Use Delta SkyMiles To Book Flight Deals

Delta Pay With Miles

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Just recently, Mr. TT wrote about our favorite ways to use Delta SkyMiles. Being we are both based out of Minneapolis/St. Paul, one of Delta’s largest hubs, we both have plenty of opportunities to earn and redeem our SkyMiles. It is true that Delta doesn’t publish an award chart, which essentially allows them to change and fluctuate the amount of SkyMiles needed for different redemptions. The good news is this can often work in your favor if you play your cards right.

One of our favorite redemptions that Mr. TT discussed is the “Pay with Miles” feature available exclusively for Delta SkyMiles credit card members. Pay with Miles allows you to book cheap flight deals with your Delta SkyMiles, while still earning elite credit. It’s one of our favorite use of travel rewards.


What Is Delta Pay With Miles?

Per Delta’s website, Pay with Miles is an exclusive benefit for card members who have the Gold and/or Platinum Delta SkyMiles or Delta Reserve Credit Card from American Express.  This benefit allows card members to use their miles, starting at just 5,000 miles, to discount the price of tickets.  Regardless of the ticket price, a Card Member can reduce the cost of their ticket by $50 for every 5,000 miles. For example, redeeming 10,000 of your miles takes $100 off your fare, 15,000 miles takes $150 off, 20,000 miles takes $200 off, and so on and so forth.

The best part? Delta Pay with Miles tickets are eligible to earn Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQMs) and Medallion Qualifying Segments (MQSs) where standard award tickets are not. In addition, Pay with Miles tickets will earn mileage for the portion of the base fare and carrier-imposed surcharges remaining that is paid in currency after miles are applied to the ticket total.


Using Delta Pay with Miles to Book Flight Deals

By harnessing the power of flight deals found at Thrifty Traveler or through Thrifty Traveler Premium, you are able to save SkyMiles while still getting many elite benefits such as Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQMs) and upgrades as mentioned above. Some will argue that getting 1 cent per mile, as is the case with Delta Pay With Miles, isn’t the best use of your SkyMiles, but let me give you an example of how this can work in your favor.

On Tuesday, Mr. TT featured a Europe flight deal from 25+ cities through our Thrifty Traveler Premium service. One of the routes that was included in the deal was New York (JFK) to Amsterdam (AMS). The cost of this ticket in early March is $496.16, roundtrip, nonstop.

If I were to book this as a standard award ticket using my SkyMiles, this exact flight would cost me 60,000 SkyMiles. However, by using the “Pay With Miles” feature, I only have to spend 50,000 SkyMiles and I am eligible to earn both MQMs and MQS towards elite status! Delta Pay With Miles won’t make sense to use in every situation, but we think it is a great way to leverage the flight deals you find here at Thrifty Traveler.

In this example, one would realize a savings of 10,000 SkyMiles, but it isn’t uncommon to find that using Delta Pay With Miles can save anywhere from 20,000 to 70,000 SkyMiles off of the standard award ticket pricing.


Delta Pay With Miles

Flight deal using “Pay with Miles”


Bottom Line

Delta Pay With Miles is a great feature that is available exclusively to Delta Amex credit card holders. The best way to earn more Delta SkyMiles is by applying for one of their six American Express Delta credit cards. If you’re low on SkyMiles, check out our Top Credit Card Cards page.


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Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

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