Credit Card Review: Delta SkyMiles Gold Business American Express Card
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Business owners loyal to Delta Air Lines have no shortage of cobranded cards to choose from, whether you’re a casual traveler or in the air every week. The Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express is the starter card of the group, offering solid perks and a low $95 annual fee that’s waived the first year (see rates & fees). Let’s look at how the card stacks up against its Delta counterparts and other non-Delta alternatives.
Who Is This Card For?
The Gold Delta SkyMiles Business Amex is built for those who want a way to earn SkyMiles and take advantage of Delta perks on flights, but don’t fly with the airline enough to justify a higher annual fee. Cards like the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express and the Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card come with more impressive welcome bonuses and premium perks for more frequent flyers, but they both charge higher annual fees. The Gold Delta, with its waived annual fee in the first year, is a great starter card for business owners just getting into the Delta SkyMiles program.
Like most business credit cards, you can qualify without a registered business. Freelancers and side hustlers who don’t have a tax ID or employer identification number can still apply so long as you plan on using the card for your business expenses. If you’re not sure whether a business card is right for you, check out these TPG guides on when to apply for a business card, what kind of businesses qualify and how to choose the right business credit card.
The Gold Delta Business Amex is currently offering new cardholders 30,000 bonus miles after you make $1,000 in purchases within the first three months. Additionally, you’ll earn a 50% rebate (up to $300 in statement credits) on purchases made directly with Delta within the first three months. This offer is only available through August 15 though, so make sure you apply before then to take advantage of it.
TPG’s latest valuations place Delta SkyMiles at 1.2 cents each, which means the bonus miles alone earned with this limited-time offer are worth $360. If you also earn the maximum statement credit, the welcome offer is worth as much as $660. There are certainly more valuable bonus offers out there, but remember that you only have to spend $1,000 in the first three months to earn this one.
Like all of Delta’s credit cards, you’ll earn 2x SkyMiles on Delta purchases (with the exception of inflight Wi-Fi) and 1x on everything else. However, the Gold Delta Business Amex’s rewards structure does differ from its other Delta business card counterparts in two distinct ways. First, it doesn’t come with a way to earn Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) that help you achieve and maintain elite status with Delta. Second, the Gold Delta Business Amex doesn’t have any way to earn extra SkyMiles with large amounts of spending like the other two.
Your best redemption options are going to be for award flights on Delta or Delta’s SkyTeam airline alliance partners. Delta’s move to dynamic award pricing has made it harder to maximize SkyMiles, but you can still find value with the program if you can put in the time to do your own searches and be flexible when it comes time to redeem your miles.
Delta also frequently has flash sales and other deals available on their website, and you can find excellent redemption options on both international and domestic city pairs. For example, as of this writing, you can book a round-trip nonstop flight between New York Kennedy (JFK) and Nassau, Bahamas (NAS) for just 14,000 miles (plus around $113 in taxes and fees). Check the site weekly or watch here at TPG for the latest deals.
You can also use your SkyMiles for seat upgrades, but know that since Delta doesn’t have award charts, you won’t know how many miles that premium cabin seat will cost until you’re ready to book. SkyMiles upgrades are also good on certain flights operated by Delta partners Air France, KLM, Virgin Atlantic and Aeromexico when using Mileage Upgrade Awards once your flight is booked.
While you can also redeem your SkyMiles for gift cards, magazines, unique SkyMiles Experiences, online shopping and more, those options almost always get you a less-than-optimal return.
While the Gold Delta SkyMiles Business card doesn’t come with the same premium perks as its more expensive Delta business card counterparts, it does come with a number of benefits when you’re flying on Delta.
First checked bag free – You and up to nine total travelers on the same reservation will get their first checked bag free when flying Delta. At $60 a bag round-trip, that can add up quickly if you travel regularly.
Priority boarding – Receive Main Cabin 1 boarding on Delta flights for you and up to nine passengers on the same reservation.
Sky Club lounge – Pay $29 each for you and up to two guests for a day-pass to more than 50 Delta Sky Clubs and more than 250 partner and airport lounges around the world when flying on same-day Delta flights.
Inflight discount – Receive a 20% statement credit on inflight purchases, including pre-purchased meals, inflight food, alcoholic beverages and audio headsets when using the card. The credit can’t be used for inflight Wi-Fi.
Travel Accident Insurance – Get up to $100,000 in accidental death and dismemberment coverage while traveling when airfare is charged to the card.
Baggage Insurance Plan – If your luggage is lost, damaged, or stolen baggage when you use the card to pay for travel, you’ll 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.
Roadside Assistance – Call the hotline to get help for car emergencies such as a flat tire or running out of gas.
Shopping Protections – The card comes with an extended warranty that adds up to two years onto 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 120 days after the date of purchase.
Which Cards Compete With the Gold Delta Business Amex?
The most direct competitors to the Gold Delta SkyMiles Business are the other Delta business cards offered by Amex. While the Gold comes with a solid welcome offer and lineup of perks, more frequent Delta flyers can get even more out of the Platinum Delta Business Amex and the Delta Reserve for Business in exchange for higher annual fees.
The Platinum Delta Business Amex is currently offering 50,000 miles after you spend $3,000 in the first three months and a 50% rebate on purchases made directly with Delta for up to $500 in statement credits in the first three months (offer ends 8/15/19). In addition to a higher bonus, the Platinum comes with the ability to earn MQMs and premium perks like a companion certificate each year. It charges a $195 annual fee (see rates & fees) which isn’t waived in the first year. The Delta Reserve for Business adds even more perks and a Sky Club membership to the mix, but charges a hefty $450 annual fee; $550 if application is received on or after 1/30/2020 (see rates & fees). However, if you’re flying Delta often throughout the year, the benefits you’ll get with the card more than make up for the annual fee.
If you’re wary of being tied down to Delta, credit cards with transferable points are also excellent options. The Ink Business Preferred Credit Card comes with a generous sign-up bonus of 100,000 bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months, plus 3x Ultimate Rewards points on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business purchases. Just remember that the Ink Business Preferred falls under Chase’s 5/24 rule, so know that if you’ve opened five or more credit cards across all banks over the last two years, you will most likely be denied.
Other Amex business credit cards like the no annual fee Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express (see rates & fees) or the more premium American Express® Business Gold Card are also alternative options to the Delta card. Amex Membership Rewards are directly transferable to Delta when you need to top off your SkyMiles balance for a redemption, but the program offers more flexibility with other travel partners and redemption options. And keep in mind that you won’t get the same Delta-specific perks with your Chase or Amex business card as you will with one of Delta’s credit card options.
You’ll want to choose the Gold Delta SkyMiles Business Amex if your business needs a credit card that comes with basic Delta perks like a free checked bag and priority boarding that help make travel easier, and you don’t want to spend a huge amount in annual fees. However, if you’re hoping to use your card to help you hit elite status, other Delta business credit cards will be a better fit.
If you’re looking for an everyday business credit card, there are other alternatives with better options for earning extra points in spending categories that are most important to you, or the ability to get more value for those points when redeeming them. But for Delta flyers looking for a simple business credit card to make their time in the air more comfortable, the Gold Delta SkyMiles Business Credit Card from American Express is the most straightforward and inexpensive choice.
For rates and fees of the Gold Delta SkyMiles Business Amex Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business Amex Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Blue Business Plus card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta Reserve for Business Card, here.
Featured image by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy.