When you buy something using links found on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. This content is reviewed & supervised by The Los Angeles Times.

Delta SkyMiles Reserve Card Review: Is This Amex Card Worth It?

Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card® review
KEY TAKEAWAYS
  • The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card gives you 3X bonus miles on all Delta purchases.
  • Lounge access, discounted Award Travel, travel insurance and access to premium experiences are just a few of the perks included with Delta Reserve membership.
  • Delta Reserve members are first in line behind Medallion members when it comes to getting free seat upgrades.
  • This card gives you 1X bonus miles on all non-Delta categories, including restaurants, U.S. supermarkets and hotels.
SUMMARY

If you’re looking for a credit card with premium benefits, the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card is a real contender.

This card gives you bonus miles on eligible purchases, plus travel insurance, shopping benefits, access to curated experiences and other valuable perks. Best of all, you get 3X miles on all Delta purchases, making it easier than ever to earn rewards based on your travel habits. 

Overall, the Delta Reserve card is ideal for frequent travelers who use enough card benefits to earn back the $650 annual fee.

So is the Delta Reserve card worth all the hype? Read our guide to learn the answers to these questions:

  • How many miles do you earn on different spending categories?
  • Is the Reserve card worth the $650 annual fee?
  • What kind of benefits do you get when you sign up for the Delta Reserve card?
Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Complimentary access to Delta Sky Clubs & Amex Centurion Lounges
  • Annual Companion Certificate, good for one ticket in the same class you’re in
  • Very generous welcome offer

Cons

  • High annual fee ($650)
  • Low rewards rate on non-Delta spending categories
  • Requires good to excellent credit
Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card®
LEARN MORE
Key Information
Earn 3X miles per dollar on Delta purchases made directly with Delta and 1X miles per dollar on all other eligible purchases. This card has a $650 annual fee.

Is the Delta SkyMiles Reserve Amex Card worth it?

The Delta SkyMiles Reserve is worth it if you are loyal to Delta Air Lines and can take advantage of enough benefits, like Sky Club access, to justify the annual fee.

In addition to 3X miles on Delta purchases, you get Priority Boarding, complimentary access to the Delta Sky Club, a 15% discount on Award Travel and 20% back on in-flight purchases.

You should consider the Delta Reserve if you value premium travel benefits above the opportunity to earn cash back on everyday purchases. 

If you prefer to earn cash back that you can use on retail purchases or apply as a statement credit, there are better cards out there. Otherwise, it’s worth it to sign up for the Delta Reserve.

Pros of the Delta Reserve Card
  • Can earn generous rewards (3X miles per dollar) on Delta purchases
  • Complimentary Delta Sky Club access
  • Up to $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit every 4 years
  • An annual Delta SkyMiles companion certificate, entitling you to one free companion ticket each year for the same flight class you’re in
  • Various other travel perks like travel insurance, priority boarding, and in-flight discounts
Cons of the Delta Reserve Card
  • Not a great reward rate on non-Delta purchases
  • Limited redemption options
  • $650 annual fee may be difficult for some people to recoup
  • May be difficult to earn the welcome offer if you don’t spend a lot

Learn more about the Delta Reserve Card

Terms apply / Rates & fees

Delta Reserve card benefits

The Delta Reserve combines three types of benefits in a single travel rewards card. Benefit categories include travel, Medallion status and shopping. Let’s take a closer look at each of these.

Travel benefits

The Delta Reserve card comes with several travel benefits, including:

*Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions, and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by Amex Assurance Company.

Earn toward Medallion Status

You can earn $1 Medallion® Qualification Dollar for each $10 of purchases made on your Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card in a calendar year and get a boost toward achieving elevated Medallion Status for next Medallion Year. Additionally, receive $2,500 Medallion® Qualification Dollars each Medallion Qualification Year to get closer to the next Medallion Status with MQD Headstart.

Shopping benefits and protections

Although many people get the Delta Reserve for its travel benefits, it also comes with several valuable shopping perks:

Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions, and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by Amex Assurance Company.

