13 Best Ways To Redeem Delta SkyMiles for Max Value

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Delta SkyMiles are often discounted because of their seemingly low value on many redemptions, but there are actually a bunch of great reward options possible with SkyMiles!

Here is all the information you need about using SkyMiles with partner airlines, ways to earn miles through credit cards, and the best redemptions currently available to book award travel with the Delta SkyMiles frequent flyer program.

Using Delta SkyMiles With Airline Partners

Delta is part of the SkyTeam alliance along with a few other airlines that are unaffiliated with an alliance. Virgin Altantic and Virgin Australia are particularly popular for awards through Delta’s partnership with them, as well as GOL in Brazil.

This alliance membership and partnership with other airlines opens up even more opportunities for redemption to you.

You can search for SkyTeam award tickets and can easily redeem SkyMiles on flights with Delta Air Lines and partner carriers. Many airline partners (but not all) are available to search online. For some, you have to telephone Delta to confirm availability and book.

When you’re searching for availability, simply elect to view the price in miles to see how many SkyMiles it will cost to take the award flight.

Hot Tip: Look through all options because even when sorting by lowest price, cheaper options on partner airlines may be placed below Delta options, if, for instance, the partner flight miles are cheaper but taxes and charges are higher.

Earning Delta SkyMiles with Partner Cards

SkyMiles can be earned by signing up for various credit cards, including co-branded Delta credit cards offered by American Express.

American Express Delta SkyMiles Credit Cards

With the following cards, you can earn Delta SkyMiles without needing to transfer your miles to SkyMiles. They also include great welcome bonus offers to help you quickly earn your first Delta award ticket!

Recommended Delta Cards

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card- use this card to get one free checked bag for you and up to 8 companions on your itinerary, which we see as a "must-have" if you fly Delta regularly. Earn 35,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Card also now earn 2x miles at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets in addition to 2x miles on Delta purchases (1x on all other purchases). Plus, $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99. Terms Apply. For rates and fees of the Delta Gold card, click here.

However — you may be eligible for a (much) higher offer by using the CardMatch Tool. (There's no pull on your credit to check for personalized offers.)

In addition to the Delta specific cards, other American Express cards and other issuer cards will earn points that you can transfer to Delta.

American Express Membership Rewards Credit Cards

If you like earning Amex Membership Rewards, they can be transferred to Delta SkyMiles at a 1:1 ratio. These cards also include great welcome bonus offers.

Recommended American Express Cards (Personal)

The Platinum Card® from American Express - There's currently a welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $5,000 in your first 3 months, worth up to $600 towards travel. Terms Apply.

However — you may be eligible for a (much) higher offer by using the CardMatch Tool. (There's no pull on your credit to check for personalized offers.)

This is our #1 card for accessing 1,200+ airport lounges worldwide (including Priority Pass). We leverage ~$2,700+ in value from the card every year. For rates and fees of the Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.
American Express® Gold Card - We love using this card as it earns 4x points at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery, and 4x points at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per calendar year; then 1x. Terms Apply). There's no better card in our opinion if you eat out and/or shop at supermarkets regularly.

With a welcome bonus of 35,000 points after you spend $4,000 in your first 3 months and up to $100 airline fee credit per calendar year, it's a strong choice. For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, click here.

Marriott Credit Cards

You can also earn Marriott points and transfer Marriott points 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 Cards

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card - Earn 100,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Get automatic silver elite status each account anniversary year; and a free night award (valued up to 35,000 points) every year after account anniversary. Plus, earn 6X points per $1 at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels, and 2X points per $1 on all other purchases.
Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card - Earn 50,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. Earn 3X points per $1 at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels, earn 2X on other travel purchases, then 1x on all other purchases. A solid card for Marriott loyalists looking for a no-annual-fee card offering Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite status.
Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card - earn 75,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. A solid card for business owners who will get complimentary Marriott Bonvoy silver elite status. Annual fee is $125. Terms Apply. For rates and fees of the Bonvoy Business Card, click here.
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card - earn 75,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. Earn 6x per $1 at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels plus 3x at U.S. restaurants and flights booked directly with airlines. Annual fee is $450. Terms Apply. For rates and fees of the Bonvoy Brilliant card, click here.

