How to Get the Most From the Delta SkyMiles Reserve AmEx Card

Cardholders can take advantage of an accelerated path to elite status, lounge access and a companion certificate.
Lee Huffman
By Lee Huffman 
Edited by Jeanette Margle
How to get the most from the Delta Reserve Credit Card from American Express

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The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card is the premier credit card for Delta SkyMiles members. It provides numerous benefits for the frequent Delta traveler that can far exceed its $650 annual fee. These perks include accelerated Delta Medallion status, complimentary upgrades, airport lounge access and an annual companion certificate. Terms apply.

Taking advantage of these perks will save you time and money while improving your travel experience. Here's what you need to know to get the most from your Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card credit card.

The perks

Benefits of the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card include the following:

  • Welcome bonus offer miles for new cardholders who meet the minimum spend.

  • Headstart on Medallion (elite) status of $2,500 Medallion Qualifying Dollars (MQDs).

  • Complimentary access to Delta Sky Club and American Express Centurion lounges (note, Sky Club access rules will change in 2025).

  • Access to free upgrades when flying Delta.

  • Chance to earn Delta SkyMiles by making purchases with the card.

  • Priority boarding.

  • First checked bag free.

  • 20% discount on in-flight purchases.

  • 15% off award travel booked on Delta.

  • Fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.

  • $200 Delta Stays statement credit.

  • The ability to Pay With Miles.

  • $240 Resy credit.

  • Up to $10 back in statement credits each month on U.S. rideshare purchases with select providers.

Terms apply.

Earn up to 120,000 bonus points with our favorite American Express cards
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Get the welcome offer

Earn 60,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $5,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply. This welcome bonus offer is not available to applicants who have had this card in the past.

The value of these miles depends upon how you use them. NerdWallet values Delta SkyMiles at 1.2 cents each.

Earn Medallion status quicker

The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card helps you achieve elite status quicker.

Travelers who value elite status can use the card's MQD headstart as a stepping stone to earning or renewing Delta Medallion status. To reach the first level of Medallion Status, Silver, you need to earn $3,000 MQDs. Terms apply.

Relax in a lounge

Every time you or an additional cardholder fly with Delta, you'll receive complimentary access to Delta Sky Club airport lounges up to three hours before your departing flight (or longer if you have a layover).

You get four guest passes, but once these are used up, you may bring up to two guests into the lounge for $50 per person.

This credit card benefit offers the same perks as purchasing an individual Delta Sky Club membership, which costs $695 per year.

🤓Nerdy Tip

Effective 2/1/25, Reserve Card Members will receive 15 visits per year to the Delta Sky Club. To earn an unlimited number of visits each year, the total eligible purchases on the Card must equal $75,000 or more the previous year. To earn unlimited visits in 2025, you’ll need to spend this amount between 1/1/24 and 12/31/24.

Terms apply.

Travelers may also access the American Express Centurion Lounges in the U.S. and Hong Kong when flying Delta. Cardholders may bring up to two guests into the Centurion Lounge for $50 per person. Terms apply.

Save on travel with the annual Companion Certificate

Each year when you renew your Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, you'll receive a companion certificate that is good for one round-trip flight to select locations. This flight can be in first class, Delta Comfort+ or main cabin. Terms apply.

To redeem the certificate, the cardholder will pay cash for their flight and redeem the certificate to book their companion's ticket. You'll still be on the hook for your companion's taxes and fees.

Get complimentary upgrades

One benefit of Medallion status is unlimited complimentary upgrades, though other members may have priority over you. Cardholders with Medallion status receive upgrade priority over other Medallion members in the same Medallion level and fare class.

If you don't have Medallion status, the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card adds you to the complimentary upgrade list. Terms apply.

Earn miles by making purchases with the card

With the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, you'll earn Delta SkyMiles on every purchase. You'll receive 3x miles per dollar on every purchase with Delta and Delta Vacations. Plus, you'll earn 1x miles per dollar on all other spending. There is no limit to the number of miles you can earn.

You can redeem those SkyMiles to book flights or pay for upgrades, experiences, merchandise and more. Terms apply.

Enjoy priority boarding

Instead of boarding later in the flight, with the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, you'll receive priority boarding with Main Cabin 1 passengers. You'll have earlier access to the overhead bin space and have more time to get settled into your seat. Terms apply.

Check your first bag at no charge

Delta Air Lines charges $30 per person each way when checking a bag. These fees can really add up when traveling with family and friends. The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card waives the fees for the first checked bag for you and up to eight companions on the same itinerary. That's a potential savings of $540 per round-trip flight if you maximize this benefit. Terms apply.

Get 20% back on in-flight purchases

When you buy food, drinks or audio headsets in-flight, you'll receive a 20% statement credit on your purchases. This discount makes it a little easier on the budget to indulge in something sweet or savory during your flight. Terms apply.

Save up to $100 on Global Entry or TSA PreCheck

Having Global Entry or TSA PreCheck is a way to speed through security while traveling. You'll receive a statement credit of $100 every four years for Global Entry application fees or $85 every 4 1/2 years for TSA Precheck. Note that the TSA PreCheck application fee was recently lowered to $78. Terms apply.

If you already have either of these memberships, you can use this credit to pay the application fees for your spouse, child or someone else.

Use other credits

New in 2024, cardholders have access to a slew of credits, including up to $240 from Resy and up to $120 in rideshare credits. You can also take advantage of a $200 statement credit for lodging booked via Delta Stays.

Savvy cardholders will maximize these credits to get a chunk of value back from the annual fee.

The bottom line

Although the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card has an annual fee of $650, the benefits are worth it for the frequent Delta flyer. This is especially true for current members of Delta Sky Club who are paying about the same each year for their membership without receiving all of the extra credit card perks.

Cardholders receive complimentary upgrades, priority boarding, free checked bags and an annual companion certificate. Plus, you'll achieve elite status quicker by getting a headstart on MQDs. Terms apply. If you fly Delta frequently and value elite status, this is the credit card for you.

Photo courtesy of Delta Air Lines.

All information about Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card has been collected independently by NerdWallet. The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card is no longer available through NerdWallet.

How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2024, including those best for:

Cards for Delta from our Partners
Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card

on Chase's website

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
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5x on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries, 2x on all other travel purchases, 1x on all other purchases.


Intro offer


Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

on Capital One's website

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
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Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day. Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options.


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Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel.

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