Travel Related

Today I Downgraded my Delta Amex Reserve Card – It’s just not worth holding for now!

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


I have held either a personal or business (or both) Delta Amex Reserve card for as long as I can remember. I am talking about decades of card membership. My business Reserve card is one of my oldest credit cards I have ever held. Every year come January 1st it has been my go-to card for spending at least $60,000 per year. Why?

But then 2020 and COVID happened.

I have not been on a Delta jet since February when I returned from my NCL Breakaway Western Caribbean cruise (at least I got to see the new New Orleans Sky Club). I do not plan to get on a Delta jet, or any other airline, for the rest of 2020 because it is clearly not safe, or enjoyable, to travel just now, no matter what Delta does or says to try to convince me otherwise. I will be shocked if I fly before the summer of 2021 and it may be as late at Q4 of 2021 before I once again set foot into an airport.

Thus almost my entire list of benefits for the Delta Amex Reserve card is all but worthless (for now). They have NOT done smart things like the non-Delta Amex Platinum card has done to extend other non-travel related credits and perks to make me want to keep the card (and even use it for daily spend).

Beyond that, I am still really ANGRY at Delta for the change to the ¼ million spend change to be MQD exempt for Diamond status. I hope Delta’s loyalty people rethink this ridiculously punishing change in value to my Delta Amex card – but I am not holding my breath.

I have no interest in putting extra spend on any Delta Amex card just now because after Delta has mortgaged Skymiles I fully expect the prices for awards to go up and with NO PUBLISHED AWARD CHARTS we all know Delta can, if they want to, charge 1+ Million miles for a single award ticket.

Delta has called 2020 a “push” by rolling over my Diamond status from this year to next year. But with likely very limited flying next year I have little incentive to keep the card for, presumably, a more normal 2022 flying year. If 2022 is looking better then I can plan a bunch of mileage runs to start the year along with making card choices.

I did call the Amex retention line but they were not willing to waive the fee for a year or give me a massive amount of Skymiles as a motivation to keep the card as is. That left with me few options other than downgrade to the “blue” card.

Bottom line: I am happy to pay $55 for a year to keep   “a” Delta    Amex card and only spend on things that can reward me with Amex Offers at a discount and keep my large credit line alive until the time I again want to upgrade the card back to a Reserve card.

Now it is up to you dear Delta Air Lines to make me want to do that again rather than dump it and move on and to fix so many of the things they have broken with Skymiles over the years – that and for COVID to go away and be safe to travel all over the world once again. – René

 

PS – Hey Delta, since you read the blog, how about you start by bringing back stopovers on award tickets! THAT would be a   HUGE   move in the right direction. 

Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

René de Lambert is a contributing writer and the founder of RenesPoints. He is an avid Delta and SkyTeam flyer who has held Delta’s top Diamond Medallion status for many years and flown millions of miles.

34 Comments

  1. I have been thinking the same thing – to dump my Reserve card. No benefit to me at this time. I am truly surprised they did not try to retain you. It is only a matter of time that more Reserve Card holders do the same, and they will have a flood. I do not think they are handling this well.

    • @Don – They would have to have offered me over 100,000 Skymiles to consider keeping it and I said as much with all the devaluations Delta has rolled out (and ending stopovers on awards). The rep could not offer me anything that high. If they had waved the fee for a year I would have kept it.

  2. Greg in MSP Reply

    I did the same thing in September and downgraded to Amex Blue. It was a pretty easy decision given the circumstances. I’m not even sure I’ll be able to use any of the remaining “Reserve” card benefits that posted to my Delta account before expiration like the free companion fare, the free companion voucher for SkyClub or the free drink coupons. I don’t plan to fly anytime soon.

  3. Interesting. I had no idea the Delta Reserve card has been around for “decades”. So at least 20 years? Learn something new everyday!

    • @Jimmy – Well it was at one point a Delta Platinum card but still the same line of credit for me as I upgraded at some point many years ago.

  4. AlohaDaveKennedy Reply

    Just downgraded our Delta Platinums to Blues and will later dump these for Greens to get the MR sign on bonus. Not expecting to take any flights until next September so even free Delta Blues offer nothing to us now.

  5. Did the same to my Amex/Delta. It is a competitive business and they have lost my business for now. Happy to move around to other cards that offer benefits in areas that are needed such as on line shopping. They have no interest in retention at this point as indicated by their response to customers. Dropped the Chase Marriott card as well recently for the same reason.

  6. I did the exact same thing a couple of weeks back! Why pay for benefits that you cannot use!

  7. I downgraded my personal Delta Reserve to a and cancelled my Delta Platinum Amex. For my business Delta Reserve they offered a $125 statement credit (without asking) so I kept it since I was close to spending another 30K. Let’s see for next year

  8. We have 7 Delta cards in the family and all but 1 were downgraded or canceled this year. My business spends more than $500,000.00 a month on credit cards and we have switched to cash back, transferable currency cards and the travel cards that are offering none travel usage this year. I can’t see stock piling more miles and points when there is little use for them anytime soon.

  9. 7 year Diamond Medallion.

    I dropped my Delta Reserve card the day they made the 1/4 million change. Switched to Amex Platinum.; not beholden to Delta any longer.

  10. @René,

    I too have been thinking about downgrading my cards. I have the Reserve Business card and a Plat personal. Since Amex has a much lower credit line on the personal over the business card, I was thinking of getting rid of the Plat and keeping the reserve. I also have a Regular Amex Plat business card.