The 13 Best Ways to Use Your Delta SkyMiles

Since Delta doesn’t publish an official award chart anymore, it can be tough to determine the lowest price available for a given flight you want to book.

Hot Tip: When you search for award availability, you should select the 5-week flexible award option to improve your chances of finding a low-level award.

From a 5-week search, drill down to specific dates to verify availability since the calendar is not perfect. Some days may not show the cheapest option on the calendar.

Even if you don’t have flexibility, finding the lowest price will at least tell you how much of a premium you’ll be paying to fly on your ideal date and might lead you to investigate booking with other airlines instead.

Delta has imposed much higher prices on most awards booked with 21 days of travel (known as close-in bookings). Delta has also raised the lowest award prices on partners compared to travel on Delta.

For the below redemptions, the SkyMiles amount mentioned is generally accepted as the lowest level mileage price that Delta currently charges. If you randomly search on any given day, you may see significantly higher prices. However, the SkyMiles price for Delta partners will be pretty consistent.

When you search on specific dates, make sure to sort by Price from the drop-down menu since that’s not the default sort option.

1. Delta One-Way Awards Within the U.S. for as Low as 5,000 SkyMiles

Delta Plane at Gate
Image Credit: Shutterstock

In the not-so-recent past, Delta did not offer award travel on one-way flights. Until January 2015, Delta SkyMiles were redeemable only for round-trip tickets, which made SkyMiles significantly less valuable than they are now.

Thankfully, Delta SkyMiles joined the rest of the industry by granting great award redemptions on both one-way and round-trip flights. Cheers to that!

While Delta says on its frequent flyer page that one-way flights in the U.S., Alaska, and Canada start at 10,000 SkyMiles, it is actually possible to find flights as low as 5,000 SkyMiles one-way on select routes like San Francisco to Seattle.

Sometimes, these are announced as limited-time flash sales; other times, they pop up when cash ticket prices are cheap.

These low-cost flights can be a great deal, especially last minute when Delta flight prices tend to be higher. However, if you’re searching a month out on this route, you will probably see one-way prices around $89, making the redemption mediocre.

When considering transferring your American Express Membership Rewards points to Delta, there is something else you need to think about: American Express charges a fee to transfer Membership Rewards to any U.S.-based program, including Delta SkyMiles.

The fee is quite small: only 0.06 cents per point up to a maximum of $99. If Delta has award availability on a flight you want, this fee shouldn’t be enough to stop you from transferring your SkyMiles and booking the ticket, but it’s something to be aware of nonetheless.

2. Virgin Atlantic to London in Upper Class for 86,000 SkyMiles Each Way

Virgin Atlantic Upper Class Empy Seat Upright
Image Credit: Virgin Atlantic

Many people rave about Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class (basically, their business class) experience, especially on the ground at London Heathrow. For flights across the Atlantic Ocean, you can really get the full experience of their lie-flat seats and great food.

There are a few different programs that will grant you access to book Delta Air Lines award travel on Virgin Atlantic. One of the best redemptions available is to use Delta SkyMiles.

Tickets from the U.S. to London are available on both Delta and Virgin Atlantic, but you generally won’t find low-level availability for Delta’s own flights and should look to fly on Virgin Atlantic.

When you do your search on Delta.com, look for VS in the corner of the box displaying the flight details. The VS indicates it’s a flight on Virgin Atlantic.

Your lowest fare from any major U.S. city to London one-way in economy class is 35,000 SkyMiles or 86,000 SkyMiles in Upper Class. That’s a round-trip flight in economy for as low as 70,000 SkyMiles, even from the West Coast!

You can connect onward to anywhere else in Europe, provided there’s availability with either Virgin Atlantic or another Delta partner. Virgin Atlantic flies nonstop from Atlanta, Detroit, New York, San Francisco, and a handful of other U.S. cities. Get the greatest value out of the Upper Class experience by flying from the West Coast, since your flight time will be 10.5 hours instead of 7 from the East Coast. The number of SkyMiles you’ll need to redeem your ticket is the same regardless of flight time.

