BEST CREDIT CARDSBEST CREDIT CARDSDELTA RESERVE CREDIT CARD: $650 ANNUAL FEE, SKY CLUB ACCESS

Delta Reserve Credit Card: $650 Annual Fee, Sky Club Access

The annual fee is steep, but it's more than worth it for those who want to travel in comfort and also bring a friend along.
Claire Tsosie Author AvatarCraig Joseph Author Avatar
Jun 6, 2024 7:28 a.m. PDT
Edited by
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The Bottom Line

5.0

NerdWallet rating

It's a luxury card for those who fly frequently with Delta and can maximize the card's rich benefits. Those seeking a lower annual fee and more flexibility have other options.

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card
Annual Fee
$650
Rewards Rate
1x-3x
Miles
Intro Offer
95,000
Miles
Recommended credit score
Intro APR
N/A
Regular APR
20.99%-29.99% Variable APR
Recommended credit score
Annual Fee
$650
Rewards Rate
1x-3x
Miles
Intro Offer
95,000
Miles
Recommended credit score
Intro APR
N/A
Regular APR
20.99%-29.99% Variable APR
Recommended credit score
  • Annual fee

    $650

  • Rewards rate

    1x-3x

  • Bonus offer

    Earn 95,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $6,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.

  • Intro APR

    N/A

  • Ongoing APR

    APR: 20.99%-29.99% Variable APR

    Cash Advance APR: 29.99%, Variable

    Penalty APR: 29.99%, Variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    N/A

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

View Rates and Fees
  • Earn 95,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $6,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Enjoy complimentary access to the Delta Sky Club® and bring up to two guests or immediate family members at a rate of $50 per person per visit when flying Delta. 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 starting on 2/1/25, the total eligible purchases on the Card must equal $75,000 or more between 1/1/24 and 12/31/24, and each calendar year thereafter.
  • Receive four Delta Sky Club® One-Time Guest Passes each year when you fly together on Delta. After that, you may bring up to two guests at a per-visit rate of $50 per person, per location.
  • Enjoy complimentary access to The Centurion® Lounge when you book a Delta flight with your Reserve Card.
  • Receive $2,500 Medallion® Qualification Dollars each Medallion Qualification Year and get closer to Status with MQD Headstart.
  • Earn $1 Medallion® Qualification Dollar for each $10 of purchases made on your Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card in a calendar year and get a boost toward achieving elevated Medallion Status for next Medallion Year.
  • Receive a Companion Certificate on First Class, Delta Comfort+®, or Main Cabin domestic, Caribbean, or Central American roundtrip flights each year after renewal of your Card. The Companion Ticket requires payment of government-imposed taxes and fees of no more than $80 for roundtrip domestic flights and no more than $250 for roundtrip international flights (both for itineraries with up to four flight segments). Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • $240 Resy Credit: With the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card Resy Credit, earn up to $20 per month in statement credits on eligible Resy purchases using your enrolled Card.
  • $120 Rideshare Credit: You can earn up to $10 back in statement credits each month on U.S. rideshare purchases with select providers after you pay with your Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card. Enrollment Required.
  • Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card Members get 15% off when using miles to book Award Travel on Delta flights through delta.com and the Fly Delta app. Discount not applicable to partner-operated flights or to taxes and fees.
  • With your Card receive upgrade priority over other Medallion Members within the same Medallion level and fare class.
  • Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card Members with an eligible ticket will be added to the Complimentary Upgrade list, after Delta SkyMiles Medallion Members.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $650 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.

Pros and Cons

Pros

High rewards rate

Free checked bag

Early boarding

Companion benefit

Cons

Has annual fee

Requires good/excellent credit

Detailed Review

For those who enjoy visiting Delta Sky Club lounges and flying first class, the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card might pay for itself — even with its steep annual fee. That’s thanks to two valuable benefits it features: complimentary access to Delta Sky Clubs, and an annual companion certificate that can be redeemed for a round-trip first-class ticket.

This makes the question of “should you get this card?” fairly clear-cut. If you’re sure you can make good use of this card's benefits, then you can easily justify the cost of carrying it. And if you can’t use those benefits? Then it isn’t an ideal choice for you.

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card: Basics

To view rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, see this page.

Card type: Airline.

Annual fee: $650.

Welcome offer: Earn 95,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $6,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.

Rewards:

  • Earn 3X miles per dollar on eligible purchases made directly with Delta.

  • Earn 1X mile on all other eligible purchases.

  • Terms apply.

NerdWallet values Delta miles at 1.2 cents each. This is a baseline value, drawn from real-world data on hundreds of economy routes, not a maximized value. In other words, you should aim for award redemptions that offer 1.2 cents or more in value from your Delta miles.

Benefits:

  • Earn 1 Medallion Qualifying Dollar (MQD) for every $10 in purchases in a calendar year.

  • Receive a $2,500 MQD head start each calendar year.

  • Complimentary access to Delta Sky Club and American Express' Centurion Lounge and four one-time guest passes to Delta Sky Clubs each year.

