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Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card – Review

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At a Glance
Delta Reserve Business Card Art 8 26 20
4.3 / 5
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Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business American Express Card

  • Welcome Offer: Earn 45,000 bonus SkyMiles and 10,000 bonus Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) when you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new card within 3 months.
  • Rewards: 3 SkyMiles per $1 spent on Delta purchases; earn 15,000 bonus MQMs when you make $30,000 in eligible purchases in a calendar year; earn an additional 15,000 bonus MQMs when you hit $60,000 in eligible purchases in a calendar year
  • Benefits: Complimentary Sky Club and Centurion Lounge access for cardholder with same-day ticketed Delta travel (restrictions apply); 1 complimentary Companion Certificate each year at renewal; 20% in-flight purchase discount; main cabin priority boarding
  • APR: 15.74% to 24.74% variable, depending on creditworthiness and other factors
  • Fees: No foreign transaction fee; greater of $5 or 3% for cash advances
  • Annual Fee: $550
  • Credit Needed: Good, excellent
  • Terms and Limitations Apply: For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card, please visit this rates and fees page.

Advertiser Disclosure: This post includes references to offers from our partners. We receive compensation when you click on links to those products. However, the opinions expressed here are ours alone and at no time has the editorial content been provided, reviewed, or approved by any issuer.

The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card is reserved (no pun intended) for loyal Delta business travelers who like to travel in style and don’t mind paying the $550 annual fee. It’s a perennial contender for inclusion on our best small business credit cards list. For the relative handful of business travelers who can afford to carry it in their wallets, it’s worthy of honorary inclusion in our best travel rewards credit cards list too.

Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business is similar to the original Delta SkyMiles Reserve Card, which is designed for consumers. Like the consumer version, it offers complimentary and access to Delta Sky Club and Centurion Lounge locations for the primary cardholder with same day ticketed Delta travel booked with a U.S.-issued American Express card. It offers a big boost toward exalted Delta Medallion status, with even juicier rewards for big spenders. And it offers a complimentary companion airfare ticket (less taxes and fees) on every cardmember anniversary – perfect for cardholders who don’t like to travel alone.

Other popular, exclusive American Express business cards include The Business Platinum Card from American Express, the Business Rewards Gold Card from American Express, and the Plum Card from American Express, to name a few.

Think Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business is the perfect card for your business spending (and travel) needs? Read on to learn more about this exclusive opportunity.

Key Features

Welcome Offer

Earn 45,000 bonus SkyMiles and 10,000 bonus Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) when you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new card within 3 months.

Delta Medallion Program

Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business’ most generous benefits involve the Delta Medallion status program, which has a bevy of perks designed to increase comfort and convenience for frequent Delta flyers: accelerated MQM and SkyMiles earnings, complimentary preferred seating and class upgrades, priority boarding, waived baggage fees, and more.

The program has four distinct tiers: Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond. As you ascend the tiers, the benefits get better: Diamond status, the highest tier, includes two Global Entry application vouchers, complimentary Delta Sky Club access, Medallion status gifting privileges, and more.

To reach each successive Medallion status level, you need to combine Medallion Qualification Miles (actual flight miles calculated as a multiple of total flight distance – 200% of first-class flight distance and 100% of economy flight distance, but sometimes more or less) or Medallion Qualification Segments (any Delta flight segment, meaning multi-leg one-way flights count as multiple segments) and Medallion Qualification Dollars (base fares, surcharges, and certain upgrades, but usually not taxes or fees) within a single calendar year.

After reaching a given Medallion status threshold, you retain that status for the remainder of the current year and the entire year following.

The status thresholds are:

  • Silver Medallion Status: 25,000 MQMs or 30 MQSs and $3,000 MQDs
  • Gold Medallion Status: 50,000 MQMs or 60 MQSs and $6,000 MQDs
  • Platinum Medallion Status: 75,000 MQMs or 100 MQSs and $9,000 MQDs
  • Diamond Medallion Status: 125,000 MQMs or 140 MQSs and $15,000 MQDs.

Earning SkyMiles

This card earns 3 Delta SkyMiles for every $1 spent on eligible Delta purchases made directly with the airline.

Redeeming SkyMiles

The best way to redeem your accumulated SkyMiles is for Delta airfare. Domestic economy one-ways within the continental United States typically require at least 10,000 SkyMiles, but bear in mind that Delta’s redemption tables are subject to change over time. Longer flights within certain regions (for instance, New York to Los Angeles, as opposed to Minneapolis to Detroit) and high-demand flights (such as spring break journeys to popular vacation destinations) require more SkyMiles.

SkyMiles’ redemption values fluctuate considerably depending on the route, time of week, time of day, and other factors. As a rule, expect your miles to be worth between $0.005 to $0.02 at redemption.

