Skip to content

Advertiser Disclosure

Credit Card Insider is an independent, advertising supported website. Credit Card Insider receives compensation from some credit card issuers as advertisers. Advertiser relationships do not affect card ratings or our Editor’s Best Card Picks. Credit Card Insider has not reviewed all available credit card offers in the marketplace. Content is not provided or commissioned by any credit card issuers. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information, though all credit card information is presented without warranty. When you click on any ‘Apply Now’ button, the most up-to-date terms and conditions, rates, and fee information will be presented by the issuer. Credit Card Insider has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Credit Card Insider and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. A list of these issuers can be found on our Editorial Guidelines.

Delta SkyMiles®️ Platinum American Express Card vs. Delta SkyMiles®️ Reserve American Express Card

6 min read
Brendan Harkness By Brendan Harkness Aug 27, 2014 | Updated Aug 06, 2020

The Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card (Review) and Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card (Review) credit cards are both high-end travel rewards cards from American Express. While the Platinum card is somewhat pricy (Rates & Fees), the Reserve’s annual fee is even higher (Rates & Fees), making them exclusive to those who travel frequently on fairly expensive flights.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Our rating
Min. credit levelGood
Details
(Rates & Fees)
Annual Fee$250
Regular APR15.74–24.74% Variable
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

  • Earn 40,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Plus, earn a $100 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months.
  • New! With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 MQMs after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • New! Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free and Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding on Delta flights.
  • New! Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • New! Earn 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • Receive a 20% savings in the form of a statement credit after you use your Card on eligible Delta in-flight purchases of food, beverages, and audio headsets.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card

Our rating
Min. credit levelExcellent
Details
(Rates & Fees)
Annual Fee$550
Regular APR15.74–24.74% Variable
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

  • 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.
  • New! With Status Boost™, earn 15,000 MQMs after you spend $30,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to four times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • New! Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free and Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding on Delta flights.
  • New! Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases.
  • Earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases.
  • Complimentary access into the Delta SkyClubs® for you when travelling on a Delta flight.
  • New! Enjoy complimentary access to The Centurion® Lounge when you book your Delta flight with your Reserve Card.
  • Receive a 20% savings in the form of a statement credit after you use your Card on eligible Delta in-flight purchases of food, beverages, and audio headsets.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees

The Rewards

Despite the Reserve’s higher fee, the Platinum card actually provides a better rewards program (at an annual fee of $250). The Reserve instead flaunts its premium side with valuable benefits, which we’ll cover in a minute.

Delta Platinum

Cardholders will earn 3X SkyMiles per eligible dollar spent for purchases made directly with Delta Air Lines. This applies to all purchases from Delta, including Delta Connection Carrier and Delta Shuttle flights, as well as some in-flight purchases. The Platinum also provides 3X SkyMiles on hotels, 2X SkyMiles at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets, and 1X SkyMile on everything else.

Its intro bonus is solid: 40,000 bonus miles and 5,000 MQMs for spending $2,000 in the first 3 months; $100 statement credit after first Delta purchase in the first 3 months.

Under the Status Boost program, if $25,000 is spent on purchases in one calendar year, 10,000 MQMs are awarded; if $50,000 is spent, another 10,000 MQMs are awarded.

The SkyMiles Medallion Program is an upgrade program that provides better perks and offers for earning more MQMs.

Miles can be redeemed for flights and flight upgrades, as well as purchases on the SkyMiles Marketplace and the SkyMiles Online Auction. The Marketplace provides a huge variety of products, from headphones to cookies, while the Online Auction lets cardholders use their miles to bid for exciting experiences, like baseball games and movie premiers. Miles can also be donated to charities. These services allow cardholders to convert points from certain partners into miles that can then be used.

Delta Reserve

Just like the Delta SkyMiles Platinum card, the Delta Reserve offers 3X SkyMiles per eligible dollar spent for purchases made directly with Delta Air Lines, but that’s about it. You get 1X SkyMile per dollar for purchases elsewhere.

Delta Reserve cardholders can score a similar bonus: 40,000 bonus miles and 10,000 MQMs for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months.

As for the Reserve’s status boost offer, cardholders can get 15,000 MQMs for every $30,000 spent in a calendar year, up to four times a year.

The Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card has an annual fee of $550.

The Verdict

The Delta SkyMiles Platinum and Delta SkyMiles Reserve cards offer similar bonuses, but the Delta SkyMiles Platinum’s rewards program is drastically better than that of the Reserve. It’s not really a contest.

The Benefits

Both cards feature certain similar benefits, but here’s where it becomes clear why the Delta SkyMiles Reserve carries a higher annual fee.

Delta SkyMiles Platinum

Cardholders have access to travel and shopping benefits, designed to make their trips cheaper and easier.

When traveling, Main Cabin 1 priority boarding on Delta flights is granted to let you spend less time in line and more time relaxing in your seat. Or, you can choose to visit the Delta Sky Club at a discounted rate of $39 per person. The Sky Club includes complimentary snacks and drinks, private restrooms, personalized flight assistance, and WiFi access.

Your first checked bag will be free while flying Delta, too. A 20% discount is applied to eligible in-flight purchases, which includes food and drinks, entertainment, and audio headsets. This discount will be applied as a statement credit to the account.

