8 of the Best Delta SkyMiles Redemptions for 2019
It’s a new year with plenty of travel opportunities on the horizon. Make 2019 the year you get the most out of your Delta SkyMiles.
While others call them worthless or deride them as “Skypesos,” we’re big fans of Delta SkyMiles. There’s no question the frequent flyer program is difficult to understand, as the airline no longer publishes an award chart that lays out what a flight should cost. And flight prices using SkyMiles are always changing, with wild swings and sometimes exorbitant pricing.
But we value SkyMiles because there are some incredible ways to use them – including some opportunities you won’t find with other airlines. Here are some of our favorite ways to redeem Delta SkyMiles.
SkyMiles Flash Sales
Delta gets a bad rap for not publishing an award chart, but there’s a serious upside: SkyMiles Flash Sales.
The airline is always running these sales on award flights, and they’re one of the best ways to use your SkyMiles. They keep a running a list of available sales on their site, and frequently push out two- or three-day occasional sales. Some of these are published, while other’s aren’t – but we always find those, too.
These sales really took off in 2018, and it can be a huge win for travelers.
Whether it’s a round-trip flight to the Caribbean starting at just 12,000 SkyMiles, a trip to Europe for 32,000 SkyMiles, or flying to China and back for an astonishing 30,000 SkyMiles total, there are some serious savings here. Often, you can spend half the SkyMiles or less you’d normally pay for the same trip by pouncing on one of these sales.
In our minds, there’s no better way to use your Delta SkyMiles than with these flash sales. It’s a big part of the reason why we value SkyMiles much more than many experts out there, and Delta has doubled down on them in 2018.
Read our guide to making the most out of these SkyMiles flash sales.
Booking Flight Deals with SkyMiles
Delta’s “Pay with Miles” feature allows you to save SkyMiles when you find a great cash fare. And as a bonus, you can still work toward earning Delta Medallion status by using this potentially powerful feature.
If you are an American Express Delta cardholder, then you can use your SkyMiles to book cash tickets. By harnessing the power of flight deals you see here or through Thrifty Traveler Premium, you can save some serious SkyMiles while still getting many elite benefits such as Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQMs) and upgrades.
When you use Pay with Miles, each SkyMile is worth 1 cent toward the fare. But you’re getting an incredible deal because many international flights can be booked this way for far fewer miles than a normal award ticket. Check out this example we found from New York-JFK (JFK) to Singapore (SIN) for around $450 or 45,000 SkyMiles round-trip. A typical award ticket on this route typically costs over 100,000 SkyMiles. You’re not only saving 55,000 SkyMiles, but you’ll also be able to collect MQMs towards Delta status. This is how we book most of our Delta international tickets.
This is also how our Senior Editor Mikhala booked two round-trip tickets to Hawaii for $27.80. If you play it right, using this method can be one of the best ways to use SkyMiles.
Domestic Round-trip Tickets for 10k Skymiles
While we generally warn travelers against using their miles for short domestic flights, there’s a sweet spot with Delta.
Shorter routes can easily be snagged for roughly 10,000 SkyMiles round trip. Flights shorter than 750 miles seem to be easiest to snag at this price, but even some longer flights make the cut. Be sure to book well ahead of your flight to ensure the lowest-priced SkyMiles award space is available. And beware that flights in and out of major Delta hubs like Atlanta (ATL), Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP), or Salt Lake City (SLC) are harder to get at low prices thanks to Delta’s hub penalty.
Premium Select on the new Airbus A350
If you are booking any trips to Asia, you’ll want to take a look at Delta’s new Premium Select product. Premium Select is bookable for only 90,000 SkyMiles round-trip. That’s an insane deal – especially when you’re flying Delta’s new Airbus A350.
We reviewed a flight in Delta Premium Select last year and found it was a great, middle-of-the-market offering for the long flight across the Pacific Ocean. There’s far more legroom than you’d get in economy, better food, improved service, and much more.
Delta is going all out with its new Delta One suites and Premium Select, so it’s getting even easier to snag seats at this low price. Check out the full list of where you can fly the Airbus A350. But this product is also available on routes with refurbished Boeing 777s like Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) to Tokyo-Haneda (HND) and the upcoming flight from MSP to Seoul-Incheon (ICN).
Buying Champagne in the Delta Sky Club
This won’t be for everyone, but it’s a fun one. And it’s a heck of a good value for your SkyMiles. You can buy expensive (and delicious) bottles of champagne in the Delta Sky Club for as low as 4,000 SkyMiles. You can get 2 cents per SkyMile, which is a solid value. It’s a great way to start any vacation.
- [NEW] Laurent Perrier La Cuvee Brut Rosé NV – 4,000 SkyMiles (retail $80)
- Dom Perignon – 12,500 SkyMiles (retail $250)
This deal has been around since last spring, and we’ve taken advantage of it several times. They will even give you a bucket of ice if you’d like to drink it away from the bar. Mr. TT has even asked to open the bottle at a table on his own – then put a bottle in his bag to take home.
If you’ve got SkyMiles to burn, this is a great way to start your trip off right.
Fly to Mexico and the Caribbean
SkyMiles can be unpredictable, and the routine flash sales mean you can snag some even better deals than this one.
But it’s pretty easy to book a round-trip flight to Mexico in economy for 30,000 SkyMiles. That’s a solid deal for a winter escape, as many flights during the peak season can cost $500 or more.
Business Class Awards to Europe and Asia
Getting a solid price when using SkyMiles to fly Delta One business class has become a chore. The airline regularly charges 200,000 SkyMiles or more, whether you’re flying to Europe or Asia.
There are some great workarounds to get those flights for less. But consider flying business class on a SkyTeam partner airline like Air France, KLM or China Airlines. These airlines have business class award seats available at far more stable – and lower – prices.
Use a 5-week view and see if you can find flights to Europe for 75,000 SkyMiles on Air France or KLM. Our co-founder Nick brought his 1-year-old daughter along for a flight in KLM’s incredible business class from Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) to Amsterdam (AMS). And at that price, it blows the seat you’d get on a Delta plane out of the water.
Flying a new Delta One suite to Asia will make the 12-plus hour flight great, but it will cost you a boatload of SkyMiles. You could book a flight in China Airlines’ superb business class to Taipei for 85,000 SkyMiles instead.
Domestic Trips to Alaska
Another one of our favorite Delta SkyMiles redemptions is for round-trip flights between the lower 48 States and Anchorage, Alaska (ANC).
It’s generally pretty easy to find nonstop, round-trp flights between cities like Atlanta (ATL), Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP), Boston (BOS) and ANC for 35,000 SkyMiles – and sometimes less. Considering that’s a 6-plus hour flight, that’s some pretty great value. Even if you’re not in a Delta hub, you can find these flights for around 35,000 SkyMiles.
Delta SkyMiles are far from worthless. They just require a bit more work and care to ensure you’re squeezing all the value you can out of them. This list is far from exhaustive, but we hope it helps you get started to make travel more with your Delta SkyMiles.
If you need to boost your SkyMiles balance, we’re big fans of the American Express Platinum card, as those points can be transferred to Delta. Check to see if you’re eligible for a 100,000-point sign-up bonus. And of course, you can apply for one of the six co-branded Delta American Express credit cards.