Is the Delta Reserve Amex annual fee worth it?

The Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card is the most premium co-branded card offered by Amex and Delta Air Lines. With a steep annual fee of $650, it’s important to determine if the benefits outweigh the cost. In this article, we will take a closer look at the card’s features and evaluate whether it is worth the annual fee.

Welcome Offer:
The Delta SkyMiles Reserve card offers a welcome bonus of 100,000 bonus SkyMiles after spending $6,000 in the first six months of card membership. This is the best-ever offer for this card and is valued at $1,200 according to TPG’s valuation of Delta SkyMiles. It’s important to note that not everyone may be eligible for the welcome offer, especially if upgrading from other SkyMiles Amex cards.

Earning Rates:
The Delta Reserve card earns Delta SkyMiles on all purchases. It earns 3 miles per dollar on Delta purchases and 1 mile per dollar on all other purchases. While these earning rates may not be as high as other cards, if you are a frequent Delta flyer, the Sky Club access and other benefits can help offset this.

Earn Medallion Status:
One of the key benefits of the Delta Reserve card is the ability to earn Medallion status. For every $10 spent, cardmembers earn 1 Medallion Qualification Dollar (MQD). Additionally, cardmembers receive 2,500 MQDs deposited into their SkyMiles account every Medallion qualification year. This is a great way to get a head start on earning valuable MQDs and qualifying for Medallion elite status.

Statement Credits:
The Delta Reserve card offers several statement credits that can help offset the annual fee. These include a monthly up-to-$10 credit for eligible ride-hailing services, a monthly up-to-$20 credit for eligible purchases with U.S. Resy restaurants, and an annual up-to-$200 credit for Delta Stays bookings. These credits can provide significant value for cardmembers who utilize these services.

Lounge Access:
Currently, Delta Reserve cardmembers have unlimited access to Delta Sky Clubs. They can also bring up to two guests for $50 per person. However, starting Feb. 1, 2025, cardmembers will receive only 15 visits to Delta Sky Clubs annually. After using all 15 visits, cardmembers can purchase one-time passes for $50. Cardmembers also receive access to Centurion Lounges or Escape lounges when booking a Delta flight on their card. This access is unlimited for the cardmember and they can bring up to two guests for an additional fee.

Companion Certificate:
Each year upon renewal, Delta Reserve cardmembers receive a companion certificate. This allows them to buy two round-trip tickets for the price of one, plus taxes and fees. The companion certificate is valid in first class, Premium Select, Comfort+ or Main Cabin on domestic, Caribbean, and Central American routes. This benefit alone can recoup the cost of the annual fee, especially when used for first-class tickets or during peak travel seasons.

Other Benefits:
The Delta Reserve card offers additional benefits such as complimentary upgrades, 15% off all Delta-operated award flights, priority boarding, free checked bags, and credits for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. These benefits can enhance the overall travel experience and provide added value for cardmembers.

In conclusion, the Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card offers a range of premium benefits and outsize value for frequent Delta flyers. With lounge access, companion certificates, statement credits, and the ability to earn Medallion status, the card can provide significant value to those who utilize these benefits. However, if you don’t fly Delta frequently, there may be other cards that better suit your needs. It’s important to evaluate your travel habits and determine if the benefits outweigh the high annual fee.

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