The Delta Skymiles Reserve Business card is not one of our top-rated airline credit cards. You can review our list of the best airline credit cards for what we think are better options.
Full Review of Delta Skymiles Reserve Business Card
Valuable travel benefits
Opportunity for Annual Miles Boosts
Relatively meager welcome offer
High annual fee
- Valuable Travel Benefits: Premium business cards, especially those with high annual fees, invariably come with alluring travel extras, and the Delta Skymiles Reserve Business card is no exception. Cardholders receive complimentary access to the Delta Sky Club and Amex Centurion (when traveling with Delta and paying with their Delta Skymiles Reserve Business card) airport lounges, along with two Sky Club guest passes; priority boarding; a credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck; a free checked bag per flight; and savings on in-flight purchases. The most valuable benefit, however, is the card's annual companion pass, granted when you renew your membership. It allows you to bring a companion with you on a round-trip flight provided you pay for applicable taxes and fees, which are capped at no more than $75.
- Opportunity for Annual Miles Boosts: This card helps big spenders get more of the cherished MQMs (medallion qualification miles) needed to qualify for elite status in Delta’s SkyMiles loyalty program. If your card purchases in any calendar year total at least $30,000, you'll be rewarded with an extra 15,000 MQMs. Plus, throughout 2021 you'll earn an additional 3,750 MQMs after making $30,000 in purchases. Added to the 10,000 MQMs you could receive with the one-time offer, the bonus will easily allow you after your first year with the card to reach the 25,000 MQMs it takes to earn Silver Medallion Status. Truly enormous spenders can even earn an additional 15,000 MQMs each time they reach a higher spending threshold within the same calendar year—of $60,000, $90,000, and $120,000.
- High Annual Fee: While high annual fees aren't uncommon for luxury business cards, few of them charge quite this much. Indeed, we found only one—the American Express Platinum Business card, which charges even a bit more at $595 a year. You might justify that cost through rewards or the value of the card’s included benefits. But the risk, of course, is that you won’t, particularly after the first year, when the one-time offer is no longer available.
- Relatively Modest Bonus Offer: Given this card's high annual fee, the one-time offer of 45,000 bonus miles is disappointingly modest. You can earn nearly as many bonus miles and MQMs through getting the Delta Platinum for Business, and its annual fee is less than half as much—$250 per year. There are also business cards that cost a fraction as much as Delta Skymiles Reserve Business card and provide bonus offers worth significantly more. The Chase Ink Business Preferred card, for example, charges just $95 per year and has a one-time offer of 100,000 points after spending $15,000 in the first three months—with that bonus worth $1,250 when redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
This Card is Best For
Seeks the recognition and perks of branded travel partner status
Flies often for business or leisure
Travels outside of U.S. on occasion or frequently
Earning a primary or side income from a small business
The Delta Skymiles Reserve Business card is best suited to enterprises whose employees are very loyal to Delta, and who fly nearly continually. A heavy travel schedule is needed to justify this card’s annual fee and to take full advantage of its benefits.
To illustrate, consider that charging $1,000 per month in Delta purchases to this card would earn 36,000 miles over a year. We estimate those rewards would be worth $554 when redeemed for domestic flights on Delta. That's just barely above the card's $550 annual fee but at least illustrates how even modest spending can justify the high fee.
Alternatively, let's say you spent a quarter as much on flights, as you might if you took only a domestic business flight every second month or so. Since that spending would yield miles worth just $139, you’d need to spend heavily on regular purchases to earn back the remaining portion of the annual fee. Specifically, at the regular rewards rate of a mile per dollar spent, you’d need to spend a bit over $2,200 a month on the card to justify the balance of its annual fee.
Delta Skymiles Reserve Business Bonus Offer
If you spend $4,000 within the first three months of card membership, you'll earn 45,000 bonus miles and 10,000 MQMs. We estimate those bonus miles to be worth $693 when redeemed for Delta flights. The MQMs will help you obtain elite (or "Medallion") status with Delta, the lowest level of which (Silver) requires 25,000 MQMs.
