With all the uncertainty surrounding coronavirus, it can be hard to think about travel.
But it’s a great time to study up on becoming a smarter traveler, earn miles, and, yes, book future trips. Low prices for flights as far out as September 2021 and unprecedented flexibility from airlines to change plans without a penalty make it a great time to book flights now for travel later.
Still, we still think there’s one standout way to book flights during all this uncertainty: using Delta SkyMiles.
More Flexibility than Ever
Airlines have gone out of their way to give travelers some peace of mind when booking future trips.
They’ve waived change and cancellation fees on all new tickets booked for the next month or longer. That means you can book a flight now for a trip months away, then change or cancel it if need be and get a voucher for future travel.
The same is true when booking with Delta SkyMiles – in fact, it’s even better.
Delta is waiving the usual $150 redeposit fee to cancel and get your miles back for any SkyMiles award ticket booked by Dec. 31 – even for travel as far out as September 2021. Typically, only top Medallion status holders get that treatment. And yes, even basic economy award tickets can be canceled for free, too.
And that’s a big deal. It means there’s no need to worry about using a voucher or fighting the airline for a refund. Just book your flights with SkyMiles, monitor the situation as coronavirus continues to unfold, and cancel it to get your miles back free of charge.
Canceling these SkyMiles award tickets is simple, too. You can easily cancel the ticket online by navigating through “My Trips” and choose to modify your flight. So long as your flight meets the waiver criteria, you can cancel it and get your miles back immediately – though in some cases it may take a few days. Any taxes and fees you paid will be refunded to your credit card, too.
Delta’s policy is among the most generous you’ll find for booking award tickets with miles – only Southwest can match it, as the airline always allows free change and cancellation.
Here’s a brief look at how some of Delta’s other competitors are handling it:
- Alaska: Like Delta, Alaska will allow you to cancel an award ticket and get your miles back free if you book by Dec. 31.
- American: American has also waived its $150 redeposit fee for award tickets booked by Dec. 31.
- United: United allows you to change a mileage redemption without paying a fee, and it will waive redeposit fees for all award travel so long as you cancel more than 30 days before departure.
Read our guide on the best ways to earn Delta SkyMiles!
Flexibility to cancel and get your miles back is one thing. But when award fares are cheap, it’s even better.
Delta uses dynamic award pricing, which is a fancy way of saying “we charge you whatever we want.” That can sometimes mean sky-high award rates – especially when cash prices for a flight are high.
But as airlines have slashed prices to try to drum up ticket sales, we’ve seen some unbelievable SkyMiles flash sales too. Just take a look at some of the recent sales we’ve sent to Thrifty Traveler Premium members for domestic and international flights as far out as winter 2021!
- Nationwide Sale to Costa Rica from just 9,000 SkyMiles round-trip
- Flights to the Caribbean islands through November from 11,000 SkyMiles and up
- Domestic flights all across the U.S. starting at 8,000 SkyMiles round-trip all summer and fall
And many, many more. As airlines try to chart their course to recovering from the pandemic, we expect to see more cheap flights spring up for travel well out into 2021. And that will almost certainly mean more dirt-cheap SkyMiles deals.
Need more ideas? Check out our list of the absolute best ways to use Delta SkyMiles.
How to Earn Delta SkyMiles
The time is right to pile up SkyMiles for your future travels.
Delta and American Express are out with bigger bonuses on two of their most popular SkyMiles credit cards. You can currently earn up to 60,000 SkyMiles on the Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card and Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card.
The Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card is a great place to start, as you’ll earn 50,000 SkyMiles after spending $2,000 within the first three months. The card gets you free baggage and priority boarding on each and every Delta-operated flight and other perks. Best of all, you don’t have to pay the card’s $99 annual fee for the first year.
Click Here to learn more about the Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card.
And then there’s the Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card, which comes packed with even more perks. For starters, you’ll earn 60,000 SkyMiles after spending $3,000 within the first three months. You get the same free baggage and boarding benefits, too.
But best of all, you’ll have a free companion certificate starting in your second year with the card – essentially a buy-one, get one ticket for a flight within the continental U.S. And that can easily outweigh the card’s $250 annual fee.
Click Here to learn more about the Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card.
Already have those cards – or want to go even bigger? Some other American Express credit cards can get you there.
Take a hard look at the American Express Gold Card, which we think is one of the best all-around credit cards, period. That’s because it earns 4x points per dollar at restaurants worldwide and U.S. supermarkets, as well as 3x points per dollar on travel. It starts with a 60,000-point bonus after spending $4,000 within three months – but check to see if you’re eligible for a whopping 75,000-point bonus via CardMatch!
Best of all, you can instantly transfer these points straight to your Delta SkyMiles account to hop on the next great SkyMiles flash sale.
Click Here to learn more about the American Express Gold Card.
Whether you’re ready to get on a plane now or are still waiting, you can always book travel for the future. And if you ask us, the flexibility and value of using Delta SkyMiles to book a future trip is unbeatable.