RenesPoints twitter follower Alex Cannon the other day asked me an interesting question that is basically is it worth spending money on your Delta Amex Reserve card <-LINK this year for the MQM bonus points. It is a hard question to simply answer yes or no because of a number of factors. I see them this way:
- Value of points (Skypennies)
- Value of status level gained
- Value of more upgrades
- Value of the card itself (perks)
You see why this is not a simple yes or no answer? Let’s start with the simple one. Delta, from the CEO to the VPs, all “feel” that a SkyMile is worth 1 cent, that is, SkyPennies. If they feel that way then we really should as well. So consider your SkyMiles card as a 1% cash back card (yes, you can get more value out of your SkyMiles with work but this is the base line to keep in your head). If you have never had the Delta Amex Reserve personal or business card you can get 40,000 SkyMiles (after minimum spend). Thus year one the value of the Skypennies does just about offset the fee for the card (not waived $450). On to the next point.
If you do spend $30,000 on the card, and that spend posts before 31DEC each year, you get 15,000 bonus MQMs (as well as 15,000 bonus SkyMiles). Do this again i.e. $60,000 spend you get another 15k+15k bonus. 30,000 MQMs could be enough to push you to a much higher elite level and each of these levels has real value even adjusting for all the devaluations in 2019. Here is the thing on this point – it is subjective. To some the perks of whatever Delta Medallion level are nearly priceless – to others, not so much. This value is a personal valuation not a hard cash value! Let’s hit point three.
Coach tickets are usually cheap. First class tickets are normally expensive. Delta wants to “giveaway” fewer and fewer complimentary upgrades each year. I like free upgrades and the fact is simply holding either the personal or business Delta Amex Reserve card (despite the large yearly fee) it will mean more upgrades for you. If you also pair this with at least $25,000 in spend each year you will see even more upgrades. These are the facts in print from Delta and Amex and I have benefited from this for years. When I consider the value of dozens of free 1st class upgrades a year it cements my feeling about this card as part of my travel mix (i.e. wow there is real value here). On to the last point.
Most of us who hold travel cards do so for the perks (or we would all just get no fee cards – right?)! If you notice the shot from Delta.com at the top of this post Delta is telling me I am getting real value from the card. I just the past week spent a number of days in Florida to get away from the snow here up north. I used my Amex Bogo cert and booked cheap coach tickets. All the upgrades cleared for my wife and I a few days before flight. I enjoyed a salad for lunch in the Sky Club as the Reserve card is every bit as good as real individual club membership in 2019. Bottom line is even discounting all of the above – yes – I do get real cost value from holding my Delta Amex Reserve card (even if I do not spend anything on it).
So there you are. If you fly Delta on any kind of a regular basis at all, the card you should hold is the Delta Amex Reserve card <-LINK (personal or business does not matter). While the $450 fee is nasty the value of the card does far outweigh or negate the fee for me year after year after year. – René