Who Is This Credit Card Best For?
Is turning their passion into a money-making venture See more cards
Diligently searches for the best products and delights in a good bargain See more cards
Prioritizes sticking to their budget while buying what they want and need See more cards
Hits the road often, whether for work or play See more cards
The Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business Card is best for big-spending business owners who fly Delta, and want to do so in style (and have excellent credit). 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—and you have to spend a lot to get all the bonuses. 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.
Big spenders earn elite flying status
Airport lounge access
Great welcome offer
Very steep annual fee
Limited scope for rewards
- 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.)
- Great welcome offer: You’ll get as much as 100,000 bonus miles, as long as you stick around to renew your card and spend at least $5,000 in your first three months. That’s a pretty appealing deal, relative to other premium cards. (More on this below.)
- 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 scope for rewards: 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. If you spend a lot of money entertaining clients at restaurants or on the road meeting prospects, you can find pretty comparable travel perks on cards with higher rewards rates on restaurant, gas, or other business purchases. Some may even let you earn and redeem miles on your choice of airlines.
Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business Credit Card Welcome Offer
New cardholders get a pretty sweet deal with this card. You’ll earn as many as 100,000 bonus miles: 80,000 miles if you spend $5,000 on purchases within your first three months of opening an account and another 20,000 miles after you renew your card for the first time. According to The Balance’s latest rewards valuation, a Delta mile is worth an average of 1.60 cents when redeemed for airfare, so we value this bonus at a stellar $1,600.
In terms of the number of miles, this is one of the biggest offers available for business travelers, which is nice to see, given how meager it had been previously. Still, our research shows that some competing travel cards have higher-value frequent flyer miles, making their bonuses worth more.
Besides the miles, you’ll receive 20,000 MQMs when you meet the $5,000 spending requirement. As we’ve said, you need MQMs (otherwise earned by flying) to earn Delta’s elite Medallion status. Earning Medallion status can provide lots of VIP benefits, from free flight upgrades to rental car benefits with Hertz to airport benefits—and the higher the elite tier, the more you get.
This offer expires April 1, 2020.
Delta’s Medallion program can get confusing. MQMs reflect distance and fare class flown. MQDs reflect the dollars spent. To be a Silver member (the first tier), you need to earn 25,000 MQMs and 3,000 MQDs. If you earn this credit card’s welcome offer and spend $30,000 on the card in the same calendar year, you’ll fulfill these requirements.
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.
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.
Delta does not have an award chart, which can make planning ahead difficult. You’ll need to search for individual flights to find out the number of miles you’ll need. Our research has found that Delta miles are worth an average 1.60 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. 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 the rewards on this card 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
There are lots of benefits offered by credit cards, but editors at The Balance have narrowed down the ones with exceptional value. Of those offered on the Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business Card, these perks made the cut:
- 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, 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
American Express is known for its top-notch customer support, and even earned a second place ranking in the J.D. Power 2019 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 merging data into QuickBooks.
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.