Delta Reserve card rewards

When it comes to choosing a credit card, rewards can be powerful incentives. However, not all rewards cards are equal, which is why we’ve put together a detailed list of Delta Reserve rewards to help you make an educated choice.

Delta Reserve welcome bonus offer

American Express currently offers 60,000 bonus miles if you spend $5,000 within the first six months of card membership. This welcome offer may change at any time.

Earn Delta SkyMiles on the Delta Reserve Amex card

The Delta Reserve Card has a simple rewards scheme. You earn three miles per dollar spent on all purchases made directly with Delta and one mile per dollar on all other purchases.

Here’s an example:

Let’s say you want to spend your 25th anniversary in Paris, France. You splurge on airfare, spending $3,800 for you and your spouse to sit in First Class on a Delta-marketed flight. While you’re overseas, you spend $2,000 on dining, $900 on souvenirs and $720 on admission to museums and other attractions. 

This is how many miles you’d earn:

That’s a total of 15,020 SkyMiles, giving you a big head start on your next trip.

Redeem Delta SkyMiles on the Delta Reserve Amex card

American Express offers the following SkyMiles redemption methods:

Delta Reserve card fees, rates & limit

Before you apply for the Delta Reserve, make sure you understand all pertinent rates, fees and limits (see rates and fees).

Delta Reserve credit card fees

These are the Delta Reserve fees:

Delta Reserve credit card interest rates

Below are the Delta Reserve interest rates:

Delta SkyMiles card credit annual limit

American Express doesn’t publish the maximum credit limit for this card, but you may qualify for a limit exceeding $20,000. It depends on how much you earn and whether you have a good or an excellent credit score.

American Express is more than just a credit card issuer

The first step in growing and maintaining consistent savings is to understand your personal finances through checking and savings accounts, credit cards, and more.

If you want to save and grow your money, consider the following Amex products:

How the Delta Reserve card compares

The biggest advantage of the Delta Reserve is that it gives you three miles per dollar spent on Delta purchases. It also comes with many travel perks, such as travel insurance, complimentary upgrades when available, discounts on Award Travel and 20% back on in-flight purchases.

Although the Delta Reserve comes with plenty of benefits, its annual fee of $650 is much higher than the fees charged on other premium travel cards. The rewards program is also a little lackluster, as you only earn one mile per dollar on everything other than purchases made directly with Delta.

Delta Reserve card vs. Delta Platinum card

The Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card has an annual fee of $350, making it more affordable than the Delta Reserve card. It also comes with 3X miles on eligible hotel purchases and 2X miles at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets, which is more than you earn with Delta Reserve.

Despite these drawbacks, the Reserve outperforms the Delta Platinum card in terms of premium travel benefits. For example, the Annual Companion Certificate you get with the Delta Platinum only covers Main Cabin airfare. The one you get with the Reserve card is good for seats in Main Cabin, Comfort+ or First Class.

Delta Reserve card vs. American Express Platinum card

The Platinum Card® from American Express is different from the co-branded Amex Delta Reserve card. Since it’s not marketed to Delta customers, the Amex Platinum Card gives you Membership Rewards Points instead of bonus miles. 

A major difference between the two cards is that the Amex Platinum Card gives you 5X points on these categories:

Like the Delta Reserve, the Amex Platinum Card gives you 1X points on all other categories. That said, the Platinum Card comes with a more generous welcome offer: 80,000 points when you spend $8,000 in your first six months of membership (see Amex Platinum rates and fees).

Read more in our comprehensive review of Delta Reserve vs. Amex Platinum.

Compare more American Express credit cards See cards side-by-side Credit Cards with Mouse Cursor COMPARE CARDS
Credit Cards with Mouse Cursor Find the perfect Amex credit card to add to your wallet COMPARE CARDS

Is the Delta SkyMiles Reserve Amex card right for me?

