Delta Air Lines SkyMiles Loyalty Program Review

Delta Air Lines SkyMiles Loyalty Program Review

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Delta Summary Table

Branded and Partnered Credit Cards

There are several credit cards that can help you quickly collect Delta SkyMiles that can be redeemed for some amazing flights.

Delta SkyMiles Credit Cards

American Express provides co-branded Delta credit cards that earn SkyMiles directly.

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. The card also earns 2x Miles on Delta purchases, at restaurants worldwide (including takeout and delivery), and at U.S. supermarkets, then 1x on all other eligible purchases.

For a limited time, earn 70,000 Bonus Miles after spending $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021. $0 introductory Annual Fee for the first year, then $99. Terms Apply. For rates and fees of the Delta Gold card, click here.
Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card - For a limited time, earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.

This card earns 3x Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2x Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets, then 1x on all other eligible purchases. Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights and a lot of other benefits and perks, such as a fee credit for Global Entry and TSA PreCheck. The annual fee is $250. Terms apply. For rates and fees of the Delta Platinum card, click here.

American Express Membership Rewards Credit Cards

Amex points can be transferred directly to Delta Air Lines at a ratio of 1:1. Earning Membership Rewards is probably the best way to earn lots of SkyMiles.

Recommended Personal Cards

The Platinum Card® from American Express - There's currently a new welcome bonus offer of 60,000 100,000 Membership Rewards Points after spending $6,000 on purchases in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Plus, earn 10x points on eligible purchases on the Card at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership.

This is our #1 card for accessing 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide, including Priority Pass (enrollment required). We leverage ~$4,900+ in benefits and perks from the card every year. Terms Apply. For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum card, click here.
American Express® Gold Card - This card has a new welcome bonus of 35,000 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $4,000 on purchases in your first 6 months of Card Membership.

We love using this card as it earns 4X Membership Rewards Points at restaurants, including takeout and delivery, and earns 4X Membership Rewards points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).

There's no better card in our opinion if you eat out and/or shop at supermarkets regularly; and you'll have access to many benefits and perks. Terms apply and for rates and fees of the Amex Gold card, click here.

Recommended Business Cards

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express - Right now, there's a new welcome bonus of 85,000 120,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $15,000 on eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership.

See how we get $4,000+ in value per year by leveraging many of the benefits & perks, including access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide. Terms Apply. For rates and fees of the Business Platinum, click here.
American Express® Business Gold Card - one of our favorite Amex business cards because we earn 4x points across the top 2 select categories that we spend the most money in each month, such as Facebook or Google ads. The 4x points applies to the first $150,000 in combined purchases from these 2 categories each calendar year. After that, you earn 1x.

The current welcome bonus is 70,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $10,000 on eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply. For rates and fees of the Business Gold, click here.
The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express - A super simple, no-annual-fee card that earns you 2x points on everyday business purchases, up to $50,000 in purchases per year. After that, earn 1x. Right now, you can earn 15,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply. For rates and fees of the Blue Business Plus, click here.

Marriott 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 Cards

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card - For a limited time only, earn 125,000 Bonus Points and 1 Free Night Award (value up to 50,000 points) after you spend $5,000 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 up to 17x total Bovoy points per $1 when using your Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card at at over 7,000 participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels, and 2x Bonvoy points per $1 on all other purchases. Annual Fee is $95.
Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card - For a limited time only, earn 60,000 Bonus Points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Earn up to 14x total Bonvoy points per $1 when using your Marriott Bonvoy Bold card at over 7,000 participating in 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 Brilliant™ American Express® Card - For a limited time, earn 150,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points and a bonus Free Night Award after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Resort fees may apply. Terms apply. Offer expires 11/3/2021.

Earn 6x per $1 at hotels participants in the Marriott Bonvoy™ program, 3x at U.S. restaurants and flights booked directly with airlines, and 2x on all other eligible purchases. Annual Fee is $450. Terms Apply. For rates and fees of the Bonvoy Brilliant card, click here.
Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card - For a limited time, earn 125,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points & 2 bonus Free Night Awards after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months. Each bonus Free Night Award has a redemption level up to 50K points. Certain hotels have resort fees. Offer ends 11/3/2021.

