Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business American Express Review [2021]: Free Checked Bags and Other Travel Perks

Though this business card comes with a high annual fee, it offers generous benefits for frequent Delta flyers.
Last updated Jul 29, 2021 | By Christy Rakoczy

FinanceBuzz is reader-supported. We may receive compensation from the products and services mentioned in this story, but the opinions are the author's own. Compensation may impact where offers appear. We have not included all available products or offers. Learn more about how we make money and our editorial policies.

Frequent Delta travelers should give the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card 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 SkyMiles Reserve 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 SkyMiles Reserve Business Card review will tell you everything you need to know to decide if this is the best airline credit card for you.

Triple miles on Delta purchases

Benefits

  • Earn 60,000 bonus miles and 10,000 MQMs after you spend $4,000 in the first three months
  • 3X miles on eligible Delta purchases
  • Complimentary Delta Sky Club and Centurion Lounge access
  • $550 annual fee. Terms apply.
  • See rates and fees

Drawbacks

  • High annual fee

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 SkyMiles Reserve Business Card. 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

Card Type Travel
Card Issuer American Express
Annual Fee $550 (See rates and fees) (Terms apply)
Intro Bonus Earn 60,000 miles (plus 10,000 MQMs and a $100 statement credit) after you spend $4,000 in the first three months.
Recommended Credit Score Excellent, Good
Foreign Transaction Fee None (See rates and fees)

Top card benefits

  • Generous welcome offer: Earn 60,000 miles (plus 10,000 MQMs and a $100 statement credit) after you spend $4,000 in the first three months. 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 ; get an additional 15,000 MQMs and bonus miles once you hit $60,000, $90,000, and $120,000 in annual spending. 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. On top of this, throughout 2021, you can earn an additional 3,750 MQMs after making $30,000 in purchases, up to four times. That's in addition to the 15,000 MQMs you would already have earned.
  • 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.
  • Centurion Lounge access: If you book a Delta flight with your Delta SkyMiles Reserve Card, you receive complimentary access to The Centurion Lounge or to Escape Lounge - The Centurion Studio Partner.
  • 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.
  • Cell phone protection: Your cell phones are covered against theft and damages when you pay your cell phone bill in full with this card. You get up to $800 per claim and up to two claims per card account per 12-month period. A $50 deductible per claim may apply.
  • Trip cancellation and interruption insurance: If your flight is canceled because of sudden illness, inclement weather, jury duty, or even terrorist activities, you’ll be entitled to up to $10,000 of reimbursement.
  • Trip delay insurance: If your flight is delayed more than 6 hours, you can also be reimbursed for up to $500 in unexpected expenses per trip.
  • Note that enrollment or activation may be required for select benefits. 

Earning & redeeming

Best ways to earn

Cardholders earn 3X miles for eligible purchases made directly with Delta, 1.5X miles per dollar after spending $150,000 in a calendar year, 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

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 credit 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 Skymiles Reserve Business Card include:

  • Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card: This card has a much lower annual fee of $99 (waived first year) (See rates and fees). But you also get fewer bonus miles with the welcome offer — earn 50,000 bonus miles (plus a $50 statement credit) after you spend $2,000 on purchases 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 Skymiles Reserve Business Card does.
  • Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card: This card comes with a $250 (See rates and fees) 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.

Triple miles on Delta purchases

Special Offer

Earn 60,000 miles (plus 10,000 MQMs and a $100 statement credit) after you spend $4,000 in the first three months

See rates and fees

See how these cards compare:

Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card
Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card
  • Earn 50,000 bonus miles and $50 statement credit after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months
  • 2X miles on eligible purchases with Delta, at restaurants worldwide, and more
  • First checked bag free + priority boarding
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $99 annual fee. Terms apply.
  • See rates and fees
Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card
Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card
  • Earn 60,000 bonus miles (plus 5,000 Medallion Qualification Miles and a $100 statement credit) after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months
  • 3X miles on Delta purchases and eligible hotel purchases
  • Annual companion certificates
  • Free checked bag + priority boarding
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $250 annual fee. Terms apply.
  • See rates and fees

Author Details

Christy Rakoczy Christy Rakoczy has a Juris Doctorate from UCLA Law School with a focus in Business Law, and a Certificate in Business Marketing with an English Degree from The University of Rochester. As a full-time personal finance writer, she writes about all things money-related but her special areas of focus are credit cards, personal loans, student loans, mortgages, smart debt payoff strategies, and retirement and Social Security. Her work has been featured by USA Today, MSN Money, CNN Money and more, and you can learn more at her LinkedIn profile.