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Delta Now Allows You To Redeem SkyMiles for Checked Bag Fees

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

James Larounis

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Countries Visited: 30U.S. States Visited: 35

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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Delta Air Lines is deploying a new way for you to pay for your checked bag fees. You’ll soon be able to use 3,000 Delta SkyMiles to pay for your first checked bag, and while this likely isn’t worth it if you’d rather save up these miles for a bigger trip, it can make sense in some limited circumstances.

Using SkyMiles To Check Bags

Delta is currently testing this method of payment at several airports throughout the U.S., but it will be expanding to nearly all domestic airports it serves in the coming months, starting with smaller regional airports and working its way up to larger hubs.

To use SkyMiles to check a bag, you can check in either on the mobile app, on the Delta website, or at a kiosk. As you go through the check-in process, if your SkyMiles number is on the reservation, the system can deduct 3,000 miles from your account in exchange for a complimentary free checked bag. This will soon expand to allow you to check bags for up to 9 people, which would be a total of 27,000 SkyMiles, assuming each person checked a bag.

Delta Baggage Handler
You’ll soon be able to use your miles to pay for your checked bags. Image Credit: Delta Air Lines

Limitations

There are a few limitations in using miles for checked bags, including:

  • Overweight bags, which you’ll still need to pay the full cash price for
  • Oversize bags, which you’ll still need to pay the full cash price for
  • Additional bags beyond the first free checked bags (for now, the trial includes the first bag, but will soon expand)

In addition, because this is being deployed at airports around the country over the next several months, don’t be surprised if you don’t see it during your check-in experience at first. The carrier is working to add it to all airports, and it may take some time before the airport you’re flying out of becomes eligible.

A Bad Deal

Generally, this is considered a very bad deal as you’d only be getting 1 cent for every SkyMile you spend. You can easily get more value by redeeming your SkyMiles on a Delta partner carrier in a premium class.

Of course, if you have plenty of miles to spare and aren’t eligible for a free checked bag, you might want to consider using your miles to negate the cost of paying for the bag.

Hot Tip: Learn more about Delta Air Lines’ baggage fees, as well as tips to cover the expenses, in our detailed guide.

Final Thoughts

Delta is now allowing you to use miles for more things — SkyMiles members can now redeem SkyMiles for purchases within the Sky Club and can use SkyMiles to check their first bag for free. While this won’t be the best use of SkyMiles, having more options to redeem your SkyMiles usually isn’t a bad thing.

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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