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7 of the Best Ways to Use Your Delta SkyMiles in 2024 (& Beyond)

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Make this year the one you master Delta SkyMiles and get the most out of them. And trust us: You can.

While others call them worthless, we're big fans of Delta SkyMiles. There's no question Delta's frequent flyer program is difficult to understand. Award rates when using SkyMiles are constantly changing, with wild swings and sometimes exorbitant pricing – especially if you're hoping to fly business class

But we value SkyMiles because there are some incredible ways to use them – including some better deals than you'll find with any other airline and the ability to easily cancel almost any award tickets and get your SkyMiles right back … even when prices drop on a trip you're already taking.

Here are some of the absolute best Delta SkyMiles redemptions and why you shouldn't shy away from earning them.

Read our guide to finding and booking the best Delta SkyMiles deals

 

 


 

SkyMiles Deals & Flash Sales

Delta gets a bad rap for not publishing an award chart, but there's a serious upside: Delta SkyMiles Flash Sales. They're almost always the absolute best way to use your SkyMiles, period.

While you might see 50,000 SkyMiles or more to fly to Las Vegas (LAS) or New York City, these regular sales can bring that rate under 10,000 SkyMiles … roundtrip. SkyMiles deals to Mexico for less than 20,000 SkyMiles or Europe and back for 30,000 SkyMiles or so are even better. And if you're hoping to use your SkyMiles to fly business class abroad, you need to wait for a Delta SkyMiles flash sale. 

The airline is always running these sales on award flights. Some of these are published, and Delta keeps a running a list of available sales on their site. But many of the best sales aren't publicized at all … at least not until we find them and send alerts to our Thrifty Traveler Premium members.

After disappearing over the years, SkyMiles sales have made a serious comeback to offer deeply discounted award rates for a fraction of what other airlines typically charge. These sales have really taken off, and it can be a huge win for travelers.

 

New Zealand SkyMiles deal

 

Get award alerts like this one, plus cheap domestic and international fares, with Thrifty Traveler Premium!

From domestic flights at just 8,000 SkyMiles (or less!) roundtrip to a trip abroad at a steep discount, jumping on one of these flash sales means you can spend half the SkyMiles than what you'd normally pay – if not even less. 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 so-called experts out there.

Just take a look at a small sample of the recent sales we’ve sent to Thrifty Traveler Premium members for domestic and international flights as far out as fall 2024!

  • Out of nowhere, Delta slashed award rates to Auckland (AKL) in New Zealand as low as 37,400 SkyMiles roundtrip – from almost any airport nationwide!
  • Days later, we sent Thrifty Traveler Premium members another alert for roundtrip flights to Santiago (SCL) in Chile for 44,000 SkyMiles … or just 37,4000 SkyMiles with Delta's TakeOff 15 discount for Amex cardholders.
  • Roundtrip flights to destinations throughout Europe for as low as 27,000 SkyMiles roundtrip!
  • Deals to book Delta One with SkyMiles have made a comeback, too … none better than flying to Tokyo-Haneda in business class for just 85,000 SkyMiles each way!
  • There have been a few other solid business class deals recently, like roundtrip flights to Taipei (TPE) for under 200,000 SkyMiles in Delta One
  • We've seen Delta run simultaneous SkyMiles flash sales to Tahiti (PPT), Australia (SYD), and New Zealand (AKL) again from just 42,000 SkyMiles roundtrip, too!
  • You can count on a SkyMiles sale to Hawaii every now and again, like trips to Maui and other islands from across the country this summer and fall starting as low as 13,600 SkyMiles … roundtrip!
  • We've also found dirt-cheap SkyMiles deals to Cancún (CUN) and Costa Rica for 10,000 SkyMiles or less!

Want to fly Delta One business class with your SkyMiles? Heads up: The airline typically charges at least 300,000 SkyMiles for a one-way to Europe.

But these flash sales are your best bet if you want to use SkyMiles to do it, as Delta occasionally slashes prices to fly in style, too. We've seen rates as low as 98,000 SkyMiles for a trip to Europe and back – and, more recently, 85,000 SkyMiles for a one-way flight to Tokyo-Haneda (HND) in Delta One Suites!

 

delta one suites deal premium
 

Domestic Flights for 10K SkyMiles RT – Or Less!

