American Express Delta Reserve Credit Card Review

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From Seek Capital - For the Delta Flyer

Welcome Offer

Welcome Offer: Earn 45,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs)

Welcome Offer: Earn 45,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in the first 3 months.


Earn 3 Miles on every dollar spent on eligible purchases made directly with Delta.
Earn 1x Delta Skymiles for every dollar on purchases made with your card
$0Delta Sky Club Access
Complementary Delta Sky Club access and a discounted rate of $29 per guest
45,000Bonus miles
Earn 45,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in the first 3 months.

Amex Delta Reserve Credit Card

The Amex Delta Reserve card is truly a credit card for the ultimate traveler, especially if you’re a Delta loyalist.

Even after you’ve earned the first bonus, this card provides other bonus awards plus opportunities to earn miles every time you swipe. Before you know it, you could have enough miles to cover round trip airfare anywhere in the world. We’ve broken down all the earnings opportunities, rewards and perks so you can see why you need the Amex Delta Reserve credit card in your wallet.

Rewards Highlights

  • Welcome Offer: Earn 45,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in the first 3 months.
  • With Status Boost™, earn 15,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $30,000 in purchases on your new Card in a calendar year, up to four times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion Status and are different from the miles you earn toward flights.
  • Complimentary Delta Sky Club® Access and complimentary access to The Centurion Lounge when flying on a same-day Delta-marketed or Delta-operated flight. The eligible flight must be booked on a U.S. issued American Express Credit Card.
  • After you spend $150,000 on your Card in a calendar year, you earn 1.5 Miles per dollar (that’s an extra half mile per dollar) on eligible purchases the rest of the year. Eligible purchases after spending $150,000 do not include Delta purchases. If your purchase qualifies for a category that has a higher mileage accelerator, only the higher accelerator will apply.
  • Pay no foreign transaction fees when you spend overseas.
  • Earn 3 Miles on every dollar spent on eligible purchases made directly with Delta.
  • Terms and limitations apply.

Expert Review

The Pros

  • Complimentary Delta Sky Club® Access and complimentary access to The Centurion Lounge when flying on a same-day Delta-marketed or Delta-operated flight
  • Pay no foreign transaction fees when you spend overseas
  • Earn 3 Miles on every dollar spent on eligible purchases made directly with Delta

The Cons

  • High Annual Fee

Recommended Credit Profile

Rates & Fees

  • Annual Fee$550
  • Great ForDeltaRestaurantsShopping
  • Regular Purchase APR15.74% - 24.74% Variable
  • Cash Advance APR25.24%
  • Cash Advance FeeEither $5 or 3% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater.
  • Foreign Transaction Fee2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars.

A Significant Set of Bonuses

The initial sign-up bonus on this card is 40,000 bonus miles plus 10,000 Medallion qualification miles (MQM) after you spend $3,000 in the first three months.

Those 10,000 MQM get you almost half way to Medallion silver status for the next year (you need 25,000 MQM to qualify), or you can stack them with existing MQM in your SkyMiles account to get to gold, platinum or diamond status for the next year. Medallion status comes with special benefits, such as fee waivers and in-flight and airport perks. It also lets you earn more miles on flights. The higher your MQM status, the more standard Delta SkyMiles you earn.

Seek Tip: The miles you earn on flights aren’t the same as the miles you earn on dollars spent on your credit card. If you’re a SkyMiles member, you can actually double-dip by paying for flights with your Amex Delta Reserve credit card and earning miles both ways; your Medallion status doesn’t impact how many miles you earn from the Amex Delta Reserve card.

Earning the bonus also nets you 40,000 regular SkyMiles. That’s enough to cover a round trip ticket or two within the states, which is at least a $500 value.

How can you ensure you get the bonus miles? You only have to spend $3,000 in the first three months. That’s $1,000 a month or around $30 a day. Just swipe your card for normal purchases, and you’re probably there already. If you’ve got a trip planned in that time period, put it on the card to get the bonus plus other miles for spending with Delta.

