Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business Card Review

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The Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business Credit Card from American Express is an elite airline card with a high fee to match. Besides its long list of travel benefits, including airport lounge access and companion passes, the card’s biggest draw might be the path it paves to Delta’s coveted Medallion frequent flyer status.  

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business Card

Overall Rating
2.1
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business Card
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Excellent
Regular APR (%) 15.74% - 24.74% variable
Annual Fee $550
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 3 miles per dollar spent on eligible purchases made directly with Delta. Earn 1 mile on every eligible dollar spent on other purchases.
Cash Advance APR (%) 25.24%
Cash Advance Fee Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater.
Ratings Breakdown
for Interest
1.7
for Fees
1.3
for Rewards
2.4
for Credit
1.0
Current Offer

Earn 45,000 bonus miles and 10,000 MQMs after you spend $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.

Top Rated For

Who Is This Credit Card Best For?

  • Avatar for Entrepreneur Persona
    Is turning their passion into a money-making venture See more cards
    Entrepreneur
  • Avatar for Deal Seeker Persona
    Diligently searches for the best products and delights in a good bargain See more cards
    Deal Seeker
  • Avatar for Savvy Saver Persona
    Prioritizes sticking to their budget while buying what they want and need See more cards
    Savvy Saver
  • Avatar for Road Warrior Persona
    Hits the road often, whether for work or play See more cards
    Road Warrior

The Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business Card is best for big-spending business owners who fly Delta, and want to do so in style. That means access to exclusive airport lounges, free checked bags, priority boarding—the works. Like other premium cards, there’s a hefty annual fee—one of the highest on the market, but if you charge $60,000 to $120,000 each calendar year, you’ll earn Delta’s elite Medallion flying status, either as a Silver or Gold member. (You’ll probably also need excellent credit to qualify.) 

Pros
  • Big spenders earn elite flying status

  • Companion ticket

  • Airport lounge access

Cons
  • Very steep annual fee

  • Limited reward earning rates

Pros Explained

  • Big spenders earn elite flying status: Normally you’d have to do a lot of flying to earn Delta’s elite Medallion status, which comes with a myriad of VIP perks that get more and more lavish with each tier. But if you spend enough with this card, you’ll be fast-tracked with a slew of so-called Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs). Every $30,000 you spend in a calendar year (up to $120,000) gets you 15,000 MQMs. That means you can earn up to 60,000 MQMs a year—enough to qualify for Gold Medallion status, the second tier.
  • Companion ticket: Here’s something to take the edge off the $550 annual fee you’ll spend on your card each year. Once you renew, if you pay for an eligible round-trip fare in the U.S., you’ll get round-trip airfare for a travel companion for free (fees and taxes aren’t covered). The companion ticket can even be in first class. 
  • Airport lounge access: When traveling on Delta flights, cardholders and any authorized users have complimentary access to more than 50 Delta Sky Club lounges, as well as American Express Centurion Lounges. Delta Sky Club memberships otherwise cost $545 annually, so if a quiet place to stretch out or work in peace is important to you, this alone justifies the annual fee. (And there are complimentary snacks and cocktails.) 

Cons Explained

  • Very steep annual fee: This is one of the higher-priced business travel cards on the market at $550 per year. And if you add authorized users to the account to boost your stash of miles, each will cost $175 a year. If you know you can maximize all of the card’s benefits, the fee is probably worth it, but carefully consider your flying preferences—and how often you fly—before you sign up. (And keep in mind that other users get airport lounge access, but not other perks like free checked bags.)
  • Limited reward earning rates: Apart from your Delta purchases, your miles-earning potential is pretty paltry unless you’re one of the few with a small business budget well over $150,000 a year. You can find pretty comparable travel perks on cards with higher rewards rates on restaurant, gas, or other business purchases. Even the other Delta-branded business cards offer more ways to earn extra miles day-to-day and have lower annual fees.  

Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business Credit Card Welcome Offer

You’ll earn 45,000 miles and 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) if you spend $4,000 on purchases within your first three months of opening an account.

According to The Balance’s latest rewards valuation, a Delta mile is worth an average of 1.54 cents when redeemed for airfare, so the bonus SkyMiles are worth about $693.

