Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business Card from American Express Review: Is It a Good Option for Your Company?
The Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business Card from American Express OPEN is an airline rewards credit card that combines robust rewards and benefits for Delta flights as well as a suite of purchase protections and business tools that can benefit your company.
American Express has a long history of offering top-notch customer service and their cards are, in general, regarded as among the best and carry with them a reputation of excellence.
There are dozens of credit cards that you, as a business owner, can choose from. Knowing which card is right for you can be difficult amid all these options.
Before we get into our review, we can say that this card is specifically designed for business owners who use Delta airlines. If you don’t use Delta or wouldn’t consider using them, then this card may not be a good fit for you.
However, if you love Delta or you want the best airline rewards business credit card, then this review will help you decide if this card fits what you’re looking for by providing an in-depth, expert analysis of the following areas:
- Travel benefits
- Business and purchase benefits
- Rates and fees
- Comparison with other airline business rewards cards
The Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business Card’s Rewards
When we say “rewards,” we’re referring to the frequent flier miles that Delta and AmEx offer as a result of your use of the card.
AmEx will give you two sets of rewards: a sign-up bonus and spending bonuses.
Sign-up Bonus: 50,000 SkyMiles and 10,000 Medallion Qualifying Miles
If you can spend $3,000 in the first three months of owning this card, you’ll earn 50,000 SkyMiles as well as 10,000 Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQM’s).
Those 50,000 SkyMiles will arrive in your SkyMiles account about 6-8 weeks after you hit the spending requirement. Any charges on your account related to interest on your balances or fees you pay for late payments, balance transfers or cash advances won’t count toward the $3,000 requirement.
If you don’t have a SkyMiles account, Delta will set one up for you when you’re approved for the card. The 10,000 MQM’s you earn are part of a Delta’s SkyMiles membership tiers that provide you upgrades and various perks much in the same way a hotel loyalty program would.
We’ll talk about what these miles are worth in a few minutes.
Pro tip: You can earn a $100 statement credit if you make a Delta purchase within the first three months of owning the card.
Spending Bonuses: 2x SkyMiles on Delta Purchases, 1x SkyMiles on Everything Else
The spending bonuses you earn with this card are the best way to generate rewards miles. When you buy tickets directly from Delta, you’ll earn 2 SkyMiles for every $1 you spend. For most other purchases you make, you will earn 1 SkyMile for every $1 you spend.
For example’s sake, if you spend $2,000 a year on airfare and $38,000 a year on everything else, your yearly SkyMiles total will be 42,000.
Additional Bonuses for Spending $25,000 and $50,000
AmEx incentivizes you spending with two benchmarks. If you can spend $25,000 in a year, you’ll earn 10,000 SkyMiles and 10,000 MQM’s. You’ll earn another 10K of each if you spend $50,000.
Using the spending model we showed in the previous section, we believe that you could earn 67,000 SkyMiles on $40,000 in spending each year.
The Value of Delta SkyMiles and MQM’s
You can book rewards seats on Delta flights for as little as 23,000 miles, which means that your yearly rewards could earn you at least two round-trips.
When you redeem your rewards for a seat, you’ll have to pay $11.20 in taxes and fees for a round-trip ticket.
Keep in mind that the cheapest rewards seats are for main cabin seats. If you want to upgrade to Comfort +, Delta’s upgraded cabin experience, you’ll have to pay more miles for the seat.
For example, we did a quick search for a flight from L.A. to New York. Round-trip tickets were as low as 23,000 for economy seats and Comfort + seats were 41,000 miles. According to the Delta site, Comfort + seats provide a free meal, an extra 3 inches of legroom, access to Delta’s in-house entertainment library and seat-back screens up to 9 inches.
As for your MQM’s, spending $40,000 a year means you’ll earn 20,000 MQM’s a year. You can earn more MQM’s through buying Delta tickets. You’ll earn 2 MQM points for every $1 you spend, regardless of which credit card you use.
Now, if you were able to spend $50,000 the first year you own the card, you could rack up 30,000 MQM’s, which is good enough to get you Silver status.
Silver status is a huge bonus because it gives you free upgrades, when available, to first-class and Comfort + depending on where you’re flying. These upgrades aren’t automatic, though, because other fliers who are eligible for upgrades will be given priority over you.
Once you get Silver status, you’ll earn 7 MQM’s for every $1 you spend with Delta, which means that $1,500 of Delta spending in a year combined with $50,000 overall yearly spending would earn you enough MQM’s each year to maintain your Silver status.
Gold status, which has expanded upgrade benefits and other perks, is yours if you can rack up 50,000 MQM’s in a year.
The Platinum Delta SkyMiles Busines Card’s Benefits
This card has two types of benefits.
The first type is a quartet of perks you get the day that you fly with Delta:
- Priority boarding
- Free checked bag for you and up to eight people on your reservation
- Free yearly companion ticket
- 20% discount on in-flight food/drinks/headphones
The free companion ticket each year is the most valuable perk on this list. According to the card’s fine print, the ticket is only good for flights in the contiguous 48 states. If you live in Alaska, Hawaii or U.S. territories, you can use the pass for flights into the contiguous 48 states.
