AMEX Delta Reserve Benefits and Perks You Might Have Overlooked

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INSIDER SECRET: Having a Delta credit card can take the sting out of basic economy flights because you’ll get priority boarding and a free checked bag on Delta operated flights.

With the Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express, you’ll earn 40,000 Delta miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of opening this card.

Plus, you’ll earn another 15,000 miles and 15,000 MQMs if you spend $30,000 on purchases in one calendar year. And you can earn an additional 15,000 miles and 15,000 MQMs if you reach $60,000 in spending on purchases in a calendar year.

Essentially, there are tiers of rewards you can earn. So when you open the card, you’ve got the potential to earn more than just the initial rewards offer. But what else? If you’re in this for the long run you’ll want to know what ongoing benefits make the AMEX Delta Reserve worth keeping.

I’ll outline the AMEX Delta Reserve benefits and perks to help you decide if it deserves a spot in your wallet.

When I flew round-trip to Spain with the help of the miles I earned from the AMEX Delta Reserve, I only had to pay the taxes and fees! But the AMEX Delta Reserve benefits and perks don’t stop there (Photo by Erin LIzzo/Million Mile Secrets)

AMEX Delta Reserve Benefits and Perks

Apply Here:   Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express

So, what makes the AMEX Delta Reserve valuable in the long run? After you’ve met the minimum spending requirement to unlock your welcome bonus, what makes this card worth keeping? For $450 per year (See Rates & Fees), you’re going to want to know the answer that question.

Is this going to be the “I can take you almost anywhere” card? Yes. Is this going to be the “I can’t live without you” card? Perhaps.

From outside the box, it looks similar to many other cards in its class. Standard features that you’ll receive with this card include:

Earn 2 Miles for Every $1 Spent With Delta

This includes buying tickets through, in-flight snacks and entertainment (sure, spend a few bucks for that rom-com you’ve been wanting to see when you’re on a long flight), purchasing Delta lounge passes, and more.

Here’s a trick I’ve used in the past to amp up the miles I earn with Delta. I offer to buy my friends’ plane tickets, and they pay me back. For example, I’m traveling to Nashville in a few weeks for a girls trip. I bought all of the flights, and everyone Venmo’d me immediately for the cost of the tickets. I was then able to pay off my card right away, and I earned 3,000 bonus miles without spending any more money than the cost of my own ticket. What a win!

First Checked Bag Is Free

These days, you probably know how baggage fees can really add up quickly. When you’re headed out for a weekend vacation or a short business trip, you might be able to squeeze everything into your tiny carry-on and get away with it.

But…for those travelers headed out with kids or on longer trips where much harder to bring just a backpack, checking bags can add some stress (and expense). With the AMEX Delta Reserve, you’ll get your first checked bag for free, along with up to 8 others on the same reservation. Just be sure to add your Delta frequent flyer number to your reservation.

Other Features That Make the Delta Reserve Card a Keeper

There are a lot of truly valuable incentives that come along with the AMEX Delta Reserve. These are the benefits that will renew with the card every year.

Annual Free Flight for a Companion

With this benefit alone, you can well receive more savings than the annual fee. With the Delta Companion Certificate, you can bring one person on one domestic flight with you every year you renew your card. Even if you purchase a First or Business Class ticket, they’ll be granted an equivalent ticket as well. So you might as well splurge and enjoy that champagne in the sky!

Free Access to the Delta Airport Lounges

Cardholders will be able to go into any Delta Sky Club for free by showing their Delta boarding pass and their Delta Reserve Credit Card. Plus (and this is a big plus), you can bring up to 2 additional people into the lounge with you for $29 per person. If you’re traveling with friends and have several hours to kill at the airport, this is a great deal (especially considering you’d probably each spend at least $30 on a meal and a beer if you weren’t at the Delta lounge).

Baggage Insurance

This is one of those perks that doesn’t seem like a big deal until you really need it. Cardholders can receive up to $1,250 for a lost/stolen/damaged carry-on and up to $500 for checked bags. The nice thing about this insurance is that you’re covered not just on flights, but also on cruises, bus and train rides, etc., in which you’ve purchased a ticket with your card.

Priority Boarding

Some people might overlook this perk, but those who rely on finding overhead space to stash their carry-on really understand the value of being at the front of the line to board the plane. When you have the AMEX Delta Reserve and attach your Delta frequent flyer number to your reservation, you’ll receive Main Cabin 1 priority boarding.

That doesn’t mean you’ll be FIRST aboard (you’ll still wait for families, military, special needs, etc.), but you’ll be ahead of all the standard boarding groups.

Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance

Do you know how the rental car companies always try to sell you extra insurance that ends up doubling the cost of your bill? And how you never really know if it’s worth it, but then again, any insurance is going to be cheaper than paying for damages out of pocket. At least, that’s my thought process.

With this card, you’re covered with secondary rental insurance. What does that mean exactly? When you pay for the rental with your AMEX Delta Reserve card, you can decline the collision damage waiver and still be covered if the car is stolen or damaged. The card will cover what your personal coverage does not cover.

Exclusions apply, of course, so it’s always important to read the fine print before declining insurance.

Entertainment Access

This card allows access to purchase tickets for certain shows and events before they go on sale to the general public.

I know, RANDOM. That said, this can be a huge benefit for those who are looking to snag pre-sale tickets to a show that could sell out quickly. Last summer I was able to grab tickets to Pearl Jam before they went on sale, sold out, and inflated to $400 a piece on StubHub. Just one of those things that can make life a bit easier…

Discounts on In-Flight Services

Sometimes you get hungry, bored, thirsty, just downright needy on a flight. You know?

Delta offers 20% off in the form of a statement credit on eligible purchases of food, beverages, or audio headsets when you’re aboard your Delta flight. This is just one of those nice-to-have perks that might not immediately grab your attention, but it feels like a small “thank you” for using your card. And as we covered earlier, you’ll get 2X the points on any Delta purchases. Double thanks!

No Foreign Transaction Fees*

It doesn’t really make sense to pay extra money for purchases when you’re traveling, but some credit cards sneak these in.

Some credit cards will charge you a 3% fee when you use the card outside the US. Not cool. With the AMEX Delta Reserve, you don’t have to worry about that.

*(See Rates & Fees)

Bottom Line

When you start to add up the benefits of the AMEX Delta Reserve, the value really exceeds the $450 annual fee. But before you apply, it’s really important to consider how much YOU will use this card. If Delta is your primary airline, or if you live in an area where Delta is a hub, it totally makes sense to commit to using this card and flying with Delta. On the other hand, if it’s going to be a chore or if Delta flights are more expensive in your city, take a pass.

Long story short – apply if you can spend $3,000 on purchases in 3 months to unlock the welcome bonus, and you want to fly on Delta. Also, my personal opinion is that if you know you’ll be taking at least one international trip on a Delta flight, I think the lounge pass and miles you’ll accumulate on that flight make it worth it.

Have you considered applying for a card like the AMEX Delta Reserve that has a higher-than-usual annual fee? Any reservations? Do you think there’s enough value in this card to make it worth it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below! And apply for our newsletter for more card benefit reviews and general travel tricks:

If you want to learn more about Delta’s loyalty program, check out these guides:

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For rates and fees of the Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express, please click here.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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