Delta debuts limited-edition Amex Reserve card, made from a Boeing 747

Delta and American Express are rolling out a limited-edition 747 SkyMiles Reserve credit card.

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Delta and American Express are rolling out a limited-edition 747 SkyMiles Reserve credit card.

A limited-edition version of the Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express card debuting Thursday is designed to appeal to aviation aficionados and others who want to carry a piece of a Boeing 747 in their wallet.

The card is partially made from the aluminum skin of a retired Delta 747, reinforced with more metal to create a credit card that can last through what American Express surely hopes will be many swipes, taps and restaurant tab payments.

ExploreNow boarding: Delta’s ‘747 Experience’ in Atlanta

It’s not cheap: The SkyMiles Reserve Amex, which is normally a purple metal card, comes with an annual fee of $550.

Amex and Delta officials hope the 747 card, which they are distributing to new cardholders and existing cardholders who request one through Aug. 3, will convince more people to sign up for a SkyMiles Reserve card or upgrade from a less-expensive Delta Amex. American Express is also offering bonus miles for new SkyMiles Amex card members as an incentive.

Delta’s partnership with American Express is a cash cow for the airline, bringing in $4 billion for Delta in 2021. That includes revenue from the lucrative sale of frequent flier miles to American Express, which then gives the miles to credit card holders as rewards for spending.

The credit card made from an airplane is the first of its kind, according to the companies.

“This is really a conversation piece,” said Dwight James, Delta’s senior vice president of loyalty.

ExploreDelta 747s’ final destination? An airplane boneyard in Arizona

However, it’s not the first time planes have been repurposed into other things. Delta in 2015 began selling gift cards made from a retired DC-9 aircraft, and in 2018 had a jigsaw puzzle made from a 747 with pieces distributed to employees as mementos. Old Delta seat covers are used by upcycling business Looptworks to make leather bags.

The airline also turned an entire 747 into an exhibit at the Delta Flight Museum on its headquarters campus.

The iconic 747 jumbo jet, known as the Queen of the Skies or the Whale, wowed travelers for decades with its wide-body size carrying hundreds of passengers inside the cabin, its upper deck and its distinctive-looking humped fuselage, making it one of the most recognizable aircraft in the world.

Delta retired its 747s in 2017, taking the last one in its fleet on a farewell tour across the country to mark the end of the 747 in the U.S passenger airline fleet. That plane joined the rest of the retired fleet in an aircraft boneyard in the Arizona desert.

That’s where Delta Ship 6307 was sitting before its unconventional rebirth as credit cards. In its lifetime, the jet flew 68 million miles, from its maiden flight in 1990 until its retirement on Nov. 18, 2017.

Anthony Cirri, executive vice president of global consumer lending and co-brand for American Express, said the card “has a story behind it.”