The Delta Reserve card is for discerning travelers who want to earn premium benefits based on their travel habits. 

It’s worth the $650 annual fee if you always use Delta rather than booking through other airlines. It may also be worth it if you use your Annual Companion Certificate each year, as this certificate may be worth $1,000 or more when used to book a seat in First Class.

If you want a Delta SkyMiles card but aren’t sure if the Reserve is the right for you, check out this other Delta SkyMiles card review to see if this card would be a better fit.

How do I apply for a Delta SkyMiles Reserve Amex card? 

You’ll need good to excellent credit to qualify for this card. If you are confident you meet the eligibility criteria, you can learn more about the Delta SkyMiles Reserve card and apply online.

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

FAQs: Delta Reserve card

Does the Delta Reserve card get you Sky Priority?

No. The Delta Reserve card gives you access to Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding, which allows you to board your flight early. This is different from Sky Priority, which gives you access to a suite of services designed to make your travel experience more pleasant. Sky Priority is available to passengers in First Class, Delta Premium Select and Delta One®. You may also qualify for Sky Priority if you have Medallion status. Available benefits include early boarding, faster check-in and expedited baggage handling.

Does the Delta Reserve card help with upgrades?

Yes. Travelers with Medallion status have first dibs, but if any seats remain after all Medallion members have checked in, you may qualify for a free upgrade with your Delta Reserve membership. Note that upgrades aren’t available on every flight. It all depends on how many empty seats there are and how many passengers are ahead of you in the upgrade queue.

Is it hard to get a Delta Reserve card?

This card is for consumers with good to excellent credit, so it’s tough to get if you have a low credit score or a lack of credit experience.

What is the annual fee for the Delta Reserve card?

The Delta Reserve card has an annual fee of $650, the highest of all the American Express Delta cards.

Is it worth upgrading from Delta Platinum to Reserve?

Both cards offer a wide range of benefits, so it depends on your personal preferences. The Reserve card offers 3X back on Delta purchases, but all other categories earn bonus miles at a rate of one mile per dollar. In contrast, the American Express Delta SkyMiles Platinum offers 3X miles on Delta and eligible hotel purchases, 2X miles at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets, and 1X miles on everything else.

If you’re basing your decision on miles alone, it’s not worth upgrading. However, the Delta Reserve comes with a few benefits that aren’t included with the Delta Platinum. For example, the Reserve comes with an Annual Companion Certificate that’s good for one free companion ticket in Main Cabin, Comfort+ or First Class. The certificate that comes with the Delta Platinum card is only good for Main Cabin fare. Review the terms of each card carefully to determine which is the best credit card for you.

Does the Delta Reserve card get you into Sky Club?

Your Delta Reserve membership includes unlimited Delta Sky Club access at no additional charge. That’s changing on January 1, 2025. Once the program changes go into effect, you’ll be limited to 15 days of Delta Sky Club use per year. You may qualify for unlimited Sky Club access if you spend at least $75,000 per calendar year on your Reserve card.

Leigh Morgan
Leigh Morgan Personal Finance

Leigh Morgan is a seasoned personal finance contributor with over 15 years of experience writing on a diverse range of professional legal and financial topics. She specializes in subjects like navigating the complexities of insurance, savings, zero-based budgeting and emergency fund development.

In the last 5 years, she’s authored over 300 articles for credit unions, digital banks, and financial professionals. Morgan is also the author of “77 Tips for Preventing Elder Financial Abuse,” a book focused on helping caregivers protect the elderly from financial scams.

In addition to her writing skills, she brings real-world financial acumen thanks to her previous experience managing rental properties as part of a $34 million real estate portfolio.

* Opinions expressed here are those of the LA Times Compare Cards Team and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser or entities included within this content. See our editorial policy for more details.

All products or services are presented in this content without warranty. The information, including card details such as rates and fees, is accurate at the time of publish. Please visit each bank's website directly for the most current information.

BACK TO TOP