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

March 22, 2015
3 min read
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 from American Express is worth the additional $350. I've asked dozens of people and received as many different opinions. What do you think?"

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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.

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® Credit Card from American Express 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.

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Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

1 - 3X points
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases

Intro offer

Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points60,000 points
For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

Annual Fee

$95

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent, Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

    Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points
    60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent, Good

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases