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American Express Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card – Review

At a Glance
american express delta reserve business credit card
4.3 / 5
Rating

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Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card

  • Welcome Offer: For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus SkyMiles and 5,000 bonus Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) when you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases with your new card within 3 months. This offer expires 7/2/2019.
  • Rewards: 2 SkyMiles per $1 spent on Delta purchases; 1 SkyMile per $1 spent on all other purchases; earn 15,000 bonus MQMs and 15,000 bonus SkyMiles when you make $30,000  in eligible purchases in a calendar year; earn an additional 15,000 bonus MQMs and 15,000 bonus SkyMiles when you hit $60,000 in eligible purchases in a calendar year
  • Benefits: Complimentary Sky Club access for cardholder and discounted rates for 2 companions; 1 complimentary Companion Certificate each year at renewal; 20% in-flight purchase discount; main cabin priority boarding
  • Intro APR: 0% APR on purchases for 6 months
  • APR: 17.99% to 26.99% variable
  • Fees: No foreign transaction fee; greater of $5 or 3% for cash advances
  • Annual Fee: $450
  • Credit Needed: Good, excellent
  • Terms and Limitations Apply: For rates and fees of the American Express Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card, please visit this rates and fees page.

Advertiser Disclosure: This post includes references to offers from our partners. We may 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 Reserve for Business Credit Card is reserved (no pun intended) for loyal Delta business travelers who like to travel in style and don’t mind paying the $450 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 Reserve for Business is similar to the original Delta Reserve Credit Card from American Express, which is designed for consumers. Like the consumer version, it offers complimentary and unlimited access to Delta Sky Club airport lounges for the primary cardholder, plus discounted access for up to two ticketed guests ($29 per person, per visit). 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 credit cards and charge 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 Reserve for 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

For a limited time, earn 5,000 bonus Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) and 80,000 bonus SkyMiles when you spend at least $6,000 in eligible purchases during the first 3 months your account is open. This offer expires 7/2/2019.

Delta Medallion Program

Delta Reserve for 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 Sky Club membership, 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

Delta Reserve for Business earns unlimited 2 Delta SkyMiles for every $1 spent on eligible Delta purchases. All other eligible purchases earn an unlimited 1 SkyMile per $1 spent, with no caps or restrictions on how much you can earn or spend.

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 Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express, Gold Delta SkyMiles® Card from American Express, Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Card from American Express cardholders, 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 SkyMiles and MQMs Bonus

When you use your card to make at least $30,000 in eligible purchases in a calendar year, you receive 15,000 bonus MQMs and 15,000 bonus SkyMiles. When you make an additional $30,000 in eligible purchases in the same calendar year ($60,000 in total annual purchase spending), you earn an additional 15,000 MQMs and 15,000 SkyMiles. That equates to a total potential spending bonus of 30,000 MQMs and 30,000 SkyMiles simply for spending heavily on this card.

Put another way, when you spend $60,000 in a calendar year, you automatically earn a Medallion level upgrade with no spending required, plus enough SkyMiles to cover the cost of three one-way award flights on low-cost itineraries.

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.

Introductory APR Promotion

For a limited time, enjoy a 0% introductory APR for on purchases for 6 months from account opening. After the introductory period, the purchase APR ranges from 17.99% to 26.99% variable, based on your creditworthiness and other factors.

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 Reserve for Business card. According to Delta, your tax and fee load will never exceed $75 per ticket.
  • Complimentary Sky Club Access for Primary Cardholder. As a Delta Reserve for Business cardholder, you’ll enjoy complimentary Delta Sky Club airport 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 flight when you attempt to enter the lounge. Up to two ticketed companions can enter the lounge with you when they pay $29 apiece. Entry usually costs double that, though precise charges vary by lounge.
  • In-Flight Discounts. Delta Reserve for 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 Reserve for 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 Delta Reserve for Business cardholders; 24/7 roadside assistance; complimentary loss and damage insurance for rental cars paid in full with the Reserve card; 24/7 global assistance for travelers more than 100 miles from home; and accidental death and dismemberment travel insurance.

Shopping Benefits

The Delta Reserve for Business Credit 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

Delta Reserve for Business has a $450 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 $38.

For rates and fees of the American Express Delta Reserve for Business Credit 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. Delta Reserve for Business’ 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 Delta Reserve for Business 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 Delta Reserve for Business’ MQM bonuses).
  3. Complimentary Sky Club Access for Primary Cardholder. As long as your Delta Reserve for Business account remains open and in good standing, you’ll enjoy complimentary Delta Sky Club membership. This entitles you to free, open airport lounge access with ticketed travel. Sky Clubs aren’t ubiquitous, but they’re still present in many major U.S. airports, so you’re likely to encounter some in your travels. If you visit Sky Clubs often, and especially if you have one at your home airport, this benefit alone is worth the annual fee. Plus, you get two discounted companion passes ($29 each) every time you visit.
  4. Annual Companion Certificate Includes First-Class Privileges. Unlike most airline credit cards’ companion certificates, Delta Reserve for Business’ 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. Annual SkyMiles Boost Good for Three Cheap Domestic One-Ways. When you make at least $60,000 in eligible purchases within a calendar year, you earn 30,000 bonus SkyMiles in two tranches: 15,000 SkyMiles at $30,000 in eligible purchases and another 15,000 at $60,000 in eligible purchases. Spending $60,000 might not be the most efficient way to get three cheap domestic one-way flights, but this is nevertheless a nice bonus for folks who’ve already put in the effort to spend so much – especially since you’re guaranteed to have Silver Medallion status (and probably higher) by the time you get there.
  6. Solid Welcome Offer. For a limited time (through 7/2/2019), Delta Reserve for Business has a solid welcome offer: 5,000 bonus MQMs and 80,000 bonus SkyMiles when you spend at least $6,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months. The SkyMiles bonus is enough for up to 10 award fares on short, affordable one-way routes. The MQM bonus represents 20% of the MQMs you need to earn Silver Medallion status.
  7. No Foreign Transaction Fee. Delta Reserve for 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. Delta Reserve for Business has a $450 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. Mediocre SkyMiles Earning Rate on Non-Delta Spending. Delta Reserve for Business is not designed to rack up SkyMiles on everyday spending. It earns just 1 SkyMile per $1 spent on non-Delta purchases – a rate that’s exceeded by plenty of business travel cards.
  3. 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.
  4. Airfare Rewards and Redemption Limited to Delta and Its Partners. SkyMiles earned with Delta Reserve for Business 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.
  5. 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 Reserve for Business Credit 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, Delta Reserve for Business 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 American Express Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card, please visit this rates and fees page.

Verdict
american express delta reserve business credit card
4.3 / 5
Rating

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Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card

The Delta Reserve for Business Credit 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 $450 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 frugal living, entrepreneurship, and innovative ideas. When he’s not interviewing small business owners or investigating time- and money-saving strategies for Money Crashers readers, he’s probably out exploring a new trail or sampling a novel cuisine. Find him on Twitter @Brian_Martucci.

Comments Disclosure: The below responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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