Continued Bonuses and Earning Other Rewards

You can keep the MQM coming by meeting annual spending milestones. If you spend $30,000 on qualified purchases within a calendar year, you get 15,000 MQM. Add that to the 10,000 from the sign-up bonus, and you’ve got Silver status in Delta’s elite SkyMiles club.

Spend a total of $60,000 in a calendar year, and you get another 15,000 MQM. These bonuses help ensure your Medallion status every year.

You also earn rewards with every dollar you spend using this card.

  • Earn one mile for every dollar you spend on qualified general purchases.
  • Earn two miles for every dollar you spend directly with Delta.

How Much Value Can You Get With All These Miles?

Let’s assume you spend the $60,000 required for the final MQM bonus. That’s about $1,200 per week, and while groceries, clothing, eating out, fuel and other regular life purchases could get you half way, this is a traveler’s card and you're going to want to put the bill for eating at Nobu in Malibu on this credit card to help you reach this threshold. Use this card for all of your travelling and luxury shopping expenses.

Perhaps you spend $3,000 a month in regular purchases. That’s $36,000. Let’s say you spend the other $24,000 on travel, with $10,000 spent with Delta on airfare, fees, in-flight purchases and other incidentals. How much do you earn in miles for that year?

  • You get the 40,000 sign-up miles.
  • You get all three MQM rewards, which nets out to 40,000 MQM (that’s 10,000 MQM away from Gold status).
  • You get 1 mile per dollar on the $36,000 spent on general purchases.
  • You get 1 mile per dollar on the $14,000 spent on travel that wasn’t spend with Delta.
  • You get 2 miles per dollar on the $10,000 spent with Delta.

That’s 110,000 SkyMiles and 40,000 MQM — and that doesn’t even include the miles you earn direct from Delta for flying with them (which are higher than normal, because you’ve got Medallion status).

Those 110,000 miles are worth $4,000 or more in flights, and you could cover round trip airfare for two to Paris. Don’t want to get romantic with your miles? How about airfare for four to Orlando for a Disney family vacation?

You can earn unlimited miles, take advantage of no blackout dates and even book flights with Delta’s partner airlines.

Plentiful Perks With the Amex Delta Reserve Credit Card

Honestly, if all you got with this card were all those miles, we’d still say it was a great deal. But you also get an abundance of perks, especially if you travel a lot. Perks include:

