Advertiser Disclosure

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

Jan. 31, 2020
Airline Credit Cards, Travel, Travel Credit Cards
At NerdWallet, we strive to help you make financial decisions with confidence. To do this, many or all of the products featured here are from our partners. However, this doesn’t influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

Throwing down $550 a year for a credit card might seem crazy, but the benefits of the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card might justify it. In this article, we’ll help you figure out whether this card is right for you and whether the annual fee is worth it.

» Learn more: Delta Reserve Credit Card: High annual fee, Sky Club access

All Delta AmEx cards just got a facelift

As of Jan. 30, 2020, the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card underwent some changes. Here is an overview of what you should be aware of:

  • Cardholders no longer have Sky Priority security access. On the bright side, the card now includes a $100 Global Entry or TSA Precheck application fee credit.
  • Cardholders earn 3 SkyMiles for every dollar spent on Delta purchases. Previously the earning rate had been 2 miles per $1 spent.
  • You can now earn 15,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) four times annually. The previous “Miles Boost” feature is now called “Status Boost,” and cardholders can earn it four times per year rather than twice. It’s important to know that the boost earns only MQMs and not bonus miles.
  • Centurion Lounge access. Cardholders are eligible for AmEx Centurion Lounge access when they book Delta flights with the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card. Plus, you’ll get hooked up with two complimentary one-time guest passes to the Delta Sky Club, too.

Terms apply.

» Learn more: All Delta AmEx cards will relaunch in 2020 with new benefits

What is the welcome offer?

The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card welcome offer is available to new cardholders. Here’s the current 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.

The annual fee is worth it if:

  • You fly Delta often. Earning 3 miles per $1 spent on Delta purchases means you’ll be racking up miles faster.
  • You can make use of the lounge perks. Complimentary Delta Sky Club access, plus discount access for up to two guests, is a sweet perk if you anticipate spending many hours in the airport this year. Or if you regularly fly in or out of an airport that has a Centurion Lounge, then the annual fee on this card might be worth it.
  • You travel internationally frequently. You won’t miss those annoying foreign transaction fees when purchasing items abroad with your Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card.
  • You can complete the spending requirement. Spending that much in three months isn’t a reality for everyone.
  • You’ll use the Companion Certificate. With this card, you can book a companion’s ticket in domestic economy, Delta Comfort+ or first class for just the cost of taxes and fees. If you use the Companion Certificate for first class travel, you’ll likely make up your entire annual fee.

Terms apply.

Other benefits

  • Priority Main Cabin 1 boarding.
  • First checked bag free.
  • 20% savings on in-flight purchases like food, beverage and audio headsets.

Terms apply.

The bottom line

At first glance, it might be tough to swallow the $550 annual fee for the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card. Looking a little closer, you’ll find that the benefits can easily outweigh the investment for frequent Delta flyers. Pair that free checked bag benefit with complimentary lounge access, a big welcome offer and the ability to earn 3x points on Delta purchases and we think the annual fee could be worth it. 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 2020, including those best for:

Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice:
American Express Delta Reserve vs. AmEx Platinum: Benefits showdown
Delta Air Lines SkyMiles program: The complete guide
Find the best travel credit card for you

About the author