Delta Reserve Credit Card
The Delta Reserve credit card is the airline’s premium rewards card. Issued by American Express, the Reserve card provides cardholders with the opportunity to not only earn Delta miles, but also Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) that count toward elite status. It includes a waiver for the spending requirement to earn status, too.
Cardholders get priority boarding and a free checked bag on Delta flights, as well as free access to Delta Sky Clubs and an annual discounted companion certificate that is valid for domestic first class or coach tickets.
The biggest downside of the Delta Reserve card is that it has a hefty $450 annual fee. You really have to use the Delta perks that come with this card in order to justify paying the annual fee because the benefits that extend beyond Delta are minimal.
Bonuses and Benefits
Knowing what benefits come with a credit card can help you decide if it’s a good fit for you. Here we cover the bonuses and perks that the Delta Reserve Credit Card offers and the value of the AMEX SkyMiles® miles you earn.
The Delta Reserve card’s sign-up bonus is a little different than the bonuses offered by most credit cards. It comes in the form of both Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) and redeemable miles. The full sign-up bonus awards 40,000 miles that can be used for Delta flights and 10,000 MQMs that count toward elite status. Both are awarded after making your first purchase.
Additional miles can be earned the first year and ongoing years for meeting certain spending requirements. If you spend at least $30,000 on your card within a year, you’ll receive an additional 15,000 redeemable miles and 15,000 MQMs. Spending at least $60,000 on your reserve card will award 15,000 more redeemable miles and 15,000 MQMs.
What You Get
- Earn 40,000 miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
- Get an additional 15,000 miles and MQMs after spending a total of $30,000 every year
- If you spend a total of $60,000 in a year, you’ll get 15,000 more miles, for a total of 30,000 miles and MQMs.
- Annnual companion certificate for first class or coach
- Free Delta Sky Club lounge access
Delta miles never expire so there is nothing you need to worry about in terms of flying or spending to keep your miles alive.
What is the value of the SkyMiles® Miles?
The value you get out of your SkyMiles will depend on how you choose to redeem them. Since Delta no longer publishes an award chart, it can be tough to determine the lowest possible price to pay for an award ticket. At a minimum, you should aim for at least 1.5 cents per mile in value from your SkyMiles, though awards can easily get you 4 or more cents per mile in value. International business class redemptions are usually the most valuable way to spend your miles.
What is CPM and How Is It Calculated?
Cents Per Mile (CPM) is a way to measure the value of miles. It tells you how many cents you get for each mile you redeem by dividing the cash price of the airline ticket (minus taxes and fees charged for an award ticket) by the number of miles the award flight costs. This is a somewhat subjective calculation because the price of the flight in both cash and miles fluctuates by season and availability.
How we calculate CPM:
The Best Ways to Redeem Delta Miles
Delta’s award pricing is essentially zone-based, but they don’t actually publish an award chart anymore. For that reason, it is sometimes tough to know what the lowest possible price for a flight is. Nevertheless, we still have a general idea of the approximate lowest price for different regions. Some of Delta’s better redemptions include: short one-way flights within the U.S. starting at 5,000 miles each way, flying on partner Virgin Australia to the South Pacific, and any redemptions with partner Jet Airways.
Los Angeles–AustinEconomy classMiles price23,000miles+$47.4 feeDollars price$299
Honolulu–Los AngelesEconomy classMiles price45,000miles+$46.62 feeDollars price$771
Daytona Beach–AtlantaEconomy classMiles price19,000miles+$43.06 feeDollars price$238
Atlanta–ReykjavikEconomy classMiles price112,500miles+$59.76 feeDollars price$1,047
Houston–NassauEconomy classMiles price35,000miles+$107.16 feeDollars price$535
San Francisco–TokyoEconomy classMiles price70,000miles+$50.66 feeDollars price$1,550
Los Angeles–NashvilleBusiness classMiles price90,000miles+$11.2 feeDollars price$1,134
Fort Lauderdale–BostonBusiness classMiles price50,000miles+$11.2 feeDollars price$688
Washington–ChicagoBusiness classMiles price25,000miles+$5.6 feeDollars price$695
New York–ParisBusiness classMiles price312,500miles+$128.16 feeDollars price$7,279
New York–Tel AvivBusiness classMiles price302,500miles+$770.38 feeDollars price$4,550
Philadelphia–MadridBusiness classMiles price207,500miles+$102.16 feeDollars price$5,647
Other ways you can redeem miles
Hotel Stays22 partners22 part.
