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Review

2020 Review: Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card — Best for Delta Fans?

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By Sean Messier Mar 13, 2020 | Updated Nov 20, 2020

(Rates & Fees)

Our rating
Min. credit level: Excellent
Annual Fee: $550
Regular APR: 15.74% - 24.74% Variable

The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card is Delta’s priciest co-branded credit card by a long shot. And if you find yourself flying Delta all the time, it’s hard to deny the card’s appeal.

The Reserve’s reward structure is somewhat disappointing given how much cash you’re forking over annually to remain a cardholder (Rates & Fees). You’re granted 3X SkyMiles per eligible dollar for purchases made directly with Delta Air Lines, and 1X SkyMile for everything else.

However, as is the case with most premium airline credit cards, much of the Reserve’s value is derived from its benefits.

They include (but aren’t limited to) complimentary Delta Sky Club and Centurion Lounge access, a fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, an annual companion certificate, priority boarding, and waived fees for first checked bags. Those perks alone can offset the card’s annual fee in full if you fly enough, and that’s without factoring in all the rewards you’ll earn if you do fly that much.

The Delta SkyMiles Reserve is one of four Delta co-branded consumer credit cards issued by American Express.

Card Annual Fee Rewards
Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card $0 (Rates & Fees)
  • 2X SkyMiles on Delta purchases and Restaurants
  • 1X SkyMile on everything else
  • 10,000 bonus miles for spending $500 in the first 3 months after account opening
Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card (Review) $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99. (Rates & Fees)
  • 2X SkyMiles on Delta purchases, Restaurants, and U.S. supermarkets
  • 1X SkyMile on everything else
  • 35,000 bonus miles for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card (Review) $250 (Rates & Fees)
  • 3X SkyMiles on Delta purchases and Hotels
  • 2X SkyMiles on Restaurants and U.S. supermarkets
  • 1X SkyMile on everything else
  • 40,000 bonus miles and 5,000 MQMs for spending $2,000 in the first 3 months; $100 statement credit for making a Delta purchase in the first 3 months
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card (This review) $550
  • 3X SkyMiles on Delta purchases
  • 1X SkyMile on everything else
  • 40,000 bonus miles and 10,000 MQMs for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months

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.
  • 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.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free.
  • 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.
  • Enjoy complimentary access to The Centurion® Lounge when you book your Delta flight with your Reserve Card.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.

Our Rating: 5 Out of 5 Stars

We’re giving the Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card 5 out of 5 Stars.

It’s a big financial commitment, but the card’s annual fee is balanced out by its valuable benefits. Plus, if you’re flying so frequently that a premium credit card makes sense, you’ll probably rack up enough SkyMiles to offset the card’s annual fee even further.

Why We Like It

  • 3X reward rate on direct Delta purchases rewards the airline’s biggest fans
  • Big intro bonus: 40,000 bonus miles and 10,000 MQMs for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months
  • Complimentary Delta Sky Club and Centurion Lounge access offers hundreds of dollars in value
  • Two annual Delta Sky Club one-time guest passes
  • Annual companion certificate (granted upon renewal) is good for a round-trip domestic flight in first class, Delta Comfort+, or Main Cabin
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck statement credit covers the application fee of either program when you pay with the SkyMiles Reserve
  • First checked bag free for you and up to eight other passengers on your itinerary
  • Main Cabin 1 priority boarding, also for you and up to eight passengers
  • You save 20% on eligible in-flight purchases, including food and drinks (but not WiFi)
  • Status Boost makes it easier to score Medallion status
  • You’re added to the complimentary upgrade list, even if you don’t have Medallion status

Why It Could Be Better

  • $550 annual fee, about normal for a premium travel card
  • Rewards are disappointing, though typical
  • Getting two free Sky Club guest passes a year doesn’t compare to the less-restrictive guest lounge access offered by some premium cards
Read more Best Airline Credit Cards

