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19 Best Ways To Earn Lots of Delta SkyMiles [2017]

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In addition to being the third largest airline in the United States, Delta Air Lines operates its largest hub at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport – the busiest airport in the world!

SkyMiles, the Delta Air Lines loyalty program, is a dollar-based program. Unlike mileage-based redemption programs where miles are earned based on distance or segments traveled, under this program bonus miles are earned based on the dollar amount spent.

In this post, we’ll discuss the benefits provided with each Delta SkyMiles credit card, as well as specific strategies you can implement to maximize the number of miles you earn for each purchase (whether or not you use a Delta SkyMiles credit card).

Read on to discover all the ways to rack up Delta SkyMiles!

Enroll in Delta SkyMiles

You don’t need an affiliated credit card to begin earning SkyMiles; just sign up online for a Delta SkyMiles account.

There are actually 2 types of miles in the Delta SkyMiles loyalty program: bonus miles and Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs).

Bonus miles are earned by making purchases and can be redeemed for awards. As a member, you’ll begin earning 5 bonus miles for every $1 you spend on flights. (You will earn more if you use a Delta SkyMiles credit card.)

MQMs are based on distance traveled, and they help you achieve elite status (Silver, Gold, Platinum, Diamond) and extra benefits.

When you sign up for membership, you will be assigned a unique Delta SkyMiles account number that you’ll use to earn miles in the variety of ways we outline in this post.

travel-chart
Delta offers a concise chart to show you how to earn SkyMiles and MQMs for flights, depending on which fare class or status you are.

1. Delta Air Lines Credit Cards

American Express offers various personal and business Delta credit cards. Most of the cards offer miles for signing up. Because there are several options, you should choose the card that works best for your situation.

It’s important to evaluate your spending habits before making a decision. Click on the links below to see the current sign-up bonuses and apply for the cards!

Loyalty ProgramCredit Card
Delta SkyMiles Frequent Flyer ProgramGold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express
Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express
Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express
Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express
Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express

Hot Tip:  This article is concerned with earning bonus frequent flyer miles, but some of these credit cards also offer benefits like complimentary or discounted access to Delta Sky Club!

2. Earn 2x Bonus SkyMiles on Delta Purchases

When you make a purchase with a Delta SkyMiles credit card, you receive 2x miles on Delta purchases. The best part is your purchases don’t have to be for flights in order to qualify!

For instance, pay for gift cards, in-flight services, and even baggage fees with your Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express, and you will still earn 2 miles per $1!

3. Everyday Purchases for 1x Bonus Frequent Flyer Miles

Every purchase you make outside of Delta will earn you 1x miles. That means it pays to use your card for as many purchases as possible!

Look for opportunities to use your Delta card in categories that don’t typically earn more than 1x miles. For example, use your card for medical expenses, gym memberships, random online purchases, and drugstores.

Built-In Miles Boosts kick in starting at 25,000 miles (Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express) and 30,000 miles (Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express).

You’ll earn 10,000-15,000 bonus miles and MQMs depending on the card–a great spending motivator!

4. Silver Medallion Status

The 4 elite status tiers in Delta SkyMiles (Silver, Gold, Platinum, Diamond) provide bonuses of 2x, 3x, 4x, and 6x respectively.

Once you reach 25,000 MQMs (or 30 Medallion Qualification Dollars), you achieve Silver Medallion Status. You can pick 2 Choice Benefits for making it to this tier, including 25,000 bonus miles!

From that point on, you will earn an additional 2x bonus miles for Delta purchases…on top of the 5x bonus miles as a SkyMiles member and 2x bonus miles for using your SkyMiles credit card. That’s a total of 9x bonus miles for purchases you make through Delta!

Silver members earn an additional 2x MQMs per $1!

Flexible Points Credit Cards (Recommended)

5. American Express Membership Rewards Credit Cards

Delta Air Lines is an American Express Membership Rewards partner. This means that you can also rack up Delta miles by making purchases with American Express cards that earn Membership Rewards.

You won’t lose any value by transferring your points because it’s done at a 1:1 ratio. Go ahead and purchase flights for 3x miles (instead of 2x) with a card such as the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express and transfer them over later!

In fact, you can earn points at U.S. gas stations, restaurants, supermarkets, and other places between the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express, The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express, and The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express.

Then, transfer these points to your Delta SkyMiles account to accrue more miles than you thought possible!

