Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express: the card for Delta flyers who want lounge access

Our take: The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card is a superb card choice for habitual Delta flyers who see value in receiving access to airport lounges and who can leverage the companion certificate to get a second ticket at a low price for your traveling partner. The card includes a few Delta related fringe benefits as well as premium travel and purchase protections.


  • Premium benefits for Delta flyers, like first checked bag free and access to the Delta Sky Club 
  • Companion certificate good for a round trip domestic Main Cabin, Comfort+ or First Class flight each year upon renewal of your card
  • Access to Centurion Lounge network


  • High annual fee
  • Access to Delta Sky Club limited to 15 passes a year after February 2025
  • Mileage earning is relatively low

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card Highlights

Card type: Airline

  • Welcome Bonus: 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of card membership
  • Annual Fee: $550
  • Rewards: 3X Miles on Delta purchases, 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases.

To view rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, see this page


If you find yourself flying on Delta Air Lines often and want to have an elevated experience, then the Reserve is the card for you. Delta reserves its most exclusive benefits for cardholders including access to priority services, lounge access, companion fares and more.

Most of what this card can do for you can be grouped in two categories: benefits that can help you save time and money and perks that can upgrade your experience. In the first group you’ll find benefits like your first checked bag free on domestic flights, which can save you $30 per flight, but also extends to up to 8 additional travelers on the same reservation, potentially saving you hundreds. The companion certificate can also help save you hundreds on top of that, by letting you book a second domestic ticket for just the taxes and fees, and it can be used for either a coach or first class domestic round-trip ticket.

In the way of upgrading your experience, this card will grant you access to lounges, both the Delta Sky Club and the Centurion Lounges, so you can enjoy a snack and some drinks in a quieter area before your flight. You’ll even receive access to the upgrade list even if you do not hold status with Delta, and priority boarding so you can have a bit more time to settle into your seat.

Who should get the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card? 

This is a great credit card for all those Delta frequent flyers who want to be able to enjoy a few airline specific perks that save them money or time, like free first checked bags on every domestic flight or priority boarding, and that also want to be able to enjoy a relaxing time at the Delta Sky Club while waiting for their flight to start boarding.

Those travelers who can take advantage of the companion certificate to fly with a loved one for just the cost of taxes and fees will see significant value in this card as it can save them hundreds depending on the destination of their choosing.

Who shouldn’t get the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card? 

If you do not expect to regularly fly Delta Air Lines flights, or don’t expect to be flying through airports with Delta Sky Club locations or Centurion Lounges, then the value you may obtain from this card diminishes radically, as most of the benefits are catered to Delta flyers.

Flyers who regularly travel solo and don’t foresee leveraging the companion certificate will also see lower value in this card.

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card: How to earn Delta SkyMiles

This credit card offers you the potential to earn Delta SkyMiles with every purchase with some categories earning more than others: 

  • 3X miles on Delta flights and Delta Vacations purchases.
  • 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases.

In addition to the mileage you can earn via your credit card spend, new cardmembers receive a welcome bonus of 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months.

How to redeem Delta SkyMiles® 

You can use the miles you earn to redeem a multitude of ways, with varying redemption values.

The clearest use for your Delta SkyMiles is to use them to book award travel. You can choose to redeem award travel on Delta flights or any of Delta’s SkyTeam alliance members to get to any destinations across the world where they fly to. Delta prices its award tickets dynamically, which means the cost will be higher or lower depending on cash price, destination, seasonality and demand for that route, among other factors. 

If you are flying on Delta, you’ll get a 15% discount on your award ticket with the Takeoff15 benefit by holding the card, which will bump up the value of your miles. At a minimum you can get one cent per mile by using the Pay With Miles feature in $50 increments on eligible flights. 

You can also use your miles for additional services like upgrades to premium cabins, Delta Sky Club memberships or premium drinks at the lounge, as well as paying for fees like same-day change fees and ticket change fees. While these aren’t the best use for your miles from a cents per point valuation, it’s always great to have options.

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card rates and fees

  • Annual fee: $550
  • Foreign transaction fee: None
  • Purchase APR: 20.99%–29.99% variable rate APR