Insider Advice: Getting the Most Out of Your Card

  • Book Delta: Purchase airfare directly from Delta, and you’ll get 3X miles per dollar on top of what you’re already earning as a SkyMiles member, allowing you to rack up rewards fairly quickly. That 3X category also covers Delta purchases like class upgrades, seat selections, and in-flight food and drinks.
  • Get the welcome bonus: Spend enough within the first few months to get the welcome offer. Then, remain a cardholder for at least a year to get the additional bonus after your first anniversary of card membership.
  • Lounge while you travel: Airport lounge access is valuable. An individual Delta Sky Club membership costs $545 out of pocket, which basically offsets the Reserve’s entire annual fee (assuming you’ll actually use it). You also get Centurion Lounge access, which could be considered even more valuable. It’s only available through a few premium American Express credit cards, and the lounges themselves are known for their luxurious features, from locally-inspired menus to L’Occitane toiletries.
  • Board early and check your first bag for free: If your Delta itinerary is associated with the same SkyMiles number as your Reserve card, you’ll get first checked bags free (saving up to $60 per person on a round trip) and Main Cabin 1 priority boarding for you and up to eight passengers.
  • Apply for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck: Frequent Delta flyers are sure to appreciate the expedited security perks these airport security programs provide, and the Reserve card covers the fee of whichever program you choose. Spoiler alert: Global Entry includes TSA PreCheck and typically costs $15 more, so if you think you’ll qualify, it’s the more valuable option.
  • Achieve Medallion status: The Reserve’s Status Boost feature makes it easier to achieve Medallion status with Delta. There are four Medallion tiers (Silver, Gold, Platinum, Diamond), and each tier offers extra rewards and perks.
The Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card has an annual fee of $550.

The Rewards

Unlike Delta’s lower-tier credit cards, the Reserve’s reward structure doesn’t require much thought until you’re actually redeeming the miles you earned.

Use it for direct Delta purchases, and you’ll get 3X SkyMiles per dollar from the card, plus whatever you get from your SkyMiles status, starting at 5X for basic members.

You can safely assume you’re usually going to get between 1 and 1.5 cents per mile when you redeem for flights, which leads to a cash back equivalent (on Delta purchases, at least) starting at 8%.

Earning

Spending Rewards
  • 3X SkyMiles per eligible dollar spent for purchases made directly with Delta Air Lines
  • 1X SkyMile per dollar on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • 40,000 bonus miles and 10,000 MQMs for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months

Clearly, the SkyMiles Reserve isn’t for everyday spending unless you’re going for the intro bonus.

Delta purchases are the only type that will earn more than 1X mile per dollar, so another rewards credit card would be better for non-Delta purchases. That’s not unusual for a co-branded airline card, though, especially one like this, where its benefits command the most attention.

So, making the most of this card’s reward structure is simple — use it only for Delta purchases, if you have other cards for other types of spending. You’ll get a minimum of 8X SkyMiles per dollar (that’s 3X from the card and 5X for being a basic SkyMiles member), and even more if you achieve Medallion status (Diamond, the highest tier, gives you 11X SkyMiles per dollar, totaling 14X when you use the Reserve).

Redeeming

Redeeming your SkyMiles is considerably more complex than earning them.

You have a whole slew of redemption options, but you’re going to get the best return on spend by swapping SkyMiles for flights.

Aside from flights, you can redeem SkyMiles for Delta Sky Club access (which Reserve cardholders already get), Delta gift cards, Delta Vacations, flight upgrades, and other odds and ends, such as magazines and charitable donations.

Redeeming SkyMiles for Flights

We recommend using your SkyMiles exclusively for flight redemptions to maximize the Reserve’s value.

Head to the Delta website, and you’ll find a flight search tool on the homepage. You can use it to browse flights with Delta and its partners, the prices of which you can view in cash or miles.

Make sure you spend some time searching for the best possible deal. The per-mile value you get can change quite a bit from one flight to the next. Generally, though, a Delta SkyMile is worth around 1 to 1.5 cents.

We’ll outline a few examples to give you a better idea of just how much your SkyMiles might be worth.

First, a round-trip flight in basic economy from Cincinnati to Orlando.

This one gives you a per-SkyMile value of about 1.36 cents. That’s quite good for Delta.

But it’s not the best you’ll find. Take this international flight in the Main Cabin, from New York to Paris, for example.

Before factoring in the $84.05 fee charged on the award ticket, that’s a huge value of 2.14 cents per SkyMile. Work the fee into the mix, and each mile is still giving you 1.84 cents. That’s leaning toward the very high side for Delta.

These kinds of deals may be few and far between, but they’re there, if you look hard enough. Just keep in mind that the value of each SkyMile will vary based on a wide variety of details, including the trip, the date, and the class.

We’ve calculated the value of a few other flight options, shown in the table below, to better illustrate what you can expect when you redeem with Delta.