Delta has 22 hotel partners, including Airbnb, Starwood Hotels and Resorts, Hilton and Marriott International.
Car Rental9 partners9 part.
Delta has nine car rental partners, including Alamo, Hertz, National Car Rental and Europcar.
Gift Cards34 partners34 part.
It’s possible to redeem your Delta miles for gift cards with 34 different companies, including Starbucks, Amazon, Target and Fandango.
It’s not possible to redeem your Delta miles for cash back.
The Delta Reserve card isn’t a good option if you are looking for a good everyday earning card. You’ll get just one mile per dollar spent for most purchases. The only bonus spending category is for purchases made directly with Delta, which earn two miles per dollar. However, if you meet the spending thresholds of $30,000 and $60,000 for a year, you will earn an extra 15,000 miles for each one, which makes the earning potential of this card a bit better.
- Car Rental
- Delta Air Lines Purchases
- All Other Purchases
Free Checked Bag
First bag is free when traveling on Delta for the primary cardholder and others traveling on the same itinerary.
Receive a domestic first class or main cabin companion certificate each year upon renewal. You must still pay taxes and fees when using the companion certificate.
Complimentary Delta Sky Club Access
When you are traveling on Delta, you receive free access for yourself and discounted access for up to two guests.
Priority boarding on Delta flights for the primary cardholder and others traveling on the same reservation.
No Foreign Transaction Fees
No foreign transaction fees are charged on purchases made abroad.
Enjoy in-flight savings when you use your Delta Reserve® card on board your next Delta flight.
Earn Elite Status Fast
The really unique benefit of the Delta Reserve card is the ability to earn Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) that count toward elite status. The sign-up bonus for the Reserve card offers 10,000 MQMs as a one-time bonus. Every year you have the card you can earn up to an additional 30,000 MQMs. You’ll earn 15,000 MQMs and miles when you spend $30,000 on your Reserve card, and an additional 15,000 MQMs and miles when you spend a total of $60,000 within a calendar year.
This means that if you spend enough on your Delta Reserve card, you can earn enough MQMs to earn Silver status without ever setting foot on a plane. There’s not much sense in earning status if you don’t fly Delta, but this is an amazing tool if you do and you’re short of your desired status level. Since you can earn up to 30,000 MQMs from the Delta Reserve each year, you can bump up your status level to all but the top level. Silver status is earned with Delta with 25,000 MQMs, Gold with 50,000 MQMs, Platinum with 75,000 MQMs, and Diamond with 125,000 MQMs.
Fees: the cost of Having the Card
The Delta Reserve card comes with a hefty $450 annual fee, and adding authorized users is expensive too, at $175 each. You would need to spend at least $30,000 a year to cover the annual fee. That would earn 45,000 Delta miles, which is worth $675 if you value Delta miles at the minimum of 1.5 cents each. That more than covers the annual fee, thanks to the 15,000 miles bonus. If you spend $29,999, though, you would earn just 29,999 miles (worth about $450 ) because you would have missed the bonus by $1.
Since the first year’s sign-up bonus is 40,000 miles, you would need to spend around $20,000 to cover the annual fee without taking into consideration the value of the MQMs, which are one of the main reasons to have the card.
- Annual Fee
- Balance Transfer Fee
- Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
- Foreign Transaction Fee
- Late Payment Fee
- Up to $38
See What It Takes to Cover an Annual Fee:
We strongly recommend to spend not less than $10,000 per months to cover the annual fee in three months.
We’ve broken out our estimates for the first- and second-year net earnings you’ll get with the Delta Reserve Credit Card. Is the card worth getting, and should you keep it after you get the sign-up bonus? Let’s find out.
These estimates are based on an annual monthly spend of $2,000
Top 5 Benefits of the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card
The main benefit of having the Delta Reserve card is the ability to earn Medallion Qualification Miles, particularly if you think you’re going to be a bit short of what you need for elite status. Luckily, there are a handful of other benefits that come with the card as well. Here are the top five:
- Ability to Earn MQMs: You can earn 10,000 MQMs as a sign-up bonus and up to 30,000 additional MQMs every year you have the card when you hit spending thresholds.
