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- The Delta SkyMiles program lets members earn miles that are redeemable for flights to more than 1,000 destinations around the world.
- Because Delta Air Lines is a part of the SkyTeam airline alliance, miles in this program are redeemable for flights with partners like Air France, KLM and Virgin Atlantic.
- You can start earning Delta SkyMiles by using a co-branded Delta credit card for spending or purchasing tickets with the airline and its partners.
The Delta SkyMiles loyalty program rewards Delta Air Lines customers with a range of exclusive benefits and savings. Customers can earn SkyMiles in a various ways, including through co-branded credit card spending and eligible Delta purchases. Then, miles can be used to purchase flight tickets, seat upgrades to a premium cabin, Delta Vacations packages and more.
Signing up for the Delta SkyMiles program is easy and free, and you can start earning miles right away. This guide will explain how to join SkyMiles, which airline credit cards earn SkyMiles and how you can maximize your miles with this program to get the most value.
How to sign up for Delta SkyMiles
Joining Delta SkyMiles will only take you a few minutes, and membership is offered at zero cost to you. To join the SkyMiles loyalty program, simply fill out and submit Delta’s online membership form, which involves entering basic contact information and creating a SkyMiles account.
Once you’ve joined the program, you can start earning Delta SkyMiles two main ways: through qualifying Delta purchases and spending with a co-branded Delta SkyMiles credit card.
How to earn Delta SkyMiles
Earn miles on Delta purchases
To earn miles on Delta Air Lines flights, you’ll need to sign up for the Delta SkyMiles program. Once you’ve joined, you’ll receive a SkyMiles number that you’ll enter each time you book a flight with the airline or its partners. If you’ve already booked your trip and you’re wondering how to add your SkyMiles number to an existing reservation, note that you can do this after the fact by accessing the “My Trips” tab on Delta’s website.
When you fly with the airline, you will earn a base rate of 5 miles for every dollar you spend on Delta-marketed flight tickets (Main Cabin and above). For partner flights, you may earn miles at a different rate. You can also boost the number of miles you earn by achieving Medallion Status, which allows you to earn up to 11 miles per dollar spent.
Also note that, as of Jan. 1, 2022, there is no limit to the number of miles you can earn on a ticket. Previously, you could only earn up to 75,000 miles per ticket.
Earn miles with a Delta SkyMiles credit or debit card
With Delta Air Lines credit cards, you can earn miles on everyday purchases. There are several Delta American Express cards for general consumers, all of which offer rewards programs and bonus miles for new cardmembers.
- Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card: You can earn a welcome offer of 10,000 bonus miles if you spend $1,000 within the first six months of card membership. Plus, you’ll earn 2X miles at restaurants worldwide (including takeout and delivery in the U.S.), 2X miles on Delta purchases and 1X miles on all other purchases.
- Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card: You can earn a welcome offer of 40,000 bonus miles if you spend $2,000 within the first six months of card membership. You’ll also earn 2X miles at restaurants worldwide (including takeout and delivery in the U.S.), 2X miles on Delta and U.S. supermarket purchases and 1X miles on all other purchases.
- Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card: You can earn a welcome offer of 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on your new card within six months of account opening. You’ll also earn 3X miles on Delta flights, Delta Vacations purchases and direct hotel purchases; 2X miles at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (including takeout and delivery in the U.S.); and 1X miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card: You can earn a welcome offer of 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on your new card within six months of account opening. Plus, you’ll earn 3X miles on eligible Delta flights and Delta Vacations purchases and 1X miles on all other purchases.
Earn miles via other rewards programs
Another way to earn Delta SkyMiles is by converting rewards from another loyalty program to Delta SkyMiles. The best way to do this is through the American Express Membership Rewards program. You can earn Amex Membership Rewards points with any eligible American Express credit card and convert them to Delta SkyMiles in increments of 1,000 at a long-standing transfer ratio of 1:1.