This is 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 Marriott Bonvoy Business Card, click here.

Hotel Partner Credit Cards

Several hotel programs will let you transfer points to Delta. However, this is almost always a poor use of hotel points. Unless you are really in a bind, save your hotel points for hotel award stays at your destination.

Loyalty ProgramCredit Card Review
Hilton Honors Loyalty ProgramHilton Honors™ Card from American Express
Hilton Honors™ Surpass® Card from American Express
Marriott Bonvoy Loyalty ProgramMarriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Card
Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card
World of Hyatt Loyalty ProgramWorld of Hyatt Credit Card

Delta Air Lines Overview

Delta’s mileage program is named SkyMiles. When it comes to earning SkyMiles, the program has shifted from a mileage-based to a revenue-based program. This means miles are now earned based on the amount spent on tickets rather than the distance traveled.

Big spenders and short distance flyers will likely see an increase in their mileage earning. But leisure and long-distance flyers may see their earnings drop, often dramatically.

Elite status is still earned by traditional miles and segments flown, but spending requirements have been added to the flying requirements.

Joining SkyMiles

Joining is free and you can sign up online.

Delta SkyMiles Enrollment Page
Image Credit: Delta

You’ll immediately become a General Member and begin earning miles on Delta flights and partner activity.

How to Sign in to Your SkyMiles Account

Log in on the homepage.

Delta SkyMiles Login
Image Credit: Delta

Viewing Your Account Activity

The Delta website has 2 useful pages to manage your account:

  • My SkyMiles shows all your account activity.
  • My Wallet shows your SkyMiles and Sky Club membership cards, and any certificates you may have such as elite upgrade certificates. You can also print trip receipts.

Points Expiration

Delta SkyMiles is the only U.S. airline loyalty program with no mileage expiration. With Delta, infrequent travelers need not worry about finding ways to avoid expiration.

Delta Mileage Program

SkyMiles Elite Status

Delta SkyMiles offers members 4 membership tiers:

  • Silver Medallion
  • Gold Medallion
  • Platinum Medallion
  • Diamond Medallion

Elite status requirements:

  • Silver Medallion – 25,000 Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQMs) or 30 Medallion Qualifying Segments (MQSs) and $3,000 in Medallion Qualifying Dollars (MQDs)
  • Gold Medallion – 50,000 MQMs or 60 MQSs and $6,000 MQDs
  • Platinum Medallion – 75,000 MQMs or 100 MQSs and $9,000 MQDs
  • Diamond Medallion – 125,000 MQMs or 140 segments and $15,000 MQDs

MQD requirements are waived if spending $25,000 per year on a Delta-branded American Express card.

You can also earn MQMs with credit card spending.

SkyMiles Elite Benefits

Delta Medallion Benefit Breakdown
Image Credit: Delta

SkyMiles Silver Medallion:

  • Complimentary upgrades on paid flights (not award flights), up to 24 hours before departure if available
  • 1 free checked bag up to 70 pounds for Silver member and up to 8 traveling companions on the same reservation
  • Priority check-in and boarding
  • Virgin Atlantic flights: priority check-in, priority boardings, and 1 additional checked bag (in addition to standard Virgin Atlantic allowance)

SkyMiles Gold Medallion:

  • All Silver benefits, plus:
  • Complimentary upgrades available up to 72 hours before departure
  • Complimentary upgrades on award tickets
  • 2 free checked bags up to 70 pounds each
  • Free same-day changes and same-day standby
  • Award booking fee waived
  • SkyPriority check-in, security, and boarding on Delta and partners
  • SkyTeam ElitePlus status includes partner lounge access on international itineraries, even in economy
  • Hertz 5-Star status (register here)
  • Virgin Atlantic flights: premium economy check-in, Fast Track security, premium economy baggage handling

SkyMiles Platinum Medallion:

