Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card

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9.5/10 (Expert Score)
Product is rated as #2 in category Credit Cards
PROS:
  • 3X miles on Delta purchases (1X on all other purchases)
  • First Checked Bag Free (for you and up to 8 others traveling under the same reservation)
  • 2 free Delta Sky Club passes each year
  • Annual Companion Certificate (domestic First Class, Delta Comfort+ or Main Cabin round-trip)
  • Status Boost - earn 15,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $30,000 in purchases on your card in a calendar year (up to four times each year)
  • Medallion Qualification Dollar (MQD) Waiver - MQD requirement (basically, the spending threshold on Delta flights required to achieve Medallion status) toward Platinum, Gold or Silver Medallion Status if you make at least $25,000 in purchases in a specific calendar year
  • Up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre
  • Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees
CONS:
  • $550 annual fee (+ $175 for each additional card)
  • Sky Club privileges do not include free guest access

Last Updated on January 3, 2021

9.5Expert Score
Excellent value for frequent Delta travelers seeking Delta Sky Club access
Last Updated on January 3, 2021 The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card features complementary access to Delta Sky Club and American Express’ The Centurion Lounge for card holders (primary plus any additional card holders). Additionally, the card features: 3X miles on Delta purchases (1X on all other purchases) First Checked Bag Free (for you […]
PROS
  • 3X miles on Delta purchases (1X on all other purchases)
  • First Checked Bag Free (for you and up to 8 others traveling under the same reservation)
  • 2 free Delta Sky Club passes each year
  • Annual Companion Certificate (domestic First Class, Delta Comfort+ or Main Cabin round-trip)
  • Status Boost - earn 15,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $30,000 in purchases on your card in a calendar year (up to four times each year)
  • Medallion Qualification Dollar (MQD) Waiver - MQD requirement (basically, the spending threshold on Delta flights required to achieve Medallion status) toward Platinum, Gold or Silver Medallion Status if you make at least $25,000 in purchases in a specific calendar year
  • Up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre
  • Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees
CONS
  • $550 annual fee (+ $175 for each additional card)
  • Sky Club privileges do not include free guest access

The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card features complementary access to Delta Sky Club and American Express’ The Centurion Lounge for card holders (primary plus any additional card holders).

Additionally, the card features:

  • 3X miles on Delta purchases (1X on all other purchases)
  • First Checked Bag Free (for you and up to 8 others traveling under the same reservation)
  • 2 free Delta Sky Club passes each year
  • Annual Companion Certificate (domestic First Class, Delta Comfort+ or Main Cabin round-trip)
  • Status Boost – earn 15,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $30,000 in purchases on your card in a calendar year (up to four times each year)
  • Medallion Qualification Dollar (MQD) Waiver – MQD requirement (basically, the spending threshold on Delta flights required to achieve Medallion status) toward Platinum, Gold or Silver Medallion Status if you make at least $25,000 in purchases in a specific calendar year
  • Up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre (first year and then once every four years)
  • Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees

At present (during COVID), the card features an approximate purchasing yield of 1.38% (high for this card based on unusually good  reward flight options relative to the actual dollar cost of those same flights).

Objectively, this card offers impressive value but there are some pain points and the approximate values for this card fluctuate dramatically as the value of a Delta SkyMile fluctuate.

Pain Points:

  • The card offers an annual Companion Certificate which can yield significant value (especially, when used for domestic First Class) but there is some hassle involved in utilizing the certificate whereas some other travel reward cards simply reimburse for the first several hundred dollars of flight costs each year.  If you’re up for the hassle, the Companion Certificate can be a great value.
  • While access to SkyClub and Centurion Lounge is included, it does not offer complementary guest access as a standard benefit.  Once the two free guest passes are used, additional guests cost $39 each (up to 2 adults or one partner plus children under the age of 18) for Sky Club and $50 each (up to 2 adults or one partner plus children under the age of 18) for Centurion.  Additional cardholders also receive complementary access but each additional card costs $175 each year.

Overall, this card can be of significant value but if you’re not loyal to Delta, it may be worth considering other cards.