  • Pay With Miles: The Pay With Miles feature is an exclusive benefit for several American Express-issued Delta cards and their business counterparts. You can put SkyMiles toward a partial award travel redemption at a flat $0.01-per-point ratio, then cover the rest of the published fare with cash. For instance, a 5,000-SkyMile Pay With Miles redemption equates to a $50 fare reduction, regardless of route or published fare price.
  • Other Redemption Options: If you don’t want to redeem for airfare, you can opt instead to redeem SkyMiles at the Delta SkyMiles MarketPlace. There, you’ll find gift cards, merchandise, and special experiences (such as concerts and tours). However, MarketPlace redemptions rarely offer the most bang for your buck, as they usually value miles at well under $0.01 apiece. On the bright side, you can redeem in the MarketPlace with as little as 2,000 SkyMiles.

Annual MQMs Bonus (Status Boost)

When you use your card to make at least $30,000 in eligible purchases in a calendar year, you receive 15,000 bonus MQMs, up to 4 times per year (for a total potential status boost of 60,000 MQMs).

MQD Waiver With Sufficient Spending

When you spend at least $25,000 in a calendar year, you earn a Medallion Qualification Dollar waiver. This eliminates the need to reach the normal MQD threshold needed to qualify for a given Medallion status level. Instead, you can achieve the same status level with MQMs or MQSs alone. For instance, with the waiver, you automatically earn Platinum status as soon as you earn 75,000 MQMs in a travel year, and the $9,000 MQD threshold becomes irrelevant.

Travel Benefits

Standard travel benefits include:

  • Companion Certificate Benefit. On your annual renewal date, you get a complimentary companion certificate that’s good for a domestic first-class or economy round-trip flight anywhere in the continental United States. Your designated companion needs to be traveling on the same reservation with you and is required to pay any taxes and fees with your Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business card. According to Delta, your tax and fee load will never exceed $75 per ticket.
  • Complimentary Delta Sky Club and Centurion Lounge Access for Primary Cardholder. As a cardholder, you’ll enjoy complimentary Delta Sky Club and Centurion Lounge access for yourself as long as your account remains open and in good standing. You just need to hold a valid ticket for a same-day Delta-operated flight (booked with a U.S.-issued American Express credit card) when you attempt to enter the lounge.
  • In-Flight Discounts. Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business cardholders enjoy 20% off all in-flight purchases, with no caps or restrictions on how much they can save.
  • Main Cabin Priority Boarding. Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business cardholders also enjoy main cabin priority boarding privileges that get them on the plane before the general groups.
  • Free Checked Bag. All cardholders are entitled to one free checked bag on all Delta flights, regardless of destination.
  • Lowest Rate Guarantee for Amex Hotels. When you book hotels through American Express’ proprietary travel portal, you’re entitled to a “lowest rate guarantee” that frequently prices rooms well below the published rate.

This card has some additional non-Delta travel benefits underwritten by American Express. They include complimentary baggage insurance for lost, stolen, or damaged luggage; 24/7 concierge service exclusively for Reserve Business cardholders; and complimentary loss and damage insurance for rental cars paid in full with the Reserve card.

Shopping Benefits

This card has a nice lineup of shopping benefits underwritten by American Express. The most noteworthy include extended warranties of up to one year on certain items with original warranties of five years or less and purchase protection (reimbursement) for broken or stolen items within three months of purchase.

Important Fees

This card has a $550 annual fee. There is no foreign transaction fee. Cash advances cost the greater of $5 or 3%. Late and returned payments both cost up to $39.

For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card , please visit this rates and fees page.

Credit Required

This card requires good to excellent credit.

Advantages

  1. MQM Bonuses Mean Rapid Progress Toward Higher Medallion Statuses. This card’s signature benefit is accelerated MQM earnings for heavy spenders. When you spend $30,000 in eligible purchases in a year, you get 15,000 MQMs, followed by another 15,000 MQMs when you hit $60,000 in eligible purchases within the same calendar year. All told, that’s more than enough to achieve Silver Medallion status, an upgrade from Silver to Gold, or an upgrade from Gold to Platinum. If you use this card as your primary business credit card, regularly fly Delta, and spend heavily with your card over the course of the year, you’re virtually guaranteed to earn upper-echelon Medallion status every year for as long as your account remains open and active.
  2. MQD Waivers Eliminate Need to Rack Up Airfare Dollars. Once you hit $25,000 in eligible purchases in a calendar year, you’re no longer required to meet the MQD requirements for Medallion status thresholds – meaning you can still achieve higher Medallion statuses through a combination of MQMs and MQSs. This is great for travelers who complete lots of short, cheap segments. It’s also nice for those who spend heavily on non-airfare purchases, thus qualifying for this card’s MQM bonuses).
  3. Complimentary Sky Club and Centurion Lounge Access for Primary Cardholder. As long as your card account remains open and in good standing, you’ll enjoy complimentary Delta Sky Club and Centurion Lounge access with same-day ticketed Delta travel booked with a U.S.-issued American Express card.
  4. Annual Companion Certificate Includes First-Class Privileges. Unlike most airline credit cards’ companion certificates, this card’s companion certificate is good for first-class travel. That’s a huge benefit for discerning travelers who like to fly in style, and it’s available on any domestic Delta route. Depending on the itinerary and fare class, the certificate’s annual value can approach or even exceed $1,000 – more than double this card’s annual fee.
  5. Solid Welcome Offer. This card has a solid welcome offer that blows the competition out of the water.
  6. No Foreign Transaction Fee. Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business has no foreign transaction fee. If you regularly fly overseas for business, this can save you 2% to 3% on international purchases every time you go.

