Delta Reserve Business AmEx: Lounge and Luxury for Delta Loyalists

The card’s lounge access, annual companion certificate, rewards and perks make life easier for road warriors who avidly fly Delta Air Lines.
Gregory KarpSep 24, 2021

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Our Take

4.9

NerdWallet rating 

The bottom line: If you travel often for business and fly Delta, the perks on this card — including lounge membership and a boost toward elite status — could easily make up for the hefty annual fee. But if you frequently fly airlines other than Delta, you might look elsewhere.

American Express Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card

on American Express's website

Annual fee

$550

Regular APR

15.74% - 24.74% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score

Quick FactsView rates and fees

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • High rewards rate
  • Luxury perks
  • Lounge membership
  • Companion benefit

Cons

  • Has annual fee
  • Requires good/excellent credit

Compare to Other Cards

NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
Annual fee

$550

Annual fee

$95

Annual fee

$295

Regular APR

15.74% - 24.74% Variable APR

Rates & Fees

Regular APR

15.99% - 20.99% Variable APR

Regular APR

14.24% - 22.24% Variable APR

Rates & Fees

Intro APR

N/A

Intro APR

N/A

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score

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Full Review

Business operators who want a new credit card and continually fly out of Atlanta, Boston, Cincinnati or other strongholds of Delta Air Lines should shortlist the.

Its marquee feature is a Delta Sky Club airport lounge membership, but it also offers an , progress toward elite status and other perks that can justify its lofty annual fee of . Terms apply. And you don’t need to have a hardcore business — an S-corp or employees — to qualify. A side hustle could get you approved.

The card might not be worth it for business owners who spread around their airfare dollars. They would be better off with a general travel card, even a luxury one that also offers lounge access.

But for entrepreneurs who avidly fly Delta and enjoy comfort and productivity benefits while traveling, the decision to choose this Delta card is as easy as alpha, beta, gamma.

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To view rates and fees of the , see .

Card type: and.

Annual fee:

Welcome bonus:

Rewards:

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Delta miles at each. This is a baseline value, drawn from real-world data on hundreds of economy routes, not a maximized value. In other words, you should aim for award redemptions that offer or more in value from your Delta miles.

Lounge membership: Membership to Delta Sky Clubs and AmEx Centurion Lounges (or Escape Lounges) when flying Delta. Terms apply.

Companion certificate: Covers airfare for a traveling partner. Terms apply.

Progress toward elite status: Qualifying miles and a dollars waiver can get you to Medallion elite status quicker. Terms apply.

Foreign transaction fee: None.

APR: .

Other benefits:

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Excellent abound. The reason to get this one is that it includes full membership to Delta Sky Clubs, the airline’s airport lounges. There, you'll have access when flying Delta to a, including complimentary drinks, Wi-Fi, showers and more. Every year, you'll also get two one-time guest passes to the lounges. After that, you can buy additional guest passes for $39 each (which must be charged to the card). Terms apply.

In addition to Delta Sky Clubs, your card will also get you into the highly regarded American Express Centurion Lounges — as well as the Escape Lounges (the Centurion Studio Partner) — when you're flying Delta. You can bring up to two guests at a per-visit rate of $50 per person, per location.

The card’s annual fee of might seem high, but it makes sense considering a comparable Sky Club membership costs $545 per year. Terms apply.

The is among the few airline cards with an annual companion certificate, which covers a travel partner's airfare. This perk alone can make up for the card's annual fee. Aside from paying taxes and fees on the ticket (which are capped at $75), you can essentially get a two-person business trip for half-price.

You can redeem the companion benefit for a round-trip ticket in domestic First Class, Delta Comfort+ or the regular Main Cabin. Terms apply. This is a distinction, because many companion certificates apply only to economy class, including the companion certificate on this card’s little brother, the .

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Not all airline credit cards allow you to spend on your credit cards as a way to progress toward coveted elite status — which Delta calls . But the does.

For every $30,000 you put on the card in a calendar year, you earn 15,000 Medallion Qualifying Miles, or MQMs, up to a limit of four times per year (meaning a maximum of $120,000 in spending per year to earn 60,000 MQMs). Terms apply.

MQMs are different from the frequent-flyer miles you can redeem for flights. You earn elite status by spending money with Delta as well as flying on the airline. MQMs earned on the card essentially give you credit toward the "flying" part of the equation. The lowest tier of elite status, Silver, requires 25,000 MQMs.

The card also helps with the other requirement for elite status, dollars spent on flights (MQDs). If you have enough MQMs but didn't spend enough on Delta flights to get elite status, Delta will waive that requirement as long as you spent $25,000 on the . That can satisfy the MQD requirement for Platinum, Gold and Silver Medallion status. However, for Diamond status, you must spend $250,000 on the card to get the MQD waiver. Terms apply.

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New-cardholder bonuses can change periodically, but the card typically gives you enough miles to earn a domestic award flight, assuming you can meet the required spending. The current bonus:

Note that if you've had this American Express credit card in the past, you’re unlikely to qualify for the bonus. And you might be rejected for the bonus because of other account history with American Express.

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Like all of AmEx’s business credit cards, the features a suite of benefits designed for business owners, including:

These features make it easy to track your company’s spending and can come in handy at tax time.

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If you definitely want a Delta Air Lines business credit card, you have three options. Examining basic card features side by side helps when choosing.

Terms apply.

» MORE: Want a consumer card instead? Read

The annual fee of isn’t unusual for an airline card that comes with an airport lounge membership. Still, it’s not a small number. The key is to be sure you can extract more value from the card than you’re paying to hold it.

If you can’t stomach the annual fee, a cheaper travel business credit card might be in order. A good example is the. It earns 3 points per dollar on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each year, and 1 point per dollar on everything else. Points are worth 1.25 cents apiece when redeemed for travel through theportal.

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True, if you spend a lot on the card, you can earn some perks, like progress toward elite status. But the straight-up spending rewards are a bit lackluster, especially for smaller business spenders.

You earn 3 miles per dollar spent on eligible purchases made directly with Delta and 1 mile per dollar on everything else. The non-Delta rewards rate rises to 1.5 miles per dollar after you put $150,000 on the card in a calendar year, which is nice for high spenders. Terms apply.

Other 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 some business airline cards have started adding useful bonus categories, like restaurants and hotels.

A business card that offers higher spending rewards is another one by AmEx, the . You'll earn 4 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent in two bonus categories from a list of six where you spend the most each billing cycle (up to the first $150,000 in combined purchases per year; then 1 point back). The card gives back 25% of your points after you use them for all or part of an eligible flight booked with Amex Travel (up to 250,000 points back per calendar year). Terms apply (see ). The annual fee is .

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The best redemption choices for Delta SkyMiles are award flights and seat upgrades on Delta and its SkyTeam partners. That’s limiting compared with general travel business credit cards, which allow you to apply rewards to a wide range of travel-related expenses.

If you mix your flying with airlines other than Delta, a general travel card might be a better fit. Maybe the ideal fit for Delta flyers is , with an annual fee of . The card also gets you into Delta Sky Clubs and features a hefty bonus offer for new cardholders; earns 5X points on eligible travel purchases; provides hundreds of dollars a year in travel credits; and carries lots of perks. Terms apply (see ).

If you can handle the annual fee, the can be the ideal credit card for the frequent Delta flyer. Its lounge access, companion certificate and progress toward elite status can make life on the road more palatable. But if you’re flying many different airlines and don’t necessarily want lounge access, you have other good choices.

To view rates and fees of the , see . To view rates and fees of the , see . To view rates and fees of the , see .

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