It’s even better to fly Virgin Atlantic back to the U.S. from Europe because you’ll have access to the wonderful Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse during your stay at London Heathrow. You’ll only want to book Europe to the U.S. as part of a round-trip flight starting in the U.S. because Delta sneakily adds a huge cash surcharge for awards originating in Europe.

Note that Virgin Atlantic is in the midst of unveiling the new Upper Class product, which can be found on:

  • London-Heathrow (LHR) – New York City (JFK) (from September 10, 2019)
  • London-Heathrow (LHR) – Los Angeles (LAX) (from March 29, 2020)

Hot Tip: Consider signing up to Global Entry before making your journey to enjoy quickly passing through customs when you come back to the United States. You can get the $100 fee reimbursed with numerous cards, including The Platinum Card® from American Express.

3. Virgin Australia to the South Pacific Islands From 55,000 in Economy Each Way

Virgin Australia 777 the business Cabin
Fly around Australia in style with Virgin Australia in business class. Image Credit: Greg Stone

Ticket prices to Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific are high as a general rule. On the low end of the spectrum, you’ll pay at least $6,000 in business class or $900 in economy class per ticket. Considering the relatively high flight prices, Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific are great places to visit using SkyMiles if you can find availability.

You can fly from the U.S. to Australia and New Zealand on Delta’s partner, Virgin Australia. If you want to fly to the South Pacific Islands of Fiji, Rarotonga, Tonga, or others, it may be easier to call Delta Reservations at 800-221-1212 to have them look for award space.

It’s great that Delta charges the same price to fly to these South Pacific Islands as Australia and New Zealand! Paid fares to the islands are generally more than those to Australia and New Zealand, so booking to the South Pacific Islands is a fantastic way to push the value of your SkyMiles even further.

Most routes from the U.S. will fly through Australia on the way to the smaller islands, but unfortunately, Delta does not permit a stopover.

Virgin Australia tickets from the U.S. to Australia, New Zealand, and Oceania/South Pacific Islands one-way in economy class are 55,000 SkyMiles, while business class is 115,000 SkyMiles. We generally would not recommend spending 115,000 Delta SkyMiles to fly business class, as there are other airlines offer much more economical awards to Australia and the South Pacific.

If you want to fly Virgin Australia in business class, flights within Australia and the South Pacific are much more reasonable at 40,000 SkyMiles each way. Fees run around $200, but this is still an excellent redemption value!

You can search for Virgin Australia award availability on Delta’s website. For more complicated itineraries, especially around the South Pacific, you may need to book through Delta Reservations at 800-221-1212.

Hot Tip: Don’t pay extra foreign transaction fees during your international trip. Take and use credit cards with no foreign transaction fees, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.

4. Book Air France Business Class for 75,000 SkyMiles Each Way

Air France Business Class
Air France exudes french elegance and classic luxury. Image Credit: Air France

Air France business class space is released to Air France Flying Blue Members 359 days ahead of time, and the same space is generally released to Delta SkyMiles members 331 days before the departure date. Still, if you have Delta SkyMiles, you can certainly use them on Air France business class flights.

Even if Paris isn’t your final destination, you can connect onward to most other areas of Europe and beyond.

Flights from the U.S. to Europe in economy can be booked for as low as 25,000 SkyMiles one-way, while one-way in business class will cost 75,000 SkyMiles.

5. Aerolineas Argentina and GOL to Patagonia for 100,000 SkyMiles in Business Class Each Way

Patagonia
Use your SkyMiles to fly to beautiful Patagonia. Image Credit: Patagonia

In 2012, Aerolineas Argentina joined the SkyTeam alliance and GOL joined Delta as a non-alliance partner. There are limited flights directly from the U.S. (only New York or Miami), but the options within South America are numerous. Since LATAM is one of the only other airlines dominating the region, SkyMiles are very valuable for flights within South America on Aerolineas Argentina and GOL.

