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How to Redeem Delta SkyMiles Smartly?

You can redeem Delta SkyMiles to get free flights from Delta or its airline partners, free hotel nights, car rentals, upgrades and more
Author: Baruch Mann (Silvermann)
Baruch Mann (Silvermann)

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Baruch Silvermann is a financial expert, experienced analyst, and founder of The Smart Investor.  Silvermann has contributed to Yahoo Finance and cited as an authoritative source in financial outlets like Forbes, Business Insider, CNBC Select, CNET, Bankrate, Fox Business, The Street, and more.
Interest Rates Last Update: April 15, 2024
The banking product interest rates, including savings, CDs, and money market, are accurate as of this date.
Author: Baruch Mann (Silvermann)
Baruch Mann (Silvermann)

Writer, Contributor

Experience

Baruch Silvermann is a financial expert, experienced analyst, and founder of The Smart Investor.  Silvermann has contributed to Yahoo Finance and cited as an authoritative source in financial outlets like Forbes, Business Insider, CNBC Select, CNET, Bankrate, Fox Business, The Street, and more.
Interest Rates Last Update: April 15, 2024

The banking product interest rates, including savings, CDs, and money market, are accurate as of this date.

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Delta is one of the largest North American airlines with hubs at eight major U.S airports including Los Angeles, Atlanta, Detroit, Boston and Seattle-Tacoma.

If you regularly fly Delta or live near a Delta-dominated city, you should consider the Delta SkyMiles loyalty program. This program is free to join and you can earn miles when you fly or use a Delta-associated credit card, which is part of the American Express card network.

Your Delta SkyMiles will not expire and you can accumulate them to redeem for flights, gift cards, experiences, flight upgrades, charitable donations and even magazine subscriptions.

How to Earn Miles With Delta SkyMiles?

When you’re a SkyMiles Member, you can earn miles by booking flights with Delta, hotels, vacations, rental cars or other purchases you do with Delta. Delta Medallion elite status will earn at a higher rate and earn even more miles.

Another option to earn miles is by using one of the credit cards associated with Delta. Through welcome bonuses and regular spending, cobranded credit cards are by far the simplest method to earn a lot of Delta SkyMiles. Seven different Delta credit cards are currently available from American Express, including four personal cards and three business cards.

The most popular card is the Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card. It offers a generous rewards plan and a welcome bonus of 40,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months.

The Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card is the most luxurious Delta card including Sky Club access. It offers 3X miles per dollar on eligible Delta flights and Delta Vacations® with 1X miles on all other purchases. However, there is an annual fee of $650.

Card
Rewards
Annual Fee

Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card Review

Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card
1X – 2X 2X miles on delta purchases, at restaurants worldwide (including take-out and delivery in the U.S) and at U.S. supermarkets, and 1x miles on all other eligible purchases
$150, $0 intro first year (Rates & Fees)

Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express

Delta SkyMiles Blue American Express Card
1X – 2X 2X miles for every dollar spent at restaurants worldwide and Delta purchases and 1X miles for every dollar spent on other eligible purchases

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card
1X – 3X 3X miles per dollar on eligible Delta flights and Delta Vacations® with 1X miles on all other purchases

Amex Delta SkyMiles Platinum card

Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card
1X – 3X 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets and 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases

How Much Are Delta SkyMiles Worth?

As with many airline loyalty programs, the value of Delta SkyMiles varies according to your preferred redemption method. As you would expect, using your miles for flights offers the best value, with an average value of 1.5 cents each. However, the specific redemption value will depend on the flight itinerary, cabin and your travel dates.

The best way to determine the value of your SkyMiles is to divide the cash price of a specific flight with the number of miles it would cost. For example, if your flights would cost $5,000 and the number of miles needed is 27,000, you would be getting a miles value of 1.8 cents each.

However, if you opt for gift cards or some of the other non flight redemption methods, your SkyMiles may only have a value of 0.5 cents each. So, it is important to compare all of your options to get the best value for your Delta Skymiles and know exactly how much they are worth.

