Credit Card Review: Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card From American Express
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Most of the top US airlines offer both consumer and business versions of their cobranded credit cards, but only two — Delta and United — have premium business cards. And Delta is the only one that offers two premium cards, with the Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card taking the top spot ahead of the Platinum Delta Skymiles® Credit Card from American Express,. The Delta Reserve Amex for Business isn’t cheap, but it comes with the perks you’d expect from a luxury credit card, and right now it has one of the top welcome offers among airline-branded business credit cards. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of this card.
Who Is This Card For?
If you run a business and Delta is your airline of choice, you expect a certain level of perks to make travel go more smoothly, along with help maintaining your elite Medallion status. The Delta Reserve Business Amex covers both.
The card application is pretty simple, although partnerships and corporations are required to submit a federal Employee Identification Number (EIN) in order to activate an American Express business account. But you can also apply as a sole proprietor using your social security number, so don’t assume you have to run a large business to get this card. Even if you’re just an Ebay seller, you could easily be eligible for a business credit card.
The Delta Reserve Business Amex is offering a welcome bonus of 40,000 bonus SkyMiles and 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after spending $3,000 on the card in the first three months. Based on the latest TPG valuations, Delta SkyMiles are worth 1.2 cents per mile, making this welcome offer worth $480 just for the redeemable miles alone.
It’s difficult to put a precise value on the 10,000 MQMs, but if you’re chasing Delta elite status and paying an average of 10 cents per flown mile (not atypical for paid tickets). However, if you don’t have any interest in being a Delta elite, these MQMs aren’t going to be useful for you.
With the Delta Reserve Business Amex, you’ll earn 2 SkyMiles per dollar spent on Delta purchases, including at delta.com, via phone reservation or at ticket counters, plus Delta Vacation packages, seat upgrades and seat selection fees, Delta Sky Club membership or passes, pre-purchased and inflight meals, inflight alcoholic beverages and audio headsets (but not Wi-Fi). It drops to 1 mile per dollar spent on everything else. You also won’t pay foreign transaction fees (see rates & fees) if you use the card when traveling overseas.
You won’t get more miles for popular business spending categories such as internet, shipping and office supplies, but you can earn extra miles by issuing authorized user cards to your employees. You can also take advantage of the card’s Miles Boost feature to improve your earning rate. With Miles Boost, you’ll earn 15,000 MQMs and 15,000 bonus miles after spending $30,000 on the card, and another 15,000 MQMs and 15,000 bonus miles after spending $60,000, all within a calendar year. That means if you hit either of those amounts precisely, you’re essentially earning 1.5 SkyMiles per dollar spent, plus the extra MQMs.
Delta got rid of its award chart back in 2015, so you’re going to need to do some searching in order to get the biggest bang for your buck when it comes to redeeming miles for flights. However, you can also book award travel on Delta’s 18 other SkyTeam alliance partners, along with other carriers including GOL, Hawaiian Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Australia and WestJet. Many of these airlines are available to book online at Delta’s website, though you’ll also want to search elsewhere to find full SkyTeam availability.
If you’re looking for bargains when it comes to redeeming your miles, go to the SkyMiles Deals page, where Delta regularly posts deep discounts on round-trip tickets in economy and Delta One between specific city pairs. Recent deals include Los Angeles-Washington, DC, for 20,000 miles or Atlanta-New York City for 13,000 miles.
You can also redeem your SkyMiles for upgrades to the next class of service on Delta, as well as certain flights operated by partners Air France, KLM, Virgin Atlantic and Aeromexico. While this isn’t a particularly valuable use of Delta miles, it’ll save you from paying cash or trying to find premium cabin award availability.
Other redemption options include SkyClub lounge membership or day pass fees, online shopping, gift cards, magazines and unique SkyMiles experiences. You can also transfer, gift or donate your miles to charity. However, you’ll get the most from your miles by redeeming them for flights.
This is where the Delta Reserve for Business Amex can easily be worth its $450 annual fee ($550 if application is received on or after 1/30/2020) (see rates & fees), especially if you’re considering purchasing a Sky Club membership anyway, which costs $545 to buy outright. So just by getting the Delta Reserve card, you’re saving $95 over a regular Sky Club membership, with access to more than 50 Delta lounges around the world. Guests are not complimentary but cost $29 per person up to two, which matches a regular individual Sky Club membership, and you must be flying on Delta to access the lounges (again, just like a regular membership).
As far as other perks, the Delta Reserve card includes…
Miles Boost. As noted above, this feature can also improve your earning rate on the card along with picking up extra MQMs. Considering that it takes 75,000 MQMs and $9,000 in Delta spending for Platinum Medallion status, this deal can get you halfway there if you do the required spending on the card.
