4 reasons to upgrade from the Delta SkyMiles Platinum to the Delta SkyMiles Reserve Amex

Nov 7, 2021

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The Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card and the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card are top-notch products for Delta flyers. They both have heightened welcome offers (through Nov. 10, 2021) and come with valuable travel perks like priority boarding and free checked bags.

Their value propositions diverge after that, however. The Amex Delta Reserve comes with a substantially higher fee than the Amex Delta Platinum, for good reason.

Should Delta Platinum cardholders look to make an upgrade to the Reserve? Let’s examine five reasons you might want to upgrade to the Amex Delta Reserve, and outline the most strategic way to go about it.

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Comparing the Amex Delta Platinum and Delta Reserve

Feature Amex Delta Platinum Amex Delta Reserve
Welcome offer 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening (offer ends Nov. 10, 2021) 80,000 bonus miles and 20,000 Medallion Qualification Miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening (offer ends Nov. 10, 2021)
Annual fee $250 (see rates and fees) $550 (see rates and fees)
Earning rates 3x miles on eligible Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels

2x miles on restaurants and U.S. supermarkets

1x miles on other eligible purchases

3x miles on eligible Delta purchases

1x miles on other eligible purchases

Baggage First checked bag free on Delta flights (including up to eight companions) First checked bag free on Delta flights (including up to eight companions)
Travel perks Discounted Sky Club access; priority boarding; 20% off inflight purchases

Global Entry/TSA PreCheck fee credit (up to $100 every four years for Global Entry and every 4.5 years for TSA PreCheck)

Trip delay insurance

Delta SkyClub membership; priority boarding; 20% off inflight purchases

Global Entry/TSA PreCheck fee credit (up to $100 every four years for Global Entry and every 4.5 years for TSA PreCheck)

Two one-time SkyClub guest passes, access to Amex Centurion lounges when flying on Delta tickets purchased with your Delta Reserve, access to complimentary upgrades for non-elite members

Trip delay insurance

Companion ticket Domestic main-cabin, round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your card Domestic first class, Delta Comfort+® or main cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your card
Status Boost 10,000 MQMs after you spend $25,000 in a calendar year, and again after spending $50,000

Throughout 2021, earn an additional 2,500 MQMs each time you spend $25,000 on purchases (up to two times)

15,000 MQMs after you spend $30,000 in a calendar year and again after spending $60,000, $90,000 and $120,000 in a calendar year

Throughout 2021, earn an additional 3,750 MQMs each time you spend $30,000 on purchases  (up to four times)

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

Why you should upgrade to the Amex Delta Reserve

Fantastic airport lounge access

Acquiring airport lounge access is one of the most powerful steps you can take to improve your travel experience. A handful of travel credit cards offer airport lounge access as a card benefit, and the Amex Delta Reserve is one of them. Here’s what you’ll get:

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Amex Centurion Lounges are the gold standard among domestic U.S. lounges. They serve free hot meals and mixed drinks, and some even offer spa services, wine tasting and family rooms.

Delta Sky Club lounges also tend to be above-average among legacy U.S. carrier lounges, in my opinion.

By contrast, the Amex Delta Platinum won’t get you into Centurion Lounges and you’ll have to pay to use Delta’s SkyClubs.

Improved companion certificate

The Amex Delta Reserve comes with a companion certificate after each account anniversary. You can use this for one round-trip Delta flight in:

  • First class
  • Delta Comfort+
  • Main cabin

You’ll only be charged the taxes and fees (no more than $75) on your companion ticket. This companion fare is only valid within the 48 contiguous United States (unless you live in Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands).

The Amex Delta Platinum only allows you to redeem your companion certificate for a round-trip main cabin flight. If you manage to use your Delta Reserve’s companion certificate for a fancier seat, you could save hundreds of dollars over the Delta Platinum offering.

Better flight perks

The Amex Delta Reserve makes you eligible for a complimentary seat upgrade, even if you don’t have elite status. And if you do have elite status, the card ensures your upgrade will have priority over other members of the same elite status level.

Easier path to elite status based on spending

The Amex Delta Reserve earns 15,000 MQMs after you spend $30,000, up to four times in a calendar year. That means you could earn up to 60,000 MQMs after spending $120,000 — a huge boost toward Delta elite status. This is 40,000 more MQMs than you can earn purely through spending on the Amex Delta Platinum.

Cardholders with either product will receive an MQD waiver for Silver, Gold or Platinum Medallion status after spending $25,000 on eligible purchases in a calendar year (a waiver for Diamond status requires $250,000 of spending in a calendar year).

As a reference, here’s what it takes to earn Delta elite status:

  • Silver: Earn 25,000 MQMs or 30 MQSs and $3,000 MQDs or MQD waiver
  • Gold: Earn 50,000 MQMs or 60 MQSs and $6,000 MQDs or MQD waiver
  • Platinum: Earn 75,000 MQMs or 100 MQSs and $9,000 MQDs or MQD waiver
  • Diamond: Earn 125,000 MQMs or 140 MQSs and $15,000 MQDs or MQD waiver

Note that both the Delta Reserve and Delta Platinum offer a 25% boost on MQMs earned through spending in 2021.

How to upgrade to the Amex Delta Reserve

If you desire, you can “product-change” your Amex card to a card in the same family. For example, you can ask American Express to swap your Amex Delta Platinum into another personal Amex Delta card. Some cardholders prefer to do this because they keep the same account and card number. Simply call the number on the back of your card and ask American Express to upgrade your Delta Platinum to a Delta Reserve.

However, this may not be the best idea, particularly with Amex, for one main reason: Amex gives you the opportunity to earn a welcome bonus only once — and you won’t earn a welcome bonus when you product-change. Instead of upgrading your card to the Amex Delta Reserve, you could apply for the Amex Delta Reserve and earn the welcome offer plus all its accompanying perks and benefits and get rid of your Amex Delta Platinum later.

You’re still welcome to upgrade your existing Amex Delta Platinum, but you’ll be forfeiting a welcome bonus worth several hundred dollars in Delta flights.

Related: Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card review

Bottom line

The Amex Delta Reserve is worth considering over the Amex Delta Platinum for frequent Delta flyers because of its excellent airport lounge access, improved companion certificate and fast track to elite status.

The Amex Delta Platinum is far from a slouch — but if you travel on Delta with regularity, the lounge access and elite status perks alone might be worth the upgrade to the Amex Delta Reserve.

Apply here: Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card
Apply here: Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card

For rates and fees of the Amex Delta Platinum, click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Delta Reserve, click here.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.