  • Annual companion certificate upon renewal (good for one round-trip domestic, Caribbean or Central American flight in first class, Delta Comfort+ or main cabin for someone traveling with you, less some taxes and fees).

  • Concierge service.

  • Fee credit for either Global Entry or TSA Precheck.

  • First checked bag is free for you and up to eight other passengers traveling on the same reservation.

  • Priority boarding.

  • 20% savings on eligible in-flight purchases.

  • $20 monthly Resy statement credit (up to $240 per year).

  • $10 monthly rideshare statement credit (up to $120 per year) on select U.S. rideshare purchases.

  • $200 annual Delta Stays credit.

  • Terms apply.

🤓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.

APR: The ongoing APR is 20.99%-29.99% Variable APR

Foreign transaction fees: None.

Compare to Other Cards

ANNUAL FEE
$650
INTRO APR
N/A
REGULAR APR
20.99%-29.99% Variable APR
RECOMMENDED CREDIT SCORE
ANNUAL FEE
$0
INTRO APR
N/A
REGULAR APR
20.99%-29.99% Variable APR
RECOMMENDED CREDIT SCORE
ANNUAL FEE
$0 intro for the first year, then $150
INTRO APR
N/A
REGULAR APR
20.99%-29.99% Variable APR
RECOMMENDED CREDIT SCORE
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Benefits and Perks

Delta Sky Club access

Normally, you’d have to pay $695 for one year of individual access to the Delta Sky Club lounges — but with the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, membership is included. If you’re frequently looking for a reprieve from long layovers, this perk could largely make up for the card’s steep annual fee. And if you're planning to have an authorized user on your account, it could be doubly valuable: Additional cardholders will have the same level of access to the Delta Sky Club as the primary cardholder, American Express confirms. Plus, every year you'll get four one-time guest passes to Delta's lounges. Your card will also get you into American Express Centurion Lounges when you're flying Delta. Terms apply.

These lounges generally offer complimentary refreshments, booze, Wi-Fi, showers and comfortable seats. And they’re not as easy to access as they once were; in late 2018, the airline stopped selling single-day passes to its lounges. Terms apply.

Companion certificate

One of the most valuable features on the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card is its annual companion certificate. Unlike most companion certificates, it’s not limited to coach tickets; you can also use it for Delta Comfort+ or first-class tickets. That makes it potentially lucrative — that is, if you regularly buy Delta tickets in these fare classes.

To be sure, the certificate comes with some limitations. It can generally be used only to purchase domestic round-trip fares, plus round-trip fares to the Caribbean or Central America. Terms apply. Also, to redeem it, you and your companion must be flying in the same fare class; you can’t dispatch your traveling partner to first class while you fly coach.

Fast-track towards elite status

If elite status with Delta is what you're after, the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card can expedite the process. Cardholders will receive $2,500 in Medallion Qualifying Dollars (MQDs) at the start of each year while earning one MQD for every $10 in eligible purchases throughout the year.

Elite status with Delta is tied to the number of MQDs you accrue each calendar year. All Delta Medallion members, cardholder or not, will earn MQDs at a rate of $1 MQD per $1 spent on airfare with Delta and partner airlines (excluding basic economy tickets, which don't earn MQDs). There are four elite tiers, each with their own MQD requirement:

  • Silver Medallion: $5,000 MQDs.

  • Gold Medallion: $10,000 MQDs.

  • Platinum Medallion: $15,000 MQDs.

  • Diamond Medallion: $28,000 MQDs.

That $2,500 MQD head start you'll receive at the beginning of each year with the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card gets you halfway to Silver Medallion status. Depending on your elite tier, you can qualify for elite benefits like faster accrual of award miles, priority upgrades and boarding, free preferred seat selection, and faster mileage accrual on paid flights.

Terms apply.

Automatic credits

New for 2024, Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card holders will receive up to $560 in automatic annual credits that don't require activation, including:

  • $240 annual credit at Resy. These credits are issued on a monthly basis ($20 per month). Credits don't roll over, so you'll need to use your card each month to maximize the benefit.

  • $120 annual rideshare credit. Issued as $10 credits per calendar month, with no credit rollover. Applies to services like Uber and Lyft.

  • $200 annual Delta Stays credit. This credit can be used anytime throughout the year and applies to prepaid hotel and vacation rental bookings through the Delta Stays platform.

  • Terms apply.

For urbanites who frequently use rideshare or restaurant-reservation services, these credits can also help offset the card's hefty $650 annual fee. The Delta Stays credit can also add value for anyone who doesn't mind reserving prepaid hotels.

Terms apply.

🤓Nerdy Tip

If you opened a Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card before Feb. 1, 2024, the increased annual fee will go into effect on your next renewal date on or after May 1, 2024. However, the new perks and benefits are available to cardholders who applied prior to Feb. 1, 2024.

How it compares with other Delta cards

In the pantheon of Delta credit cards, the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card stands out as the most premium. Out of all Delta cards, it comes with the richest benefits — and the highest annual fee. If you're looking to earn miles with Delta but want to pay a lower annual fee, consider going with one of the other cards. For more analysis, read NerdWallet's comparison of Delta credit cards.

Here's how the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card stacks up with the rest on key benefits.

  • 2 miles per dollar spent on purchases made directly with Delta and at restaurants worldwide plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.

  • 1 mile per dollar on all other eligible purchases.

  • No foreign transaction fees.

  • Terms apply (see rates and fees).

  • 2 miles per dollar spent on purchases made directly with Delta, at restaurants worldwide plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets.

  • 1 mile per dollar on all other eligible purchases.

  • No foreign transaction fees.

  • First checked bag free.

  • Priority boarding.

  • $200 Delta flight credit (when you spend $10,000 in purchases in a calendar year).

  • $100 Delta stays credit toward prepaid hotels or vacations through Delta.

  • 15% off when using miles to book award travel on Delta flights through delta.com and the Fly Delta app.

  • Terms apply (see rates and fees).

  • 3 miles per dollar spent on eligible purchases made directly with Delta, and on eligible hotel purchases.

  • 2 miles per dollar at restaurants plus takeout and delivery in the U.S. and at U.S. supermarkets.

  • 1 mile per dollar on all other eligible purchases.

  • No foreign transaction fees.

  • First checked bag free.

  • Priority boarding.

  • Companion certificate (main cabin).

  • Fee credit for TSA Precheck or Global Entry, once every four years.

  • 15% off when using miles to book award travel on Delta flights through delta.com and the Fly Delta app.

  • $150 Delta stays credit toward prepaid hotels or vacations through Delta.

  • $120 Resy credit when you enroll, up to $10 each month.

  • $120 rideshare credit when you enroll, up to $10 each month.

  • Terms apply (see rates and fees).

  • 3 miles per dollar on eligible purchases made directly with Delta.

  • 1 mile per dollar on other eligible purchases.

  • No foreign transaction fees.

  • First checked bag free.

  • Priority boarding.

  • Companion certificate (first class, Delta Comfort+ or main cabin).

  • Complimentary Delta Sky Club access for you, plus four one-time guest passes annually. (15 visits annually as of Feb. 1, 2025.)

  • Fee Credit for TSA Precheck or Global Entry, once every four years.

  • 15% off when using miles to book award travel on Delta flights through delta.com and the Fly Delta app.

  • $240 Resy credit when you enroll, up to $20 each month.

  • $200 Delta stays credit toward prepaid hotels or vacations through Delta.

  • $120 rideshare credit when you enroll, up to $20 each month.

  • Terms apply (see rates and fees).

*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.

Drawbacks and Considerations

High annual fee

The annual fee isn't cheap: It's $650. If that's a dealbreaker for you, there are other, more affordable options — and yes, they can also get you into airport lounges.

Consider the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card, which has a much lower annual fee and comes with up to $200 in travel statement credits, including one $100 credit toward a TSA Precheck or Global Entry application fee, and a $100 credit for airline incidentals, for purchases such seat upgrades, checked baggage fees and day passes to lounges. That won't help you get into the Delta Sky Club, which no longer sells single-day passes to the general public. But if you're just looking for a card that helps you cover the cost of getting into another airport lounge, this could be a good pick. The sign-up bonus is also generous.

Lounge access is limited to Delta and Centurion lounges

Delta Sky Club lounges offer excellent amenities — but they aren't available everywhere. While the Delta Sky Club program notes that it has a broad network of partner locations, you can't gain entry to these with the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card. The card only gets you into Delta Sky Club locations. And as of November 2023, there are just over 50 of those. And while the card also gets you into American Express' own Centurion Lounges when you're flying Delta and use your card to book the flight, there are only 13 of these lounges in the U.S., as of November 2023.

If you want Delta Sky Club, Centurion lounge access and additional airport lounge options, consider The Platinum Card® from American Express. This card, which has a similarly hefty annual fee, offers access not just to Delta Sky Club, but also to a network of over 1,400 lounges in 130 countries, as of this writing. It also comes with a great welcome offer (see rates and fees).

Weak spending rewards

The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card offers outstanding value in terms of side benefits, but its lackluster ongoing rewards make it a poor choice for everyday spending. It earns a piddling 1 mile per dollar for eligible purchases made outside of Delta. Many cards — even those with no annual fee — offer richer rewards.

For more options, check out NerdWallet's list of best credit card offers.

Coupon-book credits

The statement credits offered by theDelta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card can help the right person put a dent in the annual fee. But for people who don't live in a big city, those credits might be hard to use. Additionally, the Resy and rideshare credits are issued in monthly increments. That can be frustrating for people who would prefer to use them all at once, since they're use-it-or-lose-it perks.

How To Decide If It's Right For You

This card isn’t a cost-effective choice for travelers who can’t consistently make good use of the companion certificate or statement credits. But for those who can — namely, Delta loyalists who travel in style — it’s a top-shelf pick.

To view rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, see this page. To view rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, see this page.


Methodology

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