Currently, there are several bonus offers available online.  They range from:

  • Earn 40,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases in your first three months (offer found on americanexpress.com), to;
  • Earn 70,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles after you spend $5,000 in your first three months (offer found on America on Delta.com)

We’ve based our value estimates on the lower offer.

CARD DETAILS

Issuer & Payment Network

Payment Network

American Express

Network Benefit Level

Not Applicable

Estimated Purchase Yield

Estimated Purchase Yield

1.38%

Notes

Based on mile buying power as of January 1, 2021. Mile buying power usually high due to COVID. Assumes miles are used to redeem travel.

Bonus Offers

Bonus Offer Value

$966.00

Bonus Offer

Earn 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) and 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.

Ongoing Bonuses

Complementary Delta Sky Club Access plus two one-time guest passes each year. Up to $100 credit for TSA Pre or Global Entry every 4 years. First checked bag free on each flight for you and up to 8 travel companions (on the same reservation).

Estimated Annual Card Value

Yr 1 @ $5k in Purchases

$1,264.00

Yr 1 @ $15k in Purchases

$1,402.00

Yr 1 @ $30k in Purchases

$2,023.00

Yr 2+ @ $5k in Purchases

$637.00

Yr 2+ @ $15k in Purchases

$775.00

Yr 2+ @ $30k in Purchases

$982.00

Valuation Notes

Bonus value (including ongoing bonuses for years 2+) plus value of rewards for stated annual purchasing level. Less any annual fee. Plus value of standard Delta Sky Club Membership calculated at the current rate of $545 plus the individual cost of 2 guest passes each year (2*$39). We've assumed 4 checked bags each year (4*$30). We've also included a $25 benefit to account for the $100 credit given for TSA Pre every 4 years). Finally, we've added $350 for the assumed value of the annual companion flight certificate.

Airport Lounge Access

Lounge Access?

Yes

Lounge Network

Delta Sky Club and Centurion Lounge®

Guests

For Delta Sky Club, up to 2 guests (or partner plus children 18 and under) for $39 per guest (must be charge to the Delta Reserve card). For Centurion Lounge®, up to 2 guests for a $50 per person additional fee.

Access Restrictions

Must be traveling on a same-day Delta-marketed or Delta-operated flight.

Reward Points

Do Points Expire?

No (as long as the account remains open)

Redemption Options

Rewards are in the form of Delta SkyMiles, credited to the primary cardholder's linked Delta SkyMiles account. Delta SkyMiles can be redeemed for travel an d merchandise.

Can Points Be Transferred?

No

Fees & APRs

Annual Fee

$550 (plus $175 for each additional card)

Foreign Transaction Fees

None

Late Payment Fee

Up to $40

APR - Intro (Purchases)

Not Applicable

APR - Intro (Balance Transfers)

Not Applicable

APR - Cash Advance

25.24% (Penalty APR: 29.24%) plus $10 or 5% of the advance amount, whichever is greater

APR - Regular (Purchases)

15.74% to 25.24% (Penalty APR: 29.24%)

APR - Regular (Balance Transfers)

Not Applicable

Grace Period

25 Days

Protections & Services

Zero Liability Protection

Yes

Purchase Protection

No

Extended Warranty Protection

Yes - Up to one additional year. Maximum $10,000 per covered purchase and $50,000 per eligible card.

Trip Cancellation / Interruption

Baggage: Up to $1,250 for carry-on baggage and up to $500 for checked baggage. Trip Delay: Yes, up to $500 per trip, maximum 2 claims per eligible card per 12 consecutive month period. Trip Cancellation: Yes, up to $10,000 per covered trip and $20,000 per consecutive 12-month period. Trip Interruption: Yes, up to $10,000 per covered trip and $20,000 per consecutive 12-month period.

Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver

Secondary

Other Items

Recommended Credit Level

Exceptional

Link to Issuer Website

https://www.americanexpress.com/us/credit-cards/card/delta-skymiles-reserve-american-express-card/

Date Information Confirmed

January 1, 2021

(Image: Delta / American Express)

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card
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