Patagonia is a very popular destination, especially for those inclined to spend time in the great outdoors. You can fly to El Calafete in economy for 35,000 SkyMiles one-way or 100,000 SkyMiles in business class.

This flight has a layover in Buenos Aires, so if you don’t want to go all the way to Patagonia, you can fly to Buenos Aires for the same number of SkyMiles.

6. AeroMexico to Mexico City and Madrid From 82,500 SkyMiles in Economy Round-Trip

Delta’s partnership with AeroMexico is one of the few that has been relatively unaffected by several recent devaluations in Delta SkyMiles.

You can fly to Mexico, or (if you’re really feeling adventurous) do a multi-city tour to Mexico and then to Europe. Mexico City has great award availability on flights to London, Paris, and Madrid.

When the option is available, choose to view the 5-week flexible dates calendar in your search. This will help you find the lowest SkyMiles award ticket prices.

You’ll need to book your flight to Mexico, then to Europe, and finally back to the U.S. through Delta’s advanced multi-city search option. Multi-city will only let you search specific dates, and you may end up on a different airline than AeroMexico on your way back from Europe to the U.S. (e.g., Delta, Aeroflot, etc.)

If you were to put together a multi-city itinerary like this, you would pay:

  • New York (JFK) to Mexico City (MEX) one-way in economy class for 20,000 SkyMiles or in business class for 35,000 SkyMiles.
  • New York (JFK) to Mexico City (MEX) to Madrid (MAD) to New York (JFK) in economy class for 90,000 SkyMiles or in business class for 170,000 SkyMiles.

Hot Tip: When putting together a multi-city itinerary with Delta, it makes sense to search both the entire itinerary as a multi-city search and each segment individually. In some cases, the price may be better booking one-way versus the other.

7. Fly Chinese Airlines in Business Class for 85,000 SkyMiles Each Way

China Airlines Business Class
China Airlines business class. Image Credit: China Airlines

Many of the Chinese airlines are praised for their business class products. When using your Delta SkyMiles, you have the ability to book China Airlines (based in Taipei), China Eastern and Shanghai Airlines (based in Shanghai), and Xiamen Airlines (based in Xiamen) one-way in business class for only 85,000 SkyMiles or economy class for only 35,000 SkyMiles.

China Airlines is generally thought to offer one of the better airline experiences.

All of these airlines can be searched on Delta.com for award availability. However, results for China Eastern frequently display award availability that isn’t there (it will have an error if you try to purchase) and connecting itineraries often incorrectly price each segment additively rather than as a single one-way.

Calling Delta won’t help with availability, though sometimes can fix incorrect pricing. Using another SkyTeam program like Air France/KLM Flying Blue or Korean Air SKYPASS is a backup to booking these airlines.

With China Airlines and Xiamen Airlines, you usually won’t encounter these pricing and ticketing problems.

8. Fly From Japan to Australia or New Zealand in Business Class for 75,000 SkyMiles

If you want to tack on an extra destination to your trip, flying from Japan to Australia or New Zealand with Korean Air in business class is a great way to experience a taste of luxury for fewer SkyMiles.

Overall, you’ll end up with about 13 hours of flight time, plus a layover in Korean Air’s Seoul-Incheon hub with a great lounge to visit. It is possible to work in a longer layover and have time to head out into Seoul for a day of sightseeing as well.

9. Add a Side Trip to Vietnam for 40,000 SkyMiles in Business Class

Vietnam Airlines 787-9 business class seat
Vietnam Airlines 787-9 business class. Image Credit: Stephen Au

Vietnam Airlines is part of SkyTeam, which means you have the option to redeem your Delta SkyMiles for flights to and within Vietnam.

You can add on a trip to Vietnam, one of this year’s hottest destinations, from Japan for only 22,500 SkyMiles in economy or 40,000 SkyMiles in business class on Vietnam Airlines.

10. Head to One of the Most Beautiful Pacific Islands for 115,000 SkyMiles in Business Class

Availability might not be the easiest to find, but if you can get it, you surely won’t regret using your Delta SkyMiles to get to Palau, one of the most beautiful Pacific Islands.

