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Should I Upgrade from Gold Delta Amex to Delta Reserve Card?

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TPG reader Rob sent me this question on Facebook:

“I’m currently a Delta Diamond Medallion member with a Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express. I’m trying to determine whether upgrading to the Delta Reserve Credit Card is worth the additional $350. I’ve asked dozens of people and received as many different opinions. What do you think?”

My answer to this question really depends on how much you spend. You should also consider the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express, which is kind of an in-between card that doesn’t come with lounge access, but still allows you to earn elite miles and has a much lower annual fee.

There are several options to consider if you plan on upgrading your card. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.
There are several options to consider if you plan on upgrading your card. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

If you fly Delta, you might be noticing that complimentary upgrades are becoming harder and harder to get. So one benefit of the Delta Reserve is that it acts as a trump card of sorts, so if you’re tied for an upgrade with another Medallion member, the Delta Reserve cardholder will get the upgrade first, so having this card may get you a few extra upgrades. The card also comes with lounge access, which you might appreciate if you’re a frequent traveler.

You also have the option of earning more Elite qualifying miles if you hit spending thresholds:

  • The Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express allows you to earn 10,000 bonus SkyMiles and 10,000 MQMs after spending $25,000, and another 10,000 bonus SkyMiles and 10,000 MQMs after spending $50,000.
  • The Delta Reserve card allows you to earn 15,000 bonus SkyMiles and 15,000 MQMs after spending $30,000, and an additional 15,000 bonus SkyMiles and 15,000 MQMs after spending $60,000.

Looking at the price of the Delta SkyClub alone, the $450 annual fee is worth it if you value lounge access. Plus, you get other perks like the companion ticket, which can help pay for the annual fee:

  • With the Platinum card, you’ll receive a domestic Main Cabin Companion Certificate each year upon renewal.
  • With the Reserve card, you’ll receive a domestic First Class or Main Cabin Companion Certificate each year upon renewal.

The Delta Reserve card is similar to The Platinum Card from American Express because it’s all about perks. If you really value lounge access, you may even want to consider the Amex Platinum instead, because you also get access to Centurion Lounges, Priority Pass, and access to Membership Rewards, which allows you to transfer to not only to Delta, but also about 20 other partners. The key difference is that with the Amex Platinum, you won’t get those MQMs or the Companion ticket. That’s the trade-off.

If you have any other questions, please tweet me @thepointsguy, message me on Facebook, or send me an email at info@thepointsguy.com.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

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  • Earn 40,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • 5X points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 a year for baggage fees and more at one airline. Terms Apply.
  • As a Platinum Card Member, you can enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations worldwide. Terms Apply.
  • Enroll to enjoy the benefits of complimentary Hilton HHonors™ Gold Status with your Platinum Card.®
  • No interest charges because you pay your balance in full each month.
  • Terms and Conditions apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR Regular APR Annual Fee Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Rating
N/A N/A $450 0% Excellent Credit