Delta Skymiles Reserve Business AMEX Card (2020)
Review the benefits of the Delta Skymiles Reserve AMEX (2020), calculate how many Skymiles you can earn based on your spend, and compare against top cards.
The Delta Skymiles Reserve Business AMEX Card is Delta's premium business credit card. It's a great card for those who want to experience top-of-the-line benefits when traveling with Delta. This includes the ability to spend your way to Delta Medallion Status, a complimentart first class companion pass for a friend to tag along with you for just the cost of taxes/fees, and access to both Delta SkyClub lounges and American Express Centurion lounges. Lots of the benefits offered on this card mirrors the AMEX Business Platinum Card making it a great alternative.
The Delta Skymiles Reserve Business AMEX Card features Delta Airlines purchases as it's only bonus category. There is no limit to the amount of bonus miles you can earn using your card on Delta purchases and no limit to the amount of miles you can earn using the card overall.
3x Delta Purchases
When you use the Delta Skymiles Reserve Business AMEX Card for purchases made with Delta Airlines you will earn 3 Skymiles per $1 spent. Eligible purchases for this bonus category will be purchases where Delta is the merchant of record, such as purchases via Delta.com, phone reservations, or ticket counters, upgrades, miles, seat selection, Delta Sky Club® membership or passes, pre-purchased meals, in-flight purchases of food, alcoholic beverages and audio headsets on Delta-operated flights. Do note that in-flight purchases (e.g. Gogo) will not count as Delta purchases.
All Reserve and Platinum versions of the Delta AMEX credit cards earns 3x on Delta which is a great return. Running spend through this card is totally acceptable and a good idea for anyone looking to meet some of the high spend requirements of the benefits offered on the card. If you're looking to earn more than 3x on your Delta purchases, your only business card options consist of Membership Rewards credit cards. You can pick up the AMEX Business Gold Card which earns 4x points per $1 on the two categories you spend the most in every month (in which airfare is one of those catgories) or the AMEX Business Platinum Card which earns 5x on airfare purchases made through the American Express Travel Portal. Purchases through the AMEX Travel Portal will still earn you MQMs, MQSs, and MQDs towards Delta Medallion Status and the flight itself will still be tied to your Delta profile when you log in, so no worry there.
1.5x Non-Category w/ $150k Spend
After you've made $150,000 in purchases on the Delta Skymiles Reserve Business AMEX Card during the calendar year, you will earn 0.5 additional points per $1 spent on non-category purchases for a total of 1.5x. If you're working your way towards the MQD Waiver and/or Status Boost benefits, spending the small amount of extra money could be worth it depending on how fast you can hit the $150,000 in spend and how much spend you plan on running through the card during the remainder of the year.
You can earn a higher return on your non-category spend using the no-annual fee AMEX Blue Business Plus Card, but you'll only earn 2x on the first $50,000 in purchases made during the year.
Do note that this benefit is not reflected in the calculations for this calculator.
If you've spend less than $150,000 on your Delta Skymiles Reserve Business AMEX Card during the year, all non-Delta purchases will earn you 1 Skymile per $1 spent. This is a low earning rate that can be improved upon by using the AMEX Blue Business Plus Card to earn at the 2x rate for the first $50,000 in spend during the calendar year.
Perks and Benefits
Sky Priority Security and Miles Boost will no longer be perks of the Delta Reserve Business AMEX as of January 30, 2020.
First Class Companion Certificate
The most valuable benefit offered on this card, in my opinion, is the First Class Companion Certificate. This is because this benefits can single handedly make up for the annual fee of the card. If you fly First Class with a companion at least once per year, the Reserve is a pretty decent investment as you can get easily get $550 in value out of this benefit. For example, take a look at this flight from Columbus, Ohio to Los Angeles, Californa.
The base cost of the flight is $720.93 and the taxes/fees adds an additional $91.67 for a total of $812.60. With the First Class Companion Pass, my wife could tag along with me in First Class for just the cost of taxes/fees which is $91.67. That saves me $720.93 which is the full annual fee of the card plus an additional $170. If you can squeeze at least $400+ in savings out of this benefit, I highly suggest consider this card (or the personal Reserve Card).
Delta SkyClub One-Time Guest Passes
Each year upon renewal of your Delta Skymiles Reserve Business AMEX and when you first open your account, you will recieve two one-time guest passes for complimentary access to a Delta SkyClub lounge. These passes are added to the primary cardholder's Wallet on the Delta.com website and within the app. These passes are good for one year, starting from the date it was added to the Wallet. In order to use the guest pass, the primary cardholder must be present and guests using the pass must be traveling on a same-day Delta-marketed or -operated flight.