In terms of the number of miles, this offer exactly the same as the Delta SkyMiles Platinum Credit Card offer, but with a slightly higher spending requirement.  If you're concerned about being able to meet the spending requirement for the welcome offer, this isn't the best Delta business card for you. This one's all about superb travel perks and earning elite status.

Earning Points & Rewards

If you’re booking any flights or making any purchases with Delta, it’s a no-brainer that you’ll want to use this card to earn 3 miles on every $1 spent. Beyond that, all other purchases earn 1 mile per $1 until you reach $150,000 in spending for the year. Then, the rate bumps up to 1.5 miles per $1 for anything above that threshold during the remainder of the year.

Adding employees as authorized users can boost the overall spending and help you accumulate even more miles. Just make sure you factor in the additional annual fees to determine if they’re worth getting.

Redeeming Rewards

Most people want to earn miles to save money on upcoming flights, and this is generally the way to get the value out of your Delta miles. You can use your miles to book flights on Delta or with more than 20 partner airlines such as Air France, Virgin Atlantic, and Korean Air, as long as those are also booked through Delta. Delta does not blackout any dates for award flights, although Delta partners may do so at any time.

Our research has found that Delta miles are worth an average 1.54 cents each—a respectable value, though lower than the frequent flyer miles offered by United Airlines or American Airlines.

You can also use your miles to make a partial payment on an eligible Delta flight. For every 5,000 bonus miles redeemed, you’ll get $50 off the cost of the ticket. Of course, flight prices fluctuate, so you should do your research and track changes to try to score the best deal.

Besides flights, you may use miles to shop for magazines, merchandise, or to make a donation to a charity. However, going these routes will get you less value than booking flights. Since Delta miles don’t expire, you’re better off saving them to use for when you have to book a trip.

How to Get the Most Out of This Card

The more you spend, the more sweeteners you’ll get with this card. That’s not to suggest you should use your card frivolously, but if you’re getting this card because you like VIP travel treatment, keep in mind the “Status Boost” spending thresholds. Ideally, you’ll want to spend at least $60,000 in a calendar year so you can rack up enough MQMs to achieve Silver Medallion status, which will give you even more travel benefits to enjoy. Maximizing all four boost offers by spending $120,000 will get you Gold Medallion status. And from there, another $30,000 in spending will put you at the $150,000 needed to boost your non-Delta rewards to 1.5 miles per $1.

That said, the narrow scope of this card’s rewards earning rates may not serve you best if your bigger budget items extend well beyond airfare. Consider pairing your Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business Card with a general business rewards card that pays bonus miles on hotel, restaurant, and/or gasoline expenses.

For more information about earning and using Delta SkyMiles as a cardholder, see our complete guide to this frequent flyer rewards program.

Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business Card’s Excellent Perks

In addition to any benefits we’ve already mentioned, these are the stand-out perks of the Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business Card:  

  • Airline companion pass: Every year on your card membership anniversary, you’ll receive a companion certificate good for one round-trip first class, Delta Comfort+, or main cabin companion ticket. You’ll still have to cover fees and taxes, however.
  • Airport lounge access: When traveling on a Delta flight, you and any authorized users will get complimentary access to Delta Sky Club and American Express Centurion lounges. You’ll also get two Delta Sky Club guest passes when you open your account and each year at renewal. Once those are exhausted, you can bring up to two guests for $39 each. When traveling on a partner airline flight, you, as well as two guests, pay the $39 fee.
  • Global Entry/TSA Precheck application fee reimbursement: Cardholders (not authorized users) can be reimbursed when they apply for one of these two expedited airport clearance programs. A credit of up to $100 is issued to your statement when the membership is up for renewal, roughly every four years.
  • Free checked bag: Baggage fees on Delta flights are waived for your first checked bag and for up to eight travel companions on the same itinerary. Authorized users don’t qualify.
  • Priority boarding: Cardholders enjoy Main Cabin 1 priority boarding on Delta flights. Authorized users don’t qualify. 
  • Seat upgrades: Even if you haven’t earned Medallion status yet, you are eligible for free flight upgrades just by being a cardholder, subject to availability. (Medallion members get priority.)  
  • Insurance coverage for lost luggage: If your baggage is lost or stolen while traveling on a plane or other common carrier, you can get up to $1,250 for carry-on baggage and up to $500 for checked baggage when you use your card to pay for your trip.
  • Insurance coverage for trip cancellation, interruption, or delay: If your entire trip is paid for with your card and unexpected weather or injury cancels your plans or cuts your vacation short, you’ll be reimbursed up to $10,000 per trip and a maximum of $20,000 per year. The benefit for a delay is up to $500 per trip, twice a year. 

Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business Card’s Other Features 

  • Discounts on in-flight purchases
  • Refund when merchant won’t accept returned item
  • Insurance for stolen, lost, or damaged purchases 
  • Extended warranties
  • Rental car collision insurance (secondary to your own policy)
  • Concierge for booking event tickets, travel, and other services
  • Travel and emergency hotline

Customer Experience

American Express is known for its top-notch customer support, and even earned a first place ranking in the J.D. Power 2020 Credit Card Satisfaction Study 

Cardholders have 24/7 access to customer assistance, and there’s a mobile app to manage the account. There is also a variety of expense management tools designed to help business owners, including monitoring employee cards and paying vendors through Bill.com.

Security Features 

The security features on this card are standard for the industry. American Express also offers free credit scores via its MyCredit Guide tool. 

Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business Card’s Fees 

Beyond the heavy annual fee, other fees are comparable to those charged by other cards in the category.

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CURRENT CARD
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business Card
overall rating
2.1
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Excellent
Regular APR (%) 15.74% - 24.74% variable
Annual Fee $550
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 3 miles per dollar spent on eligible purchases made directly with Delta. Earn 1 mile on every eligible dollar spent on other purchases.
Our Methodology
At The Balance, we are dedicated to giving you unbiased, comprehensive credit card reviews. To do this, we collect data on hundreds of cards and score more than 55 features that affect your finances.
  • Our Reviews Are Always Impartial: No one can influence which cards we review, the way we present them to you, or the ratings they receive. The scores and reviews come directly from the data we collect and our editorial expertise, and we focus on three areas:
  • How Much Does It Cost? With credit card debt at an all-time high, we believe you should know the cost of carrying a balance. Because of that, we give regular purchase APRs significant weight in overall scores, and cards receive low marks if they have an array of pricey fees.
  • What Are the Rewards Worth? Cards accumulate rewards in different currencies—points, miles, cash back—and their values vary widely. To simplify the problem, we built a system that fairly compares rewards and gives them a dollar value. We do this by looking at the ways you can earn and use rewards, which includes evaluating Americans’ typical spending habits and analyzing common travel patterns.
  • Does It Make Your Life Easier? Our scoring system favors cards that accept a wide range of credit profiles and offer simple solutions for things like checking your credit score or contacting customer service. Finally, we give preference to credit cards that have several tools for dealing with fraudulent charges.
  • For every review on The Balance, we hold the credit cards to these standards, and we set the bar high. While we recognize the appeal of splashy features like six-digit sign-up bonuses, our approach ensures that credit cards with the best combination of value, affordability, and accessibility receive the highest scores. See our full methodology for more details.

Article Sources

The Balance requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy .
  1. Delta. "Get to Know Medallion Status: What You Need to Reach Medallion Status." Accessed Aug. 25, 2020.

  2. Delta. "Membership & Access." Accessed Aug. 25, 2020.

  3. American Express. "Cardmember Agreement: Part 1 of 2: Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business Card," Page 2. Accessed Aug. 25, 2020.

  4. American Express. "Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business American Express Card." Accessed Aug. 25, 2020.

  5. Delta. "Get to Know Medallion Status: International Partner & SkyTeam Benefits." Accessed Aug. 25, 2020.

  6. American Express. "Important Information Regarding Rates, Fees, and Other Cost Information." Accessed Aug. 25, 2020.

  7. American Express. "Guide to Benefits for American Express Card Member: Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance." Accessed Aug. 25, 2020.

  8. American Express. "Guide to Benefits for American Express Card Member Trip Delay Insurance." Accessed Aug. 25, 2020.

  9. J.D. Power. "Customers Losing Faith in Credit Card Issuers as COVID-19 Pandemic Lingers, J.D. Power Finds." Accessed Aug. 25, 2020.