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Redeem Delta SkyMiles for best value

Here's how to get the best redemption value for your Delta SkyMiles.

If you’ve built up a cache of Delta SkyMiles over the last year and don’t know how to spend them, you’re in luck. Your Delta SkyMiles redemption options are both varied and valuable, allowing you to redeem on flight upgrades, fees, preferred seating, gift cards and more. For example, a flight on Korean Air to South Korea can cost you as little as 50,000 miles round-trip.

SkyMiles are worth an average of 1.4 cents each according to our March 2021 valuation. However, you can find flights with values of 2 cents per mile and above. Here’s how to find those Delta SkyMiles redemption sweetspots and make the most of your miles.

How to redeem Delta SkyMiles for flights

You have three main avenues for redeeming your Delta SkyMiles on flights for a good deal.

  • Delta SkyMiles Deals for reduced Mileage awards. On occasion, Delta will reduce the miles required for flights to a specific location for a limited time. These deals aren’t necessarily announced, so often the only way you’ll be able to find them is by doing a little browsing on the Delta site. These deals may be city specific: as of March 2021, a roundtrip flight to Lima, Peru from Dallas will run you 54,000 miles mininum, while the same flight departing from Phoenix will cost just 22,000 miles.
  • Book with combination of Miles and Cash. Delta allows you to split the cost of your flight between cash and miles. This is a helpful to if you don’t have quite enough miles to pay for a reward flight in full, but still want to cut costs on your travel. There are some drawbacks to this method: you can’t choose how the cost of the ticket is split between miles and cash, and tickets purchased this way can’t earn Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQM) or redeemable miles.
  • Pay with Miles. This option is only available if you have a Delta co-branded credit card attached to your account. With this method, you can pay for the entirety of your flight using miles. You can select this payment option at the time of booking your itinerary so long as you have at least 5,000 miles in your SkyMiles account. This option also earns MQM and redeemable miles but only on parts of the ticket paid with cash.
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    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.

    Generally speaking, the price of award flights vary too greatly to offer a solid average. As of March 2021, you can book many roundtrip flights within the US for as low as 10,000 miles total. But traveling abroad prices can soar as high as 95,000 miles or more. Even when traveling within the US, a flight from LA to Phoenix can nearly double from Saturday to Sunday.

    5+ best Delta SkyMiles redemptions

    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.

    Round-trip fares example

    Origin/DestinationCost in dollars, roundedCost in milesValue per mile, excluding feesAward fee
    Austin (AUS) to Los Angeles (LAX)$28310,0002.8 cents$11.20
    Boston (BOS) to Nashville (BNA)$27710,0002.8 cents$11.20
    Seattle (SEA) to Chicago (ORD)$24410,0002.4 cents$11.20

    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.

    Round-trip fares example

    Origin/DestinationCost in dollars, roundedCost in milesValue per mile, excluding feesAward fee
    Atlanta (ATL) to London (LHR)$3,367172,0002 cents$304.73
    Los Angeles (LAX) to London (LHR)$4,243172,0002.5 cents$310.33

    Fly Delta One from the continental US to Asia for 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.

    Round-trip fare example

    Origin/DestinationCost in dollars, roundedCost in milesValue per mile, excluding feesAward fee
    Los Angeles (LAX) to Beijing (PEK)$3,515148,0002.4 cents$41.13

    Fly Korean Air to South Korea in economy for 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.

    Round-trip fares example

    Origin/DestinationCost in dollars, roundedCost in milesValue per mile, excluding feesAward fee
    Los Angeles (LAX) to South Korea (ICN)$1,25350,0002.5 cents$52.73
    Chicago (ORD) to South Korea (ICN)$1,21350,0002.4 cents$52.73

    Fly from the continental US to the South Pacific for 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.

    Round-trip fares

    Origin/DestinationCost in dollars, roundedCost in milesValue per mile, excluding feesAward fee
    Dallas Ft. Worth (DFW) to Sydney (SYD)$1,31370,0001.9 cents$115.33
    Seattle (SEA) to Sydney (SYD)$1,32864,0002.1 cents$115.33

    Redeem SkyMiles with 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
    • China Southern
    • Czech Airlines
    • Garuda Indonesia
    • Kenya Airways
    • KLM
    • Korean Air
    • MEA
    • Saudia
    • TAROM
    • Vietnam Airlines
    • Virgin Atlantic
    • Virgin Australia
    • WestJet
    • 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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    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
    Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card
    Earn 40,000 bonus miles after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months.
    Also, earn up to $50 back in statement credits for purchases at US restaurants within the first 3 months of membership
    2x miles on Delta purchases, restaurants and at US supermarkets and 1x miles on all other eligible purchases
    $0 intro annual fee for the first year ($99 thereafter)
    Earn 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Plus, earn up to $50 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at US restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership
    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 2x miles on Delta purchases and dining with this simple, entry-level Delta card, and pay no annual fee. Terms apply, see rates & fees
    Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card
    Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months.
    Also, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for purchases at US restaurants within the first 3 months of membership.
    3x miles on Delta and direct hotel purchases, 2x miles at restaurants and US supermarkets and 1x miles on all other eligible purchases
    $250
    Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Plus, earn up to $100 ​back in statement credits for eligible purchases at US restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership
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    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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    Frequently asked questions

    • How do I find award flights to use my Delta SkyMiles?

      You can search for award space on the Delta website. The website may not list all available flights, so consider searching on other carriers’ websites as well.

      Delta is part of the SkyTeam alliance, so you can look for partner flights with carriers like Air France, KLM and Korean.

    • “Are there ways to earn Delta SkyMiles other than spending with credit cards?
      Yes. You can earn miles through programs like SkyMiles Dining and SkyMiles Shopping. Also, you can book travel through hotel partners. You can also learn about more options with our Delta SkyMiles guide.
    • “Do I have to redeem SkyMiles for flights?
      No. You can redeem miles for merchandise, charitable donations, experiences and more.

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