If you’re a frequent Delta Air Lines flyer or Delta credit card holder, here’s what you should know about earning and redeeming SkyMiles, the rewards miles you can get for your airline loyalty.
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Delta is the second-largest airline in the U.S. Odds are, your free travel aspirations can be enhanced with the Delta SkyMiles frequent flyer program.
Delta miles are easy to earn and even easier to redeem for travel on more than 30 airlines but the program has its quirks.
What is the Delta Air Lines SkyMiles Program?
SkyMiles is the frequent flyer program for Delta Air Lines. SkyMiles members earn miles with each airline purchase and can then use those rewards for flights, seat upgrades, and more. Delta launched the SkyMiles program in 1981.
Delta Air Lines is the largest commercial airline in the world based on revenue, operating 5,500 daily flights—or more than 15,000 if you count partner airline flights. The airline’s reach extends to 300 cities in more than 50 countries.
How Does SkyMiles Work?
SkyMiles are the rewards currency of Delta’s frequent-flyer program. The SkyMiles program awards members with SkyMiles for every dollar they spend with Delta Air Lines and its affiliates.
General members of the program will earn 5 miles per dollar spent on airline tickets.
As a member of the Delta SkyMiles program, you can earn points and redeem them for rewards like plane tickets and seat upgrades. Joining the program is free for all members, and you can sign up online at Delta’s website.
Pros and Cons of Delta SkyMiles
- SkyMiles are worth more when used for international travel
- Pricing calendars can help you find award flight deals if travel dates are flexible
- SkyMiles don’t expire
- No blackout dates on Delta award flights
- Few domestic airline partners
- You have to fly and spend a lot to reach Medallion Member status
How to Earn Delta SkyMiles
Once you’re officially a SkyMiles program member, you can earn rewards in a multitude of ways.
1. Buy Delta and SkyTeam tickets
When you sign up for the SkyMiles program, you’ll immediately be eligible to earn miles on Delta plane tickets, vacation packages, and cruises.
you’ll earn 5 points per dollar spent as a general member of the program, and you can earn more by becoming an elite Delta Medallion status member.
2. Spend with a Delta credit card
You can open a Delta co-branded credit card to earn miles on your everyday expenses. Delta offers four consumer cards with a variety of earning structures, welcome bonuses, annual fees, and perks.
The card with the highest annual fee offers luxury benefits like lounge access, while the cheaper cards are mainly useful for free checked bags and their ability to earn bonus points.
3. Sign up for SkyMiles Dining
Joining the SkyMiles Dining program is an easy way to earn points on your regular restaurant expenses, on top of what your credit card already offers.
As a member of the free program, you’ll earn points at select restaurants once you link your credit and debit cards to your online account.
After joining, you have the potential to earn between 1 and 5 SkyMiles per dollar spent, depending on your membership level.
4. Shop through the SkyMiles Shopping portal
On the SkyMiles Shopping portal, you can earn upward of 15 SkyMiles per dollar spent on retail purchases. The portal hosts offer from dozens of popular retailers, such as Nike, Samsung, Lululemon, and Backcountry.
5. Spend with a general rewards card
If you want to earn airline miles and aren’t a loyal Delta flyer, your best option is to use a general travel rewards card. The best cards in this category offer 2 to 4 transferable points per dollar spent on travel, dining, and other bonus categories.
This gives you more flexibility when planning and paying for travel, as your points can be transferred to a number of airline and hotel loyalty programs for travel redemptions.
How to Redeem Delta SkyMiles
In most cases, you’ll get maximum value for your SkyMiles when redeeming them for airline tickets. There are no blackout dates for award travel, so you can search for award tickets for flights at any time of year.
As you can see in the table below, the per-point value of your miles will vary depending on the redemption.
In general, you should look for redemptions that give you a value of more than 1.5 cents per point (this is the average value of a Delta mile).
Route Cabin Price in cash Price in miles Per-point value (cents)
NYC to Atlanta Main $118 7,500 1.57
N.Y.C to LA Comfort+ $297 23,500 1.26
NYC to Beijing Delta One $4,232 300,000 1.41
NYC to Honolulu Economy $496 24,000 2.07
LA to Honolulu Comfort+ $390 34,000 1.15
LA to London Economy $2,446 105,000 2.33
To redeem SkyMiles, you can log in to your Delta account and search for award space as you would search for a paid ticket. You can also look for award space on the websites of SkyTeam partner carriers.
Redeeming your SkyMiles for other redemptions like gift cards is possible but not recommended, as you’ll get significantly less value.
1. How much are Delta miles worth?
Delta miles are worth about 1.5 cents on average. In general, 10,000 miles are worth $150, 30,000 miles are worth $300 and so on.
2. Are Delta SkyMiles free?
Yes. You can earn Delta SkyMiles for no extra cost when you buy Delta or partner airline tickets, or when you use SkyMiles Dining and SkyMiles Shopping.
3. What does it cost to buy Delta miles?
You can buy anywhere from 2,000 to 60,000 miles on the Delta website at a value of 3.5 cents per mile. For example, 2,000 miles cost $70 and 60,000 miles cost $2,100.
4. Can I convert my SkyMiles to cash?
No. SkyMiles can cannot be redeemed for cash, but they can be redeemed for plane tickets and other things that you’d normally buy with cash.
5. Can you buy gift cards with Delta SkyMiles?
Yes. Delta SkyMiles can be exchanged for gift cards. We don’t recommend this redemption, however, as you won’t get maximum value from your miles.
6. How are Delta SkyMiles calculated? How many Delta miles will I earn on my flight?
The Delta SkyMiles program uses a revenue-based system to calculate and award miles, meaning that you earn miles for dollars spent, not miles flown.
7. How many Delta SkyMiles do I need for a free flight?
Delta doesn’t publish an award chart, but you can find flight prices in miles by entering the details for a potential itinerary on the Delta website.
All in all, the Delta Air Lines SkyMiles program gives frequent airline flyers numerous ways to earn rewards for their travels. You can decide if it’s worth your time to focus on them for your travel
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