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Delta Skymiles Loyalty Program

An explanation of miles, credit cards and Medallion Status.

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Our pick for a Delta card: Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card logo

50,000-mile

Welcome offer after spending $2,000 in first 3 months

  • 2x miles on Delta and at restaurants and US supermarkets
  • Delta perks include priority boarding, first bag checked free and statement credits
  • $0 intro annual fee, then $99
Apply now
See rates & fees
If you’re looking into frequent-flyer programs, consider Delta SkyMiles. It’s free to join and you can earn miles on Delta, and its partner airlines. Additional benefits are offered to those who fly enough to earn Medallion Status.

Delta SkyMiles program breakdown

Miles are worthDelta SkyMiles are typically worth 1.1 cents
Book flights with miles through Delta at partner airlines
  • Aeromexico
  • Aerolineas Argentinas
  • Alitalia
  • Air France
  • China Eastern
  • China Airlines
  • China Southern
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
  • Korean Air
  • LATAM
  • Mandarin Airlines
  • Middle East Airlines
  • Saudia Airlines
  • Shanghai Airlines
  • Tarom Airlines
  • Vietnam Airlines
  • Virgin Atlantic
  • Virgin Australia
  • WestJet
  • Xiamen Airlines
Earn Delta SkyMiles by
  • Flying Delta
  • Booking Delta vacation packages
  • Booking hotel stays through partners and Airbnb
  • Booking cruises via SkyMiles Cruises
  • Booking car rentals or Lyft rides
  • Using Delta cobranded credit cards
  • Dining with the SkyMiles dining program
  • Shopping with the SkyMiles shopping program
  • Using special offers, such as Apple purchases via your IHG rewards account
Redeem Delta SkyMiles for
  • Booking Delta and partner flights
  • Seat upgrades
  • Premium drinks at Delta Sky Club
  • Selecting a preferred seat
  • Paying ticket change fees
  • Shopping at the SkyMiles marketplace
  • Charity or gift miles to friends and family

What is Delta SkyMiles program?

Delta SkyMiles is the loyalty program of Delta Air Lines. As a member, you can earn miles on Delta and partner airlines. You can earn even more miles with a Delta cobranded credit card and by climbing the ladder of elite status tiers.

You get robust redemption options, but you’ll get the best value for your miles if you redeem for Delta flights.

How do you earn Delta SkyMiles?

It’s free to join Delta SkyMiles. You earn five miles for each dollar spent on Delta flights. The maximum miles you can earn per ticket is 75,000. Rewards earnings include base fares — your airline ticket costs before taxes, fees and surcharges — and carrier-imposed surcharges. You don’t earn miles on government-imposed taxes and fees.

Once you’re a Delta SkyMiles member, here’s what to do:

  1. Input your SkyMiles account number when booking your flight.
  2. Or visit your account’s My trips section to input your SkyMiles number.

How to earn Delta SkyMiles through cobranded credit cards

Delta SkyMiles credit cards help frequent Delta flyers earn additional SkyMiles on top of the miles you earn as a member. You get other perks, like:

Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express CardDelta SkyMiles® Gold American Express CardDelta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express CardDelta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card
Rewards
  • 2x miles on Delta purchases
  • 2x miles on restaurant purchases worldwide
  • 1x miles on all other purchases
  • 2x miles on Delta purchases
  • 2x miles at restaurants worldwide
  • 2x miles at supermarkets
  • 1x miles on all other purchases
  • 3x miles on Delta purchases
  • 3x miles at hotels
  • 2x miles at restaurants worldwide
  • 2x miles at supermarkets
  • 1x miles on all other purchases
  • 3x miles on Delta purchases
  • 1x miles on all other purchases
Welcome offerEarn 10,000 bonus miles after you spend $500 in your first 3 monthsEarn 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 in your first 3 months
  • Earn 60,000 bonus miles and 5,000 MQMs after you spend $3,000 in your first 3 months
Earn 40,000 bonus miles and 10,000 MQMs after you spend $3,000 in your first 3 months
Annual fee$0$0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $99$250$550

Do Delta SkyMiles expire?

Unlike several competitor deals, Delta SkyMiles don’t expire 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.

How to redeem Delta SkyMiles

Once you decide to redeem your Delta miles, here’s how to do it:

  1. Log in to your SkyMiles account.
  2. Click Book at the top menu and select Shop with miles.
  3. Search for a flight and select the flights you want.
  4. You can upgrade your cabin with miles if you want to.
  5. Confirm your flight.

Does Delta have an award chart?

No, Delta no longer offers an award chart. But you can calculate the value of miles yourself by dividing the cash required for the flight with the miles required.

For example, a flight that costs $150 in cash or 15,000 in miles would be worth 1 cent per point ($150/15,000 miles = 0.01). You may have to do this several times to find the best value for your miles.

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Compare cards for earning Delta SkyMiles

Name Product Welcome offer Rewards Annual fee Filter values
Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card
50,000 miles after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months
2x miles on Delta purchases, restaurants and at US supermarkets and 1x miles on all other purchases
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($99 thereafter)
Earn 50,000 miles after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months. Rates & fees
Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card
10,000 miles after spending $500 in the first 3 months
2x miles at 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
Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card
60,000 miles and 5,000 MQMs after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months
3x miles on Delta and direct hotel purchases, 2x miles at restaurants and US supermarkets and 1x miles for all other purchases
$250
Earn 60,000 miles and 5,000 MQMs after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months. Rates & fees
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card
40,000 miles and 10,000 MQMs after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months
3x miles on direct Delta purchases and 1x miles on all other purchases
$550
Earn 40,000 miles and 10,000 MQMs after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months. Rates & fees
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Other cards that can earn Delta SkyMiles

As an alternative, you can get an Amex card with membership rewards or get hotel cards from Hilton, IHG or Marriott. You can then transfer your points from these programs to Delta SkyMiles.