Also, the fine print notes that you can redeem the companion pass only when you are purchasing a ticket for yourself. If you’re redeeming rewards miles for a seat, you can’t use the companion pass.
The second group of benefits you get with this card is travel protections and business tools. When you use the card to book travel, you’ll get complimentary coverage of lost baggage, accidents that cause physical harm while you’re traveling as well as complimentary rental car insurance when you use your card to pay for a car rental.
The business tools you get are accounting-focused. You can use your AmEx account to track spending, upload receipts and send your spending data to Quickbooks.
The Platinum Delta SkyMiles Busines Card’s Rates and Fees
The rewards and benefits of this card are plentiful. The more you spend, the more SkyMiles and MQM’s you get. While these pair of rewards have tremendous value, they can quickly lose their worth if you’re consistently paying fees and interest because of bad habits and carrying a balance.
To understand what this card’s fees and interest rates are, we’ve created the following list based on the card’s fine print:
- Purchase APR: 17.74%, 21.74% or 26.74%
- Cash advance APR: 27.24%
- Penalty APR: 29.99%
- Annual fee: $195
- Cash advance fee: 3%
- Late/returned payment fee: Up to $38
It’s always important to remember that your APR is based on your credit score. The lower the score, the higher the APR and vice versa. Our research indicates that those with scores above 700 have the best chance at getting the 17.74% APR.
The one thing that we’d warn you of is the card’s 29.99% penalty APR, which AmEx will assign to your account if you do any of the following three things, per the Platinum SkyMiles’ fine print:
- Pay late twice in a 12-month period
- You pay your bill with less than the minimum amount
- You make a payment that’s returned
The best way to avoid this is to sign up for automatic payments that pay the minimum amount due. You’ll see this option when you go through the process to start automatic payments.
Make sure those payments are coming from a bank account that has a solid daily balance just to make sure you’ve got money in the bank when it comes time to pay your bill. This is especially important if you choose to have your automatic payments pay off the card’s entire balance.
If for some reason AmEx penalizes you with the penalty APR, they’ll remove it if you can make 12 consecutive on-time payments that meet the minimum payment required and that aren’t returned.
Pro tip: AmEx gives you six months of 0% interest on purchases. Any remaining balance from those six months gets the regular APR.
How the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business Card Compares with Other Airline Business Cards
The following chart shows you the most important features of the AmEx card and two other competitors. The table is based on information available at the time of publishing and assumes the cardholder will spend 38,000 on 1x bonus purchases and $2,000 a year on 2x bonus purchases.
|AmEx Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business||Chase United MileagePlus Explorer Business||CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select|
|Sign-Up Bonus||50,000 miles||50,000 miles||70,000 miles|
|Yearly Rewards||52,000 miles||57,000 miles||47,000 miles|
|Free Checked Bag||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Status Upgrade Points||Yes||No||No|
|APR||17.74% - 26.74%||17.99% - 24.99%||17.74% - 25.74%|
|Annual Fee||$195||$0 1st year, $95 after||$0 1st year, $99 after|
What we find most interesting about the three cards in this chart is that they have nearly identical benefits and interest rates, which means that deciding which card is best comes down to the nuances of those benefits, the annual fee and the mileage bonuses.
Based on $40,000 of spending per year, the Delta AmEx card offers the best benefits because it’s the only one that checks “Yes” for all four perks in the chart. What we like about the card is that you don’t have to do any spending to get the companion pass and you get MQM miles.
The American card from Citi gives you a free companion pass, but only if you spend $25,000 in a year.
The United card doesn’t provide a companion fare but you get two United Club passes you can use to get entrance into a United airport lounge. Also, you get complimentary upgrades via United’s Premier program, something that you only get with the AmEx card if you can get Silver Medallion status.
In our opinion, each card has some excellent benefits and rewards. Choosing the right card among these three is tough but we believe that the AmEx card is the best choice if you can spend at least $40,000 a year.
The yearly rewards are strong, the free companion pass is, in our opinion, a more valuable perk than United’s lounge passes, and over time, the fact that you can earn enough yearly rewards for two round-trip flights and Silver Medallion status sets it apart from the American Airlines card.
How You Can Use the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business Card’s to Get the Most Rewards
In our opinion, the best way to leverage all the value this card has to offer is to spend at least $50,000 a year and at least $2,000 a year on Delta flights.
Doing this means that you get the two miles/MQM bonuses at $25,000 and $50,000, and that you earn enough MQM’s to get Silver Medallion status every year that you own the card.
The card becomes even more valuable if you can spend at least $5,000 a year on Delta purchases because between the MQM’s you get from that as well as the 10,000-point bonuses for $50,000 in spending means that you’ll have enough MQM’s every year to get Gold status.