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 HuffmanAugust 17, 2020
How to get the most from the Delta Reserve Credit Card from American Express

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

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 $550 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 miles for new cardholders who meet the minimum spend.

  • A chance to earn up to 60,000 Medallion Qualification Miles each year.

  • Complimentary access to Delta Sky Club and American Express Centurion lounges.

  • An annual companion certificate.

  • 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.

  • Up to $100 reimbursement for Global Entry or TSA Precheck.

Terms apply.

Get the welcome offer

Earn 40,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Terms Apply. This welcome bonus 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 0.9 cent each.

Travelers who value elite status can use the welcome bonus of MQMs as a stepping stone to earning or renewing Delta Medallion Status. To reach the first level of Medallion Status, Silver, you need to earn 25,000 MQMs. Terms apply.

Earn Medallion status quicker

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

For every $30,000 you spend on the card each calendar year, you'll earn 15,000 MQMs. You can earn up to 60,000 MQMs each year, which is enough to achieve Delta Gold Medallion status without taking a single flight. If you earn another 15,000 MQMs through flying you’ll achieve Platinum Medallion status.

Delta also bases elite status qualification on how much you spend on flights. These are known as Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs). When you spend $25,000 or more on the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, you'll receive an MQD waiver so you can earn elite status even if you haven't spent enough on Delta flights. 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. You may bring up to two guests into the lounge for $39 per person. This credit card benefit offers the same perks as purchasing an individual Delta Sky Club membership, which costs $545 per year. Cardholders also receive two one-time guest passes each year to bring a family member or friend into the lounge. 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 domestic round-trip flight. 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. The companion certificate requires payment of taxes and fees of no more than $75 for the round-trip flight. Terms apply.

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. However, your place in line will be after other Medallion members. 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. 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.

The bottom line

Although the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card has an annual fee of $550, 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 earning additional MQMs and an MQD waiver based on your spending. 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 2020, including those best for:

We want to hear from you and encourage a lively discussion among our users. Please help us keep our site clean and safe by following our posting guidelines, and avoid disclosing personal or sensitive information such as bank account or phone numbers. Any comments posted under NerdWallet’s official account are not reviewed or endorsed by representatives of financial institutions affiliated with the reviewed products, unless explicitly stated otherwise.