  • All Gold benefits, plus:
  • Complimentary upgrades available up to 5 days before departure
  • 3 free checked bags up to 70 pounds each
  • 1 annual Choice Benefit. Choose between:
    • 4 Regional Upgrade Certificates (RUC)*
    • 20,000 bonus SkyMiles
    • Ability to gift Silver status
    • $200 gift card
  • Hertz President’s Circle Status (register here)
  • Virgin Atlantic flights: Upper Class check-in, Upper Class security, Upper Class priority baggage handling, and lounges: Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse or No.1 Lounges Heathrow Terminal 3, and the Virgin Atlantic Revivals Lounge (arrivals)

*Regional Upgrade Certificates can be used to jump to the top of the upgrade list on competitive flights such as New York to Los Angeles or San Francisco. They can be used for U.S. domestic flights and selected short-distance international flights.

SkyMiles Diamond Medallion:

  • All Platinum benefits, plus:
  • Free membership to CLEAR so you can breeze through security
  • 3 additional Choice Benefits from a better slate of options than Platinum:
    • 4 Global Upgrade Certificates (GUC)*
    • 25,000 bonus miles
    • Delta Sky Club membership (individual and executive)
    • Ability to gift Gold status, and more

*Global Upgrade Certificates can be used on any paid (non-award) Delta flight except Basic Economy, and limited partner flights.

Value of Delta SkyMiles Status

Delta SkyMiles status is competitive with American Airlines and United.

Silver Medallion has minimal benefits. Much of what is offered is similar to benefits extended to Delta credit cardholders.

Gold Medallion stands out for same-day change and same-day standby fee waivers, which are not a benefit of American and United at their comparative status levels. Gold Medallion members get SkyTeam ElitePlus status, and will receive a high level of treatment when flying partner airlines.

Regional Upgrade Certificates are a popular Choice Benefit for Platinum Medallions that frequently fly domestic DeltaOne routes such as New York to Los Angeles or San Francisco. Without certificates, complimentary upgrades are not available on these routes branded as DeltaOne.

Diamond Medallion members receive a high level of service. When there are delays or cancellations, Diamonds are among the fastest to be re-accommodated on the best alternate flights. The Diamond Medallion hotline is staffed by experts who are quick to help.

Global Upgrade Certificates are a highlight of Choice Benefits for Diamond members. These can be used to upgrade to business on paid economy tickets, even on the longest international routes. Availability to use the certificates is generally good, especially when compared to United and American’s certificates (which are very difficult to use on international flights).

With continuing cuts to American Airlines Executive Platinum, many road warriors now rank Delta’s Diamond Medallion as the top airline elite status in the U.S.

How to Earn Delta Miles

From flying to using credit cards for your daily expenses, you’ll have tons of opportunities to earn SkyMiles.

Earn SkyMiles Through Flying

Delta SkyMiles members now earn miles by the dollar amount spent on their ticket (up to 75,000 miles maximum per ticket).

Earning base miles varies by status:

  • General – 5 miles per dollar
  • Silver Medallion – 7 miles per dollar
  • Gold Medallion – 8 miles per dollar
  • Platinum Medallion – 9 miles per dollar
  • Diamond Medallion – 11 miles per dollar

SkyMiles can be earned on any Delta flight, as well as flights with many SkyTeam partner airlines and other partners.

Certain airline partner flights still earn based on distance instead of price. You can consult the SkyMiles airline partner page to figure this out, but you will need the airline booking fare code of your ticket (which is not provided by all airlines and websites). You might need to call the airline directly to find out the booking fare code.

List of SkyTeam Alliance Airline Partners

AeroflotGaruda Indonesia
Aerolineas ArgentinasKenya Airways
Air EuropaKorean Air
Air FranceMiddle East Airlines
AlitaliaSaudia Airlines
Delta Air LinesTarom
China AirlinesVietnam Airlines
China EasternXiamen Airlines
Czech Airlines

List of Non-Alliance Delta Partners

Delta Other Partners
China SouthernVirgin Australia
Virgin Atlantic

Earning SkyMiles With Credit Cards

With several co-branded Delta credit cards, it’s easy to earn SkyMiles directly. Most purchases will earn 1X points per dollar, but purchases with Delta will earn 2X points.

