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Frequent flyer guide to Delta SkyMiles

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Delta airplane
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Delta SkyMiles is a loyalty program that rewards Delta Air Lines customers with a range of exclusive benefits and savings. Customers can earn SkyMiles in a variety of ways and use them to purchase flight tickets, upgrades or marketplace items.

Signing up for Delta SkyMiles is simple, and you can start earning miles today. This guide will explain how to join SkyMiles, which airline credit cards earn SkyMiles and how you can maximize your miles with Delta Air Lines.

How to sign up for Delta SkyMiles

Joining Delta SkyMiles is free. 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. You’ll also get access to exclusive offers and Clear preferred pricing.

How to earn Delta SkyMiles

Earn miles on Delta flights

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. You’ll need to enter your SkyMiles number whenever you book a flight to earn miles. If you’ve already booked your trip, you can later enter your SkyMiles number in the “My Trips” tab on Delta’s website.

You’ll earn 5X miles for every dollar you spend on Delta-marketed flight tickets. For partner flights, you may earn miles at a different rate. You can boost the number of miles you earn by achieving Medallion Status, which allows you to earn up to 11X miles per dollar spent. Additionally, 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 currently four 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’ll earn 10,000 bonus miles if you spend $500 within the first three 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 mile on all other purchases.
  • Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card: You’ll earn 65,000 bonus miles if you spend $2,000 within the first six months of card membership (offer ends 11/9/2022). 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 mile on all other purchases.
  • Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card: You’ll earn 80,000 bonus miles after you spend $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first six months. 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 mile on all other purchases.
  • Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card: You’ll earn 95,000 bonus miles after you spend $6,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first six months. Plus, you’ll earn 3X miles on Delta flights and Delta Vacations and 1X mile on all other purchases.

Additionally, you can also earn Delta SkyMiles with a debit card:

  • Delta SkyMiles® Debit Card: You’ll earn 5,000 bonus miles with your first qualifying purchase and 1X mile for every $2 spent. The Delta SkyMiles Debit Card is available with Truist Dimension, Truist Wealth and asset management checking accounts. It also comes in a small business version, Delta SkyMiles® Business Debit Card.

Earn miles via other rewards programs

Another way to earn Delta SkyMiles is by converting points from another loyalty program to Delta SkyMiles. Two main ways to do this are through:

  • American Express: Earn Membership Rewards points with any eligible American Express credit card and convert them to Delta SkyMiles. Typically, 1,000 Membership Rewards points equals 1,000 Delta SkyMiles.
  • Diners Club International: Earn 1X Club Rewards point for every dollar spent with a Diners Club Card. Then, convert Club Rewards points to Delta SkyMiles at a ratio of roughly 1:1.

Earn miles with partner airlines

Delta Air Lines has more than 20 airline partners you can earn miles with. However, Delta’s major partner airlines include:

  • AeroMexico
  • Air France
  • China Eastern
  • KLM
  • Korean Air
  • LATAM Airlines
  • Virgin Atlantic
  • Virgin Australia (through June 12, 2022)

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. It also offers vacation packages where you can pick up additional miles.

Delta Vacations

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
  • $5,000 to $9,999: Earn 2,000 bonus miles
  • $10,000 or more: Earn 5,000 bonus miles

Plus, if you pay with a Delta Air Lines credit card, you’ll earn between 2X and 3X miles per dollar spent.

SkyMiles Cruises

With SkyMiles Cruises, you can pick up SkyMiles on your next cruise. You’ll earn at least 1,500 miles on each booking and up to 30,000 miles when you book a balcony or a suite stateroom.

Plus, the SkyMiles Cruises website frequently features limited-time offers and cruise line deals, so be sure to check for current promotions. For example, you could earn 10,000 bonus miles if you book a vacation for 13 nights or more through SkyMiles Cruises.

Hotel partners

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
  • Radisson Rewards: Convert Radisson Rewards at a ratio of 10:1
  • 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
  • WorldHotels: Earn 500 miles per eligible stay

However, it should be noted that each chain has different terms and conditions, so be sure to check each policy beforehand.

Car partners

You can also earn SkyMiles while using the following travel and car rental companies:

  • Hertz: General members will earn at least 500 miles per qualifying rental. Medallion members can earn up to 1,250 base miles per qualifying rental
  • Dollar Car Rental: Earn 500 miles for each qualifying rental
  • Thrifty Car Rental: Earn 500 miles for each qualifying rental
  • Alamo: Earn 500 miles for each qualifying rental
  • Enterprise: Earn 500 miles for each qualifying rental
  • National: Earn 500 miles for 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 SkyMiles Medallion program

Medallion Status opens up more opportunities for SkyMiles members. The Medallion 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.

Silver Medallion

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.

Gold Medallion

Along with the benefits and complimentary upgrades of the Silver tier, you’ll also receive Hertz car rental benefits, a preferred Clear membership rate, a free three-month trial of Instacart Express 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.

Platinum Medallion

With Platinum, you’ll get all of the previous tiers’ benefits, plus customizable Choice Benefits. Choice Benefits allows you to pick an additional benefit from a list of options. For example, you could choose to receive 20,000 bonus miles, gift 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

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.

How much are Delta SkyMiles worth?

Delta SkyMiles’ value is difficult to determine because Delta does not have a fixed award chart. Instead, miles are dynamically priced. The number of miles you will need to purchase a flight depends on the time of year, distance and airline. According to The Points Guy, SkyMiles are worth around 1.41 cents each.

The best way to get an idea of how much your points balance is worth is to look at a test flight. Searching for a test flight will show you the price and then the number of SkyMiles needed for that flight. If you don’t have enough miles for the flight, you will be able to see the miles, plus the dollar amount, and simply pay the difference.

How to redeem Delta SkyMiles

How to 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.”

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:

  • Aeromexico
  • Aerolineas Argentinas
  • Air France
  • Cape Air
  • China Eastern
  • China Airlines
  • China Southern
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • KLM
  • Korean Air
  • LATAM Airlines
  • Mandarin Airlines
  • Middle East Airlines
  • Saudia Airlines
  • Shanghai Airlines
  • Tarom Airlines
  • Vietnam Airlines
  • Virgin Atlantic
  • Virgin Australia
  • WestJet
  • 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.

Other ways to redeem

You can use SkyMiles for more than just flights. SkyMiles can also be used to:

  • Upgrade your seat
  • Purchase premium drinks
  • Buy products and services through Delta Reservations
  • Purchase a Sky Club membership
  • Donate miles through Delta’s SkyWish program
  • Gift miles
  • Buy gift cards or magazines
  • Shop for merchandise in the SkyMiles Marketplace
  • Bid on exclusive opportunities, like VIP passes, classes and backstage access at events through SkyMiles Experiences

Do Delta SkyMiles expire?

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.

Best credit cards that earn Delta SkyMiles

Delta SkyMiles Blue American Express Card: Best for no annual fee

The Delta SkyMiles Blue Amex is a great card to consider if you travel sporadically, prefer flying with Delta and are looking to get started with the SkyMiles program. This card comes with no annual fee, no foreign transaction fees, a 20 percent discount on in-flight purchases and an attainable welcome offer of 10,000 bonus miles after spending $500 within the first three months of card membership. Plus, you’ll earn 2X miles per dollar on Delta purchases and restaurants worldwide (including takeout and delivery in the U.S.) and 1X mile per dollar on all other purchases.

Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card: Best for its value

With the Delta SkyMiles Gold Amex, the rewards and benefits you’ll receive easily outweigh the cost of membership. The card includes an annual fee of $99, but the fee is waived the first year. Plus, the welcome offer requirements are easy to meet—you can earn 65,000 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 deliver in the U.S.), 2X miles on Delta purchases and 1X mile on all other purchases. Other benefits include a $100 Delta flight credit after spending $10,000 annually, a 20 percent discount on in-flight purchases, a complimentary ShopRunner membership, one free checked bag 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 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 95,000 bonus miles after spending $6,000 in the first six months, which should be attainable for high spenders. You’ll also earn 3X miles per dollar on Delta purchases and 1X mile per dollar on all other purchases.

Other notable benefits include Medallion Status Boost, a Medallion Qualification Dollar (MQD) waiver, complimentary Delta Sky Club and Centurion Lounge access, one annual companion certificate (worth up to $75, terms apply), one free checked bag, higher-priority upgrades, complimentary upgrades, up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, 20 percent back on in-flight purchases, trip delay and cancellation insurance, baggage insurance, car rental loss and damage insurance, return and purchase protection, extended warranty coverage and no foreign transaction fees.

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 or a Delta credit card from Amex. Plus, 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 airfare might be restrictive if you’re looking to directly transfer miles to partner programs. 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.