  • Free access to the Sky Club, so you can enjoy drinks, snacks and Wi-Fi during layovers. The Sky Club is absolutely amazing because:
  • For starters, you will get flight assistance. No longer do you have to deal with crowded airports or lines. Just go into the Sky Club and there are dedicated representatives there to help you with everything you could think of. Imagine if you miss a connecting flight and you are stuck. The airline wants you to go all the way back to baggage check-in to rebook a new flight. This requires you to leave the entire airport and then check back in. You are upset as you just missed your flight. This is starting to seem like it is going to be one of those horrifying days at the airport. Not with this credit card in your wallet. Just mosey on over to the Sky Club and a dedicated attendant will fix all of your travelling issues right away, without a line or a long walk to get there.
  • The food and drinks in the Sky Club is absolutely amazing. You can find almost anything you would ever want to eat on the menu. There are awesome breads, jams and spreads. There is also every type of cereal with milk, including Raisin Bran, Cheerios and Corn Flakes. You can get yogurt and fruit or soups and salads. If you have a sweet tooth, enjoy chocolate chip cookies on the house. The bar is next level amazing. The wines are even curated by Delta's Master Sommelier Andrea Robinson – who is world famous. The juices are all fresh squeezed! You can take advantage of the automated espresso machines to get as much grade-A coffee as you would ever want.
  • If you are visiting San Francisco the luxury of the Sky Club goes to a whole new level. Once you are in the brand-new Sky Club in the secured terminal, you can dine on complimentary signature Asian inspired menu by world-renowned Lemongrass chef, Mai Pham. The wine is also on a whole new level at the San Francisco Sky Club. The wine comes from the best of Napa Valley right to you at the airport. Travelling becomes an unforgettable experience at the Sky Club in San Francisco.
  • The Delta Sky Club is so amazing that you can even take showers at a lot of the locations. Imagine if you are flying from Los Angeles to Detroit for a business meeting. You don't have time to go to the hotel to change once you land in the Motor City. Normally this would mean that you have to show up at the meeting smelling bad and looking bad. When you smell and look bad, you normally feel bad and will probably blow the meeting. Not with this credit card in your wallet. You can show up in Detroit and go straight to the Delta Sky Club. Jump in the shower, change your clothes and head straight to your meeting feeling as fresh as ever. This benefit is unbelievable!
  • The best part about all of these benefits of the Sky Club is that you can find one in almost every airport in country, including Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Seattle and Fort Lauderdale.
  • Concierge service to help you find a great restaurant, manage event details or find a gift. This is a pretty simple perk but can become very useful in certain situations, especially when you are in a new city. Imagine you are in Dallas for a few days and you want a reservation at the hottest restaurant in town. Just call the concierge service and find out which restaurant is the best in the area. Then have the concierge book a reservation for you.
  • A certificate good for a qualifying round-trip each year you have the card. This benefit is absolutely amazing! Every year that you have the credit card in good standing you can get 1 free round-trip ticket. Fly from Los Angeles to New York and this has a $500 value. Fly from Chicago to Miami for winter break and the value of the flight is worth $400 round-trip. Basically you can go anywhere round-trip in the continental US for free one time a year just by having this card in your wallet. Imagine the case of an unfortunate event where a friend or family member dies.
  • Free first checked back on any Delta flight. This might not seem like a lot, but it can add up fast. Delta charges passengers $25 for the first checked bag on any flight. So, off the top, that saves you $25 per flight with Delta. But imagine if you take 5 round-trip Delta flights a year. That would cost you $250 in baggage checking fees. Now suppose if you do 10 round-trips flights on Delta per year. That would save you $500 a year just on baggage checking fees. Over a 10 year period, that is a $5,000 savings just for having this credit card. Don't ever pay to check a bag again!
  • Priority boarding is another very nice perk that comes with this credit card. The best thing about priority boarding is that even though Delta assigns seats unlike Southwest, you can store your baggage right next to your seat. This might sound like a lot, but have you ever been on a plane and your seat is 12a and you have to place your baggage in row 30? When the plane lands and everyone gets off the plane you have to wait until the last person leaves the plane to get your baggage. After a 5-hour flight adding another 30 minutes is almost unbearable. This will never happen with this credit card. You are first on the flight and so is your luggage.
  • 20 percent statement credit on in-flight spending when you use the card
  • Car rental insurance. You arrive in Hawaii with your family and you get to Budget Rental Car. The attendant asks the question that we all dread, ""For an extra $20 per day would you like collision coverage?"" You are stating in Hawaii for 1 week and want to explore the Island with your family. You need a car and the trip is already costing you a fortune. In addition to everything you are paying for, you now need to shell out another $140 for auto collision on the rental car? Not with this amazing credit card in your wallet. You can look the attendant in the eyes with confidence, declining the coverage because you know AMEX has your back if you are in an accident.

These added perks are worth hundreds of dollars for frequent flyers, and you also get purchase protection, extended warranty options, fraud protection and other peace-of-mind perks that American Express is known for.

What About Fees?

The Amex Delta Reserve credit card doesn’t come with foreign transaction fees, which is something we love to see on a traveler-centric card. That means you can swipe this card in any location — foreign or domestic — without paying additional fees. Many banks charge 3 to 5 percent for swiping in international locations, which means you’re saving $3 or more dollars for every $100 spent overseas when you use this card.

The Amex Delta Reserve credit card is a luxury travel card, so it does come at a price. And that price is an annual fee of $550. If you’ve kept track of the rewards and perks above, you know you can get thousands of dollars in value just by using this card to fund your lifestyle, though. And the complementary flight you earn every year almost covers the annual fee all on its own.

The bottom line on this card is that the annual fee is more than washed by all the perks and rewards. But that’s only true if you’re going to put the card to regular use and fly Delta at least a few times a year.

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