You can also transfer American Express Membership Rewards points and Marriott Bonvoy points to Delta SkyMiles. Cards that earn Membership Rewards often have multiple bonus categories to help you earn points faster while Marriott Bonvoy points provide a transfer bonus of 5,000 SkyMiles when you transfer a block of 60,000 points.

How to Redeem Delta Miles

When it comes to redeeming miles, Delta wants customers to pay whatever price the Delta website quotes. They even went so far as to remove their award chart so that customers have no firm reference to what an award “should” cost.

As a general rule, though, Delta sticks pretty close to their old award chart, which is included here for reference.

Note that some award prices have increased or decreased since this chart was last published. Delta typically does not announce changes in advance, sometimes only announcing that certain prices are immediately in effect for any travel from a specific date. Delta also regularly runs award sales of as little as 5,000 miles per flight for domestic flights.

Delta Award Chart
Delta award chart from 2015. Image Credit:

Booking Online

The Delta website has many award ticket booking and pricing errors. Not all partners are shown online, and sometimes the site shows “phantom availability” for partner airlines (awards that are not really available for booking).

Do careful research on awards and always search segment by segment. For partner awards, you can compare to results shown on the Air France website since they have many partners in common.

Many Delta awards require a phone call to book. Ask for a telephone booking fee waiver if it is not possible to book your trip online.

As of 2021, award tickets for travel in the U.S. can also be canceled or changed at any time prior to departure.

Bottom Line: With Delta not publishing award prices and many website pricing errors, do careful research to know what an award “should” cost before you book. 

See our article on How to Redeem Delta SkyMiles for details on the many award options to maximize your SkyMiles value.

Frequently asked questions

What is Delta SkyMiles? Why join Delta SkyMiles?

SkyMiles is the Delta Air Lines frequent flyer loyalty program. By joining this free program, you can earn benefits while traveling with Delta Air Lines, depending on your level of status within the program.

When you travel, you will earn miles which can be redeemed for award flights and more once you’ve earned enough.

What are the benefits of Delta SkyMiles? What are the levels of membership?

The benefits include bonus miles earned, priority boarding, free checked bags, security line status, complimentary upgrades, and more. When you earn enough miles, you get to redeem them for travel or other purchases.

The levels of elite status membership are Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond. To earn these levels, you must reach a certain number of miles/segments and meet a certain spending threshold each year.

What are Choice Benefits for SkyMiles members?

Delta has a unique gift-giving scheme when you achieve your elite Medallion statuses, dubbed Choice Benefits.

When SkyMiles members first achieve Platinum status, they are allowed to choose a gift from a list of choices, including upgrade certificates, and more.

Achieving Diamond status yields 2 gifts, and the gift options differ between the statuses too.

For example, for Platinum, the upgrade certificate gift includes 4 regional flight upgrades, while for Diamond it is 4 global or 8 regional flight upgrades. You get an extra gift just for being Diamond as well.

One gift exclusive to Diamond status is upgrading an individual Delta Sky Club Membership to an executive membership.

Which airlines accept Delta SkyMiles? Who are Delta SkyMiles partners?

Delta is a member of the SkyTeam alliance. This includes airlines like Aeroflot, Air France, Czech Airlines, and KLM. Other Delta Partners include Hawaiian Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, and Virgin Australia.

What is the Delta SkyMiles login?

You can sign in to your SkyMiles account here.

Where can I sign up for Delta SkyMiles?

What can Delta SkyMiles be used for? How many Delta SkyMiles are needed for a free flight?

Delta SkyMiles can be used for free flights on Delta or any of their partner airlines. They can also be used for hotels and other partners.

You can transfer points from partnered programs to Delta SkyMiles as well. There is no longer a 250,000-mile transfer limit.

What are Delta SkyMiles worth?

SkyMiles have been valued anywhere from $0.005 to $0.015 per point. This always depends on what types of redemptions are available.

When do Delta SkyMiles expire?

Delta’s policy is that SkyMiles never expire. They can terminate your account, however, for fraudulent or other unfavorable activities.

