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Delta SkyMiles Reserve Amex card review: Complimentary Sky Club access

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Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information and offers.

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card overview

The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card provides complimentary Sky Club access when flying on Delta, as well as the ability to earn elite status through spending on the card. It’s best suited for frequent flyers who want Delta-specific perks, including lounge access, a boost toward elite status and a domestic companion certificate after each account anniversary. Card rating*: ⭐⭐⭐½

*Card rating is based on the opinion of TPG’s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.

Whether traveling for work or leisure, having airport lounge access allows you to be more productive while traveling and provides a place to relax before or between flights (and grab a quick drink or snack).

While plenty of travel credit cards provide airport lounge access, if you mainly fly with Delta, you’ll want to get into its Delta Sky Club lounges. Luckily, one of the primary benefits of the Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card is complimentary access to Delta Sky Clubs when flying Delta.

So, suppose you were thinking about springing for a Sky Club membership. In that case, you’d probably be better off paying the Delta Reserve’s $550 annual fee (see rates and fees) instead and enjoying both lounge access and other advantages.

However, in September, Delta announced major (negative) changes to its SkyMiles loyalty program. So make sure to read our guides to how they are changing elite status requirements and lounge access benefits before deciding to apply for one of their credit cards.

This card has a recommended credit score of at least 670.

Here is a closer look at the Delta Reserve Amex and its benefits so you can decide whether it’s the right card for you.

Delta Reserve Amex welcome offer

The Delta Reserve Amex is currently offering 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 in purchases on your new card in your first six months of account opening.

TPG’s valuations peg Delta SkyMiles at 1.2 cents each, making 60,000 bonus miles worth $720.


Some applicants won’t be eligible for this welcome offer. Specifically, due to Amex’s one-bonus-per-card-per-lifetime rule, you typically won’t qualify if you currently have this card or have had previous versions. Amex may also consider the number of American Express cards you’ve opened and closed, as well as other factors, when determining whether to offer you a welcome bonus.

Thankfully, Amex will tell you if you aren’t eligible for the welcome offer after submitting your application but before Amex pulls your credit. So, if you’re hoping to snag the welcome bonus, pay attention to any messages or warnings that show up after you apply.

Related: What credit score do you need to get Delta SkyMiles cards?

Delta Reserve Amex benefits

The Delta Reserve Amex offers several useful perks for frequent Delta flyers.

Lounge access

With the Delta Reserve Amex, primary and additional cardmembers get complimentary access to Delta Sky Club lounges when traveling on a same-day, Delta-marketed or Delta-operated flight. Cardmembers can also pay a fee of $50 per person per location for Sky Club access when traveling on a Delta partner airline flight not marketed or operated by Delta.


The Delta Reserve Amex will also get you into American Express Centurion Lounges for free when flying Delta with a ticket purchased on a U.S.-issued American Express card. You can bring up to two guests into the Centurion Lounge with you for a fee of $50 per person per location.

Cardmembers also get two one-time Sky Club guest passes upon account opening and each year upon account renewal. You can also pay $50 per person per location to bring up to two guests or immediate family (spouse or domestic partner and children under 21 years of age) with you into the Sky Club.

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.

Annual companion certificate

Another major benefit of the Delta Reserve Amex is the companion certificate cardmembers receive each year after their account anniversary. The companion certificate is valid for one round-trip ticket in first class, Delta Comfort+ or Main Cabin for a companion when you purchase one adult round-trip. You just have to pay the taxes and fees on the second ticket.

Delta One Suite

Travel must occur within the 48 contiguous United States unless you live in Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands. You can only book tickets in the following fare classes, too:

  • First-class: I and Z.
  • Comfort+: W and S, but only when L, U, T, X or V classes of service are available in the main cabin.
  • Main Cabin: L, U, T, X and V.

Depending on what you redeem your companion ticket for, you could use it to save hundreds or even thousands of dollars each year, especially if you fly first class.

Elite status qualification

Effective Jan. 1, 2024, Delta will remove the MQD waiver and MQM earning benefits earned toward elite status and replace them with a unified approach toward elite status, Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQD).

