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5 Things to Know About the Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card

Nov. 7, 2019
Airline Credit Cards, Credit Cards
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Small-business owners who want a new credit card and who are continually flying out of Atlanta, Boston, Cincinnati or other strongholds of Delta Air Lines might shortlist the Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card.

It offers airport lounge access, progress toward elite status and other perks. The card is scheduled to get better — and pricier — in 2020, but you can lock in a lower annual fee now.

For entrepreneurs who enjoy comfort and productivity benefits while traveling, this Delta decision is as easy as alpha, beta, gamma.

Here are five things to know about the Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card.

1. It’s mostly about the airport lounge

Excellent premium travel cards abound. The reason to get this one is that it includes a full membership to Delta Sky Clubs, the airline’s airport lounges, where you’ll have access to a slew of amenities, including complimentary drinks, Wi-Fi, showers and more.

The card’s annual fee of $450 ($550 if application is received on or after 1/30/2020) might seem high, but considering a Sky Club membership costs $545, it makes sense.

The card also allows you to bring up to two guests at $29 per person per visit.

Starting Jan. 30, 2020, lounge benefits expand. In addition to Delta Sky Clubs, your card will also get you into highly regarded American Express Centurion Lounges when you’re flying Delta. And every year you’ll get two one-time guest passes to Delta’s lounges. The price for additional guest passes rises to $39 each and must be charged to the card. Terms apply.

» MORE: NerdWallet’s best credit cards for small-business owners

2. Spending rewards are weak …

Earn 2 miles per dollar spent on eligible purchases made directly with Delta and 1 mile on everything else.

Often business credit cards will have either higher flat-rate rewards for all purchases, or for certain spending categories — such as advertising and office supply stores — that earn bonus rewards and are relevant to small-business owners. And consumer airline cards have started adding useful bonus categories, like restaurants and hotels.

Even after Delta spruces up the card in January 2020, rewards will be better but unexciting. You’ll earn 3 miles back on purchases made directly with Delta and 1 mile per dollar on everything else. However, you’ll earn 1.5 miles back on non-Delta purchases after you spend $150,000 on the card in a calendar year, which is nice for high-spenders.

Terms apply.

» MORE: Who can apply for a business credit card?

3. … but benefits abound

With a card of this caliber, you expect some perks, and this card has ’em. Besides airport lounge access, you get:

  • Companion certificate.You receive an annual companion certificate upon renewal. The benefit is good for one round-trip domestic flight in first class, Delta Comfort+ or main cabin for someone traveling with you, less taxes and fees.
  • Free checked bags. An especially generous benefit that waives the first checked-bag fees on up to nine people on the same reservation.
  • Priority boarding.
  • Expedited Sky Priority security line. However, this benefit goes away on Jan. 30, 2020.
  • 20% discount on in-flight purchases. You must use your card, and the discount comes in the form of a statement credit.
  • Baggage insurance.
  • Car rental loss and damage insurance.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • Miles do not expire.
  • Terms apply.

4. Big spending helps achieve elite-flyer status

The new-cardholder bonus is expressed as: Earn 40,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. With Miles Boost®, you can earn 15,000 bonus miles and 15,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $30,000 or more in eligible purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Earn an additional 15,000 bonus miles and 15,000 MQMs after you spend $60,000 in eligible purchases on your Card in a calendar year for a total of 30,000 bonus miles and 30,000 MQMs. Starting January 30, 2020, you will no longer earn bonus miles with this benefit. Terms Apply.

Not all airline credit cards allow you to spend your way toward elite status, often coveted by frequent flyers. But the Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card allows high-spenders to rack up qualification miles toward a status, which Delta calls Medallion Tiers.

On Jan. 30, 2020, the Miles Boost program will be renamed Status Boost and will no longer include additional miles for higher spending levels. You will continue to earn status miles, however. For reference, the lowest elite tier, Silver, requires 25,000 Medallion Qualification Miles.

» MORE: Delta Air Lines SkyMiles program: The complete guide

5. Major changes are coming in January 2020

The card will relaunch on Jan. 30, 2020. Changes are mostly positive, but there are both pluses and minuses for consumers. The main changes:

  • Earn 3 miles back on purchases made directly with Delta and 1.5 miles back on purchases after you spend $150,000 on the card in a calendar year.
  • Receive a credit of up to $100 for the application fee for either Global Entry or TSA Precheck.
  • Complimentary access to American Express Centurion Lounges when you use the card to book a Delta flight. (This is in addition to the access the card gives you to Delta’s own Sky Club lounges.)
  • Two one-time guest passes to Delta Sky Clubs annually, and additional passes are $39 instead of $29.
  • Up to four status boosts annually, plus access to complimentary upgrades even if you don’t have elite or “medallion” status in Delta’s frequent-flyer program.
  • You’ll no longer be able to use Sky Priority Security Lane Access.
  • The Miles Boost feature is changing its name to Status Boost, and its rewards are being reduced so that the boost earns only Medallion Qualifying Miles and not bonus miles.
  • The annual fee increases by $100.
  • Terms apply.

Delta and American Express also offer other cards for small business, the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express and the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express, as well as a comparable high-end card aimed at consumers, the Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express.

For those considering the top-tier Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card, perhaps the most important question is: Does this card offer enough now — and with the later changes — to justify its hefty price, which is only rising higher in the future? For high-spending Delta devotees, it very well could.

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