Best for big spenders who fly often with Delta Air Lines
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card
Rewards rate1.5X - 3X
Earn 3 Miles on every dollar spent on eligible purchases made directly with Delta. After you spend $150,000 on your Card in a calendar year, you earn 1.5 Miles per dollar (that’s an extra half mile per dollar) on eligible purchases the rest of the year.
Welcome Offer: Earn 70,000 Bonus Miles after spending $5,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership.
Pay over time APR
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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 $550 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?
Best Delta card for earning Medallion Status
Best Delta travel features
Complimentary companion benefits can fly a guest first-class and grant them Delta Sky Club access
$550 annual fee
Limited redemption options
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
- Rewards rate: 3X miles on Delta purchases; 1X miles on all other purchases or 1.5X miles on purchases for the rest of the year after spending $150,000 in one calendar year.
- Welcome offer: Earn 70,000 Bonus Miles after spending $5,000 in purchases on your new card in your first 3 months of card membership.
- Annual fee: $550
- Purchase intro APR: N/A
- Balance transfer intro APR: N/A
- Regular APR: 20.74 percent to 29.74 percent variable
Current welcome offer
New cardholders can now earn 70,000 miles after spending $5,000 in the first six months with the Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business card.
While Delta SkyMiles aren’t the most valuable miles on the market, the current bonus carries has a decent value for a business travel card, worth around $910 in Delta travel based on Bankrate’s latest point and mile valuations, which give Delta SkyMiles an estimated average value of 1.3 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 — also offers an 80,000-point bonus after you spend $6,000 in your first six months, but we estimate Membership Rewards points can be worth around 2.1 cents each on average when you take advantage of the issuer’s top travel transfer partners (giving this bonus a potential value of around $1,680). 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 would still only get you an average mile value of around 1.3 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.
The Delta Reserve Business card earns frequent flyer miles mainly on Delta purchases. They aren’t the most flexible rewards in the world, but they definitely suit Delta loyalists.
You’ll earn 3X miles per dollar on eligible Delta purchases, which include flights, seat upgrades and eligible in-flight goods. All other purchases will earn you 1X miles until you spend $150,000 within a calendar year. After you spend $150,000 on your Card in a calendar year, you earn 1.5X miles on eligible purchases the rest of the year — an extra half mile per dollar. 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 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.
However, combining this spending with the Status Boost benefit will net you a trove of MQMs and unlock this card’s potential. Reaching Delta’s Medallion Status requirements opens the door for 7 to 11 miles per dollar on Delta purchases and the airline’s best travel benefits.
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 1.3 cents, according to Bankrate’s latest valuations. That’s pretty low compared to the 2.1 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.
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.
With Status Boost®, earn 15,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $30,000 in purchases on your card in a calendar year, up to four times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status.
Companion travel perks
You can bring a business partner, client or guest on a domestic First Class, Delta Comfort+ or Main Cabin round-trip flight with your annual complimentary companion certificate. This is an especially valuable benefit when used for an expensive flight.
Plus, you can experience complimentary Centurion Lounge and Delta Sky Club Access when you book your Delta flight with your Reserve Business Card. And you’ll receive two Delta Sky Club one-time guest passes each year.
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)
- Main Cabin 1 priority boarding
- Free first checked bag
- Global Entry or TSA Precheck application fee credit
- 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 $550 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 $14,000 per year on Delta flights to earn $550 worth of rewards (based on a 1.3-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 20.74 percent to 29.74 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 than MQM-earning and lounge access opportunities.
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 $99 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. shipping and select U.S. tech purchases (up to a combined $150,000 in two select categories per year, 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.
But if the better MQM reward rates and airport lounge access aren’t worth the $550 annual fee with your budget, your business might benefit more from the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card’s nearly identical rewards.
On the other hand, if you aren’t a Delta loyalist, applying the $550 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.