Earn miles with partner airlines
Delta Air Lines has many airline partners you can earn miles with. However, Delta’s major partner airlines include:
- Air France
- China Eastern
- Korean Air
- LATAM Airlines
- Virgin Atlantic
Each airline has different rules on rewards and redemptions. For more information, check out Delta’s website to learn how partner airlines work with the Delta SkyMiles program.
Earn miles with other travel partners
Beyond airline partners, Delta has a number of cruise, hotel and car partners that allow you to earn SkyMiles. The frequent flyer program also offers vacation packages where you can pick up additional miles.
Delta offers all-in-one vacation packages that feature top hotels and exclusive experiences around the world. In addition to flight miles, you’ll earn bonus miles on every vacation package when you spend:
- Up to $4,999: Earn 1,000 bonus miles per person for each booking
- $5,000 to $9,999: Earn 5,000 bonus miles per person for each booking
- $10,000 or more: Earn 10,000 bonus miles per person for each booking
With SkyMiles Cruises, you can pick up SkyMiles on your next cruise. You’ll earn 2 miles per dollar spent on these bookings, and select cruises also come with bonus miles. Additionally, the SkyMiles Cruises website frequently features limited-time offers and cruise line deals, so be sure to check for current promotions.
Booking with the following hotel groups will help you earn additional miles:
- Airbnb: Earn 1X mile per dollar on qualifying stays
- Marriott Bonvoy: Earn 1X to 2X miles per dollar on eligible charges
- IHG Rewards Club: Earn 1X to 2X miles per dollar on eligible charges
- Le Club Accor Hotels: Earn 2.5X to 12.5X miles for every 10 euros at qualifying hotels
- World of Hyatt: Earn 500 miles per eligible stay
- Langham Hospitality Group: Earn up to 500 miles per night (max. 1,500 miles) or up to 250 miles per night (max. 750 miles) on eligible hotel stays
- Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts: Earn 500 miles per eligible stay or transfer Shangri-La Golden Circle points to SkyMiles at a ratio of 1:1
However, it should be noted that each chain has different terms and conditions, so be sure to check each policy beforehand.
You can also earn SkyMiles while using the following travel and car rental companies:
- Hertz: Earn 4X to 8X miles per eligible booking and depending on Medallion status
- Dollar Car Rental: Earn 4X miles per dollar on eligible bookings
- Thrifty Car Rental: Earn 4X miles per dollar on eligible bookings
- Alamo: Earn 2 MPD with each qualifying rental
- Enterprise: Earn 2 MPD with each qualifying rental
- National: Earn 2 MPD with each qualifying rental
- Lyft: Earn at least 1X mile per dollar
- Turo: Earn 2,000 miles after you complete your first trip and 500 miles for each trip after
- Europcar: Earn 60 miles per day
- Carmel: Earn 2X miles per dollar, plus 100 bonus miles, on online reservations over $100 and 1X mile per dollar on online reservations less than $100
- Sixt Rent a Car: Earn 500 miles for each qualifying rental
Like with Delta hotel partners, be sure to check each car rental partner’s individual policy for terms and additional ways to earn.
Delta partners with other companies to help you earn more miles through qualifying spending, although some of these partner offers change over time. For example, you can earn:
- 1X mile per dollar spent at participating Starbucks stores when you link your Starbucks and Delta accounts
- 5,000 miles after your first two shipments of Vinesse Wines, plus 5X miles per dollar spent with every shipment thereafter
How to redeem Delta SkyMiles
Redeem for flights
Redeeming Delta SkyMiles is simple when you want to buy a flight ticket. Booking through Delta will give you the option to pay with SkyMiles, cash or both.
- Select “Book” on Delta.com or in the Fly Delta mobile app. Enter your trip information. Then, select the option to “Shop with Miles” on Delta.com or “Show Prices in Miles” if you’re using the Delta app. Remember that prices for all flight awards will be 15 percent lower once you become a Delta credit card customer.