While we generally warn travelers against using their miles for short domestic flights, it's a sweet spot with Delta. And even when there isn't a hot SkyMiles flash sale, you can regularly snag a good deal with SkyMiles.

Shorter routes are fairly easy to find 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.

Just beware that flights in and out of major Delta hubs like Atlanta (ATL), Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP), or Salt Lake City (SLC) can be harder to get at low prices thanks to Delta's hub penalty.

For all the faults of Delta SkyMiles, you'll never find roundtrip domestic flights this cheap through other airline programs.

 

delta seattle to denver

 

Buy Some Champagne in the Delta Sky Club

This won't be for everyone, but it's a fun one. And it's a great way to use your SkyMiles.

You can buy expensive (and delicious) bottles of champagne in many Delta Sky Clubs for as low as 2,400 SkyMiles. After a devaluation a few years back, SkyMiles won't get you as far when buying champagne (or other premium drinks): They're worth 1.5 cents apiece toward these beverages now, as compared to 2 cents each before.

Still, it's a great way to start any vacation with a bottle of champagne, starting at 1,400 SkyMiles. After a recent menu overhaul, here's a taste of what champagne you can currently snag at the Sky Club:

  • Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noirs Rose (375ml half bottle): 1,400 SkyMiles or $21
  • Banshee ‘Ten of Cups' Sparkling Brut (750ml bottle): 2,000 SkyMiles or $30
  • Laurent-Perrier La Cuvee Brut (375ml half bottle): 2,400 SkyMiles or $36
  • Nino Franco ‘Rustico' Prosecco (750ml bottle): 3,000 SkyMiles or $45
  • Champagne Jeeper Grand Rose Brut (375ml half bottle): 3,800 SkyMiles or $57
  • Argyle Sparkling Vintage Brut (750ml bottle): 3,800 SkyMiles or $57
  • Taittinger La Francaise Brut (750ml bottle): 7,600 SkyMiles or $114
  • Veuve Clicquot Brut Rosé (750ml bottle): 8,000 SkyMiles or $120
  • Bollinger Special Cuvee (750ml bottle): 9,200 SkyMiles or $138

 

veuve rose delta sky club

 

This deal has been around for a few years, and our team never hesitates to take advantage. Sky Club bartenders will even give you a bucket of ice if you'd like to drink it away from the bar. You can even add on a tip with your SkyMiles.

If you've got a few thousand SkyMiles to burn, this is a great way to start your trip off right.

Read our guide to buying champagne in the Delta Sky Club using your SkyMiles!

 

Booking Flight Deals with SkyMiles

It won't always make sense, but you can use a novel feature of Delta's SkyMiles to book a cheap flight deal – and come out way ahead.

The Delta Pay with Miles feature allows you to put your SkyMiles balance toward the cash price of your flight. It's only available to American Express Delta cardholders. And as a bonus, you can still work toward earning Delta Medallion status by using this potentially powerful feature. Don't confuse it with Delta's Miles + Cash option, which is almost always a terrible deal.

When you use Pay with Miles, each SkyMile is worth 1 cent toward the fare, so 5,000 SkyMiles is worth $50 off your fare. And you have to pay in 5,000-mile increments.

While it's not the greatest value, you can come out ahead when you find a great flight deal here or through Thrifty Traveler Premium: It means you can book a flight for fewer miles than the standard award flight may cost. 

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.

 

Best Delta SkyMiles Redemptions

 

This is also how we've booked two roundtrip tickets to Hawaii for $27.80. If you play it right, using this method can be one of the best ways to use SkyMiles.

 

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 – and sometimes even less. That's a solid deal for a winter escape, as many flights during the peak season can cost $500 or more.

You can even save a few thousand SkyMiles by booking one of their basic economy awards, giving up free seat assignment and a few other benefits.

 

Mexico flight Best Delta SkyMiles Redemptions

 

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).

Just as with the Caribbean, it's generally pretty easy to find nonstop, round-trip flights between cities like Atlanta (ATL), Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP), Boston (BOS) and ANC for around 30,000 SkyMiles – and sometimes much less. Considering that's a six-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.

 

best delta skymiles redemptions

 

Delta is always unpredictable, but Alaska is a reliably cheap destination to put your SkyMiles to use.

