable benefit that gives you the freedom to stay dressed when going through most domestic airport security checkpoints. You aren’t obliged to remove your shoes or belt, and you can even keep your laptop and TSA-approved toiletries in your bag.

Global Entry lets you skip the immigration line when coming back into the U.S. It also comes with TSA PreCheck perks.

TSA PreCheck costs $78 for a five-year membership. Global Entry costs $100 for a five-year membership. The card_name will reimburse you up to $100 for whichever membership you choose every four years.

Elite status boost

If Delta elite status is important to you, there is no credit card that can better aid you in achieving it.

For every $30,000 you spend in a calendar year with the card_name, you’ll receive 15,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs). You can earn a maximum of 60,000 MQMs per calendar year. While that’s a significant spending requirement, it’s also a huge springboard toward top-tier status.

Cell phone insurance

The card_name will confer automatic cell phone insurance when you use it to pay your monthly phone bill. You’ll get up to $800 in coverage (max two claims per rolling 12-month period), with an extremely reasonable $50 deductible.

  • Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply.
  • Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details.
  • Underwritten by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG Company.

This insurance is technically secondary, but if you’re not currently paying for cell phone insurance, it’ll cover you.

Various travel and purchase coverages

The card_name comes with fairly forgettable travel insurance for its annual_fees price tag. Still, the coverage can manage to save you hundreds of dollars during your trip. You’ll get:

  • Secondary rental car insurance, which covers anything your primary insurance will not.

  • Trip delay insurance, which entitles you to up to $300 in reasonable expenses (hotel, transportation, food, etc.) when your flight is delayed by at least six hours. You can file two claims per rolling 12-month period.

    • Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply.
    • Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details.
    • Underwritten by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG Company.
  • Lost luggage insurance, providing up to $500 per ticket for checked bags and $1,250 for carry-on bags when the common carrier damages or loses your bags.

  • Trip cancellation/interruption insurance, up to $10,000 per trip (or $20,000 per account per rolling 12-month period) for nonrefundable prepaid travel that you can’t take — or complete — for a covered reason such as illness, inclement weather, etc.

    • Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply.
    • Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details.
    • Underwritten by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG Company.

You’ll also receive insurance for your purchases:

  • Purchase protection of up to $10,000 per occurrence ($50,000 max per year) if a covered item is lost or damaged within 90 days of the purchase date.

    • Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply.
    • Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details.
    • Underwritten by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG Company.
  • Extended warranty protection, giving you up to one additional year on eligible U.S. manufacturer’s warranties lasting five years or less.

    • Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply.
    • Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details.
    • Underwritten by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG Company.

Amex Offers

Amex Offers are one of the best credit card perks in the game. They’re targeted credits or bonus rewards at select merchants for making purchases you’d probably make anyway. You can find the offers inside your online account. Simply add the ones you want to your card, and they’ll automatically reward you once you’ve satisfied the offer’s terms.

For example, you may find an offer that gives you a $10 rebate when spending $30 or more at your favorite restaurant. After you add the offer and spend $30, you’ll see a $10 credit hit your account within days.

Amex Offers saves me hundreds of dollars per year — and I don’t even have to try. I just peruse my available offers (which are updated regularly) and always find something I can use organically.

Card Alternatives

Credit cardWelcome bonusAnnual feeTop features
bonus_miles_full
annual_fees (Rates & Fees)
  • Up to $200 in Uber Cash per calendar year.
  • Up to $200 in airline fee credits per calendar year (enrollment required).
  • Up to $200 in statement credits each year for prepaid hotels booked through Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts (minimum 2-night stay required) or The Hotel Collection Comprehensive airport lounge access.
  • Up to $20 per month in credits toward eligible digital entertainment services such as Hulu, Peacock, Audible and more.
  • Up to $100 in Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credits every 5 years.*
  • Up to $189 in credits toward CLEAR® Plus each calendar year (enrollment required).
  • Up to $100 in Saks credits each calendar year (ennrollment required).
  • $12.95 in statement credits each month to offset Walmart+ membership (enrollment required).
  • Cell phone protection.
bonus_miles_full
annual_fees (Rates & Fees)
  • Free first checked bag for you and up to eight companions on the same reservation.
  • Priority boarding.
  • Annual companion certificate valid for roundtrip domestic economy flights within the Continental U.S. Earn 10,000 Delta Medallion Qualifying Miles after spending $25,000 in a calendar year (valid for up to 20,000 MQMs each year).
  • Up to $100 in Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credits every 5 years.* 15% off award flights. Access Delta Sky Clubs at a discount.
bonus_miles_full
annual_fees (Rates & Fees)
  • Airport lounge access (Delta Sky Clubs and Amex Centurion Lounges when flying Delta same-day).
  • First checked bag free for you and up to eight companions on your reservation.
  • Priority boarding.
  • Annual companion certificate valid for roundtrip domestic economy and first class flights within the Continental U.S. Earn 15,000 Delta Medallion Qualifying Miles after spending $30,000 in a calendar year (valid for up to 60,000 MQMs each year).
  • Up to $100 in Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credits every 5 years.* 15% off award flights.
bonus_miles_full
annual_fees (Rates & Fees)
  • 20% off purchases during your Delta flight. Do you value access to Delta Sky Club airport lounges?No foreign transaction fees.
bonus_miles_full
annual_fees (Rates & Fees)
  • Free first checked bag for you and up to eight companions on the same reservation.
  • Priority boarding.
  • $100 Delta flight credit after spending $10,000 in a calendar year 15% off award flights.
Evergreen® by FNBO Credit Card
$200 cash back after spending $1,000 on purchases within the first three billing cycles.
$0
  • 0% intro APR on new purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 billing cycles (followed by variable APR based on creditworthiness).

The card_name is an excellent fit for anyone loyal to Delta. The card enhances your air travel with priority boarding, priority upgrades, free checked bags, an annual companion certificate and more.

But the biggest improvement you may notice will be in the airport, with free access to Delta Sky Clubs and Amex Centurion Lounges whenever you’ve got a same-day Delta boarding pass and complementary TSA PreCheck/Global Entry membership.

For rates and fees of the card_name, please visit this URL.

For rates and fees of the card_name, please visit this URL.

For rates and fees of the card_name, please visit this URL.

For rates and fees of the card_name, please visit this URL.

For rates and fees of the card_name, please visit this URL.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Do the miles I earn with the card_name expire?

The miles that you earn with the card_name do not live on your card. Instead, they are deposited into your Delta frequent flyerflier account, which is completely separate from your credit card account. Even if you cancel your credit card, you won’t lose your miles. And because Delta miles don’t expire, you’ll never have to worry about losing your rewards.

What card can be used as a good complement to the card_name?

The card_name has excellent Delta-specific benefits, such as free checked bags and priority boarding. However, the card is awful at earning Delta miles. Amex Membership Rewards credit cards, such as the Amex Gold Card or American Express® Green Card, can help you earn Delta miles faster. Their points transfer to Delta instantly — and they’ve got much better return rates.

What is the card_name card’s upgrade priority feature?

This feature effectively bumps card_name cardholders to the front of the upgrade line for their respective status tier. For example, if you have no status, your name will appear on the upgrade list above non-card_name holders. If you have Platinum Medallion elite status, your name will appear on the upgrade list above Platinum members that do not hold the card.

Is it worth upgrading to the card_name?

If you value access to Delta Sky Clubs and Amex Centurion Lounges, as well as the card’s uniquely valuable annual companion certificate, this card can certainly be worth the upgrade. You can request a product change from either the Amex Delta Blue, Amex Delta Gold or Amex Delta Platinum consumer cards.

Is the card_name hard to get?

This is a premium travel credit card. That said, it’s not particularly difficult to get. Data points show that you can be approved for a credit line as low as $3,100. than other premium cards.

Just keep in mind that American Express will not allow you to have more than five Amex credit cards at once. This doesn’t include any cards that have no preset spending limit, such as the Amex Gold Card, unless you’ve activated the “Pay Over Time” feature.

What credit score is needed for the card_name?

If your credit score is at least 700, you likely won’t have a difficult time opening this card.

Is the card_name made of metal?

Yes, the card_name is made from metal.

*Enrollment required for select American Express benefit and offers.

The information presented here is created independently from the TIME editorial staff. To learn more, see our About page.

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