/Credit Card Review: Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business Credit Card From American Express

Credit Card Review: Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business Credit Card From American Express

Delta Air Lines offers its business customers a choice of three American Express-branded credit cards — the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express, the Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card and the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express. The middle card of this pack — the Platinum Delta version — comes with a $195 annual fee (see rates & fees), along with help earning Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) toward elite status, a generous welcome offer and perks that offer a better passenger experience. But is it the right card for you? Let’s take an in-depth look at how its features stack up.

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Who Is This Card For?

This is the card to have if you’re a loyal Delta flyer who wants a generous welcome offer, the chance to earn MQMs that help with elite status on Delta and solid perks — all at a lower price than the Delta Reserve Business card. And you don’t need to own a Fortune 500 company to get one. Having an Etsy store as a side hustle is enough to apply for this card.

Delta jet stocks up in Atlanta (Photo by Darren Murph / The Points Guy)
A Delta jet stocks up in Atlanta (Photo by Darren Murph / The Points Guy)

Welcome Offer

The Platinum Delta Business card’s current welcome offer, available through July 2, 2019, allows you to earn 80,000 bonus miles and 5,000 MQMs after spending $6,000 on the card in the first three months. It also offers a $100 statement credit after making a Delta purchase with the card within the first three months, along with a 0% introductory APR for six months on purchases.

The latest TPG valuations peg Delta SkyMiles at 1.2 cents per mile, making the redeemable miles part of this welcome offer worth $960, plus the MQMs which will be valuable to those Delta flyers chasing elite status. You also don’t have to pay foreign transaction fees when traveling outside of the US (see rates & fees).

Earning

With the Platinum Delta Business Amex, you’ll earn 2 SkyMiles per dollar spent on Delta purchases, including delta.com, phone reservations or ticket counters, Delta Vacation packages, seat upgrades/selection, Delta Sky Club membership or passes, pre-purchased and inflight meals, inflight alcoholic beverages and audio headsets (but not Wi-Fi). It drops to 1 mile on everything else.

The higher miles per dollar spent don’t include popular business spending categories such as hotels, internet, shipping and office supplies. However, you can give employees their own cards, allowing you to earn miles on their spending. You can also take advantage of the card’s Miles Boost feature to effectively improve your everyday earning rate. With Miles Boost, if you spend $25,000 on the card in a calendar year, you’ll earn 10,000 bonus SkyMiles and 10,000 MQMs, which combined with the regular miles you earn means you get a total of 1.4x miles per dollar on everyday spend. Spend a total of $50,000 on the card in the same calendar year and you’ll earn another 10,000 bonus miles and 10,000 MQMs for the same 1.4x return.

Redeeming

Your best option is almost always to redeem SkyMiles for air travel. Not only can you use your miles on Delta, but they’re also good on Delta’s 18 other SkyTeam airline alliance partners, along with other carriers including GOL, Hawaiian Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Australia and WestJet.

It does take extra work to find bargain redemptions on Delta since it no longer has award charts, but they’re out there. Check out Delta’s SkyMiles Deals page for deep discounts on round-trip tickets in economy and Delta One between specific city pairs. Recent deals include New York-Chicago for 12,500 miles or Atlanta-Boston for 13,000 miles, just to name a few.

Redemptions for seat upgrades are also an option, but again, there’s no award chart, so you won’t know how many miles it will cost until you book your ticket. You can also use your miles for upgrades on flights operated by partners Air France, KLM, Virgin Atlantic and Aeromexico, but know that you’re not getting the best value for them. Choose this option only if you really need an upgrade for a longer flight, such as Atlanta-Johannesburg via Europe on Air France or KLM, and want to save your cash.

Since the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business Card doesn’t come with a Delta Sky Club airport lounge membership, you could also redeem 54,500 SkyMiles for one, though it’s not a great value. Other options include online shopping, gift cards, magazines and unique SkyMiles Experiences. You can also transfer or gift your miles, or donate them  to charity.

