10 Reasons to Get a Delta Reserve AmEx

The annual companion pass and Centurion Lounge access that comes with this Delta card are underrated perks.
Keith M. Rosso
By Keith M. Rosso 
Edited by Jeanette Margle
Underrated Reasons Why You Need a Delta Reserve Credit Card from American Express

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Premium airline credit cards are known for their frequent flyer perks. However, some luxury airline cards also come with money-saving and shopper-friendly benefits. While the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card has a valuable welcome bonus offer and perks designed for Delta loyalists, it also offers purchase protections, airport lounge access and discounts on certain purchases.

If you tend to shy away from hefty annual fee cards, consider a few of the underrated benefits, like the Delta companion certificate, to assess whether or not the $650 annual-fee Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card is a good fit for you.

1. Sizable welcome bonus

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.

2. Bonus miles on Delta purchases

Earn 3x SkyMiles per dollar spent on Delta purchases and 1 SkyMile per dollar on all other purchases. Terms apply.

3. First checked bag free

The primary cardholder and up to eight companions on the same reservation for a domestic flight can check a bag for free, saving $60 per person round-trip. Terms apply.

4. Priority boarding

The primary cardholder and up to eight companions on the same reservation can board the plane early with the Zone 5 boarding group. Terms apply.

5. TSA PreCheck or Global Entry fee credit

Worth up to $100 for Global Entry every 4.5 years or $85 for TSA PreCheck every four years (note that the TSA PreCheck application fee was recently lowered to $78). Terms apply.

Earn up to 120,000 bonus points with our favorite American Express cards
Check out our nerdy picks for the best American Express credit cards and find the right card for you.

6. Annual companion certificate

If you plan on flying at least once a year with a friend, partner or family member, the Delta Companion Certificate can offset a large part of the card’s $650 annual fee.

Every year after renewing your card, you earn a certificate good for one round-trip main cabin, Delta Comfort+ or first class ticket for a companion who flies on the same reservation as yours. Terms apply, and you’ll have to pay government-imposed taxes and fees on your companion booking.

Obviously, your value will vary depending on the specific seat and flight you book, but it is not difficult to get several hundred dollars of value out of a round-trip companion certificate.

7. Head start toward Delta elite status

Delta has four Medallion elite status tiers: Silver, Gold, Platinum and Diamond. Each tier offers incremental benefits, like complimentary upgrades and fee waivers. To earn status, you typically must meet a spending requirement, expressed in terms of Medallion Qualification Dollars. Each $1 spent on Delta flights, for example, earns 1 MQD. Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card holders get a head start on earning status, as the card comes with 2,500 MQDs each year, plus it earns 1 MQD for each $10 spent on the card. Terms apply.

8. Airport lounge access

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card holders can relax in any of the 13 luxurious American Express Centurion Lounges when they book their flight with the card. Cardholders not flying out of an airport with a Centurion Lounge enjoy complimentary access to Delta SkyClubs.

🤓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.

9. Save money shopping with AmEx Offers

As an American Express cardholder, you get exclusive access to AmEx Offers, which give you opportunities to earn statement credits or save money on purchases you might already be planning, including cell phone bill payments and dining out at local restaurants. Limited-time offers are added frequently. Just log in, browse the available offers and add them to your card.

Eligibility for this offer is limited. Enrollment is required in the Amex Offers section of your account before redeeming.

10. Purchase protections

The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card offers three complimentary protections for shoppers. Terms apply.

  • Extended warranty: Get up to one extra year added to a manufacturer’s warranty on eligible purchases.

  • Purchase protection: If an eligible item you bought with the card is accidentally damaged or stolen within 90 days of purchase, you’re covered up to $10,000 per incident and up to $50,000 per year.

  • Return protection: If a merchant won’t take back an eligible item within 90 days from the date of purchase, American Express may refund the full purchase price, up to $300 per item, up to a maximum of $1,000 per calendar year.

The bottom line

While the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card has a steep $650 annual fee, it offers many valuable perks that can more than offset the cost.

Besides the welcome bonus offer, one of the most valuable features is the card’s companion certificate, which saves you round-trip airfare for a friend, partner or family member.

Delta loyalists looking to earn elite status without having to will enjoy the head start of $2,500 MQDs. Terms apply.

How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are some of the best travel credit cards of 2024:

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 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's over $900 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.

See more cards for delta
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