Amex Personal Cards

CREDIT CARDMORE INFO
The Platinum Card® from American Express$200 Airline Fee Credit. Terms Apply.
Annual Fee: $550
Detailed Review
Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express3x points for flights booked directly with airlines. Terms Apply.
Annual Fee: $0 for the first year, then $195
Detailed Review
Blue Cash EveryDay® Preferred from American Express6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%). Terms Apply.
Annual Fee: $95
Detailed Review
The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express2x points at US supermarkets, on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1x). Terms Apply.
No annual fee
Detailed Review
The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express3x points at US supermarkets, on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1x). Terms Apply.
Annual Fee: $95
Detailed Review

Amex Business Cards

CREDIT CARDMORE INFO
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPENGet 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com. Terms Apply.
Annual Fee: $450
Detailed Review
The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPENGet 3x points - Choose 1 out of 5 categories. Terms Apply.
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $175
Detailed Review
The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express2X applies to the first $50,000 in purchases per year, 1 point per dollar thereafter. Terms Apply.
No annual fee
Detailed Review
SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express5% cash back on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. office supply stores. Terms Apply.
No annual fee
Detailed Review

6. Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Cards

Because SPG and Delta have a Crossover Rewards partnership, you can earn Starpoints and SkyMiles at the same time for using each service.

When you transfer points to Delta from SPG, you will get 1 mile per Starpoint. Even better, get a 25% bonus if you transfer in increments of 20,000 miles!

CREDIT CARDMORE INFO
Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express
Earn 25,000 bonus Starpoints®
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95. Terms Apply.
Our Review
Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express
Earn 25,000 bonus Starpoints®
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95. Terms Apply.
Our Review

Delta Shopping & Dining

An easy way to earn miles is through airline shopping and dining programs. Check out how below!

7. SkyMiles Shopping Portal

delta-eshopping-portal
There are plenty of partners you can shop with online to earn extra Delta miles!

Earn Delta SkyMiles while you shop hundreds of online stores with SkyMall Shopping. You get access to millions of products in one spot! Look for seasonal sales as well as coupon code discounts and free shipping deals.

The SkyMall Shopping site is easy to navigate. Follow these steps to get started:

  1. Visit SkyMilesShopping.com
  2. Enter your SkyMiles membership number
  3. Click on an offer, product, or store
  4. Shop and earn Delta miles for your purchases

You don’t need to pay with your Delta SkyMiles credit card to make purchases through SkyMiles Shopping. If you do, however, you’ll earn 1 point per $1 on top of your bonus points for shopping the store!

8. Delta SkyMiles Dining Program

skymiles-dining
Sign up to the Delta SkyMiles Dining Program and you can earn bonus SkyMiles simply by using a linked credit card at a restaurant! Note the sign-up bonus may change periodically.

Earn miles for eating at restaurants when you sign up for the Delta SkyMiles Dining Program. It really is one of most passive ways to accumulate miles for an activity you’re probably already doing!

Link your card to SkyMiles Dining and you will earn 3-5 bonus miles whenever you dine at a participating restaurant! You don’t need to utilize your Delta credit cardbut if you do you’ll earn an additional 1x miles on that meal.

Special Ways To Earn SkyMiles

9. Shopping at Retailers

Some simple ways to earn frequent flyer program miles with Delta include purchasing cookies, flowers, and other gifts!

CompanyProduct/ServiceBonus Miles
Biscoff StoreBiscoff cookies and gifts1 mile/$1
FTDFlowers and gifts20 miles/$1
GiltDesigner clothing1,000 miles on first purchase of $50+

1 mile/$1

Vinesse Wine ClubsMembership enrollment5,000 miles

10. Paying Utility Bills

Check out this table of all the ways you can earn miles through your electric and gas services:

CompanyProduct/ServiceBonus Miles
Energy PlusMonthly electric and gas service (where available)5,000 miles after 2nd month

2 miles/$1 on supply portion of bill

Georgia Natural GasMonthly gas service2 miles/$1
Grand Rapids EnergyMonthly gas service2 miles/$1
Nicor Advanced EnergyEligible charges on guaranteed bill plan2 miles/$1
Nicor SolutionsEligible charges on fixed bill plan2 miles/$1
Ohio Natural GasAfter 30 days continuous service2 miles/$1

Unfortunately, there are times when the miles offered aren’t as valuable as you would think once you consider all the terms. That’s why we always recommend researching an offer before signing up.

