Is the AmEx Delta Reserve Credit Card Worth Its Annual Fee?

For Delta loyalists, this card provides a whole lot of value. It even gets you an annual Companion Certificate.
Ramsey Qubein
By Ramsey Qubein 
Edited by Meghan Coyle

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The annual fee on some credit cards may seem quite expensive at first glance, but it’s important to understand the benefits you can get by holding the card, too. While the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card has a $650 annual fee, the perks that come with the card can make this a no-brainer for some travelers — but not for everyone.

The key word here is travelers and, more specifically, Delta travelers. If you’re not a frequent Delta flyer, the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card can quickly lose its charm. That said, if you’re a Delta SkyMiles loyalist, there are many reasons why you may want to get this card.

Here are the benefits offered to holders of the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card and some of the reasons why it might be the right card for you.

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Best benefits of the AmEx Delta Reserve card

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card
NerdWallet rating 

In our estimation, these are the benefits that set this card apart from the rest:

  • Bonus miles on Delta: Cardholders will receive 3 SkyMiles for each dollar spent on Delta purchases made directly with Delta.

  • Delta Sky Club access: Cardholders can access the Delta Sky Club when traveling on a Delta-marketed or Delta-operated flight up to three hours before their flight (or anytime if making a connection between Delta flights). Members get four one-time guest passes a year; once those are used, members can bring up to 2 guests for $50 per person.

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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.

  • Centurion Lounge and Escape Lounge access: Cardholders can access AmEx Centurion Lounge and Escape Lounge locations three hours before a Delta flight, as long as they use the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card to pay for the flight.

  • Upgrade priority: Reserve cardholders gain priority over other travelers within their Medallion tier for eligible complimentary upgrades. In addition, cardholders without Medallion status will still be added to the upgrade list, and they would clear after all other Medallion members have cleared. That’s quite a perk to earn elite-status benefits even without status.

  • Companion Certificate. Each year, card members receive a Companion Certificate for first class, Delta Comfort+ or main cabin flights to select destinations in the Caribbean, Central America and across the U.S. You'll only be on the hook for government-imposed taxes and fees.

Terms apply.

What is the welcome offer?

The latest welcome offer for the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card is available only to new cardholders: 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.

Other benefits of the AmEx Delta Reserve credit card

The aforementioned perks are especially notable for Delta flyers and are a strong reason to get the card. The card also comes with additional benefits, but some aren’t unique to this card — they may be available with other cards that carry lower annual fees.

Here are some of the other benefits that come with the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card that might just be the icing on the cake:

  • Faster boarding: Main Cabin 1 priority boarding for you and up to eight other passengers on your reservation.

  • Free checked bags: First checked bag is free for up to nine people in one reservation.

  • Mileage earning: Earn 1 SkyMile per dollar spent on any other purchase.

  • In-flight discounts: Use the card for in-flight purchases, including drinks and snacks, and receive a 20% savings.

  • Status head start: Card members receive $2,500 Medallion Qualifying Dollars (MQDs) every year to boost their progress on earning Medallion status.

  • TSA PreCheck/Global Entry waivers: Receive a statement credit every four years when applying for Global Entry or every four and a half years for a TSA PreCheck application.

  • Insurance benefits: This card comes with baggage, trip delay, trip cancellation/interruption and car rental insurance when using the card to pay for travel.

  • Shopping protections: This card comes with cell phone, return and purchase protection benefits when using it to make a purchase.

  • No foreign transaction fees: When using this card to make purchases in another country, there are no foreign transaction fees.

Terms apply.

The annual fee is worth it if:

  • You’re a frequent Delta flyer and pay for your own tickets: It’s a nice bonus to earn 3 miles per $1 spent, and the upgrade priority can be a solid tiebreaker if there are other travelers within your Medallion tier on the upgrade list.

  • You allow time for lounge access: Complimentary Delta Sky Club access as well as Centurion Lounge privileges are nice perks. This takes away the need to pay for a more expensive card like The Platinum Card® from American Express (annual fee: $695 ) because Delta flyers can double dip on lounge access for only $650 per year instead.

  • You travel with a companion: The annual Companion Certificate can provide great value, especially if you use it for first class travel, which could help you recoup the entire annual fee on some fares.

Terms apply.

The AmEx Delta Reserve credit card is worth it for frequent Delta flyers

Though the $650 annual fee that comes with the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card seems expensive, it can provide outsized value if you’re a frequent Delta flyer.

If you travel with companions and enjoy extras like lounge access and priority boarding, things get even better. Finally, the ability to earn 3x SkyMiles on Delta tickets means you can really rack up miles and perks with the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card. Terms apply.

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
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate


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
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate


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.


Intro offer


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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