18 Best Ways To Earn Lots of Delta SkyMiles [2018]

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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.

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 introductory bonuses and apply for the cards!

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 inflight services and 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 (Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express) and $30,000 (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.

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!

Recommended Amex Cards (Personal)

Recommended Amex Cards (Business)

6. Marriott-SPG Credit Cards

You can earn Marriott points and transfer those to Delta at a transfer rate of 3:1. Plus, for every 60,000 Marriott points that you transfer, you’ll receive an extra 5,000 Delta SkyMiles bonus.

Recommended Marriott-SPG Cards

Delta Shopping & Dining

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

7. SkyMiles Shopping 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

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
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
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. 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

12. 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.

13. Book Delta Vacations

Take a Delta Vacation (including flight and hotel reservations) and earn up to 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.

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.

14. 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:

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 Resorts500Taj Hotels, Resorts, & PalacesUp to 1,000
Intercontinental Hotel GroupUp to 2 miles/$1New Otani Hotels500World Hotels500
Hyatt Hotels & Resorts500Nikko Hotels International500

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:

15. 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 deltaairbnb.com.

16. 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

17. Book Cruises Through Partners

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

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!

18. 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.

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!

Final Thoughts

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

In addition to the welcome 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!


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.


American Express Gold® Card

    Disclaimer: Any comments listed below are not from the bank advertiser, nor have they been reviewed or approved by them. No responsibility will be taken by the bank advertiser for these comments.


    1. Your article is wrong, you don’t receive choice benefits until you make platinum or diamond.

    2. You didn’t answer the question I had when I clicked on the piece: what is the bonus MQM boost one gets (toward Medallion status) for C+, B, or F flights? I know there is a boost, but cannot find what it is. (Also, shouldn’t you mention, to be fair, that it makes much more sense to buy DL tix on the Amex Premier Rewards Gold card, since you get 3 miles/$, instead of 2, and they transfer to many airlines, including DL?)

      • Michael McHugh · June 2, 2018 · Reply

        Hi mbh

        F and J fares are eligible for a 100% MQM bonus. P, A, G, C, D, I, Z, Y, and B fares are eligible for a 50% MQM bonus. I would call Delta re: C+ as this upgraded seat fare does not show a % MQM bonus on the DL website.

        Re: buying DL tickets with a DL vs. Amex card, if you’re not trying to hit a min. spend on a DL card, it likely makes more sense to book a ticket with the Amex Gold to earn 3x MRs. The MR to DL transfer ratio is currently 1:1, which means you’ll earn DL points at a higher rate (3x) vs. a lower rate (2x).

    3. Kellie Nielson · July 6, 2018 · Reply

      My question is how can I earn dollars toward status on Delta. I have more than enough MQMs to qualify for Diamond. But, I always have trouble coming up with the MQDs to qualify for Gold. What suggestions do you have for that?

      • Christine Krzyszton · July 6, 2018 · Reply

        Earning MQDs to qualify for Medallion Elite status with Delta is challenging if you’re not doing a lot of paid business travel annually. You can, however, earn MQDs quickly by traveling on premium fares with Delta’s partner airlines. For example, if you purchased a business class fare on Aeromexico and credit the miles flown to the Delta Sky Miles program, you would receive 40% of the miles flown towards your MQDs. A 9000-mile flight in business class on Aeromexico would earn $3600 MQDs. A business class flight on China Eastern to Asia is another example where you may fly 18000 miles and at 40% of miles flown, you would earn $7200 MQDs, more than enough for Gold status. You can access partner airline charts on Delta.com ( https://www.delta.com/content/www/en_US/skymiles/how-to-earn-miles/airline-partners.html) to learn more about how the amounts are calculated.

        You could also spend $25,000 on an eligible Delta credit card to waive any MQD requirement for Elite status up to Platinum status.
        Thanks so much for the question.

    4. Frances stepp · August 3, 2018 · Reply

      Do I receive points when I pay and travel with my grandson? It doesn’t allow me to put in my flyer number for him.

      • Michael McHugh · August 15, 2018 · Reply

        Hi Frances

        The person who is flying will be the one who receives the airline miles. If you pay for both flights, you both will receive miles for the flights flown. I would create a frequent flyer account for your grandson if you want to earn airline miles for his flight.

    5. Can you explain rewards of a US Bank VISA flex perks card and using those versus Delta Rewards? It started out as NWA rewards. I am wondering if it is worth keeping this card or getting something else. Thanks.

      • Bftiz – a great time to look at US Bank FlexPerks because a lot changed in 2018. Now points are worth 1.5 cents/point on airfare, either booking through their rewards portal or through their Real Time Rewards after you have used the card to purchase a ticket. An advantage of booking through their rewards portal is every ticket gets a $25 airline allowance. Instead of booking a round-trip, book two one-ways and get $25 each way. You have to make the purchase such as for baggage on the day of travel and call in to US Bank to request the allowance – it does not process automatically. This is great for economy tickets, and, since they are cash tickets, you earn miles for the flight. If you are looking for business class tickets, you’ll want to focus on cards like the American Express Delta cards that earn SkyMiles and you may get better value on those premium cabin awards.

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