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Why the Delta SkyMiles Reserve card is the best card I’ve added to my wallet in the past year

My foray into the world of credit cards, points and miles really began when I joined TPG about a year and a half ago. I had a couple of cards prior to working here, but I didn’t give much thought to which card to use, or when or how to maximize the benefits.

Now that I am surrounded by credit card experts every day, my strategy has changed drastically. I’ve added about four new cards to my wallet and even made a spreadsheet to ensure I am using the right card for the right purchases.

Of those four new cards, I’ve enjoyed some of the most useful benefits from my Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card. Here are four reasons why I love this card and how I get the most out of it.

Perks when flying Delta

I actually hadn’t stepped foot into an airport lounge until I began working at TPG, but this card comes with complimentary access to Delta Sky Club lounges and American Express Centurion Lounges. Now, I get to visit a lounge almost every time I fly.

Having a quiet space to work or rest in between flights is a huge help during a long layover. Or, if I am being a responsible adult and get to the airport early, I can grab a bite to eat or a drink before my flight without paying the high airport prices.


With my Delta SkyMiles Reserve, I also get two one-time Sky Club guest passes each year upon account renewal, allowing me to bring family members or friends to the lounge with me when we travel together.

In addition to lounge access, I get my first checked bag free (a huge perk when traveling with my three kids), priority boarding and discounts on inflight purchases and award redemptions. The Delta SkyMiles Reserve also provides a statement credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, so I can breeze through the airport when I fly.

Valuable welcome offer

When I applied for it, the Delta SkyMiles Reserve came with a lucrative welcome offer of 100,000 Delta SkyMiles after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first six months. (The offer has since expired.)

Right now, it’s offering 60,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 in purchases on your new card in your first six months of card membership. If you want to add this card to your wallet, we recommend holding out for an offer of over 80,000 bonus miles. The Delta SkyMiles Reserve does come with an annual fee of $550 (see rates and fees).

Neuschwanstein Castle

After earning the bonus, I redeemed some of those miles to book positioning flights for my first big award redemption trip to Germany and Belgium with my husband last fall. I also used some of the points to bring my family along on a work trip to Disneyland earlier this year. The cost of flights when we all fly together can add up quickly. The welcome bonus I earned with the Delta SkyMiles Reserve was a huge help in keeping our flight expenses down so we could splurge a bit at Disney.

Flexible award redemptions

When I’ve searched for Delta SkyMiles redemptions, I’ve been impressed with my options. You can redeem SkyMiles for Delta flights, as I did, but also for flights on partner airlines like Air France, Korean Air, Virgin Atlantic and WestJet. This opens up a ton of flight choices.


I also like how Delta displays its award pricing. In the above example, I entered dates of Nov. 9 through Nov. 12 for a round-trip flight between my home airport and Orlando International Airport (MCO).

In addition to viewing the prices for my dates, Delta displays pricing for alternate date combinations. You can get an even better redemption value if your dates are flexible. Some airlines make finding the best award availability very difficult, so I appreciate how easy it is with Delta.

Annual companion certificate

With my Delta SkyMiles Reserve, I also get an annual companion certificate added to my account each year after my anniversary date. The companion certificate is valid for one round-trip ticket anywhere in the 48 contiguous United States (unless you live in Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands).

When you purchase a round-trip ticket in first class, Delta Comfort+ or the Main Cabin, you can use the certificate to have a companion fly with you for free. You only have to pay the taxes and fees on the second ticket.

I just earned my first companion certificate, and I am already dreaming about how I plan to use it.

Bottom line

Choosing the Delta SkyMiles Reserve was a no-brainer for someone still relatively new to points and miles. While not the most lucrative, the earning structure is simple — 3 points per dollar spent on Delta purchases and 1 point per dollar spent on all other eligible purchases. I haven’t yet memorized the earning structures of every major credit card like some of my co-workers, so I appreciate how easy this one is.

But that’s not the real reason why I love this card. As someone who flies Delta often, the perks like lounge access, a free checked bag and an annual companion certificate are unmatched.

To learn more, read our full review of the Delta Reserve.

Apply here: Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card

For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles Reserve please click here.