Chase Sapphire Reserve℠

Is Amex Platinum or Delta Reserve Better for Delta Flyers?

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

TPG reader Jimmy sent me a message on Facebook to ask about two premium credit cards:

“I travel nearly every week, mostly on Delta. Which card offers better value in those circumstances: Amex Platinum or Delta Reserve?”

Using the right credit card is an easy way to maximize the points and miles you earn on spending, but there are other factors to consider when choosing a card to match your travel patterns. This is especially true of premium credit cards, which come with higher annual fees, but tend to offer a wider array of benefits that can be particularly lucrative if they suit your needs.

Both the Platinum Card and the Delta Reserve Card from American Express are among the best cards for Delta flyers. Each one comes with a $450 annual fee, and there’s some overlap in terms of benefits. I think deciding between the two comes down to how much you value Delta Medallion status, and whether you could benefit from earning extra Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) each year.

The Reserve card offers 15,000 SkyMiles and 15,000 MQMs when you spend $30,000 in a calendar year, plus another 15,000 of each when you spend $60,000. It sounds like Jimmy is already flying enough to qualify for Gold status (including the revenue requirements), but you could get a lot of value from those spending bonuses if the extra MQMs help you reach Platinum or Diamond.

If you don’t care about elite status, then I think Amex Platinum offers better value overall. Both cards give you access to Delta Sky Clubs (when ticketed for same-day travel on a Delta-operated flight) and charge you for additional guests. However, Amex Platinum also gets you into Priority Pass and Centurion Lounges, which can help when you book with another airline or end up in an airport without a Sky Club.

The Platinum card comes with several other great benefits, such as the $200 annual airline fee credit, the $100 Global Entry application fee credit and Gold elite status with both Starwood and Hilton. Delta Reserve offers a 20% discount on Delta in-flight purchases, a free checked bag and priority boarding. Those are all nice perks for Delta flyers, but they’re not game changers.

Bag
Unless you stand to benefit from earning bonus MQMs, the Amex Platinum card offers better value.

Keep in mind that neither card is a good option for actually earning Delta miles — the Reserve card earns 2 miles per dollar on Delta purchases and the Platinum card earns 2 points per dollar when you book through Amex Travel, but there are no other bonus categories. Amex Membership Rewards transfer instantly to Delta at a 1:1 ratio, and I’d much rather earn the more flexible points than SkyMiles. However, you should look elsewhere if you want a card to maximize your return on everyday spending.

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

Apply Now
  • Get 40,000 points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit. Up to $200 a year in baggage fees and more at one airline.
  • There are no foreign transaction fees with your Platinum Card.
  • Enroll to enjoy the benefits of complimentary Hilton HHonors™ Gold Status.
  • Get reservations with Platinum Card® Concierge to enjoy an exquisite dining experience with the #AmexPlatinum Dining Program. Learn more.
  • No interest charges because you pay your balance in full each month.
  • Terms and limitations apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR Regular APR Annual Fee Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Rating
N/A N/A $450 0% Excellent Credit