5 reasons to switch from the Delta SkyMiles Reserve to the Amex Platinum – The Points Guy

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.
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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Related: Credit card showdown: Amex Platinum vs. Delta Reserve
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.
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:
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:
Related: Best credit cards for airport lounge access in 2022
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
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
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:
Related: The complete guide to American Express Membership Rewards partners
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:
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
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
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.
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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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