Amex Delta Reserve for Business Review: Free Checked Bags and Other Travel Perks [2019]

Though this business card comes with a high annual fee, it offers generous benefits for frequent Delta flyers.
11/16/19 | By Christy Rakoczy

FinanceBuzz is reader-supported. We may receive compensation when you click links to products or services mentioned in this story. The opinions and recommendations are the author's own and have not been reviewed, endorsed, or approved by any of these entities. Learn more about how we make money.

Frequent Delta travelers should give the Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card from American Express (learn more) a close look. While this card charges a hefty annual fee, the cost isn’t out of bounds for a premium travel rewards card — and may be more than justified by the rewards and cardholder perks this card provides.

A generous welcome offer, airline lounge access, and Delta Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQMs) are just some of the features that help the Amex Delta Reserve for Business Card stand out within a crowded field. But unless you’re a regular Delta traveler, you’re likely better off looking elsewhere for a card that offers more generous travel perks that aren’t specific to this particular airline.

Not sure if this card is the one for you? This Amex Delta Reserve for Business review will tell you everything you need to know to make an informed choice.

Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card

Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card

Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card

Benefits

  • 40,000 bonus mile welcome offer
  • 2X miles on eligible Delta purchases
  • Complimentary Delta Sky Club access
  • Terms apply


Who should get this card?

If you’re a business owner who flies often on Delta and likes to travel in style, you should consider the Amex Delta Reserve for Business. This is especially true if you’ll charge at least $30,000 on your card each year and earn extra upgrades with Delta’s Medallion program.

But if you don’t usually check bags, airport lounges aren’t your thing, or you like to fly on different airlines, you might look elsewhere for a better deal. This card has a similarly large annual fee as more general-purpose travel cards that provide access to more airline lounges or offer much more flexibility in rewards earning and redemption. This card is likely worth getting only if Delta is your go-to airline for the vast majority of your flights.

Card basics

Annual Fee $450 ($550 if application is received on or after 1/30/2020)    
Intro Bonus Earn 40,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months; also earn 15,000 Bonus Miles and 15,000 MQMs after reaching $30,000 in eligible spend on your card in the calendar year.
Recommended Credit Score Excellent, Good
Foreign Transaction Fee None

Top card benefits

  • Generous welcome offer: Earn 40,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months; also earn 15,000 Bonus Miles and 15,000 MQMs after reaching $30,000 in eligible spend on your card in the calendar year.

    MQMs can help you achieve special status in the Delta Medallion program; elite status comes with perks such as Sky Club membership, upgrade certificates, bonus miles, and waived baggage fees.
  • Miles boost: Spend $30,000 on purchases to earn 15,000 MQMs and 15,000 bonus miles; get an additional 15,000 MQMs and bonus miles once you hit $60,000 in annual spending. (Starting January 30, 2020, you will no longer earn bonus miles with this benefit.)

    The first $30,000 in spending is enough to get your Silver Medallion status when combined with your 10,000-MQM welcome bonus. Silver Status comes with the chance to earn 7 MQMs per dollar spent with Delta; you’ll also enjoy unlimited complimentary upgrades to First Class or Delta Comfort+, free checked bags, priority check-in, and a host of other perks.
  • Free checked bags and priority boarding: With this card, your first checked bag is free on Delta flights. This provides as much as $60 in savings on a round-trip flight.
  • Delta Sky Club access: Delta Sky Club airport lounges offer perks like complimentary drinks and beverages, free Wi-Fi, and entertainment, including satellite TV. With Sky Club access comes entry not only to Delta lounges but also to more than 250 partner lounges worldwide.
  • Companion certificate: Each year upon renewing your card, you’ll also receive a companion ticket. This ticket could provide a round-trip domestic flight in First Class, Delta Comfort+, or the main cabin for just the cost of fees, taxes, and baggage charges. Fees are capped at $75 for round-trip domestic flights with itineraries that have as many as four flight segments.

Earning & redeeming

Best ways to earn

Cardholders earn 2X miles for eligible purchases made directly with Delta and 1X miles on all other purchases. In addition, if you qualify for Delta Medallion status, you can earn tons of extra bonus Medallion Miles per dollar spent with Delta. Remember, these Medallion Qualifying Miles help you score generous perks every time you fly with Delta, including free upgrades. You can earn:

  • 7 Medallion Miles per dollar with Silver Medallion status
  • 8 Medallion Miles per dollar with Gold Medallion status
  • 9 Medallion Miles per dollar with Platinum Medallion status
  • 11 Medallion Miles per dollar with Diamond Medallion status

You could try to earn Medallion status as early as possible by using your card often and concentrating your flights at the beginning of each year. Signing up for the card right before large purchases or a big trip can be very helpful in earning Medallion status ASAP as well as scoring extra Medallion Miles faster.