As all Medallion earning activities are consolidated into MQD, Delta Reserve Amex cardholders will earn 1 MQD for every $10 spent with no limit on how many MQDs can be earned through credit card spending.

This is a major drawback from previous elite status benefits found on the card, as it used to offer an MQD waiver for elite status based on spending activity.

Related: The ultimate guide to getting upgraded on Delta

Other perks

The Delta Reserve Amex extends many other travel-related perks, including first checked bag free for you and up to eight companions, Main Cabin 1 priority boarding, 15% off award redemptions for Delta flights, 20% back as a statement credit on inflight purchases, Global Entry/TSA PreCheck fee credit up to $100, and no foreign transaction fees (see rates and fees).

The Delta Reserve also includes extensive shopping protections and travel coverage when you use your card for certain purchases.

Earning miles on the Delta Reserve Amex

As you might assume from its name, the Delta Reserve Amex earns Delta SkyMiles as follows when you make eligible purchases with the card:

  • 3 miles per dollar on eligible purchases made directly with Delta
  • 1 mile per dollar on all other eligible purchases


But even with 3 miles per dollar on airfare, you may not want to spend much on the Delta Reserve Amex after you’ve earned the welcome bonus because, based on TPG’s valuation of Delta miles at 1.2 cents each, you’ll get about a 3.6% return on Delta purchases and a 1.2% return on everything else.

You can do better, especially if you consider other American Express cards that earn Membership Rewards points that you can transfer to Delta.

Related: 4 reasons why the Amex Platinum might be the ideal credit card for Delta flyers

Redeeming miles on the Delta Reserve Amex

Delta’s dynamic pricing can make it frustrating to redeem Delta SkyMiles. The effects of variable pricing can be mild in some cases, like this month of round-trip flights between New York (JFK) and Chicago-O’Hare (ORD). Delta highlights the lowest economy class fare of 15,000 miles in this example, but many other dates have significantly higher pricing.


And when you start talking about premium-cabin awards, prices can skyrocket. When booking through other loyalty programs, You can do better than these one-way awards between LAX and London-Heathrow (LHR).

Delta business-class award prices between Los Angeles and London

If you have the flexibility to do so, you’d be better off saving your Delta miles for one of the carrier’s frequent flash award sales. In the past, we’ve seen deals for domestic awards from 2,000 SkyMiles each way and New York to Bogota, Colombia, in business class from 12,000 SkyMiles each way.

You can also use your SkyMiles to fly on international SkyTeam partner airlines such as Air France and Korean Air, as well as select non-alliance partners like Virgin Atlantic and WestJet.

You can redeem Delta SkyMiles for many things other than flights, too — including premium alcoholic beverages in Sky Clubs as well as hotels and rental cars. However, note that some redemption options provide relatively low value.

TPG’s Hannah Streck often uses her Delta SkyMiles to book award tickets and utilizes the 15% off Delta flights to stretch her stash of miles.

Related: 9 Delta SkyMiles sweet spots worth saving up for

Which cards compete with the Delta Reserve Amex?

Most Delta Reserve Amex cardmembers carry it for two reasons: Delta Sky Club access and an extra boost toward earning Delta elite status. When it comes to these perks, the Delta Reserve Amex has three primary competitors:

For additional options, check out our full list of the best travel cards.

Read more: Delta elite status match offered to targeted Amex cardholders

Is the Delta Reserve Amex worth it?

This card is best for Delta loyalists who want complimentary Delta Sky Club access, and elitelike benefits when flying Delta or redeeming miles. If you fit that bill, this card could be worth it. However, if you want to maximize your frequent flyer miles earnings, you’d be better off getting a card that earns transferable points, like the Amex Platinum.

Bottom line

If you don’t need a ton of Delta-specific perks, another card might be better for you. And you’ll definitely want to make sure you fly enough to justify the hefty annual fee. If you fly often, however, and if you’re a Delta loyalist, then the Reserve is a tough proposition to beat.

Apply here: Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card

For rates and fees of the Delta Reserve Amex, click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum, click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta Platinum Amex, click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta Reserve Business Amex, click here.