- Free Companion Pass: A family or friend can fly with you for free (plus taxes and fees) on a domestic round-trip flight in the main cabin or first class. You’ll get a free companion pass annually.
- Delta Sky Club Access: When you’re flying Delta, you can access Delta Sky Clubs for free.
- Priority Boarding on Delta Flights: Don’t worry about running out of room for your carry-on bag because you’ll get to board the plane in an early boarding group.
- Free Checked Bag: Get your first bag checked for free on Delta flights. This benefit is extended to anyone else traveling on the same itinerary.
Should You Get the Delta Reserve Credit Card?
The Delta Reserve credit card isn’t going to make sense for everybody. The Delta Reserve card would be a good choice if you frequently fly Delta but don’t have status. It’ll help you earn status and give you some great perks along the way, like the ability to access Sky Club lounges, as well as free checked bags and priority boarding. If you already have status, the Delta Reserve card can help you jump up to the next elite level, too.
Additionally, the annual companion certificate, if you use it, is an easy way to offset a large portion of the annual fee.
Since the Delta Reserve has a high annual fee and doesn’t offer great rewards for everyday spending, it’s probably not the best option if you are looking for a credit card to give you the most bang for your buck.
Need more info? Check out our frequently asked questions. If you have other questions, please click on “Ask Now” below.
- The companion ticket is valid for round-trip domestic travel in either the main cabin or first class. The only charges you will need to cover are for taxes and fees for the companion passenger, in addition to the full ticket price for the first passenger. One companion ticket is complimentary each year you are a card member.
- When you sign up for the Amex Delta Reserve card, you will receive 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) that count toward earning status with Delta Air Lines.
- MQMs are not the same as redeemable miles and cannot be used for flights. Rather, MQMs count toward elite status with Delta. You can also earn redeemable miles with the Delta Reserve card that can be used for award flights with Delta and its partners.
- Yes, it is possible to upgrade the Delta Platinum to a Delta Reserve card, however, if you choose to do this you will not earn the sign-up bonus that comes with the Delta Reserve card.
- Yes, you can get into Delta Sky Clubs when you are flying Delta. There are no other lounges that can be accessed with the Delta Reserve card.
- Yes, the maximum number of Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) that can be earned each year with the Delta Reserve card is 30,000. You can earn 15,000 MQMs after spending $30,000 on the card, and additional 15,000 after spending $30,000 more. The first year that you are a card member, you will also earn 10,000 MQMs as part of the sign-up bonus (as long as it is a new account and not an upgrade from another Delta card). This welcome bonus is only available once per lifetime.
- Most people who are approved for the Delta Reserve have a great to excellent score, usually 720 or higher. Of course, when you apply your full application will be evaluated by American Express. You could be approved with a lower credit score, and you are not guaranteed an approval even with a credit score over 720.
Compare SkyMiles® Cards
Other SkyMiles® cards
There are a handful of other co-branded Delta cards from American Express. The cards we will take a look at are the Gold Delta SkyMiles card, Platinum Delta SkyMiles card, and Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business card.
|Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card||Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card||Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card|
|Sign-up bonus||30,000 miles||40,000 miles||35,000 miles||35,000 miles|
|Annual Fee||$0 first year, $95 after that||$450||$195||$195|
|APR On Purchases||16.74% to 25.74% Variable±||16.74% to 25.74% Variable±||16.24% to 20.24% Variable±||16.74% to 25.74% Variable±|
|Second Year Value||$360||$360||$360||$360|
The main difference between these four different flavors of Delta cards is the annual fee. The Delta Gold card has no annual fee the first year and a $95 annual fee the following years. Both versions of the Delta Platinum card have $195 annual fees.
Both the Platinum cards and the Reserve cards allow you to earn MQMs, but the reserve card gives you more. If you need those extra MQMs to hit status, the Reserve is the only way to go! While all of the cards offer free checked bags, priority boarding and no foreign transactions fees on purchases made abroad. the Gold card doesn’t offer a companion certificate. The Reserve is the only one that includes free lounge access.
The sign-up bonuses for all of the cards also vary. The Gold currently offers 40,000 miles and both of the Platinum Delta cards offer 35,000 miles. These are all more than the bonus offered by the Reserve card, which is 30,000 miles and MQMs.