- Search for a flight. You’ll see the price in miles. Choose your flight(s) and complete your purchase with miles. If you don’t have enough miles to cover the cost of the ticket, you can switch from “Show Price In Miles” to “Show Price In Miles + Cash.” If you’re a Delta credit card customer, you can also redeem rewards starting at 5,000 miles for $50 off your flight on the checkout page.
Redeem with Delta Air Lines transfer partners
You can redeem SkyMiles on partner flights, which provides you with greater flexibility when it comes to purchasing your next flight. Partners you can book through Delta.com include:
- Aerolineas Argentinas
- Air France
- Cape Air
- China Eastern
- China Airlines
- China Southern
- Hawaiian Airlines
- Korean Air
- LATAM Airlines
- Mandarin Airlines
- Middle East Airlines
- Saudia Airlines
- Shanghai Airlines
- Tarom Airlines
- Vietnam Airlines
- Virgin Atlantic
- Xiamen Airlines
For award travel with Air Europa, Air Tahiti Nui, Czech Airlines and Kenya Airways, contact Delta Reservations.
Lastly, Medallion members or Delta SkyMiles credit card members who live in Japan can redeem miles for select Skymark Airlines flights. Make sure to read the terms and conditions and check Skymark’s flight schedule before booking.
Redeem in other ways
You can use SkyMiles for more than just flights. SkyMiles can also be used to:
- Upgrade your seat
- Purchase premium drinks
- Redeem miles for checked baggage fees
- Purchase a Sky Club membership
- Donate miles through Delta’s SkyWish program
- Gift miles
- Buy gift cards
- Buy magazines
- Shop for merchandise in the SkyMiles Marketplace
- Bid on exclusive opportunities, like VIP passes, classes and backstage access at events through SkyMiles Experiences
How much are Delta SkyMiles worth?
Delta SkyMiles’ value can be difficult to determine because Delta does not have a fixed award chart. Instead, the program uses something called dynamic award pricing that bases the number of miles you will need for a flight on the time of year, distance and airline. According to our points and miles valuations, SkyMiles are worth around 1.3 cents each on average.
The best way to get an idea of how much your rewards balance is worth is to play around with the Delta website to look for deals. For example, searching for a flight with destinations and dates that might fit your future travel plans will show you the price and then the number of SkyMiles needed for that flight.
Delta also lets members book with miles, cash or a combination of the two. However, members tend to get less value for their miles this way. For example, the same flight might cost 43,500 miles plus $12 in airline taxes and fees, 33,500 miles plus $192 with a cash and miles option or $577 if paying with cash only. While the person who redeems only miles for their flight is getting nearly 1.3 cents per mile for their redemption, the person redeeming with miles and cash is only getting 1.1 cent per mile in value.
Also note that Delta credit cards offer a “Pay with Miles” feature that lets you book an award with miles and make up the difference with cash if you prefer. You’ll get 1 cent per mile you redeem ($50 off with 5,000 miles) with this redemption option, and you can simply pay the difference with cash if you’re short on the rewards required for a booking.
Finally, be aware that Delta credit card holders can get a better rate with their miles through a newer program called TakeOff 15. Essentially, this promotion lets Delta credit card members get 15 percent off all award flights.
Delta SkyMiles Medallion program
Medallion Status opens up more opportunities for SkyMiles members, although the program perks you’ll receive depend on which tier you’ve achieved. There are four tiers in the Medallion program: Silver, Gold, Platinum and Diamond.
The first tier, known as Silver Medallion, unlocks unlimited complimentary upgrades, priority boarding, waived baggage fees and unlimited rollover MQMs. You’ll also earn 7X miles per dollar spent, rather than the standard 5X miles per dollar.
Along with the benefits and complimentary upgrades of the Silver tier, you’ll also receive Hertz car rental benefits, a preferred Clear membership rate and access to the full Sky Priority suite of services. This suite provides priority security line access, priority check-in and expedited baggage perks. You’ll earn 8X miles per dollar spent.
