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Delta Reduces SkyMiles Earning With Instacart [Starting April 1]

James Larounis's image
James Larounis
James Larounis's image

James Larounis

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James (Jamie) started The Forward Cabin blog to educate readers about points, miles, and loyalty programs. He’s spoken at Princeton University and The New York Times Travel Show and has been quoted in...

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Last year, Delta announced a partnership with the popular grocery service Instacart, where you could earn up to 1.5 SkyMiles for every $1 you spent.

Starting April 1, 2023, the airline will reduce the earning potential to only 1x miles per $1 spent. So if you’re a regular user of the program, you can soon expect to earn fewer miles on Instacart purchases.

What Is Instacart?

Instacart is a grocery pickup and delivery service with participating stores like Costco, Publix, Target and more. Through its website, you can select all of the products you’d normally see in the grocery store, and Instacart will package these items, including refrigerated groceries, for a fee. You can then choose to have your items delivered or pick them up.

The service also offers Instacart+, a subscription-based membership that costs $99 per year or $9.99 per month. Members enjoy the following benefits:

  • Free deliveries on orders of $35 or more
  • 5% back on pickup orders
  • Lower service fees
  • Exclusive offers

Old Earning Rate With Instacart

Previously, SkyMiles members could earn 1x miles on Instacart purchases to 1.5x miles if you had the paid Instacart Express (now known as Instacart+) subscription.

When Delta first announced this partnership, Platinum and Diamond Medallion members could also unlock a complimentary 12-month membership, while Silver and Gold Medallion members could receive a 3-month trial. After the trial period, the Instacart+ membership would automatically renew at the $99/year rate.

New Earning With Instacart

Delta Instacart
Image Credit: Delta Air Lines

Under the new earning model, the earning rate for all Instacart purchases — whether or not you have the Instacart+ membership — will remain at 1x miles for every $1 spent starting April 1, 2023.

There’s no point in paying extra for the Instacart+ membership, unless you think you are going to take advantage those benefits on its own.

Also starting April 1, the free trial periods for Instacart+ will be shortened:

  • Silver and Gold Medallion Members are eligible for a complimentary 1-month trial
  • Platinum and Diamond Medallion Members are eligible for a complimentary 3-month trial

Free trials are limited to 1 per SkyMiles member, so if you haven’t tried out Instacart+ with your Delta Medallion status already, now’s the time to activate that offer.

Don’t forget to register your SkyMiles number on Instacart’s website to start earning Delta miles with every Instacart purchase.

Hot Tip: This partnership can still be lucrative as you can double dip with a card that earns points on groceries, like the American Express® Gold Card that earns 4x points at U.S. supermarkets (up to the first $25,000 spent per year; then 1x points) or the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card that earns 3x points on online grocery purchases. 

Final Thoughts

Delta will soon devalue its partnership with Instacart, allowing you to earn a maximum of 1x SkyMiles per $1 spent. Now’s the time to rethink your Instacart+ membership or downgrade to the free version!

For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, click here.

James Larounis's image

About James Larounis

James (Jamie) started The Forward Cabin blog to educate readers about points, miles, and loyalty programs. He’s spoken at Princeton University and The New York Times Travel Show and has been quoted in dozens of travel publications.


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