You’ll save a boatload of money by redeeming SkyMiles for your flights — economy class redemptions from the U.S. start at 55,000 SkyMiles and business class redemptions start at 115,000 SkyMiles.

There’s a good chance you’ll end up flying Korean Air to Palau, and their business class will ensure that you hit the ground running!

11. Fly Garuda Indonesia from Indonesia to Amsterdam for 95,000 SkyMiles in Business Class

Garuda Indonesia’s long-haul footprint is shrinking. Known for their exceptional first class product, their business class is also nothing to sneeze at. For 95,000 SkyMiles plus minimal taxes and fees, you can fly on their only ultra long-haul route from Jakarta to Amsterdam.

You’ll pay around $30 in taxes and fees, which will definitely keep your out of pocket costs low. With generous business class award availability, you’ll be all set to try one of the world’s most underrated business class products in no time. This specific route is operated by a 777-300ER, and it is one of the only ones that has a 2-class cabin: business and economy.

Garuda Indonesia’s business class seats are arranged in a staggered 1-2-1 configuration, which is similar to that of Asiana Airlines.

The exact route we’re referring to runs almost 15 hours each way:

  • Jakarta (CGK) – Amsterdam (AMS)

12. Access Extra Award Availability on Delta One Suites to Europe Far in Advance for 80,000 SkyMiles

Delta One Suites
Delta One Suites. Image Credit: Delta Air Lines

On a recent search, we saw something astonishing: Delta One Suites availability for 5+ passengers far in advance to Europe. Delta has a number of nonstop routes to Europe with Delta One Suites, but to find flights with loads of award availability fit for family travel in one of the hottest business class products on some of the most lucrative airline routes is unheard of.

If your travel dates are flexible, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to take your entire family to Europe on Delta One Suites for 80,000 SkyMiles per person. Here’s the exact route we’re talking about:

  • Los Angeles (LAX) – Paris (CDG)

This route is one of the top routes in the world, and you have a strong chance of booking Delta One Suites for 4-5+ people, as long as you search extremely far in advance (probably as far as the calendar goes). Here are some other routes that you can explore:

  • Detroit (DTW) – Amsterdam (AMS) 
  • Atlanta (ATL) – Paris (CDG)

13. Fly From the U.S. to The Maldives in Business Class for 100,000 SkyMiles

Saudia Business Class
Saudia business class. Image Credit: Saudia

Another amazing use of SkyMiles is to fly to the Maldives in business class on a number of transpacific or transatlantic routes. For upwards of 20-24 hours in business class seats, it’s a hugely worthwhile redemption to consider — you just need to be creative about finding routes to the Maldives!

Check out some great example redemptions:

  • Chicago (ORD) – Rome (FCO) – Malé (MLE) on Alitalia business class
  • Los Angeles (LAX) – Paris (CDG) – Malé (MLE) on Air France business class
  • Miami (MIA) – Moscow (SVO) – Malé (MLE) on Aeroflot business class
  • New York City (JFK) – Milan (MXP) – Malé (MLE) on Delta One and Alitalia business class
  • San Francisco (SFO) – Shanghai (PVG) – Malé (MLE) on China Eastern business class
  • Washington, D.C. (IAD) – Riyadh (RUH) – Malé (MLE) on Saudia business class

List of SkyTeam Alliance Delta Air Lines Partners

Delta Air Lines SkyTeam airlines
The Delta Air Lines partners include SkyTeam airlines as well as some non-alliance partners as well. Image Credit: SkyTeam

Delta frequent flyer partners include SkyTeam and non-alliance partners. SkyTeam partners include:

SkyTeam Partners
AeroflotGaruda Indonesia
Aerolineas ArgentinasKenya Airways
AeromexicoKLM
Air EuropaKorean Air
Air FranceMiddle East Airlines
AlitaliaSaudia Airlines
China AirlinesTarom
China EasternVietnam Airlines
Czech AirlinesXiamen Airlines

Non-Alliance Delta Air Lines Partners

Non-alliance partners are some other great Delta partner airlines that aren’t a part of other alliances.