Compare Delta Reserve Credit Card to Other Cards
If you’re not set on earning Delta miles directly, there are a few other cards that are worth considering. Cards that earn American Express Membership Rewards points can be used to earn Delta miles because Delta is a transfer partner of Membership Rewards.
The Citi Prestige, Chase Sapphire Reserve and Amex Platinum all earn points that can be transferred to a number of hotel and airline partners. The Platinum card is the only one of the three that earns points that can be transferred to Delta. The Sapphire Reserve and Citi Prestige both have $95 annual fees and the Amex Platinum has a $550 annual fee.
All three off these cards offer better rewards for everyday spending than the Delta Reserve. The Sapphire Reserve offers three Ultimate Rewards points per dollar for travel and dining purchases, the Amex Platinum offers five Membership Rewards points for purchases made directly with an airline, and the Citi Prestige offers three Citi ThankYou points per dollar spent on air travel and hotels and two points per dollar for dining and entertainment.
All three of the non-Delta cards offer some form of lounge access, a TSA PreCheck/Global Entry application fee credit and an annual airline fee credit. If you’re not focused on earning MQMs and don’t mind a high annual fee card, these are all likely better options than the Delta Reserve.
Whenever you apply for a credit card make sure you read the terms and conditions of the card and the rewards program to find out about minimum spend requirements and any restrictions to ensure you can successfully obtain the card and earn the rewards it offers.
Card Terms and Conditions
While it's easy to focus on the rewards offered by the Delta Reserve credit card, it's worth taking a closer look at the terms and conditions. There's a lot to consider as you think about how you're going to use the card. Will you carry a balance, get a cash advance or maybe make a big purchase? Below is a rundown of the various interest rates, purchase protections, security features and mobile banking options that come with the Amex card.
- Intro APR:
- See Terms and Conditions
- Intro APR for balance transfers:
- See Terms and Conditions
- Ongoing APR:
- 16.74% to 25.74% Variable±
- Minimum Grace Period:
- 25 days
- Extended Warranty Protection:
- The length of your warranty can be matched for up to 1 additional year when you use your card for eligible purchases that come with an original U.S. manufacturer's warranty of 5 years or less. Coverage is limited to the actual amount charged on your card for the item, up to $10,000 per item and $50,000 per calendar year.
- Purchase Protection:
- Purchase protection can help protect eligible purchases made on your card when they're accidentally damaged, stolen or lost. Good for up to 90 days, $10,000 per occurrence and $50,000 per calendar year.
- Return Protection:
- If you try to return an eligible item within 90 days from the date of purchase and the merchant won't take it back, return protection may provide a refund. Limited to $300 per item and $1,000 per calendar year. Purchases must be made in the U.S. and its territories.
Cash Advance Features
- Ongoing APR:
- 25.99% Variable ±
- Cash Advance Fee:
- Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater
Security and Protections
American Express offers typical security features, including a mobile app to check account activity while you’re on the go and Chip + Signature enabled cards. You’re never liable for unauthorized charges.
- Account alerts:
- Set up alerts to get notified when a large transaction posts to your account, there is an unauthorized withdrawal, or if your bill is due.
- Mobile Banking App:
- Track your spending on the go with the mobile app.
- EMV Chip + Signature Technology:
- Get global acceptance and enhanced security at merchants that use chip enabled terminals.
American Express offers mobile banking so you can always check your account, no matter where you are. The Amex Delta Reserve card is also compatible with Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay.
Additional Cardholder Benefits
The Amex Delta Reserve card comes with some valuable coverage for travelers.
American Express Travel Benefits
- Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver:
- Coverage for theft and collision for most rentals in the U.S. and abroad. Coverage is secondary to your personal insurance. This coverage applies to the first 30 days of a rental and doesn’t cover some vehicles, like off-road vehicles and luxury cars.
- Lost Luggage Reimbursement:
- Get up to $3,000 per passenger for damaged or lost bags. Coverage includes the cardholder and immediate family members on the same travel itinerary.
- Travel Accident Insurance:
- Receive accidental death or dismemberment coverage of up to $500,000 for any air, bus, train or cruise ship transportation paid for with your card.