Round Trip Route Class Cash Price Miles Price Value Per Mile
SLC to SEA Basic Economy $156.80 10,500 + $11.20 1.49 cents
DTW to TPA Main Cabin $246.80 17,000 + $11.20 1.45 cents
LAX to TYO Comfort+ $846.25 44,000 + $55.95 1.92 cents
MSP to SAT First $544.80 39,500 + $11.20 1.39 cents
Quick Guide

Miles + Cash vs. Pay with Miles

Delta offers a couple additional payment options when you’re booking flights, called Miles + Cash and Pay with Miles. We don’t recommend either; you’ll generally get a worse return on spend than if you just stuck with a normal mile redemption.

Miles + Cash lets you pay for airfare with both miles and cash by instituting a surcharge that helps lower a flight's price in miles.

Pay with Miles, on the other hand, allows you to book airfare with miles in increments of 5,000. Then, you pay for the rest in cash.

Miles + Cash flights are considered award tickets, which means you won't earn rewards. Pay with Miles fares are treated as normal tickets and therefore accumulate SkyMiles on whatever portion you pay in cash.

The Benefits

The Delta SkyMiles Reserve is a premium airline credit card, so top-of-the-line benefits are in its blood. The card’s perks aren’t all that different than most other airline cards, although it does offer a few true standouts, like Centurion Lounge access.

Here are most of the Reserve’s significant perks.

  • Delta Sky Club and Centurion Lounge access: Enjoy complimentary access to Delta Sky Clubs, with up to two guests at $39 each. Plus, access Centurion Lounges for free, with up to two guests at $50 each. Two free Delta Sky Club one-time guest passes per year are included. Complimentary lounge access requires a same-day boarding pass for a Delta-operated or Delta-marketed flight. However, Reserve cardholders traveling with a partner airline on a flight that’s not marketed by Delta can still access Delta lounges at a price of $39 per person.
  • Annual Companion Certificate: Get a certificate for a Domestic First Class, Delta Comfort+, or Main Cabin round-trip flight. Certificate use requires the payment of applicable fees, not to exceed $75.
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit: When you pay with the SkyMiles Reserve, a statement credit covers the application fee of either Global Entry ($100 every four years) or TSA PreCheck ($85 once every four-and-a-half years).
  • First checked bag free on Delta flights: Book with your Delta SkyMiles number, and baggage fees for your party’s first checked bags will be waived (covers the cardholder and up to eight additional passengers on the same itinerary).
  • Main Cabin 1 priority boarding: Board earlier (with up to eight additional passengers on the same itinerary) when you book airfare with your Delta SkyMiles number.
  • Complimentary upgrades: Reserve cardholders are added to the complimentary upgrade waitlist after Medallion members, even without Medallion status.
  • 20% in-flight discount on Delta flights: Get 20% off (in the form of a statement credit) a host of in-flight purchases, including food, drinks, and headsets, but not including WiFi.
  • Concierge service: Request 24/7 non-emergency assistance with things like travel arrangements, dinner reservations, and entertainment plans.
  • Shopping and travel protections: Such as car rental loss and damage insurance, baggage insurance, the Global Assist Hotline, return protection, dispute resolution, and extended warranty protection
The Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card has an annual fee of $550.
Read more Best Credit Cards That Provide Airport Lounge Access

The Terms & Fees

Purchase APR Balance Transfer APR Cash Advance APR
15.74% - 24.74% Variable None 25.24% Variable
Annual Fee Foreign Transaction Fee
$550 None
Balance Transfer Fee Cash Advance Fee
None Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater.
Penalty APR Late Fee Returned Payment Fee
29.24% Variable Up to $40 Up to $40

The Reserve features a standard batch of fees for a premium credit card.

Its annual fee is particularly high to make up for the high-end benefits you’re getting. And since the card is designed for frequent travelers, there’s no foreign transaction fee.

Just remember that American Express acceptance may be limited in many foreign countries, as it’s not as widespread as networks like Visa or Mastercard.

Read more Best No Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Cards

The Bottom Line

The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card appeals to a very specific audience: frequent flyers who not only prefer to fly Delta, but do so enough to be confident they’ll get their money’s worth from a card with a $550 annual fee.

The SkyMiles Reserve makes it pretty easy to offset that fee, large as it is. Its airport lounge access is worth hundreds of dollars a year, and could provide enough value to be worth the price alone, if it’s used enough.