Other Partners
Alaska AirlinesVirgin Atlantic
GOLVirgin Australia
Great Lakes AirlinesWestJet
Hawaiian Airlines

Using Your Delta SkyMiles: The Delta Award Chart

Delta currently has a revenue-based award program, but they still have a somewhat zone-based award program for flight redemptions.

Strangely, the Delta award chart was removed at the beginning of 2015, so it is sometimes a challenge to determine which destinations are in what zone as well as the prices to various zones.

Though overall Delta still has a zone-based program, some flight options don’t quite fit this mold, which makes it very difficult to make sure you are getting a good deal for your flights.

As a general rule, Delta sticks pretty close to its old award chart for flights on Delta. For partner airline flights, the prices have increased across the board. Some regions such as South Asia have seen big increases on all business class awards.

Booking Delta Award Flights

If you’re interested in how to actually make award travel redemptions with Delta Air Lines, we have a few articles to explain the process:

Final Thoughts

This article outlines the best ways to redeem your Delta SkyMiles for flights once you’ve earned enough of them. When you use your Delta SkyMiles and compare the pricing offered to the lowest cash price available, you can be confident that your SkyMiles can get you great value.


Frequently asked questions

What are Delta SkyMiles?

Delta’s frequent flyer loyalty rewards points program is called Delta SkyMiles. The points you earn, redeem, and transfer are SkyMiles.

What credit cards offer Delta Air Lines SkyMiles?

You can earn SkyMiles through Delta-branded American Express cards: the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express, the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express, and the Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express.

You can also transfer points to SkyMiles from American Express Membership Rewards.

What are Delta SkyMiles worth?

The value of SkyMiles depends on what kind of ticket you are redeeming. Check out our travel points and miles valuations for more info.

What are MQM Delta miles?

MQM are Delta’s Medallion Qualifying Miles, which help people reach elite status membership in Delta’s Medallion program.

As a Medallion member, you will receive special perks and benefits like fee waivers and additional SkyMiles earned on flights.

How many Delta SkyMiles do I need for a free flight?

Inside the U.S., you’ll need as few as 5,000 SkyMiles to fly one-way between U.S. cities.

For international flights, you can get to places like the Caribbean, Central America, and Mexico for as few as 17,500 SkyMiles one-way.

How do I transfer Delta SkyMiles to a spouse?

Sign in to your Delta SkyMiles account and go here. Choose add a recipient, and then you can transfer SkyMiles to up to 4 recipients at once.

Fill out the requested info, including the recipient’s SkyMiles account number, name, and email. Select Add to Cart and continue through the prompts. Rates and fees apply.

Who are Delta SkyMiles partners?

The Delta SkyMiles program has several airline partners:

AeroflotHawaiian
Aerolineas ArgentinasKenya Airways
AeromexicoKLM
Air EuropaKorean Air
Air FranceMiddle East Airlines
AlaskaSaudia
AlitaliaTarom
China AirlinesVietnam Airlines
China EasternVirgin Atlantic
Czech AirlinesVirgin Australia
Garuda IndonesiaWestJet
GOLXiamen Airlines
Great Lakes Airlines

When do Delta SkyMiles post in your account?

SkyMiles earned through credit cards should appear in your account after the billing cycle in which you have earned them.

You can dispute missing SkyMiles you feel you should have earned by calling the number of the back of your credit card.

Delta says SkyMiles earned on flights operated by them should post within 24 hours. If earning SkyMiles via flights on partners, your account should show them within 7 days.

After this period, if your SkyMiles are still missing, consider requesting mileage credit. You will only need to enter your SkyMiles account number and your ticket number for your flight.

Are Delta SkyMiles refundable?

Your SkyMiles will be redeposited for any award ticket bookings canceled at least 72 hours prior to the origin flight departure time. There is a $150 fee for redeposit.

The fee is waived only for Diamond and Platinum Medallion members.

When do Delta SkyMiles expire?

Delta SkyMiles do not expire. Hooray!

