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5 reasons to switch from the Delta SkyMiles Reserve to the Amex Platinum

March 16, 2022
15 min read
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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here - Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card

Frequent Delta Air Lines flyers have two fantastic card choices that can elevate their airport and flying experience. While some may gawk at the hefty annual fees, these two cards are well worth the price for those who are loyal to the Atlanta-based carrier.

I'm talking, of course, about the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express.

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(Photo by The Points Guy)

For those who value Delta Medallion elite status, Sky Club access and the annual round-trip companion certificate, you may already carry Delta's most premium card in your wallet.

But, for roughly $150 more every year, I'd argue that the Amex Platinum may actually make more sense for most travelers.

Here are the five reasons why you should consider switching from the Delta Reserve to the Amex Platinum.

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Comparing the Delta Reserve to the Amex Platinum

FeatureDelta ReserveAmex Platinum
Welcome offerEarn 100,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases on your new card in your first three months. Offer ends April 13.Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on your new card in your first six months of card membership.
Annual fee$550 (see rates and fees).$695 (see rates and fees).
Earning rates
  • 3 miles per dollar on Delta purchases.
  • 1 mile per dollar on all other eligible purchases.
  • 5 points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or through Amex Travel, on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.
  • 5 points per dollar on prepaid hotels booked through Amex Travel.
  • 1 point per dollar on all other eligible purchases.
Delta perks*
  • Delta Sky Club membership, with two one-time guest passes given per year.
  • Complimentary access to the American Express Centurion lounge if you have a same-day Delta flight.
  • Annual round-trip companion certificate for domestic first class, Delta Comfort+ or Main Cabin each year upon renewal of the card.
  • Upgrade priority over other Medallion members within the same Medallion level and fare class grouping.
  • Access to complimentary upgrades for non-elite members.
  • Earn 15,000 Medallion Qualification Miles after you spend $30,000 on purchases on your card in a calendar year, up to four times.
  • Medallion Qualification Dollar waiver toward Platinum, Gold or Silver Medallion status if you make at least $25,000 in purchases in a year with your card.
  • First checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • 20% discount on inflight purchases.
  • Delta Sky Club access on a same-day Delta flight.
  • Annual $200 airline statement credit, eligible for charges like baggage fees, inflight purchases and more by one U.S. airline you designate each year — so you could pick Delta Air Lines.
Other benefits*
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee credit, once every four years.
  • Travel and purchase protections.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • Access to the Global Lounge Collection, including Centurion lounges, Priority Pass lounges and more, as long as you show a same-day confirmed boarding pass on any airline. You can also bring up to two guests for no additional fee.
  • Up to a $200 annual prepaid hotel statement credit, up to a $189 annual Clear statement credit, up to $200 in Uber Cash statement credit and more annual statement credits.
  • Up to a $100 statement credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, once every four years.
  • Complimentary Gold elite status with Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy.
  • Complimentary memberships in Hertz Gold Plus Rewards, Avis Preferred and National Car Rental Emerald Club Executive.
  • Elite-like privileges when you book through the Amex Fine Hotels + Resorts program.
  • Access to the Amex Platinum Concierge.
  • Travel and purchase protections.
  • No foreign transaction fees.

* Enrollment is required for select benefits.

Related: Credit card showdown: Amex Platinum vs. Delta Reserve

Why you should switch to the Amex Platinum

At $695 per year, the Amex Platinum isn't an affordable card — but neither is the Delta Reserve. For a difference of $150, the Amex Platinum can offer a better value, since there's a long list of non-Delta benefits that are useful for other parts of the travel experience, whether that's with hotels or rental cars.

Let's take a closer look at the top five reasons the Amex Platinum wins over the Delta Reserve.

Expanded lounge access when there's not a Sky Club — including guest privileges

(Photo by Katie Genter/The Points Guy)

With the Amex Platinum, you get access to thousands of lounges worldwide. With only 50 Sky Clubs, the odds are likely that some of your travels bring you to places where there's not a location. And while you can visit the Amex Centurion lounge with the Delta Reserve, this is also strictly limited to if you're flying Delta the same day.

Here's a list of the lounge access you'll find with your handy Amex Platinum, dubbed the American Express Global Lounge Collection:

  • Amex Centurion Lounges.
  • International American Express Lounges.
  • Priority Pass lounges.
  • Escape lounges.
  • Delta Sky Clubs (on same-day Delta flights).
  • Plaza Premium lounges.
  • Airspace lounges.

In the off chance you aren't flying Delta, you won't be able to enter any airport lounge if you carry the Delta Reserve alone. But, with the Amex Platinum, the airline you fly won't matter (in most instances) — just show your same-day boarding pass, and you'll be able to enter most of the lounges as part of the Global Lounge Collection.

In addition, the guest access policy is much friendlier with the Amex Platinum. At most of the Global Lounge Collection lounges, you're able to bring up to two guests with you for no additional charge, making the Amex Platinum a better choice for couples, families or those who often travel with companions. (However, this will change at Centurion Lounges in February 2023.)

If you're a frequent traveler, this benefit alone is worth at least the $150 difference in the annual fees, in my opinion.

Just note that Sky Club access when flying Delta with either card is restricted to the primary cardholder only — unless one of the following holds true:

  • Your guests are authorized users on your Amex Platinum or cardholders in their own right — which gets them Sky Club access.
  • You use one of your annual guest passes as a Delta Reserve cardholder.
  • Your guest is a child under the age of 2.

Related: Best credit cards for airport lounge access in 2022

An annual airline credit more suitable for Delta elite members

A taste of Delta One. (Photo by Darren Murph/The Points Guy)

If you switch from the Delta Reserve to the Amex Platinum, you'll largely lose out on many of the Delta-specific benefits, such as a free checked bag and the 20% discount on inflight purchases.

