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This article was last updated Jan 08, 2019. Terms and conditions may have changed. For the most accurate information, please consult the issuer website.
For those who are among Delta Air Lines’ top elite flyers and want a credit card to match, then consider the Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express. Your Delta SkyMiles Medallion elite status pairs well with this luxury card, which further upgrades your travel experience in the air and on the ground thanks to airline-related perks.
The Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express comes with basic benefits including no travel blackout dates, miles that never and no limits on how many you can earn. Use miles to pay for flights, seat upgrades and merchandise in the SkyMiles Marketplace. You can also donate, gift and transfer miles or spend them on unique SkyMiles Experiences.
We’ll look at the pros and cons of Delta’s luxury credit card. And if you don’t want to be tied down to one airline but still want an American Express-branded travel card, we’ll compare it to The Platinum Card® from American Express.
What we like
Ample welcome offer. Earn 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles and 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. It’s nice for a card that welcomes new cardmembers with both miles to redeem for travel and miles that help you maintain elite status.
Status matters. The card offers ways to keep your Medallion elite status based on yearly spending. Earn 15,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) and another 15,000 bonus miles after spending $30,000 on the card in a calendar year. Earn another 15,000 MQMs and another 15,000 bonus miles after spending $60,000 on the card in a calendar year.
Lounge around. One great card perk is a free Delta Sky Club airport lounge membership. It gives you access to 250 lounges with perks such as flight assistance, snacks and meals, a bar that serves free wine, craft beer and spirits, free Wi-Fi, magazines and televisions and a business center.
Better travel experience. The card comes with a free checked bag and priority boarding for the cardholder and up to nine companions on the same reservation. You can use the priority airport screening checkpoint line unless you have TSA Precheck. Save 20% on pre-purchased meals and in-flight purchases of food, alcoholic beverages and audio headsets when using the card.
Companionship. Every time the card is renewed, you receive a free domestic First Class, Delta Comfort+® or Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate.
Help is here. This card comes with American Express’s famed Global Assist Hotline, which offers assistance for tasks ranging from travel assistance to arranging details for a special event.
Things to watch out for
This card costs. $450 Annual Fee ($550 if application is received on or after 1/30/2020), which is not unusual for a luxury card. Want to use that free companion ticket? It will cost you up to $75 in government taxes and fees, plus you’ll pay a checked bag fee for your companion.
Companion limit. You can only use your yearly companion pass in the 48 contiguous states.
Paltry travel perks. After shelling out for this card’s $450 Annual Fee ($550 if application is received on or after 1/30/2020), you would expect it to have travel benefits besides baggage insurance and car rental loss and damage and insurance. Competitors offer more, including trip interruption/cancellation insurance, baggage/trip delay reimbursement and emergency evacuation and transportation help.
Pay to play. If you’re depending on this card to help you maintain your elite Medallion status on Delta, you’ll need to spend $90,000 to get 60,000 MQMs.
Tight lounge access. As of Jan. 1, 2019, cardmembers and their guests must be traveling on a Delta-coded or Delta-operated flight in order to get into the Sky Club. You can bring up to two guests, but you must pay $29 for each.
Compare it with The Platinum Card® from American Express
|Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express||The Platinum Card® from American Express|
|Annual fee||$450 Annual Fee ($550 if application is received on or after 1/30/2020)||$550|
|Regular purchase APR||17.24% to 26.24% Variable||N/A|
|Welcome offer||Earn 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles and 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.||60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.|
|Foreign transaction fee||None||None|
60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.*
Up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees & more at one qualifying airline*
No foreign transaction fees & exclusive airport lounge access*
- Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
- Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
- 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
- 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
- Enjoy 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 with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
- $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
- Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
- $550 annual fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees
See additional details for The Platinum Card® from American Express
If you’re not ready to be tied to Delta Air Lines but still want a luxury American Express card that comes with airline and travel perks, then The Platinum Card® from American Express could be a good alternative. Because membership has its privileges, this card has a $550 annual fee, tops in the luxury cards category.
The credits that come with this card are almost enough to cover that high annual fee. They include $200 in Uber credits; $200 to cover airline fees on the carrier of your choice; and up to $100 to cover enrollment fees for Global Entry or TSA Precheck.
New cardmembers receive a welcome offer of 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.. Use those points at the Membership Rewards® website for everything from hotels to airline flights. Cardmembers earn 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel and 5X Membership Rewards® points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
Another benefit with this card is Hilton Honors and SPG gold elite status. Hilton gold includes 80% tier bonus points per hotel stay, automatic space-available room upgrades, guaranteed member discount, no resort fees on reward stays, early check-in and late check-out, fifth standard reward night free and free breakfast daily. SPG gold gives you a 25% points bonus, an automatic enhanced room at check-in when available, a late check-out, a dedicated customer service line and free enhanced in-room Wi-Fi.
This card comes with much better airport lounge access, including Delta Sky Club, Centurion Lounge, international American Express lounges, Priority Pass Select, Airspace and Escape.
Under the Fine Hotels & Resorts program, receive free benefits with an average total value of $550, such as daily breakfast for two, room upgrade when available, a property amenity valued at $100, guaranteed 4:00 pm. late check-out and noon check-in when available; and free Wi-Fi.
With Membership Rewards, you’re not stuck with only Delta Air Lines miles. Instead, your points can be transferred to 18 airline or three hotel loyalty programs. You never have to worry about blackout dates or seat restrictions when booking travel at Membership Rewards.
If you need help, the Platinum Card Concierge has trained staff to help with services such as custom travel itineraries, restaurant reservations and tickets to sports and entertainment events. There’s also cell phone protection, return protection, extended warranty and free Boingo internet access at more than 1 million hotspot locations worldwide.
But be warned — The Platinum Card® from American Express is a charge card, so you must pay off the balance each month. And surprisingly enough, this card doesn’t come with the travel protections you’d expect from a luxury card, such as baggage and travel accident insurance, trip delay/interruption insurance and emergency evacuation and transportation.
The bottom line
When choosing between these two cards, there’s only one question to ask: Are you loyal to Delta Air Lines?
If you’re loyal to Delta, the Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express is a no-brainer, since it comes packed with perks designed to make your travel on the airline better. And it comes with solid options to help you maintain your elite Medallion status. But on the minus side, other luxury cards offer more points and miles per dollar spent on broader travel, dining, gas and supermarkets.
If you want more flexibility with how you earn and redeem your miles and you’re not wedded to a single airline, then The Platinum Card® from American Express may be a better fit. It offers myriad perks that more than cover its $550 annual fee.
The information related to the Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express has been independently collected by CompareCards and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication. Terms apply to American Express credit card offers. See americanexpress.com for more information.