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Delta Skymiles Loyalty Program

An explanation of Delta miles, credit cards and Medallion Status.

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If you’re looking into frequent-flyer programs, consider Delta SkyMiles as they have great value and can be earned through many credit cards. Additional benefits are offered to those who fly enough to earn Medallion Status.

How much are Delta SkyMiles worth?

Delta SkyMiles are worth an average of 1.4 cents apiece, according to our February 2019 valuation. This is a competitive rate when compared to miles from other frequent-flyer programs.

How to calculate the value of your miles

  1. Search for a flight on the Delta website.
  2. Pick a flight and note its cost in dollars.
  3. Under the Show price in section on the flight results page, click Miles.
  4. Note how much your flight costs in miles.
  5. Divide the flight cost in dollars by the flight cost in miles. For example, if a $110 flight costs 9,000 miles, your miles are worth about $110/9,000 = 1.2 cents each.
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Do Delta SkyMiles expire?

Unlike several competitor deals, Delta SkyMiles have no expiry as long as your account is open and in good standing.

Here are the mile-expiration policies of a few major airlines for comparison.

AirlineDo miles expire?Reward expiration policy
Alaska AirlinesNoMiles don’t expire as long as your Mileage Plan account is not terminated.
American AirlinesYesMiles expire unless you’ve earned or redeemed miles through American or an AAdvantage partner within the last 18 months.
Southwest AirlinesYesPoints expire if you don’t have at least one qualifying earning activity within the last 24 months
United AirlinesYesMiles expire 18 months from your last activity date.
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How do you earn Delta SkyMiles?

Join Delta SkyMiles — it’s free. You’ll earn five miles per each dollar spent on Delta flights. The maximum miles you can earn per ticket is 75,000.

Rewards earnings include base fares and carrier-imposed surcharges. They don’t include government-imposed taxes and fees.

How to earn miles through Delta SkyMiles

Input your SkyMiles account number when booking your flight.

Or visit your account’s My trips section to input your SkyMiles number.

On Exception Fares, your earned miles are based on a percentage of your flight’s distance and fare class.

How to earn Delta SkyMiles through co-branded credit cards

Delta SkyMiles credit cards help frequent Delta flyers earn more SkyMiles.

If you want elevated SkyMiles on non-Delta purchases without paying an annual fee, try the Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card. It offers:

  • 2x miles at restaurants worldwide.
  • 2x miles on eligible Delta purchases.
  • 1x miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • 20% savings on eligible in-flight purchases.
  • No annual fee (see rates & fees).
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Compare cards for earning Delta SkyMiles

The other cards in this list offer more Delta perks, such as priority boarding, access to Delta lounges and your first checked bag free on each round-trip Delta flight.

The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card is the premium option, offering luxury benefits including concierge service and complimentary Delta Sky Club and Centurion Lounge access.

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Other cards that can earn Delta SkyMiles

Points earned with select travel cards can be converted to SkyMiles.

Convert American Express Membership Rewards points

Convert Membership Rewards points to SkyMiles at a 1:1 ratio with certain Amex cards.

Transfer points from travel partners

You can transfer points to SkyMiles from several loyalty programs. Here are a few major options that have co-branded credit cards.

Loyalty programTransfer details
Hilton HonorsTransfer 10,000 Hilton Honors points and receive 1,000 SkyMiles.
IHG Rewards ClubTransfer 10,000 IHG Rewards Club points and receive 2,000 SkyMiles.
Marriott BonvoyTransfer at a 3:1 ratio — transfer 3 Marriott Bonvoy points, receive 1 SkyMile.

How hotel credit cards work

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How to earn Delta SkyMiles elite status

Delta’s elite-status flyers are called Medallion Members. To reach Medallion Status, you must earn a combination of elite qualifiers:

  • Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs).
  • Medallion Qualification Segments (MQSs).
  • Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs).

Let’s break down what these are and how to earn them.

Medallion Status qualificationAbbreviationWhat they’re based onEarnings
Medallion Qualification MilesMQMsEach flight’s distance and fare class.1 MQM per mile of your flight.

In higher fare classes, you might earn 1.5 or 2 MQMs per mile of your flight.

Medallion Qualification SegmentsMQSsThe number of flights you take.1 MQS per nonstop flight.
Medallion Qualification DollarsMQDsYour spending on Delta and Delta-partner flights.1 MQD per dollar you spend on an eligible flight.
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How to reach Medallion Status

You’ll need a certain number of MQMs, MQSs and MQDs.

To reach this Medallion Status …SilverGoldPlatinumDiamond
You must earn … 25,000 MQMs or 30 MQSs50,000 MQMs or 60 MQSs75,000 MQMs or 100 MQSs125,000 MQMs or 140 MQSs
And … $3,000 MQDs$6,000 MQDs$9,000 MQDs$15,000 MQDs

MQD waivers

You can waive the MQD requirement with an MQD Waiver. A waiver can be earned by spending a certain amount in eligible purchases in a calendar year with an eligible Amex Delta SkyMiles credit card. Most Delta credit cards are eligible.

You can’t use a Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card or Delta SkyMiles Gold card to earn a waiver unless you have another eligible Delta SkyMiles credit card.

Medallion StatusRequired spend in a calendar year with an eligible Amex Delta SkyMiles credit card
Silver, Gold or Platinum$25,000
Diamond$250,000

Some Delta credit cards help you earn MQMs

Earn bonus MQMs with personal and business Platinum and Reserve Delta credit cards.
Compare top American Express business cards
You can do this either by earning a welcome offer or qualifying for Status Boost. Status Boost offers bonus SkyMiles and MQMs once you spend a certain amount on your credit card.

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What you’ll get with Medallion Status

Delta’s frequent-flyer program can seem complicated, so you might be wondering: Is it even worth trying for Medallion Status?

For certain flyers, even Silver Medallion Status can be attractive. You’ll earn more points per flight, qualify for flight-upgrade priority, get waived baggage fees, enjoy status with Delta’s international partners and more.

Here are the perks you’ll receive for different Medallion Tiers.

Mileage earnings

General SkyMiles members earn 5x miles on eligible Delta or Delta-partner flights. Members with Medallion Status earn even more.

Rollover MQMs

When you earn more MQMs than you need to qualify for a Medallion Tier, Delta will roll them over to the next qualification year.

Flight benefits

Medallion Members may get upgraded to higher fare classes upon request. The higher Medallion Status you have, the more likely you are to get upgraded.

What is Delta One?

You’ll find Delta One fares on select long-haul flights. You can lay your seat flat in your own cabin, eat meals curated by Delta’s chefs and enjoy complimentary wine, beer and spirits.

delta first class cabin

Preferred Seating and priority waitlist status round out Medallion flight benefits.

Fee waivers

Medallion fee waivers can be valuable since Delta charges sizable fees for some transactions.

Airport benefits

Get on your flight faster.

SkyTeam benefits

SkyTeam is a worldwide airline alliance with 20 members, including Delta. After earning miles in the network, you can use them for flights on member carriers.

Hertz car rental benefits

Medallion Members earn more Delta SkyMiles for eligible Hertz rentals.

Gold, Platinum and Diamond Medallion Members get automatic status in the Hertz Gold program.

Delta Vacations

Through Delta Vacations, you can bundle services like hotels, flights and car rentals. Delta offers discounts based on how much you spend.

These discounts are the same for all Medallion Members.

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Consider a credit card from another airline

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®

  • Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent at gas stations and restaurants
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases
  • Earn a $125 American Airlines Flight Discount after you spend $20,000 or more in purchases during your cardmembership year and renew your card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees
  • First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to four companions traveling with you on the same reservation
  • Enjoy preferred boarding on American Airlines flights
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 15.99% - 24.99%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.
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Bottom line

Delta is one of the largest US airlines, so it’s well worth learning about its frequent-flyer program.

SkyMiles can get you award flights of solid value. You can also earn miles through Delta SkyMiles credit cards and a bevy of other travel products.

If you’re a frequent Delta flyer, you could earn valuable Medallion Status with attractive travel benefits.

If you’re not sure a Delta SkyMiles card is right for you, consider other airline products.

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