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Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card review

 /  8 min
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At Bankrate we strive to help you make smarter financial decisions. While we adhere to strict , this post may contain references to products from our partners. Here's an explanation for and how we rate our cards. The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date; however, some of the offers mentioned may have expired. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

Snapshot

4.8

Bankrate rating
Info
Rating: 4.8 stars out of 5
Best for big spenders who fly often with Delta Air Lines
  • Rewards value
    Rating: 4 stars out of 5
    4 / 5
    APR
    Rating: 4 stars out of 5
    4 / 5
    Rewards flexibility
    Rating: 4 stars out of 5
    4 / 5
    Features
    Rating: 5 stars out of 5
    5 / 5
Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info
Recommended Credit

Earn 110,000 Bonus Miles

Intro offer

Info

$1320

Offer valuation

Info

3X

Rewards Rate

Info

$650

Annual fee

20.99% - 29.99% Variable

Regular APR

Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business American Express Card Overview

The Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business American Express Card soars above other SkyMiles cards as the best Delta Air Lines credit card when it comes to luxury benefits and Medallion Status reward opportunities.

It lands on the expensive side with a $650 annual fee and bonus mile rates that mainly reward heavy Delta spending, so it’s probably best for loyal business travelers. However, other Delta airline cards and American Express travel cards will probably provide better value at a lower annual fee if you’re looking for more diverse bonus categories.

What are the pros and cons?

Pros

  • Checkmark

    It's the best Delta card available for earning Medallion Status.

  • Checkmark

    It offers a strong array of travel perks that can help offset the large annual fee.

  • Checkmark

    The complimentary companion benefits can fly a guest first-class for a low cost.

Cons

  • The card comes with a hefty $650 annual fee.

  • Your reward redemption options are limited compared to other travel cards.

  • Unless you’re a Delta Medallion Status fanatic, The Business Platinum Card® from American Express and the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card are probably better values.

A deeper look into the current card offer

Quick highlights

  • Rewards rate: 3X miles per dollar on eligible Delta purchases; 1.5X miles per dollar on eligible transit, U.S. shipping, and U.S. office supply store purchases, plus all eligible purchases (after spending $150,000 in one calendar year); 1X miles on all other purchases
  • Welcome offer: (Limited Time Offer) Earn 110,000 bonus miles after spending $12,000 in your first six months (offer ends July 17, 2024)
  • Annual fee: $650
  • Purchase intro APR: N/A
  • Balance transfer intro APR: N/A
  • Regular APR: 20.99 percent to 29.99 percent variable

Current welcome offer

New cardholders can earn a limited-time offer of 110,000 bonus miles after spending $12,000 in their first six months of card membership. And though the spending requirement might be high for some, it shouldn't be out of reach for the average small-business owner (we estimate the average small-business spend at around $4,000 per month). This offer ends on July 17, 2024.

Delta SkyMiles aren’t the most valuable miles on the market, but the current bonus has a solid value for a business travel card, worth around $1,320 in Delta travel based on Bankrate’s latest point and mile valuations, which give Delta SkyMiles an estimated average value of 1.2 cents apiece. That said, some general travel card bonus offers may beat out the Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business card’s since you can transfer those rewards to multiple airline and hotel partners and potentially boost their value.

Take The Platinum Card® from American Express as an example. This card — priced at $695 per year — offers an 80,000-point bonus after you spend $8,000 in your first six months. We estimate Membership Rewards points can be worth around 2.0 cents each based on an advantage of the issuer’s top travel transfer partners (giving this bonus a potential value of around $1,600). Plus, you’ll still have the option to book with Delta since rewards transfer 1:1 from Amex to Delta. While transferring from Amex to Delta might still only get you an average mile value of around 1.2 cents per mile, having the flexibility to book with airlines other than Delta and its partners makes a general Amex travel card much more attractive.

Rewards

The Delta Reserve Business card earns frequent flyer miles mainly on eligible Delta purchases. They aren’t the most flexible rewards in the world, but they definitely suit Delta loyalists.

Earning miles

You’ll earn 3X miles per dollar on eligible Delta purchases as well as 1.5X miles per dollar on eligible transit, U.S. shipping, and U.S. office supply store purchases, plus all eligible purchases (after you spend $150,000 on your card in a calendar year). All other purchases will earn you 1X miles until you spend $150,000 within a calendar year. If your purchase qualifies for a category that has a higher mileage accelerator, only the higher rate will apply (for instance, you’ll earn 3X miles on eligible Delta purchases instead of 1.5X miles).

This is a pretty big requirement for a few more Delta miles, so utilizing the Reserve Business card’s other methods to earn miles can help maximize your spending until you reach that bar. Booking flights with any of Delta’s airline partners will also earn you 3X miles, plus the Delta SkyMiles Dining program can serve you anywhere from 1 mile per $2 up to 5X miles on business meals.

Redeeming miles

The SkyMiles program’s biggest flaw is how rigid its redemption options are. The best use of your miles by far is to book travel or upgrade your seats.

Although Delta and its SkyTeam alliance partners have over 1,000 destinations with no blackout dates, you can’t fully transfer miles to partner airlines—only book with them through Delta.

The only other uses for miles are for travel experiences, merchandise, magazine subscriptions and gifting miles to another account or charity. Other travel rewards programs, such as American Express Membership Rewards, have more varied options that include cash back and additional travel booking methods.

How much are miles worth?

This lack of flexibility could be why Delta SkyMiles only have a market value of 1.2 cents, according to Bankrate’s latest valuations. That’s pretty low compared to the 2.0 cents per point you may get with general Amex Membership Rewards.