Complimentary Delta SkyClub Access
The Delta Skymiles Reserve Business AMEX Card will grant you and additional card members complimentary access to Delta SkyClubs. Access will only be granted to those traveling on a same-day Delta-marketed or -operated flight. If you're flying on a Delta partner flight (i.e. flight with DL number operated by another airline), you will be charged a reduced cost of $39 per person, per location. The reduced cost entry fee will be charged to your Reserve card.
Centurion Lounge Access
The Delta Skymiles Reserve Business AMEX Card will grant you and additional card members access to Centurion Lounges. This access will only be available when flying a same-day Delta-marketed or -operated flight and when the eligible flight is booked on a U.S. issued American Express Card. You'll have the opportunity to bring up to two guests with you into the Centurion Lounge for a fee of $50 per guest, per location. The guest(s) must also be traveling on a Delta-marketed or -operated flight.
If you got the means to run heavy spend through the Delta Skymiles Reserve Business AMEX Card, you can easily boost you Delta Medallion Status with the Status Boost benefit. Every $30,000 you run through the card will earn you 15,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) and you can do this up to four times. That means you can earn a total of 60,000 MQMs after spending $120,000 on the card. If you pick up the personal Delta Skymiles Reserve AMEX Card, you can run an additional $120,000 through that card to earn an additional 60,000 MQMs and thus meet the MQMs requirement for Delta Diamond Status. You'll then only need to spend an additional $10,000 to hit the MQD Waiver Requirement for Diamond and you'll have purchased Delta's highest status.
Complimentary Upgrades & Upgrade Priority
The Delta Skymiles Reserve AMEX lends a helping hand for those looking for complimenary upgrades on Delta flights. If you don't have Delta Medallion Status, this benefit will still allow you to receive complimentary upgrades by putting you Upgrade/Standby List. Of course you'll be behind everyone else that has status so upgrade could be very rare depending on the busyness of your airport and what time of day you fly out.
If you do have Delta Medallion Status, you will be given higher priority over those who have the same status as you who does not have the Delta Skymiles Reserve Business AMEX or Delta Skymiles Reserve AMEX cards. The value of this benefit will flucuate depending on the airport, time of flight, how many Medallion members are on the flight, and much more. This benefit could easily push you up enough to nail a Comfort+ or First/Business Class seat.
Global Entry / TSA PreCheck
The Delta Skymiles Reserve Business AMEX Card offers up to a $100 credit towards a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee. This are both useful programs for those who want to speed through TSA Checkpoints (at least most of the time) and customs when re-entering the United States. I typically recommend going for Global Entry since it comes with TSA PreCheck.
Since this benefit is offered on many credit cards, you may already have Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. If that's the case, you can gift this benefit to someone else just by using your Delta Skymiles Reserve Business AMEX Card to pay for their application fee. This credit is not tied to the cardholder and merely triggers when the application fee hits the card.
This benefit is only available to the primary cardholder.
The MQD Waiver allows you to bypass the Mdeallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs) requirement to qualify for Delta Medallion Status as long as you have met the Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) or Medallion Qualification Segments (MQSs) requirements. Depending on the status you're trying to obtain, you'll to spend a certain amount across your Delta AMEX Cards:
- $25,000 Spend - Silver, Gold, and Platinum Waiver
- $250,000 Spend - Diamond Waiver
In order to be eligible for this benefit you must have at least one of the four following cards:
- Delta Skymiles Platinum AMEX
- Delta Skymiles Platinum Business AMEX
- Delta Skymiles Reserve AMEX
- Delta Skymiles Reserve Business AMEX (this card)
As long as you have at least one of the cards listed above, eligible spend across all Delta AMEX Cards will count towards the MQD Waiver including the three cards that does not have feature the benefit which are:
So for example, you can run $20,000 through the Delta Skymiles Reserve Business AMEX and $5,000 through the Delta Skymiles Blue AMEX Card to trigger the Silver/Gold/Platinum Waiver.
20% Off In-Flight
Using the Delta Skymiles Reserve Business AMEX Card to pay for in-flight purchases will earn you 20% off in the form of a statement credit. The benefit will apply to eligible in-flight purchases of food, alcoholic beverages and audio headsets as well as pre-purchased meals on Delta-operated flights. This can be a big savings to those who spend money in-flight.
This benefit is available on all Delta AMEX credit cards.
Pay with Miles
The Delta Skymiles Reserve Business AMEX Card grants you access to the Pay with Miles benefit. This allows you to redeem your Delta Skymiles at 1 cent each during checkout to shave down the cost of your airfare purchase. The benefit to using Pay with Miles over the standard Miles+Cash option is that this benefit allows you to earn Medallion Qualification Miles, Segements, and Dollars (MQDs on the paid cash portion) towards Delta Medallion Status. Using the Miles+Cash options does not. I normally choose this option if I'm traveling a far distance and I want the large amount of MQMs to go with it.
This benefit is available on all Delta AMEX credit cards.
Free Checked Bag
One of the best benefits of holding Delta AMEX Cards is the free checked bag benefit. This benefit offers the first checked bag free for you and up to 8 people traveling with you. Delta charges $25 per direction or $50 roundtrip for the first checked bag. This benefit alone can save you hundreds of dollars and can easily pay for the card after the first few trips if you don't have Delta Medallion Status.
Standard AMEX Benefits
With the Delta Reserve Business AMEX Card comes a list of standard American Express perks that can be of use when using the card to make purchases. This includes, but is not limited to:
- AMEX Offers
- Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance
- Baggage Insurance Plan
- ShopRunner Membership
- Return Protection (90 Days)
- Connect to QuickBooks
- Account Manager
- Vendor Pay by Bill.com
- American Express Business App
AMEX Offers is a great benefit that can offer lots of value if you're able to make use of the discounts and if you don't have other AMEX cards that give you access to the benefit. There's also a good amount of American Express business benefits that comes with having the card to help you manage your business with ease.
Sign Up Bonus
The standard sign up bonus for the Delta Skymiles Reserve Business AMEX Card is 30,000 Skymiles and 10,000 MQMs after spending $3,000 on the card within the first 3 months of having it. This is on the lower side compared to what this card can offer at times, but the MQMs are a nice touch for those who want/need them. Sometimes AMEX offers a slightly higher "Welcome Offer" of 40,000 Skymiles and 10,000 MQMs.
The best bonus for the Delta Skymiles Reserve Business AMEX is the 70,000 Skymiles for either $3,000 or $5,000 spend within the first three months. This is sign up bonuses that pops up only a few times per year and is not as frequent as the promo sign up bonuses offered on the Gold and Platinum versions of the Delta AMEX Cards. If you run across this particular promotional sign up bonus, I recommend going for it if justified.
Credit Card Fees
|Authorized User Fee|
|Foreign Transaction Fee|
The annual fee for the Delta Skymiles Reserve Business AMEX is $550. This is the same pricing point as other premium travel cards such as the AMEX Business Platinum and a few personal cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve.
This card does not offer any type of annual credits, so the value of this card will depend on how much you value each of the cards benefits. To me, the First Class Companion Pass can be worth the value of the entire annual fee. Other benefits such as status boost, Delta SkyClub and AMEX Centurion lounge access, and upgrade priority also help push the value of this card. The benefits of this card can easily outweigh the $550 price tag attached to the card.
Authorized User Fee
Adding employee cards to the Delta Skymiles Reserve Business AMEX will cost you $0, but if you want to add additional Reserve Cards it will cost $175 per user. Regular cardholders will not gain any real benefits outside of helping you run spend through the card to earn Skymiles and push you closer to the benefits requiring heavy spend. On the other hand, additional Reserve cardholders will have a few additional benefits which includes access to Delta SkyClubs.
Foreign Transaction Fee
There is no foreign transaction fee for using the Delta Skymiles Reserve Business AMEX Card. This means you will not be charged a fee when using the card for international shopping and travel. While that's fine and dandy, you will not earn much in terms of using this card internationally. If you're looking to earn Skymiles on international purchases (at least for dining and travel), you'll want to consider Membership Rewards credit cards.
Upgrading & Downgrading Delta Cards
If at any time you feel the Delta Skymiles Reserve Business AMEX Card is not worth it, you can always downgrade to another Delta AMEX business card. This will require you to contact AMEX either by chat or by phone.
Remember that AMEX sign up bonuses are once per card, per lifetime. So downgrading to another AMEX card in which you have never received a sign up bonus for will forfeit your chance to earn a sign up bonus for that card. This is one of the main drawbacks to upgrading and downgrading cards.
Delta Card Order
The order of the Delta business AMEX Cards from lowest to highest tier are:
- Delta Skymiles Gold Business AMEX Card
- Delta Skymiles Platinum Business AMEX Card
- Delta Skymiles Reserve Business AMEX Card (this card)
There is no business version of the Delta Skymiles Blue AMEX Card.
You can use this rewards calculator to calculate how many points, miles, or cash back you can earn based on your spend per category. This calculator will also give you the dollar value of the card based on rewards earned and how much each benefit is worth to you minus the fees. You can click the Compare A Card button to compare this card against another card in the same calculator.
All category spend entered in the primary card's column will carry over to all credit card pages on the site so you don't have to re-enter the same information over again.
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