    I did get a free credit on the non delta card, haven’t checked on the DL branded cards and reduced the additional reserve card I had for my SO, as she has stopped flying and therefore her cheap sky club membership isnt needed, I have no choice but to fly one trip a month to Nashville for me new job. I lost my old one due to Covid. So I am currently flying and am a Plat on Delta.

    MY SO’s new employer will allow her to work remotely on occasion, so I am using one of the 3 companion certs in my account for a trip in November and it alone is saving me over $390, so I figure to get two free Round trips a year, its worth keeping for now. I may reduce it to Platinum from Reserve, as I get skyclub access on my regular Plat Amex.

    I havent tried to use the free first class companion yet. ……..

  11. My husband and I each have a Delta Reserve personal card. We are also NOT using any benefits at all. First time we ‘might’ fly again would be November 2021. When I called, they said if I downgrade to the free BLUE card, we will lose the companion certificates in our accounts. Does that sound right?? Might not matter since they are only good until May 2021, anyhow! Any NEGATIVES to downgrading right now?? Thanks!

  12. Greg in MSP Reply

    I cancelled my Reserve card but noticed that my companion certificate and free SkyClub voucher had already posted into my Delta account. Check your Delta account to see if they have posted for you, once they have, you can cancel the Reserve card and they can’t deduct them back from your Delta account so you get the benefits without having to pay for the additional year of the card.

  13. I dumped mine months ago, and will probably pick up the AA Executive card early next year.

    I still have to fly and I’m not pleased with the onboard service cuts, and the “this is about safety” gaslighting when it’s really about cost cutting. I’m pretty much through with Delta, especially since every AA flight I’ve been on instead in the last few months has been great.

    Once gate 35X goes away at DCA, I don’t think I can justify connecting anymore anyway. It’s to the point that both of my choice benefits selections for PM will probably be miles instead of RUCs.

  14. Does anyone know if the DL has re-instituted the “buy a gift card with SkyMiles option?” I looked and can’t find it. I have 2 million SkyMiles I think would be better for me if they got converted to $20,000 cash.

  15. great millage/travel rewards by using credit cards are now a thing of the past. The only credit card I use now and rarely, is my Amazon Visa. The rest I put on my debit card and pay cash for.

  16. I have the Amex Platinum and Delta as my go to Airlines. PreCovid19 the annual fee was worth it. Now I don’t know. I haven’t flown in a year.

  17. I have 2 Reserve cards, with one renewing in December. I called to inquire about a retention bonus, and was told to get lost. I just passed the $60k spend, and will downgrade or cancel as soon as it posts. Is there any chance that Delta will claw back any posted benefits?

    • @Ed – Not if you have held the card for 12 months or more no and have met the spend and paid the card off IN FULL.

  18. I called and spoke to a supervisor. If you have any flight certificates from the BOGOs in your Delta account… You must book them before canceling the card or they will be removed. We also have two cards but we decided not to downgrade in the hopes that we will use our flight certificates before the end of 2021 since they have extended them. Our flights are often $450 so it seems like a wash to us.

    • @Varda – They are lying to you. We have YEARS worth of data points that they do not go away. Mine is still in there and I downgraded fyi!

  19. I am not clear what a “data point” is! Please clarify.
    —I made several calls and was told that unused flight certificates would be inactivated. I did not believe them and finally spoke to a supervisor who checked with her supervisor. I would like to think this is still inaccurate! But I really don’t want to lose my certificates. What do you think?

    • @Varda – Again, call all you want, you will keep getting bad info. For YEARS now, here on the blog, everyone has shared “data points” that the certs do NOT GO AWAY once they are in your “My Delta” account. You simple have to pay with an Amex card when you spend them – ANY Amex card – in fact anyone’s Amex card even.

  20. Ok! Thanks so much for your wise advice!! Sad that we get lied to, right?

    • @Varda – Why we are here. Also, just as a tiny warning, Amex has been for the past few years on a tear to crush things that have worked for many many years so who knows. Example, you used to be able to buy Delta eGift cards and get yearly Plat card travel credits that way – no more. There are others but we just keep adapting as we can.

  21. I have had an AX card since 1976. Upgraded to Delta Reserve years ago. Got one for my wife and my business. Spent $150K-plus for several years to maximize MQMs. Enjoyed Diamond status for 10+ years. Even got picked up in a Porsche. Twice!

    Very disappointed when the $250K minimum spend was implemented. Realized ongoing loyalty to AX and Delta was foolish. Started flying AA in 2019. Got a Chase Sapphire card. I will fly DL when if makes sense since I am 15K from “earning” 2 Million Mile Status.

    My Delta Reserve renews this week. Will certainly downgrade. Probably to a no fee card until my travel pattern is re-established, if ever.

  22. Just downgraded my Delta Reserve card. The chat agent tried everything possible to keep me, but in the end I had my mind set on downgrading to the Gold card. Really sad to have to do it. It has been my favorite rewards card of all time.

  23. Varda Cheskis Sauer Reply

    I have yet to be able to get a straight answer on whether or not we would lose our Delta vouchers in our files. Some agents have told us yes and some agents have told us no. Did you get a definitive answer on this? We are paying for two Delta reserve cards! We have lots of vouchers and we are not willing to lose those. Thanks!!

    • @Varda – Here is your answer – I downgraded Nov (after the BOGO loaded into Delta.com) – I still have BOGO voucher – IE they do NOT go away!

    • I downgraded my personal/consumer Reserve to the Delta Amex Blue card last month. Despite the Amex rep telling me the certificate would void, low and behold, it’s still there.

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