And that’s just one element on a sizable list of valuable airline-centric perks.

Its rewards aren’t great, but 3X extra SkyMiles per dollar is a decent bonus for someone who’s flying Delta regularly.

Overall, whether the SkyMiles Reserve is right for you comes down to one question: Can you eke more than $550 in value out of the card’s rewards and benefits without unnecessary spending?

If so, give it a shot. If not, there are plenty of other options.

How to Apply for the Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card

Click the “Apply Now” button below to be taken to the American Express website. After you submit the requested information through the secure application, Amex will conduct a hard credit inquiry to determine whether you qualify.

You’ll probably receive a decision (either approval or denial) immediately. However, you may be asked to provide more information, or to wait while the issuer evaluates your application further.

What Credit Scores Do You Need to Get the Delta SkyMiles Reserve Card?

The SkyMiles Reserve caters to cardholders with excellent credit.

With VantageScore, that’s clear-cut, and scores of 750 or higher are considered excellent. It’s less simple with FICO, which calls scores between 740 and 799 very good and scores above that exceptional. It’s probably safe to assume that scores in those ranges can be considered “excellent,” or close to it.

Just keep in mind that excellent credit scores won’t guarantee that you’ll be approved, and it’s possible to qualify with lower scores. American Express will also weigh other important factors, like your income and monthly housing costs, and they could directly impact the final decision.

Qualifications and Requirements

  • Must be 18 to apply
  • Personal information: Name, date of birth, Social Security number
  • Address and contact information: Home address, phone number, email address
  • Financial information: Total annual income, income source
  • Delta SkyMiles number (optional; you’ll be provided with one upon approval)

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.
  • 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.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free.
  • 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.
  • Enjoy complimentary access to The Centurion® Lounge when you book your Delta flight with your Reserve Card.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
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Alternatives to the Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card

Not sure the SkyMiles Reserve is right for you? Don’t worry — it’s far from your only option, whether you’re dedicated to Delta or looking for something a bit more flexible.

Whichever crowd you fall into, here are a few cards you should consider instead.

Insider tip

Like Delta, most major airlines offer at least one co-branded credit card. If you’re not committed to Delta, and you don’t see anything you like below, explore your options with other airlines, including American Airlines, British Airways, JetBlue, Southwest, United, and more.

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

Our rating
Min. credit level Good
Details
(Rates & Fees)
Annual Fee $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99.
Regular APR 15.74% - 24.74% Variable
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

For casual Delta fans, the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card (Review) could be a better pick than the Reserve. It offers a small selection of useful airline benefits and makes it a bit easier to rack up SkyMiles.

The Gold card’s annual fee is much lower than the Reserve, too, which makes it a solid starting point for anyone who’s not quite sure whether they need a Delta card.

Spending Rewards
  • 2X SkyMiles per dollar on:
    • Purchases made directly with Delta Air Lines
    • Restaurants
    • U.S. supermarkets
  • 1X SkyMile per dollar on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • 35,000 bonus miles for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months

The Gold card’s reward structure is more diverse than that of the Reserve. You’re earning one fewer SkyMile per dollar, but that’s almost negligible since basic SkyMiles members get 5X SkyMiles on Delta purchases as it is.

The categories this card adds, dining and U.S. supermarkets, are very easy to use, and this arguably puts the Gold ahead of the Reserve if you’d rather build a high rewards balance than have flashy benefits.

  • First checked bag free: Use your Delta SkyMiles number when booking your flight to waive the price ($30) of your first checked bag. This benefit extends to up to eight other passengers flying on your itinerary.
  • Main Cabin 1 priority boarding: Get to your seat and settle in earlier when you reserve with your SkyMiles number. This benefit extends to up to eight other passengers on your itinerary.
  • 20% back on in-flight purchases: Save 20%, in the form of a statement credit, on in-flight purchases like food and alcoholic beverages. Excludes WiFi and associated services.
  • $100 Delta flight credit: Spend $10,000 in a calendar year to earn a $100 credit good for Delta flight and vacation package reservations.
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99.
  • Earn 35,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Earn 2X Miles on Delta purchases, at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn now. Travel when you’re ready. After you spend $10,000 in purchases in a calendar year, you will receive a $100 Delta Flight Credit to inspire your next travel.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free.
  • Earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases.
  • Enjoy a $0 introductory Annual Fee for the first year, then $99.
  • Terms Apply.