Stephen Au

About Stephen Au

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Stephen has been privileged to enjoy many premium cabin products and 5-star hotels. A petroleum engineer by trade, Stephen caught the travel bug in college when he traveled to Asia several times. After 2 years of continual promotions, Stephen quit his safe and secure career path in favor of entrepreneurship.

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29 comments

  1. I am astonished at how difficult it has been to use Skymiles for the past couple of years. For travel to the middle east in business, it is almost 600,000 miles per person. I am going to stop using Delta once my miles are finished.

    Reply

  2. grant m ayjian March 10, 2018

    I am retired, don’t want to fly anymore and have about 300,000 miles. Is there any other way to use the mileage for anything other then flying?

    Reply

  3. Hello. I live in LA and want to fly round trip to Detroit. In dollars how much would 5000 sky miles be worth towards my ticket? Thank you

    Reply

  4. Like many others, I am having difficulty booking award travel on Delta. I want to go from Orlando, Florida to Bergen, Norway. It is a long trip so I want to stay 11 days. With the 331 day rule, the challenge I have is that at or near the 331 day for my outbound flight, there are plenty of low miles, decent flights. However, I cannot book those as I have to wait until 331 days from my return trip. By the time this occurs, all the decent flights at reasonable miles are gone. In fact, most if not all seats are gone even on lousy flights with long layovers. Would appreciate any and all suggestions. Even considering booking a short duration trip (3 days or so) as soon as the outbound day becomes available to secure it and then a week – 10 days later, changing my return date when the one i want actually becomes available. A Delta agent said I could do this and that it was probably my only alternative. For example, today (7/3)I could book a trip of 5/25 outbound with a return on 5/28. On 7/8, I could change the return date to the real date I want of 6/7. Supposedly for a $150 fee. Thoughts? comments? Better suggestions? Thanks!!!!!

    Reply

    • Michael McHugh July 5, 2018

      Hi RC

      Another option to consider is booking the award flight and either cancelling or making a flight change within the 24 hour fee cancellation window. If the flight on the date that you want opens up in the 24 hour window, you should be able to make a flight change for free. If the flight does not open up in the 24 hour window, simply cancel the flight.

      Reply

  5. I have 28,257 Delta Air Miles, and I don’t fly anymore. Can these be cashed in for credit cards or cash?

    Reply

  6. Carol Gasho November 5, 2018

    I am having problems finding any Air France Flights from the USA to Europe using Delta Skymiles for 75000 each way as noted in article. Any hints?

    Reply

    • Hi Carol,

      Air France is difficult to search for award availability. The best way to find it is to keep searching for different dates and be sure to use the Delta “5 weeks” flexible date search when searching on Delta’s website.

      Reply

  7. Sandra Spencer November 16, 2018

    Hello, I have 8045 miles to redeem. May I get magazines or a cash refund? My reference is available if you need it. Thank you. I tried to go to magsformiles.com however after making my selection, I was unable to complete the process.

    Reply

    • Christine Krzyszton November 17, 2018

      Hi Sandra! Sorry you are having trouble. First, let me say that we are not Delta Airlines, we are a travel blog. You might try this link which takes you to the Delta site so that you can use your SkyMiles to make a purchase. Several options are available, including purchasing magazines. You will need to log in to your SkyMiles account so be sure to have that information handy. Cash refunds for miles are unfortunately not available. https://marketplace.delta.com/b2r/ui/index#!/landing

      Reply

  8. Please note that Jet Airways has, since April 2019, ceased operations.

    Reply

    • Andrew Kunesh August 15, 2019

      Hi David, thanks for pointing this out. We’ve confirmed that this is true and have updated the article to reflect.

      Reply

  9. You guys have a great website. Just wanted to let you know. I always recommend you to people who have questions about rewards travel.

    Reply

  10. Hello… Anyone having issues booking economy (x) China Airlines Award Tickets through Delta Skymiles? Whenever I book international tickets this way over past months the check in agents of China Airlines say I have NO CHECKED BAGGAGE allowance.

    Delta ticketing goes through as ‘zero’ baggage allowance.
    How Is this correct??

