The Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express combines the travel benefits of a travel rewards credit card with the business-friendly features and spending power of a business credit card. With a $95 annual fee, this card is geared toward business owners who take enough Delta flights to offset its ongoing cost.
Gold Delta SkyMiles Business earns an unlimited 2 points per $1 spent on all Delta purchases, including airfare and incidentals. All other spending earns an unlimited 1 SkyMile per $1 spent. You can redeem accumulated SkyMiles for Delta airfare purchases and merchandise listed for sale at the SkyMiles MarketPlace.
Gold Delta SkyMiles competes with a number of other travel-focused business credit cards, including Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select MasterCard, Starwood Preferred Guest Business Card from American Express, Capital One Spark Miles for Business, Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Business Card, and U.S. Bank Business Edge World Elite MasterCard. It also competes with general-purpose business rewards cards that have travel rewards components, including Chase Ink Cash and Chase Ink Plus, Blue for Business from American Express, and SimplyCash Plus Business Card from American Express.
Gold Delta SkyMiles Business is very similar to American Express’s consumer Gold Delta SkyMiles card. If you don’t own your own business, the consumer card is a better option.
- Sign-up Bonus: When you spend at least $2,000 within 3 months of account opening, you earn 50,000 bonus Delta SkyMiles. That’s good for at least $375 (and sometimes much more) in airfare purchased with Delta. This offer ends on July 7, 2016. Separately, you get a $50 statement credit when you make a Delta purchase with your card within the same 3 month period.
- Delta Rewards and Redemption: Every $1 spent on Delta airfare, lounge passes, in-flight purchases, and other incidental expenditures earns 2 Delta SkyMiles points, with no caps or restrictions. All other purchases earn an unlimited 1 SkyMile per $1 spent. You can redeem your accumulated SkyMiles for Delta airfare. Redemption thresholds start at 10,000 SkyMiles for some domestic economy one-ways, and 12,500 SkyMiles for a broader range of domestic flights with more flexible travel dates. However, Delta’s redemption tables are somewhat variable, and certain travel dates and times may require more SkyMiles (for instance, peak-season weekend flights versus off-season weekday flights to popular vacation destinations). Point values generally fall between $0.005 to $0.02 at redemption, but can vary somewhat on either side. You can also redeem your SkyMiles for merchandise, gift cards, and special experiences (such as musical performances), at the Delta SkyMiles MarketPlace. SkyMiles are typically worth significantly less than $0.01 apiece when redeemed at the MarketPlace, but minimum redemption thresholds are lower – in the 2,000-mile range.
- Regular APR: The regular purchase and balance transfer APR is a variable 15.49% to 19.49%, depending on your personal creditworthiness and prevailing rates. The cash advance APR is 25.49%, and the penalty APR is 29.49%.
- OPEN Savings Benefit: Separately from the SkyMiles earning program, Gold Delta SkyMiles Business cardholders earn a 5% discount on purchases made with Amex’s OPEN Savings partners, which include FedEx, Hertz, and 1800Flowers.com (a full list is available at opensavings.com). Each discount is automatically applied to your billing statement for the purchase month.
- Delta Travel Benefits: Gold Delta SkyMiles Business has some nice Delta travel benefits. These include a 20% discount on all in-flight purchases; priority boarding prior to the general group; 1 free checked bag for the cardholder ($25 per one-way segment); and 2 discounted Delta airport lounge (Sky Club) passes (1 for the cardholder, 1 for a companion on every trip) – passes are normally $59 and the discounted price is $29.
- Additional Travel Benefits: Gold Delta SkyMiles Business comes with some other useful travel benefits not specific to Delta flights. These include 24/7 global assistance for travelers more than 100 miles from home; complimentary loss and damage insurance for cars rented with the SkyMiles card; 24/7 roadside assistance for all travelers; and accidental death and dismemberment insurance for travelers.
- Additional Business Benefits: In addition to the OPEN Savings Benefit, Gold Delta SkyMiles Business has a nice lineup of non-travel benefits. These include expense tagging and tracking with convenient categories; digital receipt storage; the ability to assign a trusted employee as your designated account manager (which includes dispute resolution privileges); and access to the OPEN Forum, a treasure trove of knowledge created by fellow American Express business credit card holders, as well as general business experts.