Companion certificate. Use this for a domestic first class, Delta Comfort+ or domestic main cabin round-trip flight each year you renew the card. Note that you’ll need to pay up to $75 in government-imposed taxes and fees on the certificate.
First checked bag free. You and up to nine travelers on the same reservation will get their first checked bag free when flying Delta. At $30 a bag in each direction, even if you’re traveling alone, that saves you $60 on every round-trip.
Priority access. Enjoy a free checked bag, a dedicated security checkpoint line and Main Cabin 1 boarding on Delta flights for up to nine travelers on the same reservation.
Inflight discount. Receive a 20% statement credit on purchases, including pre-purchased meals, and in-flight purchases of food, alcoholic beverages and audio headsets when using the card.
Baggage Insurance Plan. You’re covered if your luggage is lost, damaged, or stolen baggage when you use the card to pay for travel. Receive up to $1,250 for a carry-on and up to $500 for a checked bag.
Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance. You’re covered if your eligible rental car is damaged or stolen when you use the card to reserve and pay for it and decline company insurance. Note that this is secondary coverage and doesn’t include liability.
Protections. The card comes with an extended warranty that adds up to two years on an original manufacturer’s warranty for those five years or less. Purchase Protection covers items that are accidentally damaged, stolen, or lost if you paid for them with the card for up to 90 days after the date of purchase.
Dedicated help. Concierge staff are available 24/7 to help with tasks including restaurant reservations, special event planning, gift advice and more. Global Assist gives you help with medical, legal, financial or other select emergency coordination and assistance services when you travel more than 100 miles from home.
Which Card Competes With the Delta Reserve Amex?
If you’re looking at the Delta Reserve Business Amex, it only makes sense to consider the Business Platinum® Card from American Express, especially since you still get some great Delta perks with it. That card’s current welcome offer is earn up to 75,000 bonus points: 50,000 bonus points after you spend $10,000 and an extra 25,000 bonus points after you spend an additional $10,000 all on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership. Our valuation puts Membership Rewards points at 2 cents per point, making the offer worth $1,500 if you spend the entire $20,000.
While you’ll get essentially the same Delta Sky Club membership with the Business Platinum Amex as with the Delta Reserve, you’ll miss out on the other Delta-specific features of the Reserve card such as the Miles Boost perk, companion certificate, free checked bags and priority boarding. The Business Platinum card has its own additional perks like 5 points per dollar spent on airfare and on prepaid hotels when you book them through American Express Travel, a $200 annual airline fee credit and additional lounge access at Centurion, Priority Pass, Airspace and Escapes lounges, but you’ll also pay a higher $595 fee for all these benefits.
The Delta Reserve® for Business Credit Card from American Express is a good option if you’re a Delta enthusiast and would buy a Sky Club membership regardless, since you’ll save money by just paying the card’s annual fee. It also can make sense if you spend enough on the card to get you closer to elite Medallion status, as well as a better earning rate. But if you aren’t a regular Delta flyer or don’t need help getting Delta elite status, then the Amex Platinum Business Card is a better choice. You might also consider your options if you already have Delta elite status, since status comes with priority boarding that either matches or beats the boarding group of the Reserve card. However, keep in mind that the free checked bag that come with the Delta Reserve Business Card will stack with the free checked bag from Delta’s Silver elite status, so you’ll pick up an extra free bag by getting the card.
In the end, if you want Sky Club access and Delta perks but want to keep your annual fee to a minimum, you may want to consider the Delta Reserve Business card as your main one to run your business. Just make sure that you’re paying for benefits you’ll use regularly, and that the card perks match your travel goals.
For rates and fees of the Delta Reserve Business Amex, click here.
- Earn 40,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
- With Miles Boost®, you can earn 15,000 bonus miles and 15,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $30,000 or more in eligible purchases on your Card in a calendar year.
- Earn an additional 15,000 bonus miles and 15,000 MQMs after you spend $60,000 in eligible purchases on your Card in a calendar year for a total of 30,000 bonus miles and 30,000 MQMs. Starting January 30, 2020, you will no longer earn bonus miles with this benefit.
- Earn 2 miles per dollar spent on eligible purchases made directly with Delta. Earn 1 mile on every eligible dollar spent on purchases.
- Find room for your carry-on and settle into your seat sooner with Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding.
- Pay no foreign transaction fees when you spend overseas.
- Enter Delta Sky Club® at no cost and bring up to two guests for an exclusive rate of $29 per person per visit.
- Terms and limitations apply
- See Rates & Fees