 

Use Your SkyMiles Outside the US Instead 

Whether you're flying within the U.S. or to or from the states somewhere abroad, Delta award rates are all over the map. 

But flying within Europe, from Europe to Asia, or from Southeast Asia to Australia, it's different. While it's not published anywhere, Delta still uses a hidden award chart that dictates stable pricing on these worldly routes. And that means you can use SkyMiles to fly some of Delta's excellent partner carriers, getting far more bang for your buck in the process.

While Delta might charge you an arm and a leg to fly from the U.S. over to Southeast Asia, you can book a flight from Ho Chi Minh (SGN) down to Singapore (SGN) for just 22,500 SkyMiles with Vietnam Airlines – or bump up to business class for 40,000 SkyMiles. 

 

vietnam airlines redemption skymiles

 

Need to get from Europe to Dubai (DXB)? Use your SkyMiles to fly KLM: It'll always cost 25,000 SkyMiles in economy or 42,500 miles in business class. 

 
amsterdam to dubai skymiles
 

Those are just two of countless examples out there around the globe. While this method won't make sense for every traveler, SkyMiles can come in handy if you're trying to piece together a trip somewhere overseas. 

 

How to Earn Delta SkyMiles

You've got plenty of options to pile up some SkyMiles for these redemptions.

Your first stop might be the Delta SkyMiles Cards from American Express, from the fan-favorite *delta skymiles gold card* to the *delta skymiles platinum card* and even the top-tier *delta reserve card*.

No matter which flavor you choose, there are a ton of SkyMiles up for grabs right now.
 

delta credit card offers 

Not sure which Delta credit card is best? Read our guide to find which Delta credit card is right for you!

But your options for earning SkyMiles go beyond Delta credit cards.

Look at the *amex gold*. It's one of the best travel cards, period, thanks to the 4x points it earns at both restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 each year). You can currently get a 60,000-point welcome bonus after spending $6,000 within six months. But check to see if you qualify for a massive 75,000-point bonus via CardMatch (terms apply) … or even more from personal referral links!

Delta is an Amex transfer partner, which means you can instantly transfer these points to your SkyMiles account whenever you need them. Points transfer on a 1:1 basis, so 60,000 Amex points will get you 60,000 Delta SkyMiles.

There's a reason why we've named this card the single-best credit card to earn Delta SkyMiles.
 

*amex gold card*

 

Learn more about the *amex gold*
 

If you want to earn more miles and a bit of luxury during your travels, you can't do better than *amex platinum*. No travel credit card offers better lounge access, from Amex Centurion Lounges to Delta Sky Clubs (when you're flying Delta that day) and 1,000-plus more around the globe.

Other perks add up fast. That includes a credit of up to $100 to cover Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, up to $189 to cover the cost of CLEAR Plus membership, up to a a $200 annual credit for prepaid Fine Hotels and Resorts or The Hotel Collection bookings (the latter of which require a minimum two nights stay), another up to $200 in credits for airline fees each year, and much more. The annual fee clocks in at $695 a year (see rates & fees), which is steep … but could be worth it for these benefits.

Oh, and the points. It starts with a standard, 80,000-point welcome bonus after spending $8,000 in six months. But be sure to check and see if you qualify for a 150,000-point bonus for the same spending requirement – or see if you can snag a 150,000-point referral offer from a friend!
 

*amex platinum*

 

Learn more about *amex platinum*.
 

Want to earn even more Delta SkyMiles? Check out our master guide with all the best ways to earn SkyMiles in 2024!

 

Bottom Line

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. And while these are some of the best ways to use SkyMiles, this list is far from exhaustive. It should get you started for getting the most out of your SkyMiles.

 

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.

3 Responses

  • If I want to use a partner of delta using my rewards, do I go to their site and plug in pay with miles? And then type in my delta rewards number? Thanks!

    • Nope, if you’re using Delta Miles, you always go through Delta.com. Just search for the flight you’re looking for at Delta.com, click “shop with miles,” and if there is a flight on a partner airline available, it will show up in your results!

  • I recently booked a trip to Maui for my wife and I using the companion fare for our MSP to LAX portion. Then was able to use Skymiles to book the LAX to OGG portion. So, it works.

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