- Important Fees: The $95 annual fee is waived for the first year. There is never a foreign transaction fee. Balance transfers and cash advances cost the greater of $5 or 3%, while late and returned payments both cost $37.
- Credit Required: This card requires excellent credit.
- Generous Airport Lounge Benefits. Gold Delta SkyMiles Business has one of the best airport lounge benefits of any direct competitor. You’re entitled to 2 discounted airport lounge passes, a total savings of $60 per trip, whenever you fly on Delta. Neither CitiBusiness/AAdvantage Platinum Select World MasterCard nor Capital One Spark Miles have similar benefits.
- Generous Airfare Redemption Values. While it’s important to remember that point values can vary at redemption based on factors such as time, date, season, and demand, SkyMiles tend to be worth a decent amount: at least $0.005, and sometimes as much or more than $0.02. Compared to Chase Ink Plus’s flat $0.0125 travel redemption point value, that can be a good deal.
- Nice Sign-up Bonus. Gold Delta SkyMiles Business’s sign-up bonus can be redeemed for as many as 5 one-way flights. Although point values vary based on the actual flights for which they’re redeemed, this is definitely a better deal than some other popular business cards. For instance, the Blue for Business’s sign-up bonus is worth a flat $100, while the sign-up bonus for the Business Green Rewards Card from American Express is worth just $50.
- OPEN Savings Benefit Boosts Spending Power at Popular Merchants. Gold Delta SkyMiles Business’s OPEN Savings Benefit boosts earning power on purchases made with OPEN Savings partners by awarding a 5% discount on all purchases made with those partners. Popular merchants in the OPEN Savings program include FedEx and Hertz. If you travel frequently or ship lots of volume for your business, this perk is sure to come in handy.
- No Foreign Transaction Fee. Gold Delta SkyMiles Business doesn’t come with a foreign transaction fee. That’s a nice perk relative to other popular business cards with travel rewards, including Blue for Business.
- Has an Annual Fee. Gold Delta SkyMiles has a $95 annual fee. Many popular business rewards cards have lower annual fees (e.g.,Capital One Spark Miles at $59) or none at all (e.g., Chase Ink Cash).
- Airfare Rewards and Redemption Exclusive to Delta. When it comes to travel redemptions, Gold Delta SkyMiles Business is a bit restrictive. You can’t redeem accumulated SkyMiles for non-Delta airfare, which is a serious inconvenience if you live near an airport that’s better served by other airlines. General-purpose business travel rewards cards, such as Capital One Spark Miles and Chase Ink Plus, have no restrictions of this nature.
- SkyMiles MarketPlace Slashes SkyMile Values. When redeemed for Delta airfare, SkyMiles hold their value well against the competition. However, their worth takes a serious hit when redeemed for general merchandise and other items at the SkyMiles MarketPlace. Unless you have a surfeit of accumulated SkyMiles and no plans to travel for the foreseeable future, it’s not advisable to waste your points at the MarketPlace. And, if you find yourself in that situation, it’s likely better to stop using your Gold Delta SkyMiles Business card altogether. American Express’s Membership Rewards program – which counts Blue for Business, Business Green Rewards, and Business Gold Rewards as participants – has much more reasonable redemption values.
- No Automatic Airline Loyalty Benefits. Gold Delta SkyMiles Business doesn’t get you any closer to preferred or frequent flyer status with Delta. This is a drawback for frequent Delta travelers and a disadvantage relative to competing business rewards cards – including the American Express Starwood Preferred Guest Business Card, which automatically earns you 5 nights and 2 stays’ credit toward SPG Elite status.
- Points Accumulate Slowly on Non-Delta Purchases. This card earns just 1 SkyMile per $1 spent on non-Delta purchases, with the exception of purchases with OPEN Savings partners. Assuming you value the points similarly, that’s a slower rate than Capital One Spark Miles for Business, which earns an unlimited 2 points per $1 spent on all purchases.
The Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express is a great credit card for business owners who prefer Delta, live near airports served by Delta, and who fly frequently to destinations served by Delta. This describes a fairly wide swathe of the U.S. entrepreneurial population – but not everyone. If you routinely fly out of another airline’s hub, another airline-specific business credit card is likely to be a better fit. And, if you’re one of the millions of business owners who don’t need to fly frequently, it’s worth considering a different type of business credit card altogether – perhaps one with a broader rewards program.