Convert Amex Membership Rewards points to SkyMiles at a 1:1 ratio with the following Amex cards:

Amex EveryDay® Credit CardAmex EveryDay® Preferred Credit CardAmerican Express® Gold CardThe Platinum Card® from American Express
Rewards
  • 2x points at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 annually, reverting to 1x points after that
  • 2x points on travel purchases from Amex Travel
  • 1x points on all other purchases
  • Earn 20% more points after you use your card 30 times or more in a billing cycle
  • 3x points at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 annually, reverting to 1x points after that
  • 2x points at US gas stations
  • 2x points on travel purchases from Amex Travel
  • 1x points on all other purchases
  • Earn 50% more points after you use your card 30 times or more in a billing cycle
  • 4x points at US supermarkets on up to $25,000 every calendar year, reverting to 1x points after that
  • 4x points at restaurants, including takeout and delivery
  • 3x points on direct flights booked directly with airlines or through Amex Travel
  • 1x points on all other purchases
  • 5x points on flights booked directly with airlines or through Amex travel
  • 5x points on prepaid hotels booked through Amex Travel
  • 1x points on all other purchases
Welcome offerEarn 10,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in your first 3 monthsEarn 15,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in your first 3 monthsEarn 35,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 in your first 3 monthsEarn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 in your first 3 months
Other travel perksNoneNone
  • $100 airline fee credit
  • The Hotel Collection benefits, such as $100 hotel credit and room upgrades when available
  • Up to $200 in Uber credits each year and a VIP status
  • $200 airline fee credit
  • Access to airport lounges, including The Centurion Lounge, The International American Express lounges, Delta Sky Club and Priority Pass Select
  • Up to $100 credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fee
  • Marriott and Hilton gold status
  • Fine Hotels & Resorts and the Hotel Collection benefits
Annual fee$0$95$250$550

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

Is it worth transferring points from other reward programs to Delta SkyMiles?

Transferring points from partner hotels programs isn’t worth it. That’s because you can generally get 0.6 cents per hotel point when you redeem for hotel stays. Moving 10,000 Hilton points, for example, to get 1,000 Delta miles gives you an average value of $10 to redeem for Delta instead of the $60 for hotel stays. Keep your hotel points and use them for hotel stays.

On the other hand, transferring Amex membership points can be worth it because the transfer value is 1 Amex point for 1 Delta mile. If you get an average value of 1 cent per Amex point for American Express reward redemptions. But once transferred, you can get up to 1.5 cents per point value on Delta flights. This effectively turns your potential 100,000 Amex points worth $1,000 to 100,000 Delta miles worth up to $1,500.

Elite travel benefits with 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 class1 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 take1 MQS for each nonstop flight
Medallion Qualification DollarsMQDsYour spending on Delta and Delta-partner flights1 MQD a 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

Example

Round-trip flight between Los Angeles (LAX) and New York (JFK) on basic fare costs $316. This means you’ll earn:

  • 4,950 MQMs
  • 2 MQS
  • 316 MQD

To qualify for the first elite tier, you need around 10 round trips between LAX and JFK on a basic fare. You can drop this down to around five round trips by flying on Comfort+ fare.

MQD waivers

You can waive the MQD requirement with an MQD waiver. You can earn a waiver by spending a certain amount in eligible purchases in a calendar year with an eligible Amex Delta SkyMiles credit card.

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

Qualify for Delta elite status without flying

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

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express CardDelta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card
Welcome offerEarn 5,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) once you spend $3,000 in your first 3 monthsEarn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) once you spend $3,000 in your first 3 months
Status boostEarn 10,000 MQMs when you spend $25,000 in a calendar yearEarn 15,000 MQMs when you spend $30,000 in a calendar year
Total MQMs15,00025,000
Enough to reach Silver Medallion statusNoYes
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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, baggage fees are waived, 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.

Mileage earnings by Medallion Tier

General memberSilverGoldPlatinumDiamond
5x miles7x miles8x miles9x miles11x miles

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.

Rollover MQMs by Medallion Tier

SilverGoldPlatinumDiamond
checkmarkcheckmarkcheckmarkcheckmark

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. Note that none of these statuses are available for E fares, award tickets, Miles + Cash tickets or Pay with Miles tickets.

Flight benefits by Medallion Tier

SilverGoldPlatinumDiamond
Unlimited complimentary US 50 Delta One upgrades*Day of departureDay of departureDay of departureDay of departure
Unlimited complimentary First Class upgrades*Begins 1 day before departureBegins 3 days before departureBegins 5 days before departureBegins 5 days before departure, with priority
Unlimited complimentary Delta Comfort+ upgrades*Begins 1 day before departureBegins 3 days before departureShortly after ticketingShortly after ticketing
Unlimited Complimentary US 50 Delta One, First Class and Delta Comfort+ upgrades for a companion*checkmarkcheckmarkcheckmarkcheckmark
Unlimited complimentary Clase Premier upgrades on select flights operated by AeromexicoBegins 1 day before departureBegins 3 days before departureBegins 5 days before departureBegins 5 days before departure, with priority
Complimentary Preferred Seatscheckmarkcheckmarkcheckmarkcheckmark
Priority waitlist statuscheckmarkcheckmarkcheckmarkcheckmark

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 free 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 high 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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Bottom line

Delta is one of the largest US airlines with a robust frequent-flyer program. SkyMiles can get you award flights, and 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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