Perks

Companion certificate. Take someone along on your next trip with this certificate, good for a domestic main cabin round-trip flight every year you renew the card. Note that you’ll need to pay up to $75 in government-imposed taxes and fees on the certificate.

Miles Boost. As mentioned above, you’ll earn 10,000 bonus miles and 10,000 MQMs when you spend $25,000 on the card in a calendar year, and another 10,000 bonus miles and 10,000 MQMs by spending $50,000 in the same calendar year. That puts you a mere 5,000 MQMs away from Silver Medallion status, and you’ll have already spent enough to qualify for the MQM waiver that also comes with the card ($25,000 in annual spend waives the MQM requirement for Delta status up to Platinum level; $250,000 in annual spend is required to waive the MQM requirement for Diamond status).

First checked bag free. You and up to nine total travelers on the same reservation will get their first checked bag free when flying Delta. At $30 a bag in each direction, even if you’re traveling alone, that saves you $60 on every round-trip.

Priority access. Enjoy a free checked bag, a dedicated security checkpoint line and Main Cabin 1 boarding on Delta flights for you and up to nine travelers on the same reservation.

Sky Club lounge. Pay $29 each for you and up to two guests to more than 50 Sky Club and more than 250 partner and airport lounges around the world when flying on Delta.

Inflight discount. Receive a 20% statement credit on purchases, including pre-purchased meals, and in-flight purchases of food, alcoholic beverages and audio headsets, when using the card.

Travel Accident Insurance.  Get up to $500,000 in accidental death and dismemberment coverage while traveling when the fare is charged to the card.

Baggage Insurance Plan. You’re covered if your luggage is lost, damaged, or stolen baggage when you use the card to pay for travel. Receive up to $1,250 for a carry-on and up to $500 for a checked bag.

Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance. You’re covered if your eligible rental car is damaged or stolen when you use the card to reserve and pay for it and decline company insurance. Note that this is secondary coverage and doesn’t include liability.

Roadside Assistance. Use this benefit for services such as changing a flat tire, jumpstarting a battery or getting a tow up to 10 miles and using your card to pay for the services.

Protections. The card comes with an extended warranty that adds up to two years onto an original manufacturer’s warranty for those five years or less. Purchase Protection covers items that are accidentally damaged, stolen, or lost if you paid for them with the card for up to 120 days after the date of purchase.

Which Cards Compete With the Platinum Delta Business Amex?

(Photo by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy)

The comparison isn’t quite apples to apples, but the closest competitor to this card is actually the Gold Delta SkyMiles Business Credit Card. It comes with nearly as many perks as the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business, but at a lower annual fee of $95 (waived the first year) (see rates & fees). What you’re losing with the Gold card are extra bonus miles for spending $25,000 in a year, the companion pass and a way to earn MQMs that help with elite Delta status.

You’ll get the same priority boarding and free checked bag with the Gold Delta card, along with all the travel and protection perks. If you need to get away from the masses in the airport, you’ll pay $29 for a Sky Club pass on your day of travel on Delta. However, the Gold Delta card earns the same miles per dollar spent as the Platinum Delta, but with a slightly lower welcome offer of 70,000 miles and a $50 credit after spending $4,000 on the card in the first three months.

Bottom Line

The Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business Credit Card from American Express is a good card to have if you’re loyal to the Atlanta-based carrier and like having perks exclusive to the airline. Its $195 annual fee is worth it, since it helps you earn MQMs that move you toward elite Medallion status and comes with the yearly companion certificate.

However, if you already have Medallion elite status and don’t need MQM help retaining it, or you don’t care about the companion pass but still want many of the same card perks, then the Gold Delta SkyMiles Business Card is a great alternative at less than half the price (with the first year fee waived).

For rates and fees of the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business Card from American Express, please click here.

For rates and fees of the Gold Delta SkyMiles Business Card from American Express, please click here.