 

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How to Redeem Miles on Delta SkyMiles Flights

One of the best ways to redeem your Delta SkyMiles is on Delta, Delta Shuttle, and Delta Connection flights. Unlike some of the airline loyalty programs, Delta does not have an award chart, as it eliminated it back in 2015.

This means that to find award prices, you need to search the Delta website. This site is continually updated, so prices change according to the date, flight, number of bookings and other factors.

How Many Miles to Redeem a Delta Flight?

The prices for Delta flights can vary from 6,500 to 48,000 miles for one-way flights. But, just as with regular flight pricing schedules, you can expect to pay more at peak times such as Thanksgiving. However, this provides the flexibility to bag a great deal with your SkyMiles.

Delta rolled out basic economy award tickets in 2018, but this does mean that many of the lowest price awards are in this fare class. This is excellent for those who want to minimize mileage use, but not the best for those who want to use their miles to get perks on their ticket.

book a flight with mile on Delta app
Book a flight with mile on Delta app (Screenshot taken by our team from delta app)

The fees and taxes on Delta tickets are generally reasonable, but there are carrier-imposed surcharges on many awards outside the U.S, specifically flights originating in Europe.

Delta does offer SkyMiles deals, which are worth looking out for. These offer deep ticket discounts in economy and Delta One classes. These are generally limited to specific city pairs, so you may need to be a little flexible to take advantage.

It's not easy to get thousands of miles, especially if you use Delta no annual card, which is the Delta SkyMiles Blue American Express Card. However, even with a no-annual fee card you can earn rewards (The Amex Blue card earn) and redeem them on Delta flights.

Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express credit card and flight tickets
Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express credit card is eligible for the Platinum concierge services. (Photo by Artem Oleshko/Shutterstock)

Steps To Redeem a Flight on Delta Website

Here it works similarly to other frequent flyer programs such as redeeming a flight with American Airlines miles. When you’ve decided that you want to book an Award flight, Delta makes the process quite straightforward.

1. Search For Flights on Delta Website

  • Log into Delta: The first thing you need to do is visit the Delta website, click on the SkyMiles tab and select “Travel with Miles”. You can then visit the booking page to search for your Award flight.
  • Search for Flights: You’ll be directed to a search page for up to 1,000 destinations around the world, with no black out dates. You’ll need to enter your travel dates, destination and the number of passengers. Just be sure to click “Shop with Miles” before you proceed with the search.
Search For Flights on Delta Website
Search For Flights on Delta Website (Screenshot from delta app)

2. Check Delta Calendar

The Delta website will generate two tables you can view; a flexible dates calendar and a price calendar. You can browse the options to choose the flight that meets your travel requirements or offers the best deal.

Delta schedule flights and prices in points
(Screenshot from delta.com)

3. Choose Your Flight

Once you click to continue for your preferred travel date, you’ll need to select your specific flight times, and cabin. You can click for more information at each stage so you can double check it meets your requirements.

Book a flight with miles on Delta website
Book a flight with miles on Delta website (Screenshot taken by our team from delta app)

4. Confirmation

Finally, you need to confirm the passenger information and provide payment information for any taxes and fees.

book a flight with Delta Reserve card miles.
book a flight with Delta Reserve card miles. (Screenshot taken by our team from delta app)

How to Redeem Delta Miles on Partner Flights

Delta is a founding member of the SkyTeam alliance, which means that you can access an expansive list of partner airlines. You can use your SkyMiles with 20 plus partners including Air Europa, Aeromexico, Air France, Hawaiian Airlines, KLM, Virgin Atlantic, and Westjet. For example, when you want to redeem United miles on partner programs, you can choose from +14 airline partners.

Redeeming your Skymiles on Partner airlines is a little more complicated. As we touched on above, Delta removed its awards chart, which was previously very helpful to plan ahead and see how many miles you need for your desired destination.

How Many Miles to Redeem a Flight With Delta Partners?

