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Amex Delta Upgrade Offer

Established Member

Amex Delta Upgrade Offer

I see that American Express is pumping their Delta co-branded products with increased ad presence and some decent SUB offers. I'm on gardening month #10, but I popped by the Amex site a few days ago and noticed that they were offering me an upgrade from my Delta Platinum to the Delta Reserve.


I'll be honest, I kind of like this little gardening streak, and after re-examining the benefits of the Delta Reserve, I really don't know what my motivation would be to accept the upgrade. In a normal (non-COVID) year, I may fly 3-4 times, Two or three of those would be with Delta. I haven't even had the Delta Platinum for a year, but I like racking up SkyMiles (with no flights in the last 14 months, I've saved a LOT), and I wouldn't be able to do that as well with the Reserve since the multipliers are basically nothing. The annual fee is higher, obviously, but there's nothing anywhere in the language of the upgrade offer that says I'll be getting a SUB.


I think the chance to grab the (so-called) top-end card of any type elicits a knee-jerk reaction of, "Yes! I gotta do that!" But I don't see how it confers me any advantage or fits in with what I actually need from a card. If anyone has this card (or if you don't), is there something I'm missing as far as a reason why I should consider upgrading? Note: I have the vanilla/non-Delta Amex Platinum, too, and with the two Platinums in my wallet, it seems to me that the Reserve multipliers/benefits would have to be greatly improved upon to make it a desirable card. What have I failed to consider?


Thanks in advance for anyone's thoughts, and thanks in general for everyone on here. There is information I've learned from these boards that has helped me raise my credit almost 200 points; it is by far the most positive and helpful online community I've ever seen. Full props and respect.

Message 1 of 5
Valued Contributor

Re: Amex Delta Upgrade Offer

Doesn't seem to make much sense to offer an upgrade without a bonus offer.  Otherwise you would've just gotten the Reserve from the outset.

Message 2 of 5

Re: Amex Delta Upgrade Offer

If there is no mention of an upgrade offer, there would be none.  They do give targeted upgrade offers at times.  I had one from my Platinum to Reserve but instead opted to apply for a new Reserve a couple of years ago.  I got one and accepted it on the business version of the same card earlier today because there was a very large bonus attached with the upgrade (60k miles + $300).


(Edit: I failed to notice the first read that you have had the card for less than a year.  That was a bug I saw before getting my personal Reserve as well; the CARD Act prohibits increasing an annual fee in the first year and clicking the link will actually give you an error as Amex will not upgrade the card until it has been opened for a year.  That would also easily explain the lack of an incentive to upgrade.)


The primary differences are the perks and the usability of the companion certificate at renewal each year.  For the companion certificate, it allows additional fare codes in Comfort+, First, and some Delta One fares that can far outweigh the cost of the annual fee.  The perks are many, and some such as access to SkyClub will be redundant when you have the Amex Platinum charge card (although there are now two guest passes issued each year as well, whereas you would pay $29 per guest with the Platinum charge card).


The perks that I find most useful for the card  are that simply having a Delta Reserve is one of the tie-breakers in the upgrade hierarchy.  If you are competing for the same seat(s) as another member with the same status and fare code, you will get the upgrade if they do not have the card.  Status Boost is the other.  Comparing Reserve and Platinum, you only need an additional 20% spend to be awarded 50% more MQMs ($25k for 10k on Platinum, $30k for 15k on Reserve, although these are both elevated in 2021, which can be done up to 4 times a year).  Spending $25k is an easy decision for me since I wouldn't otherwise earn enough MQDs to qualify for higher levels of status (frequent flights but not necessarily adding up to $9k for base fares) without the MQD waiver so the extra $5k of spend is well-spent for the additional MQMs.  I solely use my Delta cards for 1x non-category spend and Amex Offers as I have other cards (typically Amex) earning better on any bonus categories.

Not pertinent to me, but another major perk is that having the Delta Reserve card automatically makes you eligible for upgrades after Silver Medallion upgrades have been processed.  The usefulness of that will depend on route, but I have been on many flights with empty Comfort+ seats and sometimes First seats that would have been awarded to Reserve cardholders without status.

Message 3 of 5
Established Member

Re: Amex Delta Upgrade Offer

Wonderful reply. I hadn't considered that last perk you mentioned re: the advantage conferred for seat upgrades over non-cardholders. Maybe I should reconsider this later on as a possible add-on (not an upgrade/PC) card, as well as reconsidering the overall poor reputation from which I think the card has overall. As you say, though, it's a moot point for now, since accepting the upgrade offer would result in an error message anyway, given that I've had the Delta Platinum for less than a year.


That in mind, whether it's as a continuation of this thread or through private msg, I'd love to hear any pro or con takes on the Delta Reserve card if anyone has opinions they'd care to share. Thanks.

Message 4 of 5

Re: Amex Delta Upgrade Offer

I have the Delta Platinum. It makes sense for me because I always travel with a companion and it's typically not too difficult to use the companion pass, which negates the annual fee.


I don't fly first class. If I did, I wouldn't hesitate to get the Reserve, as the same logic would apply for first-class tickets.


I don't fly enough for airline status, and even if I did, status (seat) upgrades while flying with a companion aren't particularly useful to me, so those benefits are largely lost to me.


Those are the reasons why I never seriously considered the Reserve.

Message 5 of 5
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