Maximizing your redemptions

You can redeem your points for free and get discounted flights on Delta Air Lines using Pay with Miles. Pay with Miles allows you to apply miles you have to lower the cost of your ticket so you don’t have to wait until you have enough miles for an entirely free ticket to redeem.

Miles can also be redeemed with partner airlines, including Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Australia, Air France, and Hawaiian Airlines. Or you can use your miles to book vacations or buy gift cards, but these may not provide as much value as miles redeemed directly for trips with Delta or its partner airlines.

Common questions

How does the Delta Reserve for Business Card compare to the personal Delta Reserve Card?

The Amex Delta Reserve personal card and the Amex Delta Reserve for Business are similar in many ways. Both:

  • Have a $450 annual fee
  • Offer 2X miles for eligible purchases made directly with Delta and 1X miles on all other purchases, as well as an annual miles boost
  • Provide one free checked bag and a companion certificate

One notable difference between the cards is that the personal card offers a balance transfer option while the business card doesn’t. But given that the APR (annual percentage rate) is very high for balance transfers, you’re unlikely to use the card for these purposes anyway.

What counts as a Delta purchase to earn extra miles?

Delta purchases include any purchases where Delta is the merchant of record. This can include:

  • Purchases on Delta.com
  • Phone reservations made with Delta
  • Purchases at ticket counters, including upgrades or seat selections
  • Delta Sky Club membership fees
  • Delta Sky Club passes
  • Pre-purchased meals
  • Inflight purchases for food, alcohol, or audio headsets (but not other inflight purchases, such as for Wi-Fi)
  • Delta Vacation package purchases (but not other all-inclusive package purchases)

Can I have more than one Delta credit card from American Express?

Yes. Many people get multiple cards to combine MQMs and reach higher status tiers sooner.

How many Delta SkyMiles do I need for a free flight?

The number of SkyMiles you need depends on your exact itinerary and when you plan to travel. However, you can buy certain one-way tickets on domestic flights for little as 5,000 SkyMiles.

Other cards to consider

Other cards you may want to look at if you’re considering the Delta Reserve for Business include:

  • The Gold Delta SkyMiles Business Credit Card: This card has a much lower annual fee of $95 (waived first year). But you also get fewer bonus miles with the welcome offer — earn 30,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months, and get a $50 credit on your statement after you make a delta purchase in the first 3 months.

    While you’ll get a first checked bag free, there’s no companion ticket with this card. And although you still earn two miles per $1 spent at Delta, the card doesn’t provide the chance to earn bonus MQMs after hitting spending thresholds like the Delta Reserve for Business does.
  • The Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business Credit Card: This card comes with a $195 fee. Earn MQMs via the welcome bonus and also through an annual miles boost once spending thresholds are met. A free checked bag is also a perk of this card, as is a free companion pass — but it can’t be used for a first-class flight, unlike the Reserve’s companion pass.

Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card

Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card

Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card

Special Offer

Earn 40,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months; also earn 15,000 Bonus Miles and 15,000 MQMs after reaching $30,000 in eligible spend on your card in the calendar year

See how these cards compare:

Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express
Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express
  • 30,000 bonus mile welcome offer
  • 2X miles on purchases made directly with Delta
  • Check your first bag free on Delta flights
  • Annual fee is waived your first year
  • Terms apply
Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express
Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express
  • 75,000 bonus miles plus 5,000 Medallion Qualification Miles welcome offer (Offer expires 10/30/2019)
  • 2X miles on purchases made directly with Delta
  • First checked bag free on Delta flights

Advertising Policy

FinanceBuzz.com is an independent, advertising-supported website. Some of the offers that appear on this page are from third party advertisers from which FinanceBuzz.com receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear).

FinanceBuzz.com does not include all financial or credit offers that might be available to consumers in the marketplace. FinanceBuzz.com does not include all companies or all available products.

FinanceBuzz has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. FinanceBuzz and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.

Editorial Disclaimer

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone.