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TakeOff 15: How to Save When Redeeming SkyMiles with a Delta Credit Card

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Earlier this year, Delta and American Express added a new benefit to nearly all of the airline's co-branded credit cards, immediately becoming one of the cards' best perks: Cardholders get an automatic 15% discount on most SkyMiles award bookings.

SkyMiles can get a bad rap for constantly changing award rates and sky-high prices for business class, but great SkyMiles deals are still out there – and this perk makes them even better. Amex and Delta call it TakeOff 15, getting you discounted award pricing on all flights operated by Delta or Delta Connection. Only partner award bookings on carriers like Air France, KLM, and Korean Air miss out.

No matter if you have the tried-and-true *delta skymiles gold card* all the way up to the top-tier *delta reserve card*, you'll be saving SkyMiles with each and every Delta award ticket you book. This benefit applies to both the consumer and business versions of the SkyMiles credit cards – in fact, the only Delta cardholders who don't get to take advantage of the savings are those with the airline's $0 annual fee (see rates & fees) *delta blue*.


Delta SkyMiles sale to Europe with the Takeoff15 benefit applied


Every time I go to spend my SkyMiles, I'm reminded just how valuable this benefit truly is. If you book one or two Delta flights with SkyMiles a year, this benefit alone can be enough to justify paying the $99 annual fee (see rates & fees) on the Delta SkyMiles Gold Card – and if you're booking flights for a travel companion or the whole family, the savings can be even more significant.

Here is everything you need to know about Delta and American Express' TakeOff 15 benefit for SkyMiles cardholders.

Related Reading: The Best SkyMiles Deals We've Found This Year


What is the TakeOff 15 Benefit?

TakeOff 15 is a recently added benefit for most Delta SkyMiles American Express cardholders, unlocking an automatic 15% discount when redeeming SkyMiles for Delta-operated award flights.

It applies to each ticket booked within your reservation, whether you're flying solo or booking four seats for the whole family. And there's no limit to how many times per year you can use this benefit.

You'll have access to this benefit with both the consumer and business versions of the Delta SkyMiles Gold, Platinum, and Reserve credit cards. Only the entry-level *delta blue* doesn't get access to the discount.

Here's what you need to know:

  • The TakeOff 15 discount is applied automatically and you'll see it reflected in the search results and at checkout so long as you are logged into a Delta account associated with a SkyMiles credit card.
  • The TakeOff 15 discount will only apply to Delta and Delta Connection-operated flights. It won't be available on flights operated by other carriers like Air France, KLM, and other SkyTeam alliance partners.
  • There is no limit to the number of times the TakeOff 15 benefit can be used.
  • The TakeOff 15 discount isn't available when trying to change an existing SkyMiles booking. If you recently added an eligible SkyMiles credit card, you can cancel for a refund (cancellation fee applies to Basic Economy awards) and rebook to get the TakeOff 15 discount. Just be sure that the new award price is actually cheaper before canceling.
  • The TakeOff 15 discount does not apply to any taxes and fees associated with the award booking – and per the terms and conditions, you must use your eligible Delta credit card to pay those taxes and fees.
  • The discount is only available to the primary cardholder. Authorized users won't see the 15% discount reflected when booking awards through their account.
  • The TakeOff 15 benefit does not apply to Pay with Miles or Miles + Cash bookings.
  • The TakeOff 15 benefit does not apply to seat upgrades made with SkyMiles after the purchase of your original flight. It also won't apply to other Delta products or services.


Which Delta Cards are Eligible for the TakeOff 15 Benefit?

If you have one of the following Delta credit cards, you are eligible for 15% off award tickets booked with SkyMiles.

Related reading: Get Free Bags & Other Perks With a Delta SkyMiles American Express Card


How Does the TakeOff 15 Benefit Work?

As long as you hold one of the cards above and you are logged into a SkyMiles account, you should see the TakeOff 15 benefit reflected in the pricing when searching for award tickets. You'll also see the full un-discounted price listed below with a strike through it – helping you visualize just how much you're saving.

Unlike other credit card benefits that give a rebate when you redeem points for a flight, Delta's TakeOff 15 isn't a kickback, but rather a true (upfront) discount on the award price.

For example, I hold the SkyMiles Platinum card and after doing a quick search on Delta's website for Delta One business class flights from Minneapolis – St. Paul (MSP) to Tokyo-Haneda (HND) for next year's cherry blossom season, I see the following price displayed at checkout.


MSP-HND TakeOff15 Checkout Screen


In this case, the original mileage price is listed at 100,000 miles and it shows a “Card Member Savings” of 15,000 miles. The 15% discount applies to both roundtrip and one-way bookings – depending on the cabin you're looking to book, the savings can be quite significant.

When you first search for flights, you'll see the non-discounted price crossed out with the TakeOff 15 pricing displayed more prominently. You'll also see a small image of your card with the text “15% Card Member Savings Applied” to help remind you that you're getting the discount.


screenshot of delta one skymiles award search


In this case, the original roundtrip cost of business class flights to Tokyo was 200,000 SkyMiles – a steal compared to typical Delta pricing – but with the TakeOff 15 benefit, I'm able to save an additional 30,000 SkyMiles. That savings alone is good enough for a couple of roundtrip economy tickets to many of Delta's destinations and if you're a Thrifty Traveler Premium member, it might even be enough to score a flight to Europe and back.

Read more: The Best SkyMiles Deals We've Found … Under 20K Miles!

You should also see the TakeOff 15 pricing reflected when you search via Delta's calendar tool.


takeoff15 calendar view


The TakeOff 15 benefit is available for all booking classes, which means that whether you're booking a basic economy ticket or a Delta One business class fare, you'll see the 15% savings applied.

When this new benefit first rolled out, many feared a substantial SkyMiles devaluation would be soon to follow – but so far that doesn't seem to be the case. It's true that with Delta's dynamic award pricing, you'll see laughably high prices on some routes. But thanks to Delta's semi-regular SkyMiles flash sales there are still plenty of good deals to be had and this TakeOff 15 benefit makes them even more of a bargain.

If you've got a stash of SkyMiles (or Membership Rewards points) and aren't currently holding a Delta credit card, the savings from this benefit alone might be worth picking one up.

Related reading: Which Delta SkyMiles Credit Card is Right For You?


Bottom Line

Delta and American Express added a new benefit to most co-branded Delta SkyMiles credit cards earlier this year, called TakeOff 15. With this new perk, cardholders get an automatic 15% discount on SkyMiles award tickets for Delta-operated flights.

This benefit – combined with other perks like free checked baggage, priority boarding, and the ability to earn elite status faster – makes a Delta SkyMiles Card a worthwhile investment for many travelers.


Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

20 Responses

    • Yes, that shouldn’t be an issue. It just needs to be booked from the primary cardholder’s Delta account.

  • There have been people saying it’s a gimmick. That the miles before logging in were the same as the discounted miles after logging into the skymiles account. Have you seen anything in regards to these rumors?

    • We’ve seen a few different bugs that Delta appears to be working through. I haven’t seen this specific one though.

  • Do you know how long it takes for skymiles to be returned to your account if you were to cancel and rebook to take advantage of this offer?

  • Ok, I have tried to use this a few times and it shows the discount award miles – but when you try to book it – it ALWAYS fails (I have tried it at least 5 times). It asks you to then reach out to a customer service representative. And when you talk to a representative they say that they can not offer the 15%off as it is only for self serve users.

    Don’t know if its temporary issue that will get resolved OR the benefit is presented to everyone but made available only in cases where there is really low load factor on the flights.

    • Hi Jocelyn, yes. It works on any flight you are booking with SkyMiles that is actually flying on a Delta plane.

  • Hi there– appreciate your posting this clear information!
    Curious: If I’m buying tickets for me and my family (e.g. 3 award flights, same itinerary from my main cardholder account), will the discount apply to all of the fares?


  • You don’t have to use the Delta card to pay the $5.60 (or whatever) fee — you can use the Platinum card which gets you 5X the MR points, or any other card.

    • You have to book directly with Delta as it is only valid on SkyMiles bookings. Since you can only redeem SkyMiles directly with Delta, that is the only option.

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