Keep in mind when you’re comparing cards that your miles are worth 1 cent toward flights within Delta—on paper. “Pay with Miles” only allows you to redeem in 5,000-point intervals for $50 discounts, but a mile’s value may vary with the cost of each flight since Delta doesn’t use a defined award chart.

Benefits

The true meat of this card’s value comes from the premier travel benefits, elite status modifiers and luxury companion perks that you can’t get with any other Delta card.

Companion travel perks

You can bring a business partner, client or guest on a First Class, Delta Comfort+ or Main Cabin domestic, Caribbean, or Central American round-trip flight with your annual complimentary companion certificate. You'll only have to cover government-imposed taxes and fees of no more than $80 for roundtrip domestic flights and no more than $250 for roundtrip international flights (both for itineraries with up to four flight segments).

You also get 15 Delta Sky Club visits per year and can earn unlimited visits visits each year starting on Feb. 1, 2025 if you've spent $75,000 or more by the end of 2024. If you don't reach this spending requirement but you use all 15 visits, you can purchase additional Delta Sky Club visits (including "Grab and Go") at $50 per person with your card.

Luxury travel benefits

As the premier Delta credit card, Reserve Business cardholders receive a wealth of travel and purchase benefits, including:

  • Complimentary upgrades (after Medallion Status members)
  • Zone 5 priority boarding
  • Free first checked bag on a roundtrip flight (up to $70 value per person)
  • Global Entry or TSA Precheck application fee credit
  • Up to $20 statement credit per month on Resy purchases
  • Travel insurance for trip delay(*), trip cancellation and interruption*, baggage and car rental loss and damage**
  • Purchase protection, return protection and extended warranty
  • 20 percent statement credit discount on eligible in-flight purchases
  • Complimentary travel concierge service

Rates and fees

All of the Delta Reserve Business card’s premium benefits notably come at a premium price: a $650 annual fee. This could be quite steep if your business expenses can’t maximize your reward miles. After all, you’d need to spend more than $15,000 per year on Delta flights to earn $650 worth of rewards (based on a 1.2-cent-per-mile value estimate). That’s a hefty spend, but keep in mind the value of your perks (such as the companion certificate and free first checked bags) which can also make up a lot of the card’s annual fee if you take full advantage of them.

One downside to the card is that it does not offer an intro APR periods, so it won’t be of much help if you need to finance large expenses or free up cash flow. Meanwhile, the ongoing APR is 20.99 percent to 29.99 percent variable, the low end of which is close to the current average interest rate.

How the Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business card compares to other travel cards

The SkyMiles Reserve Business outclasses the benefits and loyalty features of all other Delta business cards. However, you must decide whether a much lower annual fee and hotel, dining and advertising bonus categories are more in line with your business’ spending.

Compared to other travel credit cards, the Reserve Business card is incredibly niche for the price. For a bit more money upfront, The Business Platinum Card® from American Express can provide more valuable rewards with potentially better benefits—such as more extensive airport lounge access and complimentary hotel elite status—for a $695 annual fee.

The Delta Reserve Business card’s serious annual fee merits consideration about whether these airline-specific features are more or less valuable to your business than the premium benefits these competing cards offer:

Best cards to pair with the Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business card

The Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card is perhaps the best Delta card to couple with the Reserve Business. Its unlimited 2X miles on select U.S. media advertising, U.S. shipping and restaurants purchases in addition to your Delta category can reap bonus miles on business expenses outside travel. Meanwhile, the Delta Gold Business card’s lower $150 annual fee ($0 introductory annual fee for the first year) makes taking on another card more palatable.

As we previously mentioned, the Business Platinum Card from American Express earns stronger travel rewards, plus it brings a wide portfolio of additional travel benefits. The biggest draw is that Delta is one of Amex’s 1:1 transfer partners.

The American Express® Business Gold Card might be a better complement to the Delta Reserve Business card, though. That way, you can earn 4 points per dollar on eligible U.S. advertising, U.S. gas station purchases, U.S. restaurants, U.S. Electronics and U.S. wireless services and transit (up to a combined $150,000 per year in the top two categories your business spends the most each billing cycle, then 1X points).

Bankrate’s Take: Is the Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business card worth it?

Frequent Delta business travelers will get the most value from the Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business card’s flight rewards, luxury travel benefits and Medallion Status boost features.

On the other hand, if you aren’t a Delta loyalist, applying the $650 annual fee toward American Express’ Business Platinum Card instead would offer even more flexibility and similar luxury perks.

For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Business Platinum Card from American Express, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles Platinum Business, please click here.

 *Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by Amex Assurance Company

(*)Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply.  Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG Company.

**Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company. Car Rental Loss or Damage Coverage is offered through American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc.

Written by
Garrett Yarbrough
Writer, Credit Cards

Bankrate expert Garrett Yarbrough strives to make navigating credit cards and credit building smooth sailing for his readers. After regularly featuring his credit card, credit monitoring and identity theft analysis on NextAdvisor.com, he joined the CreditCards.com and Bankrate teams as a staff writer to develop product reviews and comprehensive credit card guides focused on cash back, credit scores and card offers.

Edited by Senior Editor, Credit Cards

* See the online application for details about terms and conditions for these offers. Every reasonable effort has been made to maintain accurate information. However all credit card information is presented without warranty. After you click on the offer you desire you will be directed to the credit card issuer's web site where you can review the terms and conditions for your selected offer.

Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, is accurate as of the publish date. All products or services are presented without warranty. Check the bank’s website for the most current information.