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Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card Review [2024]: Is the Hefty Annual Fee Worth It?

You must be a Delta loyalist and travel often to make the hefty annual fee worth it on the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card.

Updated July 18, 2024
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Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card
4.9

OUR VIEW

If you’re a business owner who frequently flies Delta Airlines, you may have the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card on your radar, and for good reason. It offers many benefits, including a great welcome offer, Delta Sky Club® access, and a companion certificate annually.

But what makes the hefty annual fee worth it? If you don’t fly frequently or don’t rely on Delta Sky Club® access, you may find other cards that are much more affordable and have better benefits.

Pros

Access to Delta SkyClub®* and four complimentary one-time guest passes annually
First bag checked free (for all family members)
Access to Centurion® Lounge when you pay with your Delta Reserve card

Cons

High annual fee, especially if you don’t fly Delta frequently
Limited rewards if not used for Delta purchases
Sky Club® access becomes limited after 2/1/25 to 15 visits per year without $75,000 in annual spend
How we evaluate products

Card basics

Card Type Travel
Card Issuer American Express
Annual Fee $650
Intro Bonus Earn 75,000 bonus miles after spending $10,000 in purchases in your first 6 months.
Reward rate 3X miles for eligible purchases made directly with Delta; 1.5X miles on eligible transit, U.S. shipping, and U.S. office supply store purchases, plus all eligible purchases after you spend $150,000 in purchases in a year; 1X miles on other purchases
Recommended Credit Score Excellent, Good
Foreign Transaction Fee None

Who should get the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card?

It seems like a rewards credit card would be good for anyone, right? Not in this case.

The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business credit card is best for Delta loyalists like myself. Of course, you must be a business owner too. It has a hefty annual fee of $650, so it’s not a decision to take lightly.

If you aren’t a frequent traveler or don’t fly Delta often, you’ll find many other better travel credit cards. However, if you solely or mostly fly Delta, utilize airport lounge access, routinely check bags, and use TSA PreCheck®, it may be worth considering.

Here’s the catch.

You must ensure you earn at least $650 in benefits, but preferably more; otherwise, it’s not worth the hassle. Fortunately, the welcome bonus makes up for the annual fee: you can earn 75,000 bonus miles after spending $10,000 in purchases in your first 6 months. 

According to American Express, 5,000 miles (their minimum miles redemption) equals $50, which makes miles worth one cent each and the welcome offer $750 if you book through Amex Travel.

After the first year, though, you’re on your own to ensure you earn enough miles to make the annual fee worth it. The card offers 3X miles for eligible purchases made directly with Delta; 1.5X miles on eligible transit, U.S. shipping, and U.S. office supply store purchases, plus all eligible purchases after you spend $150,000 in purchases in a year; 1X miles on other purchases. 

It's worth looking at your annual spending to determine if you'd earn enough miles to make up for the $650 annual fee or if you’d be better off with another travel credit card.

A closer look at this card's benefits and perks

  • Generous welcome offer: Earn 75,000 bonus miles after spending $10,000 in purchases in your first 6 months. 
  • Medallion® Qualification Dollars (MQDs): The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card lets you earn $1 MQD for every $10 spent. 
  • Fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck: Earn a statement credit of $100 every 4 years for Global Entry or up to $85 every 4.5 years for TSA PreCheck. 
  • Free checked bags and priority boarding: With this card, your first checked bag is free on Delta flights, saving you as much as $70 on a round-trip flight. You can also board with Zone 5 priority boarding, which gets you to your seat sooner. 
  • Delta Sky Club® access: Delta Sky Club® airport lounges offer perks like complimentary drinks and beverages, free Wi-Fi, and entertainment, including satellite TV. You also receive four Delta Sky Club one-time guest passes.
  • Centurion Lounge access: If you book a Delta flight with your Delta SkyMiles Reserve Card, you receive complimentary access to The Centurion Lounge or Escape Lounge — The Centurion Studio Partner.
  • TakeOff 15: New and existing cardmembers can get a 15% discount when booking Award Travel with miles on Delta flights. This discount does not apply to partner-operated flights or taxes and fees.
  • Companion certificate: Each year, upon renewing your card, you’ll also receive a companion ticket. This ticket could provide a round-trip domestic First Class, Delta Comfort+, or main cabin flight for just the cost of fees, taxes, and baggage charges. Taxes and fees are capped at $80 for round-trip domestic flights and $250 for round-trip international flights, both for itineraries with 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.1
  • 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.2
  • 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.3
  • Note that enrollment or activation may be required for select benefits. 

Reasons to choose another travel card

  • High annual fee: While the Delta Reserve Business Amex does come with many perks, the $650 annual fee is still a bit steep. Other Delta credit cards have lower annual fees, or you can check out travel cards with no annual fee.
  • Limited use: This card is truly designed for Delta loyalists. If you like to change up your airline of choice, this card is not for you. For a premium travel card that works with any airline but still offers Delta Sky Club access, consider The Platinum Card® from American Express.

Earning & redeeming

Best ways to earn

When I choose a card with a hefty annual fee like the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve card, I like to ensure I’m maximizing its benefits by earning as much as possible. Currently, Delta Reserve Business Amex cardholders earn 3X miles for eligible purchases made directly with Delta; 1.5X miles on eligible transit, U.S. shipping, and U.S. office supply store purchases, plus all eligible purchases after you spend $150,000 in purchases in a year; 1X miles on other purchases, which is good for Delta loyalists.

