Delta Reserve vs. AmEx Platinum: Platinum Is the Top-Flight Choice for Most Air Travelers

The Platinum Card from American Express has more to offer for those who aren’t committed to Delta.
Jae Bratton
Anisha Sekar
By Anisha Sekar and  Jae Bratton 
Edited by Erica Corbin

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American Express Delta Reserve Credit Card

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card

5.0

/5
 NerdWallet rating 

on American Express' website

American Express Platinum Credit Card

The Platinum Card® from American Express

5.0

/5
 NerdWallet rating 

on American Express' website

Frequent flyers who want to travel in comfort and style — and who aren’t dissuaded by high annual fees — will likely find their needs satisfied by a premium travel card. And two of the best on the market right now are the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express.

Both options come with hefty annual fees, but cardholders can make up the cost by taking advantage of the cards' generous perks. It may be easier to do so with The Platinum Card® from American Express, though, and its $1,500 in annual credits.

Redemption choices are also more varied and valuable with The Platinum Card® from American Express, which allows Membership Points to be transferred to 20 travel loyalty partners. Meanwhile, miles earned with the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card are only good for Delta flights. Plus, you'll gain access to more airport lounges with The Platinum Card® from American Express than with the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card.

Here's how to decide which card is right for you.

🤓Nerdy Tip

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card is a traditional credit card, unlike The Platinum Card® from American Express, which was originally introduced as a charge card. However, they function in the same way since American Express launched its Pay Over Time feature that charges users interest to maintain a balance on the card.

At a glance

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Complete card details and application link:

American Express Delta Reserve Credit Card
NerdWallet rating 
Learn More

Complete card details and application link:

American Express Platinum Credit Card
NerdWallet rating 
Learn More

Annual fee

$550.

$695.

Sign-up bonus

Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $6,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months. Terms Apply.

Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.

Rewards

  • Earn 3 miles per dollar on eligible purchases made directly with Delta.

  • Earn 1 mile on all other eligible purchases.

  • Terms apply.

  • 5 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.

  • 5 points per dollar on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.

  • 2 points per dollar on other eligible travel expenses booked with American Express Travel.

  • 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.

  • Terms apply.

Why The Platinum Card® from American Express is better for most people

Credits

Most of the annual credits that come with The Platinum Card® from American Express are meant to accommodate the frequent traveler. For instance, cardholders receive $200 a year for hotel bookings, $200 a year for airline fees like checked-bag fees, and a fee credit for TSA Precheck or Global Entry. Cardholders may or may not get much use out of some of the other perks, such as an annual $300 toward an Equinox gym membership. Overall, though, the menu of credits is broad enough to satisfy many people.

Redemption options

Purchases made with The Platinum Card® from American Express earn highly versatile Membership Rewards points. These points can be transferred to 17 airline and 3 hotel partners. Better still, they are worth more than the 1:1 transfer rate with a few airlines and hotels.

The American Express website has calculators that allow you to see how much your Membership Rewards points are worth when transferred to each of the loyalty partners.

Lounge access

If you’re paying the three-figure annual fee for The Platinum Card® from American Express, it’s reasonable to expect a luxurious travel experience. You’ll likely find it in one of the more than 1,400 airport lounges that you’ll have access to when you carry the card.

Why you might want the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card

You’re a Delta loyalist

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card will be most rewarding for those who prefer to fly with Delta. Perhaps the biggest draw is the annual companion certificate that’s good for a round-trip domestic flight. To redeem the companion ticket, you and your guest must travel in the same fare class — so if you choose to travel in first class, you get one first-class ticket free.

Your plus-one can also accompany you into the Delta Sky Clubs. Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card holders get two one-time guest passes every year.

Which card should you get?

For Delta lovers, Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card is the clear choice over The Platinum Card® from American Express. The Delta companion pass is a rare commodity offered with only two other cards: the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card and the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card.

However, travelers who aren’t wedded to Delta and who enjoy the best amenities should opt for The Platinum Card® from American Express. It beats the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card in terms of lounge access by, well, a mile. And the annual credits such as a $240 digital entertainment credit toward popular streaming services make The Platinum Card® from American Express even more appealing.

Find the right credit card for you.

Whether you want to pay less interest or earn more rewards, the right card's out there. Just answer a few questions and we'll narrow the search for you.

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