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Delta Skymiles Program: 2021 guide

Here's how to best use the SkyMiles program, Medallion Status and Delta credit cards.

The Delta SkyMiles program is the free-to-join loyalty program of Delta Air Lines. As a member, you can earn miles on Delta and partnered flights to redeem on reward flights, flight upgrades, vacation packages and more. If you book enough flights as a member, you can ascend the ranks of Medallion status and get an array of increasingly valuable complimentary perks. And, of course, you can earn miles even without flying with a Delta cobranded credit card.

What are Delta SkyMiles worth?1.4 cents
Do points expire?No, as long as your account is open and in good standing
Where does Delta fly?300+ destinations in 52 countries
US hub airports
  • Boston
  • New York – La Guardia
  • New York – Kennedy Intl
  • Detroit
  • Cincinnati
  • Atlanta
  • Minneapolis/St. Paul
  • Salt Lake City
  • Los Angeles
  • Seattle/Tacoma
Award flights start at4,500 miles
Partner airlines
  • Aeroflot
  • Aerolíneas Argentinas
  • Aeroméxico
  • AirEuropa
  • Air France
  • Alitalia
  • China Airlines
  • China Eastern
  • China Southern
  • Czech Airlines
  • Garuda Indonesia
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • Kenya Airways
  • KLM
  • Korean Air
  • MEA
  • Saudia
  • TAROM
  • Vietnam Airlines
  • Virgin Atlantic
  • Virgin Australia
  • WestJet
  • Xiamen Air

How do you earn Delta SkyMiles?

You have 10 primary ways to earn Delta SkyMiles.

  • 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
  • Purchasing SkyMiles directly
  • Using special offers, such as Apple purchases via your IHG rewards account

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. For more information, check out our Delta SkyMiles earning guide.

Earn miles on flights according to your status

Medallion Status LevelMiles earned per dollar
None5x
Silver7x
Gold8x
Platinum9x
Diamond11x

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.

You can 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

Some redemption options are a much better use of your points than others. We’ve compiled some of the best choices for redeeming your miles in our full Delta redemption guide.

What are the advantages of Delta Air Line partners?

Delta’s airline partners are worth looking into for two main reasons. For one, they offer you additional flight routes to destinations you might not find with Delta alone. This means your Delta Miles can take you much further if you redeem them outside of Delta flights. The other big advantage is Delta Air Line partner flights are booked very reasonably – in fact, you can find some terrific deals even on Business Class flights with Delta Air Line partners.

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Compare cards for earning Delta SkyMiles

One of the fastest ways to earn Delta SkyMiles is with a rewards credit card. Below are Delta’s credit cards, as well as other cards that earn points that can be converted to SkyMiles.

Name Product Welcome Offer Rewards Annual fee Filter values
American Express® Gold Card
60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 6 months
4x at restaurants including delivery and Uber Eats; 4x at US supermarkets on up to $25,000 annually (then 1x points), 3x points on directly-booked flights and 1x points on other eligible purchases
$250

Rose Gold is Back

Earn up to 4x points on select purchases, a bevy of travel perks, and a welcome offer worth up to $600 based on our valuation with this upper-mid tier travel card. Terms apply, see rates & fees
The Platinum Card® from American Express
100,000 points after spending $6,000 in your first 6 months, plus 10x points at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the US on up to $25,000 in combined eligible purchases in the same timeframe
10x points at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the US on up to $25,000 combined in the first 6 months, 5x points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel, 5x points on directly-booked flights on up to $500,000 annually, then 1x points after that and on other eligible purchases
$695

New Platinum Exclusive Offer

One of the most valuable premium travel cards, featuring two welcome offers worth up to $7,000 based on Finder's valuation, multiple travel credits and unrivaled lounge access. Terms apply, see rates & fees
Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card
Limited Time Offer: 70,000 miles after spending $2,000 in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021
2x miles on Delta purchases, restaurants and at US supermarkets and 1x miles on other eligible purchases
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($99 thereafter)
Earn 70,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in your first 3 months. Terms apply, see rates & fees
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Compare up to 4 providers

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Delta point transfer guide

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

Loyalty programTransfer details
American ExpressTransfer at a 1:1 ratio
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.

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

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

What’s the difference between Delta One, Sky Team and Medallion?

Delta One is Delta’s “sky cabin,” a luxury experience available on select international and domestic long-haul flights. Features include an adjustable flat-bed seat, chef-curated meals, in-flight bedding and other niceties.

Sky Team refers to Delta’s airline partners featured in the Sky Team partnership. These airlines specifically include Aeroflot, Aerolineas Argentinas, AeroMexico, AirEuropa, Air France, Alitalia, China Airlines, China Eastern, Czech Airlines, Delta, Garuda Indonesia, Kenya Airways, KLM, Korean Air, MEA, Saudia, TAROM, Vietnam Airlines and Xiamen Air.

Finally, Medallion is Delta’s elite status program. By amassing Medallion Qualifying Miles, you can ascend through several different status levels to earn increasing perks along the way. Check out our Medallion status guide for more information.

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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