That’s not a very generous reward considering the $550 annual cost of this card. Notably, you can get a bonus offer that's nearly as valuable with the Delta SkyMiles Platinum Business, with an annual fee of only $250. It offers 45,000 bonus miles and 5,000 MQMs, and you need to spend less to earn that bonus—$3,000 within your first three months of membership. Further, you get a $100 statement credit after making a single Delta purchase with your new card within the first three months.
Rewards Earning Details
Cardholders earn an unlimited 3 miles per dollar spent on purchases made from Delta. In addition to flights booked directly with the airline, Delta purchases can include in-flight purchases, Sky Club membership and passes, and Delta Vacations packages.
All other eligible purchases on the card earn 1 mile per dollar. Those increase to 1.5 miles per dollar if you meet a spending threshold. But that bar is a high $150,000 in spending within a calendar year.
Rewards Redemption Details
Any SkyMiles you earn can be redeemed in a number of ways, including for Delta flights, seat upgrades, the Delta Sky Club, merchandise, gift cards, and experiences.
To start redeeming Delta rewards, you must be enrolled in the Delta SkyMiles rewards program. You can redeem them through Delta's website, via phone, or at the Delta ticket counter.
Transferring points from Delta to other loyalty programs can't be done directly. However, it is possible to transfer points from select loyalty programs to your Delta airline-loyalty program and convert them to Delta SkyMiles. You can convert points from credit card, car rental, and hotel partners.
It's important to keep in mind that conversions like this can be costly and may require more than one partner point to earn a SkyMile. In addition, there may be a fee for transferring points.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
To get the most out of this card, start by using it for all of your business-related expenses. Make Delta purchases your priority, which earns 3 mile per dollar spent. With each mile worth 1.54 cents, according to Investopedia's valuation, those rewards amount to almost 5%, a level that would be hard to beat if you charged Delta flights to any other card.
It's also wise, of course, to spend at least $1,000 per month within the first three months of card membership to earn the 45,000-point one-time offer and 10,000 MQMs. After all, the bonus miles are worth $693 when redeemed for Delta flights and, as a further incentive, the MQMs will get you closer to earning elite status. That one-time offer is valuable enough to be worth making regular purchases with the card in order to reach its threshold. All non-Delta purchases on the card earn 1 mile per dollar, and are thus worth about 1.6 cents apiece, which puts the card on a par for all transactions with the many that offer cash back of 1.5% per dollar spent. If you manage to hit $150,000 in annual spending—which requires a spend of at least $12,500 per month—your rewards rate on non-Delta purchases moves up to 1.5 mile per dollar spent. That rate rivals or even beats cards that offer 2% in cash back.
If you're pursuing elite status, charging $30,000 on this card within a calendar year will earn you an additional 15,000 MQMs. Combined with the one-time offer, you'd reach the 25,000 MQMs required to receive Silver Medallion Status with the airline. And that, in turn, could add further value to the card, since SkyMiles status will contribute anywhere from 2 to 4 additional miles to your SkyMiles account for every dollar you spend with Delta.
Finally, taking full advantage of this card's many benefits could allow you to forego charges you’d otherwise incur. The annual companion certificate that provides a domestic first class or main cabin round-trip flight each year could alone be worth hundreds of dollars. The unlimited access to the Delta Sky Club lounges that comes with the card otherwise costs $545, and membership in the Amex Centurion Lounges currently can’t be purchased.
Finally, obtain additional cards for employees who make purchases on behalf of the company in order to further increase the miles earned on the account. Of course, depending on your company policy, those employees may be entitled to retain rewards earned on their travel for their personal use. If so—or in order to allow them to do so—you can enroll your business in Delta’s corporate SkyBonus program, provided you have at least five employees with cards who together spend at least $5,000 annually on Delta flights. The program, which is free, allows both the employee and their employer to earn miles rewards on Delta flights.