Is there a Delta Air Lines SkyMiles credit card?

Yes, there are multiple Delta 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.

Or, you can use other partnered cards like the American Express® Gold Card, since Delta is a transfer partner with American Express Membership Rewards.

Where is my Delta SkyMiles number?

You can find your number by signing into your account and navigating to your account page. If you don’t have that, you can search your inbox for a marketing email, or use the “forgot my password” tool to reset your password and get into your account.

If neither of those work, you can always call customer service to retrieve your account number.

What are the Delta baggage fees?

Delta charges $25-$100 per bag depending on whether it’s overweight. Learn how you can get free checked bags when you fly with Delta.

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About Brian Graham

Brian's first ever airplane ride was in a private turbo-prop jet. He was merely an intern boy trying to make a good impression, but it turns out the plane made an impression on him. It wasn't until Brian relocated to Dallas, TX, and moved in with an American Airlines employee that he truly discovered how incredible travel could be.

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  1. Ann Eagleton June 14, 2018

    Hi, I live near Manchester (UK) and have over 100,000 sky miles.
    I wish to use these miles for flights from uk but never have enough for a flight to US. Are there any deals to use these miles within Europe?

    I would appreciate any suggestions as to how these miles could be used.
    Thank you.
    Ann Eagleton


    • Hi Ann

      With SkyMiles, you can fly on any SkyTeam or Delta codeshare partner. I checked a few routes and found the following flights from Manchester that you can book with SkyMiles on the Delta website:
      – Manchester to Paris on Air France = 15k one-way economy
      – Manchester to Amsterdam on KLM = 15k one-way economy
      – Manchester to Mumbai on Jet Airways = 35k one-way economy
      – Manchester to Atlanta on Virgin Atlantic = 30k one-way economy
      – Manchester to Jeddah on Saudia = 25k one-way economy


  2. Dr. Nadeem April 8, 2019

    Hello, I am planning to visit Detroit with my wife for a business meeting. I was wondering whether the SkyMiles can be transferred to my wife when I am booking her ticket the next time when I come over. Considering I am booking for both of us from my account and I already have a sufficient balance.


    • Hello Dr. Nadeem. While it is possible to transfer SkyMiles between accounts, there is a charge for doing so. Delta charges 1 cent per mile plus a $30 transaction fee. I am not sure why you want to transfer the SkyMiles to your wife’s account. If you can elaborate further, I would be happy to try and help.


  3. Dr. Nadeem April 9, 2019

    Thank you for your reply Christine. My work pays for a lot of my business trips and I have a lot of accumulated miles, so I want to know if I can use those to book her ticket from my account and if the miles earned from that flight will be added to my account to be used later? Sorry about my lack of knowledge. This is the first time I would be redeeming the miles earned and am confused on how to go about it. Kindly guide me regarding this.


    • Thanks for clarifying, Dr. Nadeem. I will try to assist. You can book your wife’s ticket using the SkyMiles from your account, no problem. You can log in to your online SkyMiles account to book the ticket or call Delta. Neither she (nor you) will earn miles on those award flights because they are purchased with miles. Also, she should have her own SkyMiles account so when you purchase a ticket (paid ticket not award ticket), she can earn miles. You will not earn miles when she flies on a paid ticket as only the person who flies earns the miles. That is the reason to open a SkyMiles account for her. Also, she will need to have a SkyMiles account so that if you are both on the same reservation, she will be eligible for upgrades too, providing you have elite status.


  4. Terry Parsley July 23, 2019

    What happens to my miles when I die. Can my wife use them?


  5. Tony Kawanari July 30, 2019

    I would like to send the letter to Delta SkyMiles.
    Is this address correct? It’s Dept.654, P.O.Box20532, Atlanta GA 30320.


  6. Kendall Adkin August 27, 2019

    I have flown multiple times on Delta this year, am I able to have those miles added to my delta sky miles account I just opened?


  7. APOLINARIO E CEDRON February 17, 2020

    I am traveling to the Philippines and using the Amex gold SkyMiles card, do I get a 3rd bag free?


Any thoughts or questions? Comment below!

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