Figure out which deals make the most sense for your financial situation before you take an offer just to earn bonus points!

11. Sign Up for Fidelity Investments

fidelity-brokerage-account
You can earn extra miles by signing up to a Fidelity Brokerage Account!

Open and fund a non-retirement Fidelity Brokerage Account (or add to an existing account) and earn up to 50,000 SkyMiles. See the table below for miles you can earn:

DepositEarn
$100,00050,000 SkyMiles
$50,00025,000 SkyMiles
$25,00015,000 SkyMiles

12. Refer a Friend to a Credit Card

Refer a friend who’s approved for a Delta credit card and receive 5,000 bonus miles.

Do keep in mind that there is an annual cap of 55,000 SkyMiles through the program.

Earning Miles for Traveling

13. Book Delta Flights

Use any of the Delta SkyMiles credit cards and earn 2 miles per $1 spent on Delta purchases. Plus, SkyMiles members earn MQM miles and bonus miles toward future award travel when flying to nearly 330 destinations worldwide.

Miles are earned based on the price of each ticket for a Delta-marketed or Delta-ticketed flight (minus government-imposed taxes and fees). A round-trip flight and a one-way will both earn.

How do you know if a flight is Delta-marketed? It will have the letters “DL” in the flight number. Delta-ticketed flights begin with “006.”

You’ll also earn miles when you travel on flights marketed or operated by a Delta partner. Check out this link to find a table of all partner airlines offers.

Virgin Atlantic and Delta are located together at London-Heathrow’s Terminal 3.  In addition to earning SkyMiles, members can enjoy a host of benefits through the partnership.

14. Book Delta Vacations

Take a Delta Vacation (including flight and hotel reservations) and earn up t0 7,500 miles toward award travel. All you have to do is provide your SkyMiles number during the booking process.

The number of miles you can earn varies depending on the package, but you get extra miles for including a qualified car rental, choosing a Preferred Pick hotel, and using your Delta SkyMiles credit card from American Express!

Enjoy luxury travel? Earn 1 mile per $1 spent with SkyMiles Villas. Call 1-866-6230 to plan a trip.

delta-vacations
If you’re looking for a full vacation package, try a Delta Vacation! You’ll get everything in a single package and earn extra miles for doing so.

15. Book With Hotel Partners

Stay with one of the many Delta SkyMiles hotel partners and earn extra miles for each night.

Find a list of hotel partners here, or check out the table below to discover all of the possibilities:

HotelMiles/StayHotelMiles/StayHotelMiles/Stay
Accor HotelsUp to 12.5 miles/euroLangham Hospitality GroupUp to 1,500Okura Hotels & ResortsUp to 500
Carlson Rezidor HotelsUp to 500Maritim HotelsUp to 1,000Prince Hotels & ResortsUp to 500
Hilton Hotels1 mile/$1Marriott HotelsUp to 2 miles/$1Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts500
Hotel JAL City250Millennium Hotels and Resorts500Starwood Hotels & Resorts2 miles/$1
Intercontinental Hotel GroupUp to 2 miles/$1New Otani Hotels500Taj Hotels, Resorts, & PalacesUp to 1,000
Hyatt Hotels & Resorts500Nikko Hotels International500World Hotels500

Note that some of these hotels have their own credit cards as well. The following table shows which loyalty programs are applicable and which cards we have reviewed in each program:

Loyalty ProgramCredit Card Review
Hilton Honors Loyalty ProgramHilton Honors™ Card from American Express
Hilton Honors™ Surpass® Card from American Express
 Citi Hilton Honors Visa Signature Card
Citi Hilton Honors Reserve Card
Marriott Rewards Loyalty ProgramChase Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card
Chase Marriott Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card
World of Hyatt Loyalty ProgramChase Hyatt Credit Card

16. Book With AirBnB

Recently, Delta formed a partnership with lodging giant AirBnB which allows you to earn 1x miles for all dollars spent with the company. You can also earn miles for becoming a host and renting rooms out! At the time of writing, this was up to 25,000 bonus miles.

To check out current details, visit https://www.deltaairbnb.com/.

17. Book With Car Rental, Limo, & Shuttle Partners

You can also earn SkyMiles for car rentals and other transportation services. The table below shows participating companies and the bonus miles offered.