Let's assume you use this card to book two return-trip domestic trips per month on Delta—which is actually roughly double the norm for business travelers, who take an average of about a trip or a month. With such a travel pattern, according to data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, you'd pay an average of around $7,248 per year in airfare and earn nearly 22,000 miles. Let's further assume that you put $1,000 per month on this card for various business expenses, including hotels, office supplies, marketing, insurance, and more.
In total, you'd earn about 4,000 miles worth $523.60 when redeemed for Delta flights. Let’s assume you also take advantage of the annual companion certificate for domestic travel, for which you'll pay no more than $75, to cover taxes and fees. Assuming your companion accompanies you on a business trip for which you're not out-of-pocket personally, that benefit could easily add $300 to the value of this card each year.
If you typically check a bag on domestic flights, you could also save the $60 fee per round-trip ticket on some or all of your trips.
Along with the scenario above, which would earn you close to $600, let’s say you spend a further $1,000 a month on ground travel, hotels, and other miscellaneous business expenses. That spending would add 12,000 miles, worth about $185, to your account. Those increased charges would also allow your spending to reach at least $30,000 in a calendar year. At that milestone, you receive 15,000 MQMs. Together with the 10,000 MQMs you will have received as part of the card's one-time offer, that spending bonus would allow you to reach Silver Medallion Status in Delta's SkyMiles program. The Silver Medallion status earns you an additional 2 miles per dollar spent on flights. Along with your Delta spending of $7,248 a year, that premium would add an estimated $223 to your rewards to the year. (If you spent even more, you could get still-further 15,000-MQM bonuses, since additional ones are added at spending thresholds of $60,000, $90,000, and $120,000).
The bottom line: the $1,000-a-month in additional spending could plausibly boost your annual earnings with the card by another $400 or more, sending your total benefits to over $900 for the year.
Delta Skymiles Reserve Business Card's Outstanding Benefits
- Primary car-rental collision insurance
- Annual companion certificate
- Complimentary Sky Club and Centurion Lounge access
- Main-cabin priority boarding
- Baggage-insurance plan
- First checked bag free
- Concierge service
- Up to four qualifying-miles bonuses annually, based on spending
- Return purchase protection
- Fraud protection
- In-flight purchase discounts
American Express ranked first overall for customer satisfaction in J.D. Power's 2020 U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Survey, placing it on a par with Discover, which scored just slightly lower.
Card members can access and manage their accounts online, through the American Express app or by phone. Customer service is available by phone 24/7. Personal card members can call 1-800-528-4800 for help.
Chat assistance is also available. You can also connect with American Express on Facebook or tweet questions and comments to @AskAmex.
American Express cards come with a number of security features that are standard in the industry. You'll find fraud protection, account monitoring, pre-purchase verification, and account alerts for irregular activity.
If your card is lost or stolen, American Express will send you a replacement card, which you'll usually receive within two business days.
The Delta Skymiles Reserve Business card provides plenty of luxury benefits, and the card should pay off handsomely for very frequent flyers on Delta, who will also get help moving up the status ladder with the airline’s SkyMiles program.
But people who fly Delta only occasionally will be hard-pressed to justify the card’s $550 annual fee. Such business travelers might be better served by the Delta SkyMiles Platinum Business card. While it lacks some of the luxury extras and bonuses of the Delta Skymiles Reserve Business card, it costs $300 less—at $250—and offers comparable rewards.
If you're willing to give up still more luxuries, and you're not committed to Delta, consider opting for a less expensive business card with high rewards and a solid bonus. The Chase Ink Business Preferred card offers 3 points per dollar spent on the first $150,000 in combined purchases on travel, shipping, advertising, and internet, cable, and phone. It also has a solid 100,000-point one-time offer and Chase provides more flexibility than does Amex for redeeming points.