Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card Review

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card
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A top-shelf rewards credit card with luxury travel perks.

The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card gives you access to coveted airport lounges, which is a unique benefit that will be highly attractive to some. Only a few American Express rewards cards will get you into the 10 Centurion Lounges around the world. Additionally, the card offers a number of other travel benefits, including access to Delta Sky Clubs and a free checked bag on Delta flights.

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Like any credit card, it does come with some drawbacks, including a high annual fee and a low rewards rate on everyday purchases. Therefore, it will be a good fit for those who frequently fly with Delta and want to travel in comfort and style, but not those who want to earn while at home.

Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons as well as how it compares to other Delta SkyMiles offerings.

In this article

    What we like about the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card

    • Complimentary lounge access. You’ll get access to both the Delta Sky Club and Centurion Lounge when you book a Delta flight with your card. The exclusive and luxurious Centurion Lounges are available in Mexico City (MEX), San Francisco (SFO), Seattle (SEA), Miami (MIA), Philadelphia (PHL), New York (LGA), Las Vegas (LAS), Houston (IAH), Hong Kong (HKG) and Dallas (DFW).
    • Welcome bonus: Earn 40,000 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.
    • Companion certificate. Every year when you renew, you’ll get a complimentary companion certificate for a round-trip domestic flight. You can redeem it for a seat in first class, Delta Comfort+ or the main cabin.
    • Travel benefits. This card offers tons of travel perks, including upgrade priority, baggage insurance and 20% off Delta in-flight purchases.
    • No foreign transaction fees. The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card is well-suited to international travelers because it doesn’t have any foreign transaction fees. ( See Rates & Fees )
    • Terms Apply

    Things to consider

    • Rewards rate. This card offers 3X miles, but only on Delta purchases and 1X miles on all other eligible purchases. If you don’t fly often, you won’t earn much.
    • High annual fee. The annual fee is $550 ( See Rates & Fees ), which is on the high end for travel rewards cards.
    • No intro APR. Many credit cards offer an interest-free period, but the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card doesn’t. So if you plan on using the card to make a balance transfer and pay off some debt, it won’t be the best option.

    Travel rewards details

    Although the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card allows you to earn a high reward rate on flights, it’s not the best choice for everyday spending. You’ll be able to earn 3X miles on eligible Delta purchases, including flights and trips booked through Delta Vacations. But you’ll only earn 1X miles on everything else, so you may want to use a different rewards card for purchases like gas and groceries.

    Additionally, this card also allows you to earn Medallion Qualification Miles, which helps you reach Delta Medallion Status. Medallion Members get perks like priority boarding, complimentary upgrades and waived baggage fees. For every $30,000 you spend on your card, you’ll earn 15,000 Medallion Qualification Miles up to four times a year (up to 60,000 MQMs). Silver Status starts at 25,000 Medallion Qualification Miles, however, so you may not be able to reach it unless you spend a lot of money on the card each year.

    Fee details

    The biggest fee the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card has is the $550 ( See Rates & Fees ) annual fee, which is much higher than what most rewards cards charge. But it also offers unique travel benefits to help make up for it, such as free access to the exclusive Centurion Lounges and Delta Sky Club, the latter of which costs $39 per person per visit with other American Express Delta cards. The annual companion certificate for a round-trip domestic flight, worth hundreds of dollars or more, can also justify the cost. If you plan on taking full advantage of these benefits, then the card may be worth it for you.

    As for the other fees, it is pretty standard. You can be charged up to $40 for a late or returned payment, 3% or $5 on balance transfers (whichever is greater), and $10 or 5% on cash advances (whichever is greater). On the upside, unlike many other credit cards, it doesn’t have foreign transaction fees, which will help you save money if you plan to travel overseas ( See Rates & Fees ).

    How does it compare to other travel rewards cards?

    The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card is ideal for frequent flyers who want to earn miles on Delta flights and get complimentary access to airport lounges. Travelers who prefer to earn rewards on both flights and hotels may want to go with the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card. Looking for a card with a lower annual fee? The Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card has $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99. ( See Rates & Fees ) This card also allows you to earn a high rewards rate on everyday spending at restaurants worldwide and U.S. supermarkets.

     APRAnnual feeIntro bonusKey features
    Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card15.74%-24.74% Variable ( See Rates & Fees )$550 ( See Rates & Fees )Earn 40,000 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.
    • 3X miles on Delta purchases
    • 1X miles on all other eligible purchases
    • Earn 15,000 MQMs when you spend $30,000 in a calendar year, up to four times each year
    • Terms Apply
    Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card15.74%-24.74% Variable ( See Rates & Fees )$250 ( See Rates & Fees )Earn 40,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Plus, earn a $100 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months. Terms Apply.
    • 3X miles on hotels and Delta purchases
    • 2X miles at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets
    • 1X miles on all other eligible purchases
    • 10,000 MQMs when you spend $25,000 in a calendar year, up to two times each year
    • Terms Apply
    Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card15.74%-24.74% Variable ( See Rates & Fees )$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99. ( See Rates & Fees )Earn 35,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Terms Apply.
    • 2X miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery, U.S. supermarkets, and on Delta purchases
    • 1X miles on all other eligible purchases
    • $100 Delta flight credit when you spend $10,000 in a year
    • Terms Apply

    For rates and fees of Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, please click here .
    For rates and fees of Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card, please click here .
    For rates and fees of Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, please click here .

    Editorial Note: Compensation does not influence our recommendations. However, we may earn a commission on sales from the companies featured in this post. To view our disclosures, click here. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by our advertisers. Reasonable efforts are made to present accurate info, however all information is presented without warranty. Consult our advertiser’s page for terms & conditions.

    Jessica Walrack

    Contributing Writer

    Jessica Walrack is a personal finance writer at SuperMoney, Interest.com, The Simple Dollar, and PersonalLoans.org. She specializes in taking personal finance topics like loans, credit cards, and budgeting, and making them accessible and somewhat fun.