Is the Delta Reserve Amex annual fee worth it?

The Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card is one of the most premium co-branded cards offered by American Express and Delta Air Lines. With a steep annual fee of $650, it’s important to evaluate whether the card offers enough value to justify the cost.

One of the most attractive features of the Delta SkyMiles Reserve card is its welcome offer. Cardholders can earn 100,000 bonus SkyMiles after spending $6,000 within the first six months of card membership. This offer is valued at $1,200 according to The Points Guy, making it a significant incentive for new cardholders.

In terms of earning rates, the Delta Reserve card offers 3 miles per dollar on all Delta purchases and 1 mile per dollar on all other purchases. While there are other cards available with higher returns on everyday spending, Delta frequent flyers can benefit from the Sky Club access and other perks that help offset the lower earning rate.

One of the standout features of the Delta Reserve card is its ability to help cardholders qualify for Medallion status. For every $10 spent, cardholders earn 1 Medallion Qualification Dollar (MQD), and they also receive 2,500 MQDs deposited into their SkyMiles account every Medallion qualification year. This is a great way to jump-start the process of earning Medallion elite status.

The Delta Reserve card also offers several statement credits that can help offset the annual fee. Cardholders can receive up to $10 in monthly credits for eligible ride-hailing services, up to $20 in monthly credits for eligible purchases at Resy restaurants, and an annual up-to-$200 credit for Delta Stays bookings.

Lounge access is another major perk of the Delta Reserve card. Currently, cardholders have unlimited access to Delta Sky Clubs, with the ability to bring up to two guests for $50 per person. However, starting in 2025, cardholders will receive only 15 visits to Delta Sky Clubs annually. They can then purchase one-time passes for $50 once they’ve used all 15 visits. Cardholders also receive access to Centurion Lounges or Escape lounges when booking a Delta flight on their card.

Another valuable benefit of the Delta Reserve card is the annual companion certificate. Cardholders receive a certificate each year after renewal that allows them to purchase two round-trip tickets for the price of one, with taxes and fees of no more than $80 for domestic flights and no more than $250 for international flights. This benefit alone can recoup the cost of the annual fee, especially if used for first-class travel or during peak seasons.

In addition to these benefits, the Delta Reserve card offers complimentary upgrades, 15% off all Delta-operated award flights, priority boarding, free checked bags, and travel protections.

Overall, the Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card is a great fit for Delta loyalists who value Sky Club access, a faster path to Medallion elite status, and the companion certificate benefit. The numerous credits offered by the card can help offset the high annual fee, making it a worthwhile investment for frequent Delta flyers. However, if you don’t fly Delta frequently, there are other cards to consider that may offer better value for your specific travel needs.

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