As with Delta flights, there is dynamic pricing for Skymiles on partner flights, as the miles are tied to the monetary cost of your ticket and demand.

This means that it can be quite frustrating as you will need to browse specific destinations and travel dates to check if you have sufficient miles. If you find that you’re short, there are no guarantees that the prices will be the same in another few weeks when you receive your next batch of miles from your credit card.

However, the general principle of using your miles for partner flights is the same as with Delta flights. You can use the Delta website to check the cost of the miles for specific flights and then compare against a cash ticket to check your miles redemption value.

How to Redeem Delta SkyMiles to Get Upgrades

Regardless of your destination or departure, you can use your Skymiles to make your journey more enjoyable with flight upgrades. There are several upgrade options for all Skymiles members including:

  • Upgrade when booking: When you’re booking an eligible Delta flight within the U.S via Delta Reservations or using Delta.com, you can use your miles to pay for an upgrade. If your reservation has upgrade eligibility, you will see the option in your trip summary.
  • Upgrade after booking: If you’ve already booked a Delta flight, you can upgrade using miles on Delta.com or using the Fly Delta app on almost all Delta operated flights. If you’re struggling using the website or app, you can also speak to the Delta Reservations team who can assist you in upgrading your seat.
Delta choose seats and upgrade to first class
Choose if you want to upgrade to Delta first class. (Screenshot from delta.com)

Redeem Delta Skymiles For Cars, Hotels and Vacations

If you don’t want to use your miles for flights, you could redeem them via the Delta Vacations platform.

This platform allows you to search for flight and hotel, flight and car, and hotel and car packages. You can browse the available packages and book in a few simple steps.

  1. Complete the search form: You’ll need to enter the travel dates, origin and destination, and the number of passengers. You can also select hotel amenities to narrow down your search.
  2. Enter your Skymiles number: You’ll have the option to enter your Skymiles number, which will customize your experience.
  3. Review and purchase: Once you have selected your vacation package, you will need to enter your details and during the review and purchase step, select miles as your payment option. You can enter the number of miles you wish to use and the mileage discount will appear in your payment overview.
  4. Complete your purchase: The final step is to complete your purchase. Remember that you can use your miles against any person traveling with you on the same reservation. So, you can use your accumulated miles to pay for your family vacation package.

How to Redeem Miles on Delta Reservation Services

You can also use your miles on Delta Reservation Services, for costs such as ticket change fees. In many cases, you will be able to use your miles rather than money to fund any services or products when you call Delta Reservations.

You can use your Delta SkyMiles for:

  • Ticket change fees
  • Same day confirmation fees
  • Selecting preferred seats
  • External ticket charges.

Just bear in mind that any of these mileage redemptions are non refundable.

Meal And Wine at Delta Business Lounge in Airport
Meal And Wine at Delta Business Lounge in Airport (Photo by YMZK-Photo/Shutterstock)

Other Redemption Options With Delta SkyMiles

While Delta flights potentially offer the best redemption values, there are other redemption options that may appeal to you.

  • Magazine Subscriptions: You can use the MagsforMiles platform to use your Delta Skymiles to pay for a magazine subscription. The rates vary according to the magazine, but you can bag some great deals. For example, in past years, you could get a Wine Spectator 15 issue subscription for 1,000 miles, which works out at just 66 miles per issue. This offers an approximate value of 50 cents per issue.
  • Gift Cards: Delta offers a selection of gift card options that provide another way to redeem your Skymiles. There are different gift card amounts, but you can expect a typical redemption value of 0.8 to 0.9 cents per mile. The Delta gift cards don’t expire and you can use them yourself or gift them for someone else. The gift cards can be used towards any Delta flight or Vacation package including airfares.
  • Donations: Delta has partnerships with numerous charities around the world to support a variety of causes. You can use the SkyWish program to donate miles to support your preferred charity from the list. Just bear in mind that any mileage donations to the SkyWish charities are not tax deductible.
  • Transfers: This is probably one of the worst redemption methods, but Delta does allow you to give your miles to someone else. You can donate in 1,000 mile increments, but there are lots of transaction fees. This includes $0.01 per mile and a $30 processing fee for each transaction. So, if you transfer 20,000 miles, worth approximately $260, you will need to pay $230 in combined fees.