With Platinum, you’ll get all of the previous tiers’ benefits, plus customizable Choice Benefits. Choice Benefits allow you to pick an additional benefit from a list of options. For example, you could choose to receive 20,000 bonus miles, give Silver status to a friend or family member or receive a $200 Delta travel voucher. You’ll earn 9X miles per dollar spent at this level.
Diamond Medallion, the highest Medallion tier, offers all of the previous tiers’ benefits, plus higher-priority booking, upgrading and boarding; a complimentary CLEAR membership; and additional Choice Benefits options, such as Delta Sky Club membership, 25,000 bonus miles and more. You’ll earn 11X miles per dollar spent at this level.
Best credit cards that earn Delta SkyMiles
Delta SkyMiles Blue American Express Card: Best for no annual fee
The Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card is a great card to consider if you travel sporadically, prefer flying with Delta and are looking to get started with the SkyMiles program. You’ll earn 2X miles per dollar on Delta purchases and restaurants worldwide (including takeout and delivery in the U.S.) and 1X miles per dollar on all other purchases.
This card comes with no annual fee, no foreign transaction fees, a 20 percent discount on eligible in-flight purchases and an attainable welcome offer of 10,000 bonus miles after spending $1,000 within the first six months of card membership.
Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card: Best for its value
With the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, the rewards and benefits you’ll receive easily outweigh the cost of membership. The card includes an annual fee of $99, but you’ll get a $0 intro annual fee for the first year. Plus, the welcome offer requirements are easy to meet — you can earn 40,000 bonus miles after spending $2,000 within the first six months.
As for rewards, you’ll earn 2X miles at U.S. supermarkets and restaurants (including takeout and delivery in the U.S.), 2X miles on Delta purchases and 1X miles on all other purchases. Other benefits include a $100 Delta flight credit after spending $10,000 annually, a 20 percent discount (in the form of a statement credit) on in-flight purchases, a complimentary ShopRunner membership, the first checked bag free on Delta flights, baggage insurance, car rental loss and damage insurance, extended warranty coverage and purchase protection.
Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card: Best for Delta loyalists
If you’re a Delta loyalist looking for luxury travel benefits, you should consider the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card. Although this card comes with a high annual fee of $550, frequent travelers should be able to recoup the cost through the benefits and perks offered. To start with, the card includes a welcome offer of 60,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 in the first six months, which should be attainable for high spenders. You’ll also earn 3X miles per dollar on eligible Delta flights and Delta Vacations purchases and 1X miles per dollar on all other purchases.
Frequently asked questions
Delta SkyMiles don’t expire as long as the account is active and in good standing. That means that miles will expire if an account is closed or deactivated. Delta may deactivate an account if fraudulent activity occurs or if a member violates Delta’s policies and program rules, among other reasons.
You can gift your miles to up to four recipients at a time, and you can transfer your miles to up to four SkyMiles members at a time. Terms and conditions, including transaction fees, apply.
Yes, you can purchase Delta SkyMiles in 2,000-mile increments and a total of 60,000 miles per year.
The bottom line
If you’re a loyal Delta traveler, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to earn frequent flyer miles with the Delta SkyMiles program, an eligible Amex Delta credit card or both. That said, this program’s true potential is unlocked once you reach an elite Medallion status tier that includes luxury travel benefits and boosted reward rates.
The dynamic pricing system and limited redemption options outside of airfare might be restrictive if you’re after a program with more flexibility overall. However, there are no blackout dates for more than 1,000 destinations across the Delta SkyTeam network, which means there are more flights to get you where you need to go. Just make sure to thoroughly compare the Delta SkyMiles program to general-purpose travel credit cards, airline credit cards and other airline loyalty programs so that you can find the best travel card and program for your needs.
For more travel tips and tricks, check out Bankrate’s travel toolkit.