If you’re a loyal SkyMiles member and are busy earning SkyMiles, eventually you’re going to want to spend them. So, what are the best ways that you can do so in order to get the most of your hard-earned miles? Here’s Points Authority’s best 9 ways to use your Delta Air Lines SkyMiles to your advantage.
1. Award Flights
One of the best ways to get your best miles value from just about any airline is by redeeming your miles for a flight.
To book a Delta award flight, all you have to do is go about booking online as normal, and then in the “Show Price In” section, just select “miles.” The awards calendar will show you the lowest price options for your preferred dates.
You can book award flights with partner airlines (see below), but first, let’s talk about some of the best ways to use Delta Air Lines SkyMiles on Delta flights.
One-way Domestic Awards
You can get one-way domestic awards on Delta for as low as 5,000 miles. These are available on select routes and usually, if you’re aiming for a 5,000-mile award flight, your best bet is to keep an eye out for flash sales or to look for dates and flights that you already know would be affordable if you were paying with cash.
Some of the flights you might see for 5,000 miles are regional routes, like Seattle to San Francisco. For cross-country, one-way domestic award flights, you’ll likely see the price hovering around 10,000 SkyMiles. If you’re looking to book these low-end flights, though, you just want to make sure that the flight’s dollar cost isn’t lower than the value of the miles.
One-way International Awards, Business Class
If 10,000 SkyMiles gets you across the country in economy,one-way, then 70,000 miles for a one-way business-class ticket to Europe probably seems like a pretty good deal, and it is.
You can fly Delta One to Europe for 70,000 miles, on routes from New York and Atlanta to destinations like London or Paris. You don’t even have to be departing from the East Coast, though. You can find the same deal on flights between Seattle and Amsterdam, or Salt Lake City and Paris.
For just 10,000 more miles, you can get the same deal, business-class, one-way, to Asia rather than Europe. Similarly, you can book a round-trip economy flight to Asia for 70,000 SkyMiles. Either way is a good deal, but it just depends on your preference.
2. Award Flights on Partner Airlines
Delta Air Lines has a range of partner airlines, as a member of SkyTeam.
You’ll find these flights available when you’re booking your Delta flight as normal, on the airline’s website, when you’re searching for award flights. Here are some of the best options for award flights with partner airlines.
Business Class to South America
If you’re headed to South America and want to do so in high style, you can book a 100,000-mile award flight for Aerolinea Argentina, which will take you to Patagonia or Buenos Aires. While in South America, you can then book economy flights within the region for 12,500 SkyMiles.
Economy Round-Trip to Europe, Mexico
For 82,500 miles, you can fly to either Mexico City or Madrid for the same amount, round-trip, in Aeromexico economy. The airline offers great award availability, and you can even choose the option to fly to Mexico, and then fly on to Europe from there.
Intra-Asia Travel in Business Class
Korean Air is heavily considered one of the best for luxury travel. For just 65,000 miles, you can fly the airline’s business class between Japan and either Australia or New Zealand.
Business Class to Asia
For 85,000 miles, only 5,000 more miles than what you’d spend to fly the same route on Delta, in business, you can fly business class to Asia on China Airlines. If you’ve been itching to try out China Airlines’ relatively new business class, this is the time to do it. You can fly from Los Angeles, San Francisco or New York to Taipei.
You can get this same deal from China Eastern, but with a few more flight options, with flights departing from Chicago, Los Angeles, Honolulu, New York and San Francisco, and arriving in Shanghai.
3. In-Flight Upgrades
If you don’t want to outright book a nicer service with your miles, you can always buy your flight and then use your miles to upgrade your flying experience. You can do this either while you’re initially booking, or afterward.
You can also use your miles for things like selecting preferred seats, ticket change fees, award ticket redeposit fees, same-day confirmed fees and external ticket charges.
4. Sky Club Access
Use your miles to purchase an executive membership to Delta Sky Club. The 84,500-mile fee gives you unlimited access to Sky Clubs around the world for you and up to two guests per visit. You can also get an individual membership for 54,500 miles, and that gives you unlimited access, but your up to two paid guests will have to pay $29 per visit. Obviously the individual membership is a better deal. Once in the Sky Club, you can use miles to make purchases, like food and beverages, alcoholic drinks and shower services (for example, a bottle of Dom Pérignon is 12,500 miles).
You can shop with your miles, but it’s not always the best value, so you need to shop smartly. Make your purchases in the SkyMiles Marketplace, for items from your favorite brands, as well as Delta gift cards and magazine subscriptions.
6. SkyMiles Experiences
Use your miles to bid on once-in-a-lifetime experiences. In addition to the bid-able items, there are also SkyMiles Experiences that have a “Buy It Now” option, in case you just can’t wait. These include suite tickets and sideline access to sporting events, meet-and-greets with celebrities, backstage access at concerts, VIP access to premium events and more.
7. SkyMiles Donations
You can also redeem your award miles to help a good cause or your favorite charity. SkyMiles beneficiaries include the American Cancer Society, Breast Cancer Research Foundation, American Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity, Make-A-Wish, The Salvation Army and more. You can pick from charities based all around the world, so that you find one that’s close to your heart.
You can use your miles to book a vacation through the Delta Vacations portal. This includes flights, hotel stays, rental cars and activities. However, these bundled vacations are often not a good value, whether you’re paying with miles or cash.
9. A Private Jet
Lastly, there’s one awards mile redemption option that’s not very often seen among loyalty programs — the opportunity to use your SkyMiles to upgrade not just to first class, but all the way up to your own private jet. Redemptions start at 2.5 million miles, and you receive a $25,000-valued private jet service, which is enough to transport four passengers round-trip, regionally, so, for example, between Atlanta and Miami.
The best SkyMiles redemption options are when you book an award flight with Delta or one of Delta’s partner airlines. However, SkyMiles also gives you some pretty cool redemption options that you might not see with other loyalty programs, options that might make the SkyMiles program very much worth your while, if you see value in redeeming for once-in-a-lifetime SkyMiles experiences or your own private jet. If you’re looking to mainly redeem your awards miles for flights, though, you could likely find a program with better value.