In addition, if you qualify for Delta Medallion status, you can earn bonus miles per dollar spent with Delta. Remember, these miles help you score generous perks every time you fly with Delta, including free upgrades. You can earn:

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

I try to earn Medallion status as early as possible by using my card often and concentrating my flights at the beginning of each year.

Pro tip:
Signing up for the card right before large purchases or a big trip can be very helpful in earning Medallion status ASAP.

Maximizing your redemptions

From my experience, the best way to redeem SkyMiles is on Delta award flights. This will typically get you the most value for your miles compared to other options.

Here are some of my tips for maximizing your Delta award flight redemptions:

  • Using an eligible Delta credit card for 15% off Delta award flights
  • Booking short domestic flights for under 10,000 miles
  • Checking for Delta SkyMiles flash sales to worldwide destinations, such as a 50,000-mile roundtrip deal from Los Angeles to Auckland, New Zealand, that happened in 2023
  • Taking advantage of partner flights to access different routes

I’ve found Basic Economy flights for as little as 3,800 miles (after the 15% cardmember discount). If you’re sitting on a stack of SkyMiles, that’s a lot of short-haul flights you can take.

Note that you can redeem your points for free and get discounted flights on Delta Air Lines using Pay with Miles. Pay with Miles lets you reduce ticket costs by $50 for every 5,000 miles you use. It’s not the best redemption value, but it could be worth it if you have a lot of SkyMiles or simply don’t want to pay in all cash.

You can redeem miles with partner airlines, including Virgin Atlantic, Air France, and KLM 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.

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 $0 intro annual fee for the first year, $150 per year thereafter, which is lower than the Delta Skymiles Reserve Business Card. But you also get fewer bonus miles with the welcome offer — earn 55,000 bonus miles after you spend $4,000 in purchases in your first 6 months.
  • Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card: This card offers a $350 fee. 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. However, it takes fewer flights to make up for this card’s annual fee, making it a good fit for less frequent travelers.

Triple miles on Delta purchases

4.9

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card

Why We Like It

Earn 75,000 bonus miles after spending $10,000 in purchases in your first 6 months

See rates and fees | Terms Apply

See how these cards compare:

Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card
Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card
  • Earn 55,000 bonus miles after you spend $4,000 in purchases in your first 6 months
  • Earn 2X points on eligible purchases at Delta and restaurants, and on eligible U.S. shipping purchases and eligible U.S. advertising in select media up to $50,000 per category, per year
  • First checked bag free + priority boarding
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year, $150 per year thereafter. Terms apply.
  • See rates and fees | Terms Apply
Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card
Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card
  • Earn 65,000 bonus miles after you spend $6,000 in purchases in your first 6 months
  • Earn 1.5X points on eligible transit and U.S. shipping purchases, plus single eligible purchases of $5,000 or more
  • Annual companion certificates
  • Free checked bag + priority boarding
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $350 annual fee. Terms apply.
  • See rates and fees | Terms Apply

FAQ

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
  • In-flight purchases for food, alcohol, or audio headsets (but not other in-flight 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, it’s possible to have multiple Delta credit cards at the same time. Just be aware that American Express generally has a five credit card limit, not including certain cards previously known as charge cards. 

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

For Delta award bookings, you can find one-way domestic flights for as little as 5,000 miles. The price can go even lower if you have an eligible Delta credit card with an automatic 15% discount on Delta award flights. Note that the exact miles you need depend on multiple factors, including your dates and itinerary.

Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business Amex Card: bottom line

The Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business Amex is one of the best options available for frequent Delta travelers who want premium travel perks, such as Delta Sky Club access. The $650 annual fee is a bit steep, but this card is packed with benefits that the avid jet-setter can easily take advantage of.

If the Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business Amex doesn’t seem like the right fit for you, find other options on our list of the best travel credit cards.

Triple miles on Delta purchases

4.9

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card

Current Offer

Earn 75,000 bonus miles after spending $10,000 in purchases in your first 6 months

Annual Fee

$650

Rewards Rate

3X miles for eligible purchases made directly with Delta; 1.5X miles on eligible transit, U.S. shipping, and U.S. office supply store purchases, plus all eligible purchases after you spend $150,000 in purchases in a year; 1X miles on other purchases

Benefits and Drawbacks
Card Details

Author Details

Ben Walker, CEPF, CFEI®

Ben Walker, CEPF, CFEI®, is credit cards specialist. For over a decade, he's leveraged credit card points and miles to travel the world. His expertise extends to other areas of personal finance — including loans, insurance, investing, and real estate — and you can find his insights on The Washington Post, Debt.com, Yahoo! Finance, and Fox Business.

Author Details

Samantha Hawrylack

Samantha Hawrylack is a writer with more than five years of experience. Her work has been published in Newsweek, MarketWatch, USA Today, Rocket Mortgage, BiggerPockets, Crediful, and many more. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Finance and a Master of Business Administration from West Chester University of Pennsylvania, and she was previously a brokerage investment professional with Series 7 and 63 licenses at Vanguard.