American Express is a Credit Card Insider advertiser.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Our rating
Min. credit level Good
Details
(Rates & Fees)
Annual Fee $250
Regular APR 15.74% - 24.74% Variable
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

Sandwiched between the SkyMiles Gold and the SkyMiles Reserve is the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card (Review). Its rewards and benefits are quite similar to those of the Gold, but with a few enhancements to help offset its somewhat high annual fee.

Spending Rewards
  • 3X SkyMiles per dollar on:
    • Delta purchases
    • Hotels
  • 2X SkyMiles per dollar on:
    • Restaurants
    • U.S. supermarkets
  • 1X SkyMile per dollar on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • 40,000 bonus miles and 5,000 MQMs for spending $2,000 in the first 3 months; $100 statement credit for making a Delta purchase in the first 3 months

The rewards seen here are more similar to the Gold card than the Reserve, albeit with a few upgrades that should please avid travelers.

The SkyMiles Platinum earns 3X SkyMiles per dollar with Delta, which is on par with the Reserve. But it adds 3X SkyMiles at hotels, too. That’s a big deal, since airfare purchases and hotel reservations often go hand in hand.

  • Annual Companion Certificate: Each year, upon card renewal, get a certificate for one domestic Main Cabin round-trip flight.
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit: A statement credit for the application fee of either Global Entry ($100 every four years) or TSA PreCheck ($85 once every four-and-a-half years)
  • First checked bag free on Delta flights: For you and up to eight traveling companions
  • Main Cabin 1 priority boarding on Delta flights: For you and up to eight traveling companions
  • Delta Sky Club access: Relax at Delta Sky Club airport lounges for $39 per person.
  • 20% in-flight discount on Delta flights: A 20% discount on eligible in-flight purchases, like food, beverages, movies, and audio headsets
  • Status Boost: Earn 10,000 MQMs (Medallion Qualification Miles) for every $25,000 in eligible purchases, up to two times per calendar year.
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $250
  • 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.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card.*Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • 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.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • 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.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Our rating
Min. credit level Excellent
Details
Annual Fee $550
Regular APR 16.99%-23.99% Variable

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® (Review) is one of the best travel credit cards that’s currently available to U.S. applicants.

It’s a premium card, so yes, there’s an intimidating annual fee. But when you weigh it against the card’s exceptional benefits — which include a free Priority Pass membership, a $300 annual travel credit that can be used for airfare, and a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck fee credit, plus much more — it doesn’t seem all that bad.

Spending Rewards
  • 10X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on Lyft rides
  • 3X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on:
    • Travel (after the full travel credit is used)
    • Dining
  • 1X Ultimate Rewards point per dollar on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • 50,000 bonus points for spending $4,000 in the first 3 months after account opening

The Sapphire Reserve keeps its rewards simple. Aside from Lyft (explore other great picks for earning rewards on Lyft), the card only features two categories, travel and dining. Both of these categories are popular for their versatility and perfectly suited to big travel spenders who’ve considered applying for a premium travel card.

  • Point transfer: Transfer Ultimate Rewards points to a variety of airline and hotel loyalty programs, like United MileagePlus, JetBlue TrueBlue, and Marriott Bonvoy, at a 1:1 rate.
  • $300 annual travel credit: Get a $300 travel credit every year that’s automatically applied toward a broad range of travel-related expenses charged to the card (including plane tickets). You won’t earn rewards on travel until this credit is used up.
  • Priority Pass Select membership: Access more than 1,000 airport lounges worldwide, plus get special perks and discounts at a selection of restaurants. The cardholder and two guests can enter for free; additional guests cost $32 each.
  • Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection: Get complimentary services and benefits at participating hotels and resorts, like room upgrades, daily breakfast for two, and special gifts.
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit: Get a statement credit to offset the cost of applying for Global Entry ($100) or TSA PreCheck ($85), once every four years.
  • Elite Hotel Benefits at Relais & Châteaux: Enjoy elite status at select Relais & Châteaux properties, including complimentary breakfast.
  • Visa Infinite Concierge: Call your concierge to receive 24/7 non-emergency help of all kinds, like arranging travel plans or making reservations at prestigious restaurants.
  • Special car rental privileges: Including rental upgrades, discounts, and promotional offers with Avis, Silvercar, and National Car Rental
  • Lyft Pink membership: A free year of Lyft Pink, which provides 15% off rides, relaxed cancellations, surprise offers, and priority airport pickup
  • DoorDash membership: A free yearlong membership (DashPass), which includes free delivery and reduced service fees on orders over $12
  • $60 annual DoorDash credit: Get $60 in DoorDash credits in 2020, and $60 in credits in 2021.
  • Shopping and travel protections: Including purchase protection, a primary auto rental collision damage waiver, trip delay reimbursement, and more
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $550

