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Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express – Review

By Christina Majaski

american express gold delta skymiles business cardThe business version of the Gold Delta SkyMiles card, the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express (a Money Crashers partner), is almost identical to the consumer version. The sign-up bonus, rewards program, and Delta flight benefits are the same except that the business version includes access to the OPEN Savings network.

But when the Gold Delta SkyMiles Business card is compared to other business credit cards, does it stack up?

Key Features

  • Sign-up Bonus. You are awarded a bonus of 30,000 SkyMiles if you spend $1,000 with the card within the first 3 months of opening the account, and you receive a $50 statement credit if you make a Delta purchase with the card within the first 3 months. The SkyMiles bonus is enough for 2 one-way domestic economy class Saver flights.
  • Fees. There is an annual fee of $95, which is waived the first year. There is no option to transfer balances, and there is no foreign transaction fee.
  • APR. The APR for purchases is 15.24%, 17.24%, or 19.24%, based on your credit worthiness and variations in the prime rate.
  • Rewards Program. Your purchases are awarded with SkyMiles. You receive 2 SkyMiles per dollar spent on purchase made with Delta, Delta Connection, Delta Vacations, and Delta Shuttle, and 1 SkyMile per dollar spent on all other purchases. You can earn an unlimited number of SkyMiles, and they do not expire.
  • Redeeming Rewards. SkyMiles can be redeemed for flights with Delta for as few as 12,500 SkyMiles for a one-way, economy class Saver flight with no blackout dates. Flight upgrades (from Economy Class to BusinessElite, for example) can be acquired by redeeming as few as 5,000 SkyMiles. SkyMiles can also be used for shopping through the SkyMiles Marketplace.
  • Free First Checked Bag. As a cardholder, your first checked bag is free – and so are the first bags of all those traveling on the same reservation (with a maximum of nine passengers).
  • Priority Boarding. You receive Zone 1 Priority Boarding, which allows you to board the plane before everyone else.
  • Delta SkyClubs Discount. A one-day pass in Delta SkyClubs normally costs $45, but as a cardmember you and two companions receive a reduced rate of $29 per person.
  • In-flight Discount. In-flight purchases such as food, beverages, movies, or video games that are purchased with your card receive a 20% discount. The discounts on the purchases appear as statement credits.
  • OPEN Savings. The OPEN Savings benefit is included with the Gold Delta SkyMiles Business credit card. This allows you to shop with partners such as FedEx, Hertz, and HP, and earn up to 4 Membership Rewards points or up to a 10% discount, which is credited to your statement.

Advantages

  1. Sign-up Bonus. The sign-up bonus of 30,000 SkyMiles is worth either two one-way Saver tickets or one round-trip Saver ticket, and has a value of $300. This, along with the $50 statement credit if you make a Delta purchase with your card within the first 3 months of cardmembership, brings the value of the sign-up bonus to $350, which is a substantial bonus when compared to other travel rewards credit cards.
  2. Free Checked Bags. The first checked bag, which normally costs $50 per round-trip flight, is free. If you travel with companions, such as your children and spouse, they also receive their first checked bags free as well, up to a total of nine waivers. This could be a significant savings, depending upon how often you fly Delta and how often you fly with companions.
  3. No Foreign Transaction Fee. Besides the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business and the Delta Reserve Business, both offered by American Express, there are very few business credit cards that do not charge foreign transaction fees. These fees can be as high as 3%, so if you travel abroad frequently, it is best to use a card such as the Gold Delta SkyMiles Business Card.

Disadvantages

  1. Annual Fee. The annual fee of $95 is waived the first year, and your sign-up bonus could cover the fee in subsequent years. However, there are many business credit cards that carry lower or no annual fees. For instance, the Chase Ink Cash Business, the American Express Blue for Business, and the CitiBusiness ThankYou credit cards are all no-annual-fee business cards. The business credit cards that do charge similar annual fees offer better benefits or sign-up bonuses, such as the Chase Ink Plus Business, which offers a sign-up bonus that is worth 50,000 bonus miles or $625 dollars if redeemed for a travel credit (including airfare).
  2. Minimal Travel Benefits. Unless you travel very frequently with Delta and travel with companions, there aren’t many extra benefits of the Gold Delta SkyMiles Business card that help to compensate for the annual fee. You could just as well use the Chase Ink Plus card, which has a similar annual fee but offers a larger sign-up bonus, lets you earn points on business-related purchases, and allows you to redeem those points for travel purchases without being limited to Delta.
  3. Minimal Business Benefits. Many business cards provide additional benefits that are business-related, such as bonuses on office supply purchases or advertising. The Gold Delta SkyMiles only offers access to the OPEN Network and the opportunity to earn a 10% discount on purchases made with certain retailers. Although it isn’t uncommon for business airline reward cards to offer very few actual business benefits, the Gold Delta SkyMiles Business card does not offer enough benefits to separate it from the consumer Gold Delta SkyMiles card.
  4. No Anniversary Bonuses. Rewards cards often offer anniversary bonuses when you renew your card, or bonuses when you reach a specific amount of spending within a year. For example, the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Business card carries a similar annual fee of $99 and includes an anniversary bonus of 6,000 points (which may be enough to cover the annual fee) and a tier-qualifying bonus, which helps cardholders reach the next elite status with the Rapid Rewards Program.

Final Word

The American Express Gold Delta SkyMiles Business card is similar to the consumer version, providing perks for flying with Delta but no outstanding bonuses or card benefits for small business owners. The card features a competitive sign-up bonus; however, if you don’t fly with Delta frequently enough to rack up SkyMiles or take advantage of free checked bags or lounge discounts, and don’t fly often with companions, you aren’t going to be able to justify the annual fee. It may be a suitable card if your business requires you to frequently fly outside of the United States (where flight benefits may be more valuable than business benefits), yet you don’t spend enough to justify the higher annual fees of other Delta SkyMiles Business credit cards.

Verdict

The Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express is not a competitive business credit card because it does not offer the reward opportunities or extra benefits needed to justify the $95 annual fee.

Score

3.9 out of 5 stars: There are many other business cards with lower or no annual fees that provide more valuable benefits for small business owners.

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Christina Majaski
Christina Majaski has written for online and print publications since 2003 on topics related to personal finance, legal matters, parenting, and careers. She lives in the Minnesota tundra, where in her free time she enjoys reading, writing, interacting via social media, and hanging out with her daughter.

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