What is the Best Delta AMEX card for Flyers? Is it the Reserve Personal Card?

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What is the Best Delta AMEX card for Flyers? Is it the Reserve Personal Card?

To me, for most Delta flyers, THIS is THE only card you should consider. That is, if you fly Delta on any kind of regular or even semi regular basis. When you look at the reasons, it will become clear why I have held this card for YEARS.

Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express <— Link

As with the other two Delta cards, when it comes to ANY AMEX cards, it is critically important to understand the current rule (as of this post date) for receiving a bonus offer from any card. Right now if you have EVER held any specific AMEX card you cannot get the new card bonus again. You can get the card again for all of the perks, but not the new card bonus points. This means even if you made the mistake of downgrading (or upgrading) to this card from some other card, you have held it and cannot get the bonus ever again!

Also just like the others you can use this to avoid paying bag fees that are billed each way so you are talking $50 round trip. The Reserve Delta personal card gets you your first bag free. You don’t even have to pay for the ticket with the card to get the perk – it just MUST be in your Delta profile. The super simple math tells us that if you take just a couple of trips on Delta you have paid for the fee to hold the card. As added financial incentive you can have the first bag fee waived for up to 9 travelers with you on the same reservation. This bag fee waiver alone explains why I say if you fly Delta you really need to hold some kind of Delta AMEX card when you fly.

delta air lines carry-on size check box old sizewise 22-14-9

Please Delta don’t FORCE me to check my carry-on bag!

We again have the perk of priority boarding. You, and those with you on the same reservation, get Zone 1 boarding. You must understand this does not mean you are boarding first. Delta boarding is a bit confusing but the important bit is you need to understand that many times Delta will start forcing you to “gate check” your bag when you board after Zone 1. What this means is your approved carry-on size bag will be checked to your final destination whether you like it or not. If you care at all about overhead space, holding some kind of Delta AMEX card really is all but a must today.

faster security lines with the Delta Reserve card

Feel like an elite at security – NICE!

But even before you get to the gate did you know simply having this card gets you through security FASTER even when flying coach on Delta at many locations worldwide? Yep! If this card is in your profile, just like top elites, you can access the Sky Priority security lines.

cost for delta sky club membership per year executive and individual

Why pay for yearly club membership?

Once you get past security another big perk, when flying Delta, is access for you to the Sky Clubs. You can come and go as often as you like and visit as many clubs as you like both PRE and POST your Delta flight. Keep in mind this is access, not membership, so don’t expect to enter partner lounges with this card – only Sky Clubs. But when you compare the fee alone for individual membership you see why there is real value in holding the Reserve card!

But the real winner part of this card is if you want to keep your elite status with Delta the perk of using “Pay with Miles“. This allows you to spend your SkyMiles at 1 cent each booking flights on Delta.com. This is not always the best value / redemption for your miles, but it gives you tremendous flexibility to book anything you want that has any open seat. Plus, if you are working on any kind of status, you do earn FULL elite points or MQMs even if you pay for the flight in full with SkyMiles with the Pay with Miles perk. Lastly, as a side tip, always compare any award price to the option to Pay with Miles as sometimes this can be a cheaper option.

Also you get HUGE bonus MQMs for getting the card and for reaching the $30,000 in spend and again at the $60,000 level posted before 31DEC each year. This could mean the difference between earning status or not or reaching the next level. Not only do you earn bonus MQMs but you have, with this card ALONE, the chance to either keep the MQMs or to gift them to anyone you want. This means if you are not flying enough to attain elite status but you like all the other perks, you can give the bonus MQMs to say your spouse / +1. I love this perk. Also you can, by at least spending $25,000, earn the Delta Medallion Qualification Dollar Waiver.

get more upgrades with the delta reserve card

Hello! Yes I like MORE upgrades! You?

Do you like upgrades? I do. They are harder to get now that ever. I KNOW and have seen for a fact my holding the Delta AMEX Reserve card has been the difference between a coach ride and a 1st class ride. You tell me – how many upgrades do you want to miss before you see the value from the card? Folks this is not hard. I get it – you should too (even if you are a Diamond Medallion).

delta cheese plate EATS menu RenesPoints blog

20% savings can add up quick!

Just like the other two cards, when you pay for food or drinks on-board a Delta jet with your Delta Reserve card you save 20% off the published prices. The credit will hit your statement almost at the same time as the charge (or within a day or two I have found).

an example of savins with delta amex BOGOF cert renespoints blog

BIG savings possible each year!

Then we have something amazing that only kicks in year two of card membership that is the BOGOF or buy one get one free coach certificate limited to L,U,T, X, V fare classes but that means only the lowest E class is excluded. It is also open for 1st class seats, but notice it is highly restricted to A or I class fares not the discounted 1st class fares. This can mean it is much harder to spend and get value in 1st class than coach seats, but you have a choice. I know most readers USE this cert every year and save hundreds of dollars that more than offsets the annual fee for the card with this single perk alone. Some even get and hold BOTH the personal and business Delta Reserve card to get two certs each year (again after year two of card membership). Lastly on the BOGOF certs remember the primary flyer will earn points for the flight while the companion will not. The only downside of these certs is you can NOT upgrade to C+ or 1st class when flying these certs. But you will, if you have status, be able to select exit row or other preferred seats.

You can earn 2 SkyMiles per dollar when buying Delta tickets, but I tend to avoid this. I personally feel there are better cards that offer greater travel protection like the Citi BANK Prestige card that once you hit a delay of 3 hours or more benefits start to kick in. Yes, 2x per dollar is a nice perk but at least know there are other options that may be better personally for you.

Other than all these major travel perks that I value and I think others do too, as well as Delta flyers. But one last one outside the travel world is the amazing AMEX Extended Warranty perk. You need to read the details to make sure whatever you buy is covered but for most items you are basically adding one year of warranty to what you buy. I have again and again had AMEX simply give me my money back when something I purchased broke outside the manufacturer’s warranty. It is quick and simple and AMEX is amazing at taking care of you when you need it. This is simply real value and piece of mind.

   Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express <— Link

So there you are. To me, if you fly Delta, this is hands down the best card to have and hold and I practice what I preach year after year with this card!. – René



Editorial Note: This content is not provided by American Express. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by American Express.


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  1. Rene- I tried to access the sky priority security lane at MSP by showing my delta reserve AmExp and was turned away. The attendant said she was not aware of that perk and wouldn’t allow me access as my boarding pass didn’t say SKY. Is there a website that I could have shown her? Someone I could have talked to?

  2. @Doug – As mentioned in post, it MUST be in your profile in MY DELTA then it should should up. You could go to check-in and ask or even print out page from Delta.com or save screen shot on phone!

  3. How often have you been able to get companion first class seats and how much premium for these tickets have you had to pay over the P class? The big benefit for me is if I could more easily get the A or the I class without paying much of a premium over P class.

  4. Fyi, they actually removed the priority security perk. It used to only be visible if you printed your boarding pass. When it stopped printing, I complained to Delta. They emailed me back and stated that this perk is no longer available for this card. Huge dissapointment for me!

  5. @MHowland101 – I think your information is bad. It still shows live in all the AMEX wording AND on Delta.com as you can see. I would follow up again.
    “The designated frequent traveler security lines are offered during peak times in select cities for Diamond, Platinum, Gold Medallions, Virgin Australia Velocity Platinum, Virgin Australia Velocity Gold members, Delta Reserve Credit Card Members, and those customers traveling in Delta One™, First, or Business Class. When traveling from these cities, please look for Delta personnel to direct you to these lines.”

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