Additional benefits

  • Upgrade priority within same medallion level for flyers with Delta status, so you can skip ahead of other passengers with the same status and fare class and clear your upgrade before them
  • 15% off in award booking redemptions so you can stretch the value of your Delta SkyMiles further
  • 20% back on in-flight purchases like food and beverages
  • Fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck every 4 years so you can enjoy a more frictionless experience when going through TSA every time you fly or go through passport control when returning to the U.S.
  • Baggage insurance plan to cover your lost, damaged or stolen bags when you purchase the entire fare with your card. Protection covers $1,250 for your carry-on bags and $500 for checked luggage
  • Trip delay insurance to cover unforeseen delays on trips purchased entirely with your credit card and have certain expenses reimbursed up to $500 per trip twice in a 12 month period
  • Trip cancellation and interruption insurance to help reimburse non-refundable expenses caused by any of the covered reasons when your trip is purchased using the card, up to $10,000 per trip and $20,000 per card per 12 consecutive month period 
  • Car rental loss and damage insurance to cover you for damage to and theft of your rental vehicle if the rental is paid for with your card and you decline the collision damage waiver provided by the rental company
  • No foreign transaction fees so you can use your card abroad and not incur additional foreign transaction fees
  • Cell phone protection can help you be reimbursed for costs to repair or replace your lost or stolen cell phone up to $800 per claim and a limit of 2 approved claims per 12 month consecutive period when your cell phone line is listed on a wireless bill and the last month’s bill is paid using the card, with a $50 deductible per approved claim
  • Extended warranty adding up to one extra year to the original manufacturer’s warranty for items you purchased using the card, provided the original manufacturer’s warranty is 5 years or less
  • Purchase protection against items purchased with your card being stolen, accidentally damaged or lost, for up to 90 days after purchase and up to $10,000 per occurrence and $50,000 per calendar year
  • Return protection for items purchased with your credit card that the merchant won’t take back within 90 days of purchase. This protection will refund up to $300 of the original price minus shipping and handling up to a maximum of $1,000 per calendar year

Cards similar to the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card

While it may seem tempting as a Delta flyer to snag one of Delta’s co-branded credit cards, there are other cards on the market that provide a similar suite of benefits. 

Venture X from Capital One vs. Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card

The Venture X card from Capital One really does rival the Delta SkyMiles Reserve by packing a punch when it comes to benefits but charging a significantly lower annual fee of $395. With a hefty welcome bonus of 75,000 bonus miles after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening, plus an additional 10,000 on your account anniversary, rewards really start to add up fast, and can be redeemed at any of Capital One’s transfer partner airlines or hotels, or used to redeem for travel through the Capital One Travel portal at one cent per mile. If you want to use miles to fly Delta, you can transfer them to Flying Blue, which is a Capital One transfer partner. 

Additionally, you’ll enjoy $300 back annually for bookings made through Capital One Travel, and up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® membership every 4 years, and unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,300+ airport lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network. The earning rates on the Venture X card are more generous, at 10x miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5x miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel. 2x miles on everyday purchases.

The Platinum Card® from American Express vs. Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card

The Amex Platinum card offers a lot of perks in exchange for a $695 annual fee. While the card doesn’t earn SkyMiles, it does earn Membership Rewards, which can then be transferred to Delta SkyMiles or any of its other transfer partners for rewarding redemptions like award flights or hotel stays. 

The card will grant you access to Centurion Lounges, the Delta Sky Club when flying Delta and any of the locations within the Priority Pass network of lounges. It comes with a $200 airline fee credit to help you cover fees like checked baggage fees, up to $100 statement credit every 4 years for a Global Entry application fee or a statement credit up to $85 every 4.5 years for a TSA PreCheck® (through a TSA official enrollment provider) application fee, when charged to your Platinum Card®, up to $189 back per year on a CLEAR® Plus membership (subject to auto-renewal) when you use your Platinum Card® and hundreds of dollars in additional credits.

To view rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, see this page

Is the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card right for you?

If you see yourself flying with Delta regularly and can take advantage of the companion certificate, checked bag fee waivers and see value in spending time at the Delta Sky Club or Centurion Lounge, this card may be right for you, as the steep annual fee is easily made up for with savings from the card’s perks.

Frequently asked questions

How do I use the Delta Reserve Amex companion certificate?

Once the companion certificate is loaded into your Delta account, it will be located under the “certificates and eCredits” section of your SkyMiles account. Log in to the website and hover your mouse over “Skymiles” on the main page and you’ll see an option to select “Certificates and eCredits.” Once you choose your companion certificate, simply enter your trip details and you’re off. 

Not every date will be open as they are subject to availability so remember to have some flexibility in your search parameters.

Do I have access to lounges with the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Amex?

The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve card will grant you access to the Delta Sky Club of your choice when flying on a same-day Delta flight, a benefit only good for the cardholder. You can guest up to two travel companions for a cost of $50 each. If you are flying on a Delta partner flight, this card grants you access to the Delta Sky Club for $50 per visit.

After February 1, 2025, this benefit is limited to 15 individual visits per year. This card also gives you the chance to obtain unlimited access to Delta Sky Club locations (beyond your 15 annual visits) after you reach a yearly spend of $75,000.

It’s worth noting that with the Delta Reserve card, you also gain access to the Centurion Lounge network provided you’re flying on a same-day Delta flight that you have paid for with your Reserve card or other eligible Amex cards.

Do I receive upgrades even if I have no status with the Delta Reserve Amex?

With this card, you’ll have the chance to be entered into the upgrade list to receive complimentary upgrades to Delta One (when flying within the United States), First Class and Delta Comfort+ right after all medallion members have cleared their upgrades based on elite status. 

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Please note that card details are accurate as of the publish date, but are subject to change at any time at the discretion of the issuer. Please contact the card issuer to verify rates, fees, and benefits before applying.

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit to learn more.

Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions, and Limitations Apply. Please visit for more details. Underwritten by Amex Assurance Company.

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