    Economy (x) award booking using delta skymiles. Any feedback appreciated. Makes me not want to book any more award flights through delta.

    Reply

    • Hi CK,

      Thanks for reading. We’d suggest giving Delta Air Lines a call to double-check the baggage allowance.

      Reply

      • Thanks. When I call Delta: they say it is up to China Airlines.
        When I call China Airlines: They say it is a delta owned ticket and up to delta.
        Of note is that China Airlines doesn’t even have an option for international ” 0′ checked bags. lol

        Reply

  11. I have about 70k miles. I used to get cash-back. I cannot fly anymore due to disability. What happened? How much do I get for gift cards? I need money badly. It should be 700 dollars. That is what I used to get in a check.

    Reply

  12. Hi, my husband and I will be flying from Detroit to Bangkok at the end of December, returning in January. The leg from DTW to JFK was booked with Delta SkyMiles (yay) but we had to pay cash on a separate itinerary for the rest on Air China. We currently have premium economy booked from JFK to Beijing and economy on the 2nd leg from Beijing to Bangkok. Can you think of any creative ways to move SkyMiles around to be able to upgrade the long haul flight to business class? If not, do you have any other tips on getting the upgrade even if we need to pay cash? (we booked through One Travel, so Air China said we need to deal with them for any upgrades, they cannot help us “bid” on an upgrade.
    Thanks a bunch!

    Reply

    • Let me try to summarize what you said.

      You’re flying from DTW – JFK booked with SkyMiles. Then, you’re flying on a ticket booked with One Travel (a third party travel agency) from JFK – PEK – BKK.

      Let me address the 1st question about using SkyMiles for the long-haul flight upgrade. You will not be able to upgrade this flight using Delta SkyMiles because this flight is on Air China. Delta miles can only be used to upgrade flights on Delta.

      You can bid online for an upgrade directly on Air China’s website here:

      https://www.airchina.us/US/GB/promotion/BidForUpgrade

      Besides that, you can also walk up to the check-in counter and ask for a price to upgrade to business class on the day of departure. Other than that, you will not have any other options to get upgraded.

      In the long-term, consider earning and using different airline miles so you can always fly business/first class. Thanks for reading!

      Reply

  13. In fact, SkyPesos are by now almost completely useless for international flights. Not only that, but “partner airlines” are carefully controlled such that bypassing Delta’s terrible awards (particularly in business class) are by now almost impossible to avoid.

    Therefore, I will be dumping my Amex Platinum card next time around. It can no longer justify its expense.

    Reply

  14. I have about 200k SkyMiles and would love to take my wife to a tropical island somewhere in business class. What’s the best use of the miles? Business class one way somewhere?

    Reply

    • Andrew Kunesh December 23, 2019

      Hey Paul, great question.

      Delta prices award tickets dynamically, so there are no set redemption rates. However, you can find some pretty solid deals if you’re flexible. For example, I found New York (JFK) to Bermuda (BDA) in business class for under 90,000 SkyMiles round-trips per person in May. I’d recommend making a list of destinations and searching for them on different dates that work for you.

      Also, keep an eye out for Delta flash sales. These are temporary discounts from specific locations — check Delta’s website for the current lineup.

      Thanks and safe travels!

      Reply

  15. Yogesh Bhatnagar July 6, 2020

    I have about 75000 Delta SkyMiles and my spouse has about the same. Will these be sufficient for one way to travel to Mumbai from Atlanta either by Delta or by KLM /AirFrance? Can the booking be made online?

    Reply

    • Hi Yogesh,

      Delta does not publish an award chart so the number of miles needed for a particular award flight can vary quite a bit. But just based off a few searches I’ve just run, yes 75k miles should be enough for a one-way flight between Atlanta and Mumbai.

      This ticket can be booked online easily. Just head to the Delta website, sign in to your account, enter your flight details and the approximate date that you would like to fly, then click “shop with miles” and hit search. This will bring up your award flight options. If your travel dates are flexible, you can then click “price calendar” to see a monthly view which highlights the cheapest days to fly, and their award price, for that given month.

      Hope this helps and thanks for reading!

      Reply

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