Last fall, American Express announced that its Delta credit cards were getting revamped in the new year. This relaunch is a step in the right direction for Delta flyers, but understanding the changes can still be overwhelming for those searching for the right premium travel rewards credit card in 2020. If you’re thinking about applying for the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, these are the most important factors for you to consider.
The benefits are changing — and so is the annual fee
As of Jan. 30, 2020, the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card has new benefits and bump its annual fee by $100. While the card will retain many of its benefits, there are some changes you need to be aware of:
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card benefit changes
Earn 3x miles per $1 spent on eligible Delta purchases rather than 2x.
Receive a $100 Global Entry or TSA Precheck application fee credit.
Receive two one-time guest passes for access to the Delta Sky Club annually.
Access to AmEx Centurion Lounges when using this card to book your Delta flight.
Sky Priority Security access benefit will be discontinued.
“Miles Boost” is rebranding as “Status Boost.” Cardholders can earn 15,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (not bonus miles) up to four times per year, rather than twice a year. More on this below.
Miles Boost is becoming Status Boost, and earnings will change
The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card will no longer earn redeemable miles as part of Status Boost.
MQMs are different from Delta SkyMiles: MQMs count towards elite status and are earned based on distance flown and fare class. SkyMiles are earned based on ticket price and elite status level. NerdWallet currently values SkyMiles at 0.9 cent each.
Qualifying for one of Delta’s four Medallion levels opens up even more special perks and benefits, like first class upgrades and waived fees.
Here’s a snapshot of the Status Boost bonus levels going into effect on Jan 30. 2020:
Spend $30,000 on the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, earn, 15,000 MQMs.
Spend $60,000 to earn another 15,000 MQMs.
Spend $90,000 to earn another 15,000 MQMs.
Spend $120,000 to earn another 15,000 MQMs.
» Learn more: Delta Air Lines SkyMiles program: The complete guide
Your complimentary companion certificate comes with some strings attached
One high-value perk of holding the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card is the complimentary Companion Certificate that is issued annually. Terms apply.
If you play your cards right, you should be able to easily cover the cost of the annual fee by utilizing the companion certificate.
The Companion Certificate is valid for one round-trip first class, Delta Comfort+ or Main Cabin ticket. The Companion Certificate must be redeemed at the same time your primary ticket is booked, and it is only applicable to Delta, Delta Connection and Delta Shuttle flights. Be prepared to pay up to $75 in taxes and fees per round-trip ticket.
The bottom line
Before signing up for the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, it’s essential that you understand the $100 annual fee price increase, the ways the benefits have evolved, how the card is focusing on MQM acquisition and the restrictions imposed on the Companion Certificate. 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 2021, including those best for:
Airline miles and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card
Flat-rate rewards with no annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Premium travel rewards: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card