Redeem Delta SkyMiles for best value

Several redemption options — from economy to Delta One fares.

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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
  • TAROM
  • 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/Destination Cost in dollars, rounded Cost in miles Value per mile, excluding fees Fees
Los Angeles (LAX) to Calgary (YYC) $313 16,000 2 cents $61.23
Los Angeles (LAX) to New York City (JFK) $326 23,000 1.4 cents $11.20
Los Angeles (LAX) to London (LHR) $670 40,000 1.7 cents $188.53
Los Angeles (LAX) to Hong Kong (HKG) $826 77,500 1.1 cents $111.43

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

Comfort+

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/Destination Cost in dollars, rounded Cost in miles Value per mile, excluding fees Fees
Los Angeles (LAX) to Calgary (YYC) $440 25,000 1.8 cents $61.23
Los Angeles (LAX) to New York City (JFK) $518 37,000 1.4 cents $11.20
Los Angeles (LAX) to London (LHR) $1,018 84,000 1.2 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/Destination Cost in dollars, rounded Cost in miles Value per mile, excluding fees Fees
Los Angeles (LAX) to Calgary (YYC) $724 49,000 1.5 cents $61.23
Los Angeles (LAX) to New York City (JFK) $1,279 130,000 1 cent $11.20
Los Angeles (LAX) to London (LHR)* $4,243 172,000 2.5 cents $310.33
Los Angeles (LAX) to Hong Kong (HKG)* $5,268 215,000 2.5 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.

Our pick for earning Delta SkyMiles

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

  • Earn 60,000 bonus miles after you use your new card to make $2,000 in purchases within your first 3 months and a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new card within your first 3 months. Offer expires 10/30/2019.
  • Earn 2 miles on every eligible dollar spent on purchases made directly with Delta. Earn 1 mile for every eligible dollar spent on purchases.
  • Check your first bag free on Delta flights – that’s a savings of up to $240.
  • Receive Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding on your Delta flights, stow your carry-on bag and settle in sooner.
  • Enjoy a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Terms apply.
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Compare Delta credit cards

These are Delta’s cobranded credit cards. If a card offers elevated rewards, they’ll typically only be for Delta purchases. That said, these cobranded products are typically better for frequent Delta flyers.

For most travelers, the cards’ main draw is the Delta perks. With the higher-priced cards, you’ll find benefits like free checked baggage and priority boarding.

Name Product Welcome offer Rewards Annual fee Filter values
60,000 miles after spending $2,000 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 60,000 miles after spending $2,000 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

Other cards that can earn Delta miles

You can convert points from 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
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 $4,000 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 $4,000 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

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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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