Amex Platinum vs. Delta Reserve: Which card is best for Delta loyalists?

In the world of credit cards, there are a plethora of options available to consumers. However, for frequent travelers who frequently fly with Delta Airlines, the choice may seem more limited. The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card is often seen as the top-tier co-branded Delta consumer card, offering a range of benefits tailored specifically for Delta flyers. However, in early February 2024, the Delta SkyMiles credit cards underwent some major changes, making it necessary to compare the Delta SkyMiles Reserve Card to The Platinum Card® from American Express to determine which card is the best for Delta flyers in 2024 and 2025.

Let’s dive into a detailed comparison of the Amex Platinum and Delta Reserve cards to determine which one suits your needs best.

Welcome Bonus
When it comes to the welcome bonus, the Amex Platinum currently offers 80,000 Amex Membership Rewards points after spending $8,000 in purchases in the first six months of card membership. Based on the valuation of Membership Rewards points at 2 cents each, this welcome bonus is worth $1,600. On the other hand, the Delta Reserve offers a limited-time welcome bonus of 100,000 Delta SkyMiles after spending $6,000 in purchases in the first six months. Valued at 1.2 cents per mile, this welcome bonus is worth $1,200. In terms of the welcome bonus value, the Amex Platinum comes out on top with a welcome offer worth 33% more than the Delta Reserve.

While both cards offer a range of benefits, the Amex Platinum provides more general perks, while the Delta Reserve focuses on Delta-specific benefits. With the Amex Platinum, you’ll have access to many lounges through the American Express Global Lounge Collection, including Delta Sky Club lounges (with some limitations). However, from February 2025, access to Delta Sky Club lounges will be limited to 10 day visits per year unless you spend at least $75,000 in the previous calendar year. In contrast, the Delta Reserve offers unlimited access to Delta Sky Club lounges when traveling on same-day Delta-marketed or Delta-operated flights, with the ability to bring up to two guests at $50 per person per visit.

Additionally, the Delta Reserve provides numerous statement credits, such as an annual Resy credit, ride-hailing credit, and Delta Stays credit. It also offers benefits like a companion certificate each year, first checked bag free, priority boarding, and inflight savings on Delta flights. One notable advantage of the Delta Reserve is the MQD Headstart, which gives cardmembers 2,500 MQDs toward status qualification at the start of the year and the ability to earn 1 MQD for every $10 spent on the card. These Delta-specific benefits make the Delta Reserve the clear winner in terms of benefits tailored to Delta flyers.

Earning Rewards
When it comes to earning rewards, the Amex Platinum offers 5 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on flights booked directly with airlines or through Amex Travel, as well as prepaid hotels booked on This equates to a 10% return on spending, based on TPG’s valuations. You’ll earn 1 Membership Rewards point per dollar spent on everything else, providing a 2% return.

On the other hand, the Delta Reserve earns 3 Delta miles per dollar spent on Delta purchases, equating to a 3.6% return based on TPG’s valuations. For all other purchases, you’ll earn 1 mile per dollar spent, which provides a 1.2% return. In this category, the Amex Platinum offers a more competitive rate of return, both on Delta purchases and everyday spending.

Redeeming Rewards
The Amex Platinum earns American Express Membership Rewards points, which can be transferred to one of 21 travel partners for the best value. By redeeming through travel partners, you can maximize the value of your points. The Delta Reserve, on the other hand, earns Delta SkyMiles, which can be redeemed for flights, upgrades, and other travel-related expenses. While both cards offer redemption options, the flexibility and value of Membership Rewards points make the Amex Platinum the winner in terms of redemption opportunities.

After comparing the Amex Platinum and Delta Reserve cards in terms of welcome bonus, benefits, earning rewards, and redeeming rewards, it’s clear that the best card for Delta flyers in 2024 and 2025 depends on individual preferences and needs. The Amex Platinum offers a higher welcome bonus, more general perks, and a competitive earning rate. However, if you prioritize Delta-specific benefits such as unlimited access to Delta Sky Club lounges, companion certificates, and the MQD Headstart, the Delta Reserve may be the better choice. Consider your travel habits and priorities to determine which card aligns best with your needs.

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