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Our rating
Min. credit level Good
Details
(Rates & Fees)
Annual Fee $550
Regular APR See Pay Over Time APR
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

Like the Sapphire Reserve, The Platinum Card® from American Express (Review) is iconic.

It’s pricey, but as usual, that’s for good reason. The Platinum’s benefits are rivaled only by expensive competitors like the Sapphire Reserve, and a host of invite-only, more-premium-than-premium cards that you can’t even apply for unless you’re legitimately rich.

The Amex Platinum allows cardholders to transfer Membership Rewards points to the Delta SkyMiles program at a 1:1 ratio, though you may occasionally get a better transfer deal. You’re charged an excise tax offset fee of $0.0006 per point to do so (that’s a $45 fee for a 75,000-point transfer, for example), but it could still be worth it if you redeem wisely.

Spending Rewards
  • 5X Membership Rewards points per dollar (starting 1/1/21, on up to $500,000 spent per calendar year) on:
    • Flights booked directly through airlines or through American Express Travel
    • Prepaid hotels booked through American Express Travel
  • 2X Membership Rewards points per dollar on other eligible travel expenses booked through American Express Travel
  • 1X Membership Rewards point per dollar on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • 75,000 bonus points for spending $5,000 in the first 6 months; 10X points on eligible purchases at U.S. Gas Stations and U.S. Supermarkets, on up to $15,000 in combined purchases, in the first 6 months

The Platinum card features a fairly limited reward structure; its benefits are far more valuable.

Its rewards are still a bit more diverse than the SkyMiles Reserve, however, thanks to that “flights booked directly with airlines” category. That, coupled with the fact that you can transfer Membership Rewards points to the SkyMiles program, makes the Platinum a strong contender for hardcore Delta fans.

  • Global Lounge Collection: While traveling, get free access to Priority Pass, Centurion, American Express International, Delta Sky Club, Escape, Airspace, Lufthansa, and Plaza Premium Lounges.
  • $200 annual airline fee credit: Select an airline, and you’ll get a statement credit covering up to $200 in incidental fees (checked bags, in-flight food, etc.), but not airline tickets (through 2021).
  • $200 annual Uber credits: Get up to $15 in statement credits for Uber each month, aside for December, which gets $35.
  • $100 annual Saks credits: Receive up to $100 in statement credits each year for Saks Fifth Avenue: $50 from January through June, and $50 from July through December.
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit: Pay the application fee of either Global Entry ($100 every four years) or TSA PreCheck ($85 once every four-and-a-half years), and you’ll get a statement credit that covers the cost.
  • Complimentary elite hotel statuses: Hilton Honors Gold status and Marriott Bonvoy Gold status
  • The Hotel Collection: A $100 hotel credit and room upgrades when available for every eligible two-night stay
  • Fine Hotels & Resorts: Provides a host of perks, like daily breakfast for two, room upgrades when available, amenities valued at $100, and more, at eligible properties
  • No foreign transaction fee 
  • Annual fee: $550
  • Earn 75,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $5,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 10x points on eligible purchases on your new Card at U.S. Gas Stations and U.S. Supermarkets, on up to $15,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership. That’s an additional 9 points on top of the 1 point you earn for these purchases.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member and Additional Centurion Cards only.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel. Starting January 1, 2021, earn 5X points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • Enjoy complimentary access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits through American Express Travel with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts® program at over 1,100 properties . Learn More.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. That’s up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.

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That’s it for now. Dig the review? Share it with your fellow travel rewards junkies! Or, if you think we missed an important detail, tell us by commenting below.

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

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

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.

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

At a glance

The Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card is the priciest Delta co-branded credit card, and it’s a great pick for Delta fanatics. It earns 3X SkyMiles per dollar on direct Delta purchases and offers a plethora of premium travel benefits, including airport lounge access.

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