Rental CompanyMilesRental CompanyMilesRental CompanyMiles
Alamo500 per rentalEuropcar60 per dayNational500 per rental
CarmelUp to 2 miles/$1ExecuCar150 each waySixt500 per rental
Enterprise500 per rentalHertz500 per rentalSuperShuttle50 each way

18. Book Cruises Through Partners

skymiles-cruises
Book cruises through Delta partners and you can earn extra miles for your vacation.

Delta partners with CruisesOnly to offer bonus SkyMiles on popular destinations like Europe, Alaska, and the Caribbean. Sail with one of the big cruise lines and earn miles based on the number of nights in your package:

# of NightsMiles
1-51,500
6-83,000
9-125,000
13+10,000

SkyMiles members enjoy big discounts and access to exclusive offers. One recent deal offered triple miles (up to 30,000!) on select bookings.

Check out the latest itineraries at skymilescruises.com!

U.P. Pro Tips!
19. Utilize Points.com to Transfer Points

Add your Delta SkyMiles account to Points.com. This program allows you to exchange and transfer points and miles between over 100 loyalty programs.

Unfortunately, the transfer rates are a little steep. However, if you have unused miles that you can’t redeem for travel, it can be a decent option.

Every so often you can find a Points.com promotion that pays off. In this case, you may be able to exchange points from another loyalty program for Delta SkyMiles without paying a hefty fee.

points-dot-com
You can sign up to Points.com in order to earn and trade your point currencies, which could be a way to earn some more Delta miles!

In Conclusion

It really is incredible how many ways there are to earn Delta SkyMiles!

In addition to the sign-up bonuses offered with the Delta credit cards, remember you have numerous shopping, dining, travel, and other special ways to earn tons of miles.

Get started on implementing the strategies we discussed, and before you know it you will have seemingly endless miles at your disposal! These will be useful when you are looking to redeem an award for a vacation!

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card within your first 4 months.
  • Plus, earn a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 4 months. Offer expires on 7/5/2017.
  • Earn 2 miles on every dollar spent on purchases made directly with Delta. Earn 1 mile for every dollar spent on all other eligible purchases.
  • Check your first bag free on every Delta flight - that's a savings of up to $200 per round trip for a family of four.
  • Settle into your seat sooner with Priority Boarding.
  • Enjoy a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply Now

FAQ

What are SkyMiles?
The Delta Air Lines loyalty program is SkyMiles. Members earn miles and a variety of benefits for traveling with Delta depending on their level of status. Miles can be redeemed for awards flights.

What are the benefits of enrolling in Delta SkyMiles?
Members receive benefits such as bonus miles, free checked bags, priority boarding, and more depending on membership status. Once enough miles accrue, you can redeem them for travel or other options.

What are the Delta SkyMiles membership tiers?
Delta SkyMiles has 4 membership tiers: Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond. You must earn a certain number of miles/segments and meet a specific dollar threshold each year to advance to the next level.

Where can I sign up for Delta SkyMiles?
Enroll in SkyMiles on the Delta SkyMiles website.

Where can I sign in to my Delta SkyMiles account?
The Delta SkyMiles login is here.

How much are Delta SkyMiles worth?
Your SkyMiles will range in value from $0.005-$0.015 per point, depending on which redemptions are available.

Which credit cards earn SkyMiles?
There are 3 branded personal Delta SkyMiles credit cards:

  • Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express
  • Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express
  • Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express

Each of these card also has a business version:

  • Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express OPEN
  • Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express OPEN
  • Delta Reserve® for Business Credit Card from American Express OPEN

You can also transfer American Express Membership Rewards points earned from other American Express credit cards:

Does Delta SkyMiles have airline partners?
As a member of the SkyTeam Airline Alliance, Delta partners with airlines such as Aeroflot, Air France, Czech Airlines, and KLM. Other Delta partners include Hawaiian Airlines (how to earn HawaiianMiles), Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Australia, and Alaska Airlines.

How many Delta SkyMiles are needed for a free flight?
You can redeem Delta SkyMiles for free flights on Delta or any of their partner airlines. You can also transfer points to and from SkyMiles partners, including hotels. Free flights start at 25,000 miles.

When do Delta SkyMiles expire?
Delta SkyMiles do not expire. However, your account can be terminated for fraudulent or other unfavorable activities.