Disadvantages

  1. Hefty Annual Fee and Authorized User Fee. This card has a $550 annual fee, among the highest in the business travel credit card realm. If you can take full advantage of this card’s benefits and bonuses, you’ll likely come out ahead. If not, more affordable cards exist.
  2. No Air Travel Credit or Partner Credits. This card doesn’t have an air travel credit allowance or a partner credit program. That’s a big drawback relative to other exclusive business travel cards, such as The Business Platinum Card from American Express, which offers a $200 annual airline fee credit with the airline of your choice and a 35% points boost on airline spending. Meanwhile, The Platinum Card from American Express, its consumer-facing cousin, offers a $200 airline fee credit and a $200 credit with Uber.
  3. Airfare Rewards and Redemption Limited to Delta and Its Partners. SkyMiles earned with this card aren’t as valuable as some other loyalty currencies. On the airfare front, you can only redeem them for flights with Delta or its partner airlines. If you live far from a Delta- or partner-served airport, or simply want the flexibility to redeem for other travel expenses (such as hotels and rental cars), consider a more versatile business travel card such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card.
  4. MarketPlace Redemptions Undervalue SkyMiles. When redeemed for Delta airfare, SkyMiles can be worth as much as $0.02 per point, and occasionally even more. Unfortunately, non-airfare redemptions don’t fare so well. At the SkyMiles MarketPlace, points are typically worth well under $0.01 apiece when redeemed for merchandise, gift cards, or experiences. In fact, the only reason to ever countenance a MarketPlace redemption is to use up SkyMiles that you’re certain you’ll never redeem for airfare, likely because you’re racking them up too fast. And if that happens, it’s probably time to look for another card anyway. Consider an American Express alternative that uses Membership Rewards® loyalty points, which can be redeemed at fair values for a wider range of items. Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express and Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express are both solid choices.

Final Word

Even if you live close to a Delta or partner hub, the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card might not be appropriate for your needs. After all, while virtually every U.S. air traveler has at least considered flying Delta at some point, only a small handful have walked into a Sky Club lounge or availed themselves of the lavish perks available only to Diamond Medallion status members.

Unless you’re a frequent business traveler who enjoys (and wants your employees to enjoy) the very best in commercial airline service, this card probably isn’t your ideal travel rewards credit card. But don’t despair – there are plenty of lower-cost business travel cards that offer a great compromise between tangible benefits and everyday value.

For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card, please visit this rates and fees page.

Verdict
Delta Reserve Business Card Art 8 26 20
4.3 / 5
Rating

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Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business American Express Card

The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card is ideal for discerning business travelers who value complimentary airport lounge access, exalted frequent flyer status, and annual companion fares that turn first-class dreams into everyday realities. Of course, those benefits come at a hefty price: a $550 annual fee. If you fly Delta infrequently or simply don’t need all the bells and whistles that come with this card, it’s probably not worth the sticker price. Otherwise, it’s a no-brainer.

Key benefits include super-fast progress toward elevated Medallion statuses, complimentary access to Sky Club lounges, annual companion certificate with first-class privileges, easily attainable welcome offer, and no foreign transaction fee.

Big drawbacks include the hefty annual fee, slow SkyMiles accumulation on non-Delta spending, no air travel or partner credits, airfare rewards and redemption limited to Delta, and poor redemption values at the SkyMiles MarketPlace.

Overall, this is an excellent card for devoted Delta business flyers who like to travel in style and bring friends along for the ride.

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.

Brian Martucci
Brian Martucci writes about credit cards, banking, insurance, travel, and more. When he's not investigating time- and money-saving strategies for Money Crashers readers, you can find him exploring his favorite trails or sampling a new cuisine. Reach him on Twitter @Brian_Martucci.

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