Delta Air Lines is frequently considered one of the better domestic airlines, thanks to its upgraded service when compared to its competitors. However, that upgraded service comes with a price. Delta is notoriously known as one of the most high-priced domestic carriers. Can the Delta SkyMiles loyalty program make the carrier worth your while?
How to Earn Delta SkyMiles
Delta SkyMiles are ranked pretty valuably in terms of other airline miles. They sit at an average of 1.7 cents each, compared to 1 cent per mile.
Earning SkyMiles by flying Delta is based on how much you spend, not how far you fly. The base earning rate is 5 miles per $1 spent. You earn more miles per $1 spent the higher your loyalty tier, up to 11 miles per $1 spent if you’re a Diamond Medallion member.
Additionally, you can earn miles based on flight distance when you book with a partner airline, but specific rules for each of Delta’s partner airlines differ.
You can earn SkyMiles via several American Express credit cards. The American Express Gold Delta SkyMiles credit card gives you 2 SkyMiles per $1 spent with Delta and 1 mile per $1 on everything. Cardholders also receive free checked bags and a hefty sign-up bonus of 30,000 miles.
Other SkyMiles earning partners include most major hotel chains, as well as Airbnb, several car rental agencies and Lyft.
The SkyMiles Dining program allows you to earn up to 5 miles per $1 spent and extra miles can be earned when you shop via the SkyMiles Shopping portal.
You can buy SkyMiles directly, but it’s often not a good deal.
The SkyMiles Medallion program has four levels and moving up within the various tiers requires heavy loyalty to the airline (through either flying or using the airline-branded credit cards). Tiers are silver, gold, platinum and diamond. Perks across the program include free upgrades, waived baggage fees, waived flight-change fees and a similar status on SkyTeam partner airlines.
Platinum and Diamond members also receive Choice benefits, wherein members choose premium benefits they want from a list.
You can also use an upper-level tier status in another airline to gain a similar status on Delta. To qualify, you must have a current elite status with a qualifying airline; however, you only receive complimentary Delta status of the same tier for three months.
How to Redeem
There is not a basic Delta award chart and so you must enter your flight destination to see what it costs in terms of award miles. There are no blackout dates.
In addition to redeeming your miles for award flights, you can also redeem miles for seat upgrades, airport lounge memberships, vacation packages and services and items within SkyMiles Marketplace.
While it’s true that Delta has no published award chart and it can be pricier to redeem your flights on partner airlines than flights on Delta, the fact that SkyMiles does allow you to gain upper-tier status from credit card spending alone is enough to warrant looking into this loyalty program.