Frequent flyer guide to Delta SkyMiles

Delta SkyMiles is a program that rewards loyal Delta 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, as well as how to maximize your miles with Delta.

How to sign up for Delta SkyMiles

Signing up for Delta’s SkyMiles loyalty program is relatively straightforward. Just fill in Delta’s online membership form to join.

How to earn Delta SkyMiles

Earning miles on Delta flights

To earn miles on Delta flights, you will need to sign up for the Delta SkyMiles program. Once you do, you’ll receive a SkyMiles number. When you book a flight, enter your SkyMiles number to receive the 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 5 miles for every $1 you spend on Delta-marketed flight tickets. For partner flights, you may earn miles at a different rate. You can earn up to 75,000 miles per ticket.

One way to boost the number of miles you can earn is to achieve Medallion Status. This allows you to earn up to 11 miles per $1 spent.

Earning miles with a credit card

Delta Air Lines credit cards

With Delta Air Lines credit cards, you can earn air miles on everyday purchases. For every dollar you spend, you will earn five miles on your account.

There are currently four different types of Delta American Express cards for general consumers.

Other ways to earn

  • Delta SkyMiles World Debit Card from SunTrust: Earn 5,000 bonus miles with your first PIN Point of Sale purchase and 1X miles for every $2 spent.
  • American Express: Earn Membership Rewards points and convert them to Delta SkyMiles with any American Express credit card earning Membership Rewards—typically, 1,000 Membership Rewards equals 1,000 miles.
  • Diners Club International: Receive one Club Reward point for each eligible dollar and convert those points into Delta SkyMiles at a near-1:1 ratio.

Earning miles with partner airlines

There’s also a chance to earn additional miles with Delta Air Lines’ partners, so you’re not just limited to Delta itself. Here are a few of the major partner airlines you can earn miles with:

  • Aeromexico
  • Air France
  • Alitalia
  • China Eastern
  • KLM
  • Korean Air
  • LATAM Airlines
  • Virgin Atlantic
  • Virgin Australia

Each airline has different rules on miles and rewards. For more information, check out Delta’s website to do some thorough research on how partner airlines work with Delta’s SkyMiles program.

Earning miles with other travel partners

Delta is partnered with several different travel operators and has vacation packages where you can pick up additional miles.

Delta Vacations

This is an all-in-one vacation package with some of the best hotels and experiences. You can use SkyMiles to book Delta Vacations, but if you pay with a Delta Air Lines credit card, you’ll earn between 2X and 3X miles per dollar spent.

SkyMiles Cruises

Prefer not to fly? With SkyMiles Cruises, you can pick up SkyMiles as you set sail on a cruise. You can earn at least 1,500 miles on any booking. As of March 2021, you could earn up to 10,000 bonus miles by booking a vacation through SkyMiles Cruises, depending on the number of nights of your trip.

Booking with the following hotel groups will help you earn additional miles. Typically, you will receive one to two miles per dollar you spend at these hotel groups. However, each chain will have different policies:

  • Airbnb
  • Marriott Bonvoy
  • IHG Rewards Club
  • Radisson Rewards
  • Le Club Accor Hotels
  • World of Hyatt
  • Langham Hospitality Group
  • Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts
  • Worldhotels

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

  • Hertz
  • Dollar Car Rental
  • Thrifty Car Rental
  • Alamo
  • Enterprise
  • National
  • Lyft
  • Europcar
  • Carmel
  • Sixt Rent a Car

How much are Delta SkyMiles worth?

The value of Delta SkyMiles 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 involved. The Points Guy estimates that SkyMiles are worth around 1.2 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 cash cost, which allows you to simply pay the difference.

How to redeem Delta SkyMiles

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 or cash.

All you need to do is select “Book” while on or in the Fly Delta mobile app. There will be an option to ‘Shop with Miles’ on or “Show Prices in Miles” if you’re using the Delta app.

Simply search for a flight and you’ll see the price in miles. All that’s left is to 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 instead switch from “Show Price In Miles” to “Show Price In Miles + Cash.”

You can use SkyMiles for more than just flights. SkyMiles can be used to upgrade your seat or purchase a Sky Club membership. You can even gift or donate miles through Delta’s SkyWish program. Here’s what else you can redeem:

  • SkyMiles Experiences: Use miles to bid on exclusive opportunities, from VIP passes to classes to backstage access at events.
  • SkyMiles Marketplace: You can also use SkyMiles to purchase items on Delta’s marketplace. As of May 2021, Delta has put some of the features of this program on hold because of the COVID-19 pandemic. You can still purchase Delta gift cards or magazine subscriptions through this service. The SkyMiles Marketplace also includes a direct link to Delta’s SkyWish program.

Delta Air Lines transfer partners

Considering Delta is part of the SkyTeam alliance, you can redeem SkyMiles on several different airlines. This gives you greater flexibility when it comes to purchasing your next flight.

SkyTeam partners include:

  • Aeroflot
  • Aerolineas Argentinas
  • Aeromexico
  • Air Europa
  • Air France
  • Alitalia
  • China Airlines
  • China Eastern
  • Czech Airlines
  • Garuda Indonesia
  • Kenya Airways
  • KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
  • Korean Air
  • Middle East Airlines
  • Saudia
  • Vietnam Airlines
  • Xiamen Airlines

There are other airlines, not currently part of the SkyTeam alliance, that you can redeem SkyMiles with. These include:

  • Air Tahiti Nui
  • GOL Airlines
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • Jet Airways
  • Mandarin Airlines
  • Seaborne Airlines
  • Shanghai Airlines
  • Transavia
  • Virgin Atlantic
  • Virgin Australia
  • WestJet

Delta SkyMiles Medallion program

The Medallion program is for the most loyal Delta customers, and Medallion Status opens up more opportunities for SkyMiles members.

The perks you receive as part of the Medallion program depend on what 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 first-class upgrades, priority boarding, car rental benefits and waived baggage fees. You will also earn 7 miles per dollar spent, rather than the standard 5, as well as MQMs.

Gold Medallion

Along with complimentary upgrades and the benefits in the Silver tier, you will also receive access to the full SkyPriority suite of services. This gives you priority security line access, check-in and expedited baggage perks. You’ll also earn 8 miles per dollar spent.

Platinum Medallion

With Platinum, you will get upgrades, waived award fees and customizable Choice Benefits. Choice Benefits allows you to pick a free benefit from a list that includes 20,000 bonus miles. You’ll earn 9 miles per dollar spent at this level.

Diamond Medallion

Diamond Medallion, the highest Medallion tier, offers priority services, choice benefits, complimentary upgrades, complimentary CLEAR membership for security priority and a VIP phone line. You’ll earn 11 miles per dollar spent at this level.

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. This program’s true potential is unlocked once you build your account to elite Medallion Status. Earning a Medallion Status account will open up new doors for 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, no blackout dates for more than 1,000 destinations across the Delta SkyTeam network means there is no shortage of 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 and other airline loyalty programs so that you can bank on the degree of flexibility that fits your travel needs.