How Does the Delta Sky Club Work?

The Delta Sky Club is Delta’s lounge membership scheme. As a member, you can access over 50 club locations around the world, so you can relax or work before your flight. Inside the club, you can enjoy complimentary cocktails, free high speed WiFi, healthy and fresh food options and more.

You can purchase a Delta Sky Club membership with cash or using your accumulated SkyMiles. There are two membership tiers:

  • Executive: This includes unlimited access for you and up to two guests per visit. However, if you’re traveling with your domestic partner and children under 21, they can all access the Sky Club. This tier is a great option for regular travelers who find frequent guest access important. The current cost is $845 or 84,500 miles.
  • Individual: This tier includes unlimited access for you only. You can have up to two guests accompany you, but there is a fee per guest, per visit. This tier is the best option if you generally travel alone and will rarely need access for a guest. The current cost is $545 or 54,500 miles.
Seating inside the Delta Sky Club at Denver International Airport
Seating inside the Delta Sky Club at Denver International Airport (Photo by LukeandKarla.Travel/Shutterstock)

FAQs

No, but while you can’t redeem SkyMiles for cash, you can purchase gift cards.

This depends on the specifics of the flight including the travel dates, destination, origin and cabin class.

You can visit the redeem section on the Delta website to view the gift card options.

There is a selection of merchandise in the SkyMiles Marketplace.

You can transfer your miles to your spouse, but there are hefty fees involved. It is far better to use your miles to book flights for your spouse, even if you’re not traveling with them.

Yes, you can use your Capital One Venture card miles on Delta. You can book Delta flights via the Capital One Travel portal or redeem your miles for previously charged airfare on your card within 90 days of purchase.

Yes, Issued by American Express, most Delta cards offer a welcome bonus as long as you meet lots spending requirements.

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Advertiser Disclosure
The product offers that appear on this site are from companies from which this website receives compensation.
Picture of Baruch Mann (Silvermann)

Baruch Mann (Silvermann)

Baruch Silvermann is a financial expert, experienced analyst, and founder of The Smart Investor.  Silvermann has contributed to Yahoo Finance and cited as an authoritative source in financial outlets like Forbes, Business Insider, CNBC Select, CNET, Bankrate, Fox Business, The Street, and more.
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Top Offers

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Welcome Bonus:
80,000 points 80,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $8,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership

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Rewards Plan:
2X – 6X 6 Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar of eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy™ program, 3 points at Worldwide restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines and 2 points on all other eligible purchases
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95,000 points 95,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new Card to make $6,000 in purchases within the first 6 months of Card Membership

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Welcome Bonus:
50,000 miles 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in your first six months
Advertiser Disclosure
The product offers that appear on this site are from companies from which this website receives compensation.
Top Offers From Our Partners

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Rewards Plan:
1X – 5X 5X points on up to $500,000 spent on directly-booked airfare and flights and prepaid hotels booked through American Express Travel (per calendar year), 2X points on prepaid car rentals through American Express Travel and 1X points on all other purchases
Welcome Bonus:
80,000 points 80,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $8,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership

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Rewards Plan:
2X – 6X 6 Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar of eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy™ program, 3 points at Worldwide restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines and 2 points on all other eligible purchases
Welcome Bonus:
95,000 points 95,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new Card to make $6,000 in purchases within the first 6 months of Card Membership

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Rewards Plan:
Up to 3x miles 3 miles per $1 spent on United purchases immediately after earning your $125 annual United purchase credit, 2 miles on all other travel and select streaming services, 1 mile on all other purchases
Welcome Bonus:
60,000 miles 60,000 bonus miles + 500 Premier qualifying points (PQP) after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
Advertiser Disclosure
The product offers that appear on this site are from companies from which this website receives compensation.

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