Every year upon card renewal, a domestic Main Cabin class companion certificate will be awarded. When using this certificate, the cardholder will still be subject to certain taxes and fees for itineraries with two to four segments, though they’ll never exceed $75 (a limit that’s subject to change).

Another great perk the Platinum provides is the TSA PreCheck/Global Entry fee credit. Apply for either program with your Platinum card, and you’ll get a statement credit covering the application fee.

There are several shopping and travel protections, too.

When using a common carrier, your baggage will be insured against being lost, stolen, or damaged, up to $1,250 for carry-on and $500 for checked baggage.

If you’re on the road, you’ll be covered by rental car insurance against theft and damage, as long as the car rental company’s insurance is declined. Some vehicle exclusions apply to this offer. The cardholder must pay any fees from third-party services that become involved.

When shopping with the card, many purchases will be eligible for an extended warranty and purchase protection service. The extended warranty will double a manufacturer’s warranty, up to one additional year, while purchase protection will cover items you buy against accidental damage and theft, up to 90 days from the date of purchase.

Cardholders will also receive exclusive invitations through the Entertainment Access program. These deals include access to presale tickets, preferred seating, and exclusive, member-only events (at an annual fee of $250).

Delta SkyMiles Reserve

The Delta SkyMiles Reserve card offers benefits that are similar to the Delta SkyMiles Platinum, including the same boarding priority, free checked bags, and TSA PreCheck/Global Entry credit, but with some significant additions.

The first is that Delta Sky Club access is complimentary, and you receive two free one-time Sky Club guest passes. Guests are $39 each after that, and are limited to two per visit. Reserve cardholders also get free access to Centurion Lounges, with up to two guests at $50 each.

The Delta SkyMiles Reserve provides a companion certificate, like the Platinum, but that certificate is now good for Domestic First Class, Delta Comfort+, or Main Cabin round-trip flights, rather than just main cabin.

Two other unique features are the ability to share MQMs with friends and family, and a personal concierge service. The concierge service is always available to provide personal, non-emergency assistance with just about anything. This could be arranging the details of a critical event, finding business or travel reservations, or expert advice on finding and buying great gifts (at an annual fee of $550).

The Verdict

These cards each offer great additional benefits that are sure to make traveling, especially with Delta, a much less costly and frustrating affair. The priority boarding and lounge access in particular can make a hectic trip feel a bit more sane.

You’ll be getting much more here with the Reserve card, but you’ll be paying for it with an annual fee of over twice as much, as you’ll see in the next section.

The Costs

The Delta Reserve has a higher annual fee; other than that, the additional fees are the same.

Delta SkyMiles Platinum

For the Platinum card you’ll pay a $250 annual fee. The APR for purchases and balance transfers is 15.74–24.74% Variable, depending on credit history. Cash advances have an APR of 25.24% Variable.

Balance transfers and cash advances both have a fee of $5 or 3% of the transaction, whichever is greater. There is no fee for foreign transactions.

If a late or returned payment is made, a penalty APR of up to 29.99% will be applied. This will occur for late payments that are more than 60 days late. If this happens, the account will be reviewed every 6 months, and, if no late or returned payments had been made, the original APR can be reinstated. Late and returned payments also have a fee of up to $39 each, but there is no fee for going over the credit limit.

Delta SkyMiles Reserve

For the Reserve, you’ll pay a $550. Other than that, the terms for the Delta SkyMiles Platinum card apply for the most part to this card as well.

The Verdict

Obviously, the crucial aspect here is the annual fee. Does it seem worth the benefits to you, and will you actually use the card enough to get that kind of use out of it?

Insider Tip: You may be able to get the annual fee on these cards waived. Just call customer service and ask nicely to have it waived, explaining that you’ve been a good, responsible customer for some time. Or, if you’re thinking of canceling the card, you can let them know that you’d consider staying with them if they waive the fee. In some cases they may offer a different incentive, like bonus points.

And if you’re in the military on active duty, you can submit an online request for SCRA benefits, which will probably include having the annual fee waived.

The Bottom Line

These are both great travel cards, and the one for you will probably depend on your spending habits. You’ll need to spend more and travel more often to make the Reserve card and its annual fee worth the price tag. If you do, make sure to enjoy the concierge service and free airport lounges.

Credit cards are complex financial tools, and it’s important to be able to easily get information about your card and your account. The American Express website is much better in this regard compared to most card issuers. Users can easily browse through cards and see the costs, rewards, and benefits clearly laid out.

There are even ways to compare features of individually chosen cards. Then, while browsing the site, a popup occasionally appears offering a live chat with a representative, who is ready to answer any questions. These features show that American Express cares about its cardholders and potential cardholders, and took the time to present the card information in a thoughtful and effective manner.

Was this helpful?

For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card, please click here.

For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, please click here.

Credit Card Insider receives compensation from advertisers whose products may be mentioned on this page. Advertiser relationships do not affect card evaluations. Advertising partners do not edit or endorse our editorial content. Content is accurate to the best of our knowledge when it's published. Learn more in our Editorial Guidelines.

Do you have a correction, tip, or suggestion for a new post? Contact us here.

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by bank advertisers. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by bank advertisers. It is not the bank advertisers' responsibility to ensure all posts are accurate and/or questions are answered.