Credit Cards

Delta Reserve vs. Delta Business Reserve: How are They Different?

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


The Delta Reserve Amexes are the high-end, benefits-heavy cards targeted to very frequent Delta flyers and/or those who want to boost their status through credit card spending.

For the most part, they’re the same. But there are a couple of areas in which they differ.

So here’s a chart highlighting the cards’ main features and benefits. We’ll go over the differences in a minute.

Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business American Express Card
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card
Personal/Consumer or Business Card? Personal/Consumer Business
Annual Fee $550 $550
Additional Cardholders $175 per card for Delta Sky Club and American Express Centurion Lounge access.

— or —

Free with no benefits extended.

Paid additional cardhoiders receive Delta Reserve cards.

Free additional cardholders receive Delta Platinum Amex cards — but no benefits.

$175 per card for Delta Sky Club and American Express Centurion Lounge access.– or —

Free with no benefits extended.

Paid additional cardhoiders receive Delta Reserve cards.

Free additional cardholders receive Delta Platinum Amex cards — but no

Current Welcome Offer Learn more here Learn more here
What Type of Points Does It Earn? Delta SkyMiles Delta SkyMiles
Basic Points Earnings 3X on Delta Air Lines purchases

1x on all other purchases

3X on Delta Air Lines purchases

1.5X on eligible purchases after a cardholder accrues $150,000 in purchase spending during a calendar year.

1x on all other purchases

Transfer Points to Other Programs? No. No.
Global Entry or TSA Pre√ Application Credit Every Four Years (Up to $100) Yes. Yes.
Delta Sky Club Access (When Flying Delta) Complimentary for primary and paid additional cardholders — but only when flying a same-day Delta Air Lines itinerary.

Plus, two annual guest passes (guests must accompany cardholder.)

Guests may enter at a rate of $39 per person, maximum of two guests.

Complimentary for primary and paid additional cardholders — but only when flying a same-day Delta Air Lines itinerary.

Plus, two annual guest passes (guests must accompany cardholder.)

Guests may enter at a rate of $39 per person, maximum of two guests.

American Express Centurion Lounge Access Complimentary for primary and paid additional cardholders — but only when flying a same-day Delta Air Lines itinerary. Card rules stipulate the Delta itinerary must be paid for with a US-issued American Express card.

Up to two guests — also flying on a Delta itinerary — are allowed for a cost of $50 each.

Complimentary for primary and paid additional cardholders — but only when flying a same-day Delta Air Lines itinerary. Card rules stipulate the Delta itinerary must be paid for with a US-issued American Express card.

Up to two guests — also flying on a Delta itinerary — are allowed for a cost of $50 each.

Eligble Spending Counts Toward Delta MQD Waiver Yes. Yes.
Earns Delta Medallion Qualifcation Miles (MQM)Boosts Through Credit Card Spend Yes. 15,000 bonus MQM after spending $30,000 on purchases on your card during a calendar year. This can be triggered up to four times a calendar year.

(Long story short: spending $120,000 on purchases gets you 60,000 bonus MQM.)

However, Delta and Amex are giving cardholders a 25% bonus on MQM boosts during 2021. This increases the possible maximum to 75,000 MQM.

Yes. 15,000 bonus MQM after spending $30,000 on purchases on your card during a calendar year. This can be triggered up to four times a calendar year.

(Long story short: spending $120,000 on purchases gets you 60,000 bonus MQM.)

However, Delta and Amex are giving cardholders a 25% bonus on MQM boosts during 2021. This increases the possible maximum to 75,000 MQM.

Complimentary First Checked Bag Free When Flying Delta Air Lines Yes for primary cardholder and up to eight others on same confirmation number/PNR. Yes for primary cardholder and up to eight others on same confirmation number/PNR.
20% Statement Credit on Onboard Purchases Made During Delta Air Lines Flights (i.e. Premium Snacks, Alcoholic Beverages.) Yes. Yes.
Companion Certificate for Eligible Delta Air Lines Flights   Yes, beginning the second year of cardmembership.

Certificate may be redeemed for certain domestic Delta first class, Comfort+, or Main Cabin fares.

Yes, beginning the second year of cardmembership.

Certificate may be redeemed for certain domestic Delta first class, Comfort+, or Main Cabin fares.

Tie Breaker in Delta Upgrade Hierarchy Yes. Yes.
Upgrade Eligibility for Non-Medallion / Elite Status Holders Yes. Yes.
“Priority Boarding” (Main Cabin 1) on Delta Air Lines Flights When Flying Coach Yes. Yes.
Pay with Miles Eligibility Yes. Yes.
Foreign Transaction Fees on Purchases None. None.
Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance Yes. Entire round-trip must be paid with the Delta Reserve card. Applies to covered reasons if a trip is cancelled or interrupted. Maximum of $10,000 per trip, maximum two claims per eligible account per 12 consecutive month period. Terms, conditions, and limits apply. Yes. Entire round-trip must be paid with the Delta Reserve Business card. Applies to covered reasons if a trip is cancelled or interrupted. Maximum of $10,000 per trip, maximum two claims per eligible account per 12 consecutive month period. Terms, conditions, and limits apply.
Trip Delay Insurance Yes. Entire round-trip must be paid with the Delta Reserve card. Applies to covered reasons if a trip is delayed by more than 12 hours. Maximum of $500 per trip, maximum two claims per eligible account per 12 consecutive month period. Terms, conditions, and limits apply. Yes. Entire round-trip must be paid with the Delta Reserve Business card. Applies to covered reasons if a trip is delayed by more than 12 hours. Maximum of $300 per trip, maximum two claims per eligible account per 12 consecutive month period. Terms, conditions, and limits apply.
Rates & Fees See applicable rates and fees.

Terms apply.

See applicable rates and fees.

Terms apply.

The Two Main Differences

You’ll notice only two differences highlighted above. Other than those, the cards are relatively identical in terms of benefits. (The cards’ names and physical product designs differ a bit.)

Consumer vs. Business

This one’s fairly straightforward.

The Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card is targeted for people’s personal purchases/spending. The Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business American Express Card is meant for business owners and their spending.

If you own a business, you can hold both the personal and business cards. I did it for a number of years. (Like René, I recently downgraded my personal Reserve to the no-annual-fee Delta Blue SkyMiles card).

Points Earnings

I really wish the Delta Reserve cards gave us more incentive to put everyday spending on them. No supermarket, restaurant, cell phone, office supply store, or gas station bonuses is really a non-starter.

Both cards offer 3X on Delta purchases and 1X on everything else. The only difference is the Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business American Express Card awards 1.5X on eligible purchases after you drop $150,000 in purchases during a calendar year. For those pursuing the $250,000 MQD waiver for Diamond Medallion, I guess that’s nice. But consider that you stop earning MQM boosts at $120,000. (At that point, I think you’re better off with the Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express (2X MR on all purchases, up to $50,000 each year) and/or a Chase Ink Unlimited (1.5X Ultimate Rewards points on all purchases). Both of those cards have no annual fees.

Final Approach

The Delta Reserve cards are a great way to earn MQM and gain you entry into Delta Sky Clubs and American Express Centurion Lounges. The companion certificates are also a wonderful feature. If you use the cards’ benefits enough, their hefty $550 annual fees can pretty easily offset.

 

Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

2 Comments

  1. @Chris, Does Amex ever run special incentives to earn higher sign-up bonuses? Historically, what’s been offered, & when have they occurred?

    • Elevated offers usually appear in the summer or fall. Given the current travel and economic climates, that may or may not hold up.

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