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Redeem Delta SkyMiles for best value

Several redemption options — from economy to Delta One fares.


Fact checked

You’ve got a bunch of SkyMiles, and you’re itching to use them. At the same time, you want to get the most value.

SkyMiles are worth an average of 1.4 cents each according to our February 2019 valuation. However, you can find flights with values of 2 cents per mile and above.

Delta’s airline partners

Your Delta SkyMiles can easily take you around the world, as Delta partners with many international carriers through its membership in SkyTeam.

SkyTeam carriers include:

  • Aeroflot
  • Aerolíneas Argentinas
  • Aeroméxico
  • AirEuropa
  • Air France
  • Alitalia
  • China Airlines
  • China Eastern
  • Czech Airlines
  • Delta
  • Garuda Indonesia
  • Kenya Airways
  • KLM
  • Korean Air
  • MEA
  • Saudia
  • Vietnam Airlines
  • Xiamen Air

Delta also partners with non-SkyTeam carriers such as Virgin Atlantic and Hawaiian Airlines.

You can earn Delta SkyMiles on flights with partner carriers. You can also redeem SkyMiles for eligible flights with these carriers.

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Prices to expect when redeeming for award flights

Here’s a sample of round-trip award flights you might find on the Delta website. The prices aren’t necessarily the best; you may find better deals with diligent searching.

Main cabin

Origin/DestinationCost in dollars, roundedCost in milesValue per mile, excluding feesFees
Los Angeles (LAX) to Calgary (YYC)$31316,0002 cents$61.23
Los Angeles (LAX) to New York City (JFK)$32623,0001.4 cents$11.20
Los Angeles (LAX) to London (LHR)$67040,0001.7 cents$188.53
Los Angeles (LAX) to Hong Kong (HKG)$82677,5001.1 cents$111.43

Data obtained February 2019. Values are subject to change and should be used only as a general guide.


You may have trouble finding Comfort+ award fares for Los Angeles-to-Hong Kong flights. As of February 2019, we didn’t find a readily available Comfort+ award flight. However, you can find dollar-based seats in the fare class.

Origin/DestinationCost in dollars, roundedCost in milesValue per mile, excluding feesFees
Los Angeles (LAX) to Calgary (YYC)$44025,0001.8 cents$61.23
Los Angeles (LAX) to New York City (JFK)$51837,0001.4 cents$11.20
Los Angeles (LAX) to London (LHR)$1,01884,0001.2 cents$188.53

Data obtained February 2019. Values are subject to change and should be used only as a general guide.

First Class/Delta One

Using your miles for Delta One international flights can yield high value. In particular, look at the Los Angeles–London and Los Angeles–Hong Kong flights below. Each offers a value of 2.5 cents per mile.

Origin/DestinationCost in dollars, roundedCost in milesValue per mile, excluding feesFees
Los Angeles (LAX) to Calgary (YYC)$72449,0001.5 cents$61.23
Los Angeles (LAX) to New York City (JFK)$1,279130,0001 cent$11.20
Los Angeles (LAX) to London (LHR)*$4,243172,0002.5 cents$310.33
Los Angeles (LAX) to Hong Kong (HKG)*$5,268215,0002.5 cents$120.13

Data obtained February 2019. Values are subject to change and should be used only as a general guide.
*Delta One flight

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How to find award flights for less

Search for a flight on the Delta website. Click the Advanced search dropdown, then select Miles from the Show price in section.
flight search
On the results page, you’ll see a calendar with available fares.
flight calendar

  • Find the Calendar view section.
  • Select 5 weeks. This will give you more flight availability so you can search for the lowest-cost fares.
  • You can also use the Show best fares dropdown to select your desired fare class.
  • Click Update results to refresh your search.
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Award flights with great redemption values

Here are a few excellent fares that help you get maximum value from your miles. You can search for all of them on the Delta website.

Flights within the continental US: Round-trip for 10,000 miles

Delta offers some 10,000-mile fares for domestic round-trip flights. You’ll find many qualifying routes for western cities such as Los Angeles and Seattle. You can also pick destinations such as Nashville, Chicago and Boston.

Flights under 750 miles in distance seem to bring a particularly large volume of 10,000-SkyMile fares.

Virgin Atlantic to London in Upper Class: 86,000 miles each way

Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class gets rave reviews from travelers, so consider it for your next trip to London. You can take a one-way flight from an eligible city for 86,000 miles with $5.60 in fees. From London, you can easily connect to another European city.

If you want to fly Virgin Atlantic from Europe, consider doing so as a round-trip. If your flight starts in Europe, you could face steep surcharges.

Fly Delta One from the continental US to Asia: 148,000 miles round-trip

Travelers also have great things to say about Delta’s exclusive cabins with lie-flat seats. You can find deals for Delta One.

You can book the round-trip Los Angeles-to-Beijing fare below for as little as 148,000 miles, for example. That’s including $41.13 in fees.

Fly Korean Air to South Korea in economy: 50,000 miles round-trip

If you’d like to visit Asia, flying Korean Air to South Korea can be a good option. For fees of around $50, you can take a flight for 50,000 miles. This may yield a value of around 2.5 cents per mile.

From South Korea, you can easily take a flight to another destination in Asia. As a bonus, you can enjoy Incheon International Airport, which is consistently ranked as one of the best airports in the world.

Fly from the continental US to the South Pacific: Under 80,000 miles round-trip

You’ll find solid deals to places like Australia when flying Main Cabin. Check the five-week calendar to find fares under 80,000 miles for a round-trip with fees typically around $115.

The example fares below cost well under that amount: 70,000 and 64,000 miles, respectively. Your miles will be worth around 2 cents a mile.

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How to earn Delta SkyMiles from credit cards

Award flights can cost tens of thousands — even hundreds of thousands — of miles. If you wanted to earn all those points with flights alone, you’d have to fly quite a lot.

For most travelers, there’s a better way to earn SkyMiles: credit cards. Through travel and everyday spending, you can rack up miles that’ll take you on your next vacation for less.

If you want to learn more about all of the ways you can quickly earn Delta SkyMiles, check out our full Delta SkyMiles earning guide.

Compare cards for earning Delta SkyMiles

Below, you’ll find Delta’s cobranded credit cards. Prior to January 30, 2020, the only accelerated rewards you’d find would be for spending on Delta purchases. However, now most of the cards offer bonus rewards in other categories such as hotels, supermarkets and restaurants.

The Delta perks are a heavy draw as well. With the higher-priced cards, you’ll find benefits like free checked baggage, priority boarding and travel credits.

You can also convert points from select travel credit cards to Delta miles. Amex cards are particularly strong options for this.

For hotel cards, consider products from programs such as Marriott Bonvoy, IHG Rewards Club and Hilton Honors. The transfer ratios aren’t as strong as what you’ll find with Amex cards, but they can be useful if you like to stay at specific properties.

Name Product Welcome offer Rewards Annual fee Filter values
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Use the CardMatch tool to find cards you're likely to qualify for with your credit score, without a hard pull on your credit.

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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

SkyMiles are worth around 1.4 cents each on average, but getting a higher value is always welcome.

Use Delta’s five-week view for flight searches to find fares for fewer miles. It could mean getting a fare for tens of thousands of points less. Along the way, keep an eye out for award fees.

If you’d like to learn about the ins and outs, check out our guide on Delta SkyMiles frequent-flyer program.

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