But it's likely that you're already a Delta Medallion member. Even at the lowest level (Silver Medallion), you'll get a free first checked bag, so the Delta Reserve doesn't really present any added value.

However, the Amex Platinum comes with an up-to-$200 credit for airline incidentals every year. You'll pick one qualifying airline (Delta is on this list), and you'll be reimbursed throughout the year anytime you're charged for baggage, seat selection, onboard food and beverages, and more (up to a total of $200 per calendar year).

In fact, this could allow you to designate a different airline if you're loyal to Delta and have Medallion status but occasionally find yourself on another carrier. Without elite status, you'd likely need to pay for things like checked bags and extra-legroom seats. Selecting another airline could allow you to still use this airline incidentals statement credit — beyond what the Delta Reserve can offer you.

Related: How to choose your airline with the Amex Platinum $200 airline fee credit in 2022

Holistic travel perks, rather than just with Delta

The Conrad Tulum Riviera Maya. (Photo courtesy of Hilton)

By switching to the Amex Platinum, there are a few benefits that may be sorely missed, such as the companion certificate and the elite qualification boosts.

But you'll notice that many of the perks are the same (Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit) or can be replicated (airline incidentals credit) with the Amex Platinum — and there's more.

There's a lengthy list of travel benefits that come with the Amex Platinum, and many of them can help you save money or elevate your travel experience. Here are a few of my notable favorites:

Even if you don't use up every single credit or benefit, it's more than likely that you'll be able to make up that $150 difference in the annual fees.

Related: How to maximize your earning with the Amex Platinum

Ability to earn Membership Rewards points — worth significantly more than Delta SkyMiles

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Delta SkyMiles have been devalued a lot over the years. While you can find some great value when redeeming for domestic economy flights, you're out of luck if you're trying to find a long-haul business-class flight for reasonable rates.

Unfortunately, those devaluations will likely continue, but the best way to protect yourself from airline and hotel valuations is to open a card that earns transferable points, like the Amex Platinum.

With the American Express Membership Rewards program, you can transfer your points to 20-plus airline and hotel loyalty programs — including Delta SkyMiles. You can find even better value with certain partners, such as transferring to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club to score Delta One to Europe for just 50,000 Virgin miles. (Delta would charge at least six figures for this same redemption.)

That's why TPG values Membership Rewards points at 2 cents each, and Delta SkyMiles at 1.41 cents apiece.

These valuations also factor into the ongoing earning rates of these cards:

  • Amex Platinum:
  • 5 points per dollar on flights booked directly with the airline and through Amex Travel (on up to $500,000 per calendar year) — 10% return.
  • 5 points per dollar on prepaid hotels booked through Amex Travel — 10% return.
  • 1 point per dollar on all other eligible purchases — 2% return.
  • Delta Reserve:
  • 3 points per dollar on Delta purchases — 4.23% return.
  • 1 point per dollar on all other eligible purchases — 1.41% return.

Related: The complete guide to American Express Membership Rewards partners

If you fly Delta enough and you don't need the MQMs or an MQD waiver

(Photo by Darren Murph/The Points Guy)

One of the biggest draws of carrying the Delta Reserve is the ability to earn thousands of MQMs to achieve higher ranks of Medallion elite status from card spending alone.

If this applies to you, then consider downgrading to the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card. For a $250 annual fee (see rates and fees), you'll enjoy similar perks:

  • Earn 10,000 MQMs after you spend $25,000 on purchases on your card in a calendar year, up to two times per year.
  • Waive MQD requirements after spending $25,000 on purchases on your card in a calendar year.
  • Receive a domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your card.

And if you fly Delta enough organically to not need these MQM boosts or MQD waivers from these cobranded cards, then there's no reason why the Amex Platinum shouldn't be in your wallet rather than the Delta Reserve.

Related: The best credit cards to jump-start elite status in 2022

Are you eligible to apply for the Amex Platinum?

(Photo by Isabelle Raphael for The Points Guy)

Although both cards are issued by American Express, you won't be able to request a product change for your cards. If you decide the Amex Platinum is the right choice for you, you'll need to put in a new application outright — though be sure to check the CardMatch tool to see if you're targeted for an even higher welcome offer (subject to change at any time).

While that has a temporary effect on your credit score, you'll be able to work toward the 100,000-point welcome bonus.

To gauge your likelihood of approval, you can review Amex's eligibility requirements, but anecdotes report that you can carry up to five American Express cards at a time. In addition, you'll likely only be eligible for the welcome bonus if you've never held the Amex Platinum before. So, if you're clear on both fronts, then submitting an application would be your next step.

Then, you'll need to decide what to do with your Delta Reserve.

Your options are to cancel your card or downgrade to another Delta cobranded card. Here are those options:

If you do decide to cancel the Delta Reserve once your annual fee posts, be sure to call customer service and see if you're eligible for a retention offer. Issuers sometimes provide incentives to existing cardholders to keep their cards open — including statement credits or bonus miles. That could make the difference between keeping versus canceling your card.

Related: TPG readers find success with retention bonuses

Bottom line

Airline mile devaluations are frequent — and among the best ways to protect yourself is opening a card that earns transferable points instead. For those who already carry the Delta Reserve, the Amex Platinum can make a lot of sense in many ways, especially since you'll enjoy some Delta benefits and still be able to transfer your rewards to Delta SkyMiles in a pinch.


Official application link: The Amex Platinum.


For rates and fees of the Delta Sky Miles Blue, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta Sky Miles Gold, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta Sky Miles Platinum, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta Sky Miles Reserve, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Platinum Amex, please click here.

Featured image by (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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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

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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