Guide to Delta Airlines SkyMiles loyalty program | finder.com

Delta Skymiles Loyalty Program

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

Last updated:

We value our editorial independence, basing our comparison results, content and reviews on objective analysis without bias. But we may receive compensation when you click links on our site. Learn more about how we make money from our partners.

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.
Back to top

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.

Airline Do miles expire? Reward expiration policy
Alaska Airlines No Miles don’t expire as long as your Mileage Plan account is not terminated.
American Airlines Yes Miles expire unless you’ve earned or redeemed miles through American or an AAdvantage partner within the last 18 months.
Southwest Airlines Yes Points expire if you don’t have at least one qualifying earning activity within the last 24 months
United Airlines Yes Miles expire 18 months from your last activity date.
Back to top

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, try the Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express. It offers:

  • 2x miles at US restaurants.
  • 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).
Back to top

Compare Delta SkyMiles credit cards

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 Reserve® Credit Card from American Express is the premium option, offering luxury benefits including concierge service and complimentary Delta Sky Club access.

Name Product Welcome offer Rewards Annual fee Filter values
30,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months, plus $50 when you make a Delta purchase in the same timeframe
2x miles on Delta purchases and 1x miles on all other purchases
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
Earn 30,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months, plus $50 when you make a direct Delta purchase in the same timeframe. Rates & fees
10,000 miles after spending $500 in the first 3 months
2x miles at US restaurants and on direct Delta purchases and 1x miles on all other purchases
$0
Earn 10,000 bonus miles after spending $500 in purchases on your new card in your first 3 months of card membership. Rates & fees
30,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months plus $50 after making a direct Delta purchase in the same timeframe
2x miles on Delta purchases and 1x miles on all other purchases
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
Earn 30,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months plus $50 after making a direct Delta purchase in the same timeframe. Rates & fees
35,000 miles and 5,000 MQMs after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months plus $100 after making a direct Delta purchase in the same timeframe
2x miles on direct Delta purchases and 1x miles on all other purchases
$195
Earn 35,000 miles and 5,000 MQMs after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months plus $100 after making a direct Delta purchase in the same timeframe. Rates & fees
40,000 miles and 10,000 MQMs after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months
2x miles on direct Delta purchases and 1x miles on all other purchases
$450
Earn 40,000 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. Rates & fees

Compare up to 4 providers

Back to top

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 program Transfer details
Hilton Honors Transfer 10,000 Hilton Honors points and receive 1,000 SkyMiles.
IHG Rewards Club Transfer 10,000 IHG Rewards Club points and receive 2,000 SkyMiles.
Marriott Bonvoy Transfer at a 3:1 ratio — transfer 3 Marriott Bonvoy points, receive 1 SkyMile.

How hotel credit cards work

Back to top

Compare other cards that can earn Delta miles

Name Product Welcome offer Rewards Annual fee Filter values
75,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
7x points on Hilton Honors purchases, 5x at US restaurants, US supermarkets and US gas stations, 3x on all other purchases
$0
Earn 75,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the card within your first 3 months of card membership. Rates & fees
60,000 points after spending $5,000 in your first 3 months
5x points on directly-booked flights or on flights and hotels on Amex Travel. 1x points on all other purchases
$550
Get 5x Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel and 5x points on eligible hotels booked on amextravel.com. Rates & fees
35,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months
3x points on directly-booked flights; 4x at restaurants; 4x at US supermarkets on up to $25,000 annually (then 1x points)
$250
35,000 bonus Membership Rewards® Points when you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months. Rates & fees
125,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months
12x points on Hilton Portfolio spending, 6x at US restaurants, US supermarkets and US gas stations, 3x on all other purchases
$95
Earn 125,000 Hilton Honors™ Bonus Points after you spend $2,000 or more in purchases with your new card within the first 3 months of card membership. Rates & fees
75,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months
6x points at Marriott Bonvoy, 4x points at US restaurants, US gas stations and on US wireless telephone and shipping services, 2x points on all other purchases
$125
Earn 75,000 bonus points after you use your new card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of card membership. Rates & fees

Compare up to 4 providers

Back to top

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 qualification Abbreviation What they’re based on Earnings
Medallion Qualification Miles MQMs Each 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 Segments MQSs The number of flights you take. 1 MQS per nonstop flight.
Medallion Qualification Dollars MQDs Your spending on Delta and Delta-partner flights. 1 MQD per dollar you spend on an eligible flight.
Back to top

How to reach Medallion Status

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

To reach this Medallion Status … Silver Gold Platinum Diamond
You must earn … 25,000 MQMs or 30 MQSs 50,000 MQMs or 60 MQSs 75,000 MQMs or 100 MQSs 125,000 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 Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express to earn a waiver unless you have another eligible Delta SkyMiles credit card.

Medallion Status Required 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 Miles Boost. Miles Boost offers bonus SkyMiles and MQMs once you spend a certain amount on your credit card.

Back to top

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.

Back to top

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.

Back to top

Frequently asked questions

Back to top
Was this content helpful to you? No  Yes

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder.com provides guides and information on a range of products and services. Because our content is not financial advice, we suggest talking with a professional before you make any decision.

By submitting your comment or question, you agree to our Privacy and Cookies Policy and Terms of Use.

Questions and responses on finder.com are not provided, paid for or otherwise endorsed by any bank or brand. These banks and brands are not responsible for ensuring that comments are answered or accurate.
Go to site