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Earn Delta SkyMiles

The 16 Best Ways to Earn Delta SkyMiles in 2024

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Need to earn Delta SkyMiles – and a lot of them? Look no further.

Others bash Delta SkyMiles for being “worthless” – and when it comes to flying business class, they certainly can be – but there are still plenty of great ways to redeem SkyMiles. Between frequent SkyMiles flash sales offering half-priced routes, cheap domestic fares, you can get a lot of value out of SkyMiles. We don't blame you for wanting to add to your stash.

These days, the best ways to rack up SkyMiles go far, far beyond simply flying with Delta. From the best credit cards with big bonuses to smaller ways to continually add to your balance on your everyday spending, here are the best, tried-and-true ways to earn Delta SkyMiles this year.

Related reading: How Much Are Delta SkyMiles Really Worth?



American Express Delta Airlines Co-Branded Credit Cards

There's no easier way to amass a ton of Delta SkyMiles quickly than getting a welcome bonus offer from the co-branded American Express Delta credit cards.

All told, there are four co-branded Delta credit cards from American Express, plus even more small business versions. And each card offers a different welcome offer bonus. Delta and Amex typically roll out elevated welcome bonuses of up to 100,000 SkyMiles (or more) three or four times a year.

If you come away with one thing here, make it this: You can earn the welcome bonus on each card once per lifetime. That means you could open the *delta skymiles gold card* and earn a big welcome offer bonus, then open the *delta skymiles platinum card* down the road and earn a welcome offer bonus on that card, too. That makes it much easier to continue earning SkyMiles.

But that order is critical: You have to start from the bottom and work your way up. American Express has rolled out new restrictions that make it more difficult to earn multiple bonuses over time – if you start with a *delta reserve card*, you can't earn a bonus on either the Delta Gold or Delta Platinum Card.

Related reading: You Can Upgrade Your Delta Amex Card (But Maybe You Shouldn't)

*delta gold*


Learn more about the *delta skymiles gold card*.

*delta skymiles platinum*


Learn more about the *delta skymiles platinum card*

*delta reserve card*


Learn more about the *delta reserve card*.

Want to learn more about what each of these cards offers? Make sure to visit our Top Credit Cards Page. 


American Express Membership Rewards Credit Cards

It might seem counterintuitive, but one of our favorite ways to earn Delta SkyMiles isn't even a Delta credit card. In fact, we think the best credit card for earning Delta SkyMiles isn't even a Delta card at all.

That distinction goes to the *amex gold*.

American Express has its own suite of credit cards that earn Membership Rewards points. But Delta is an Amex transfer partner, which means you can send these points from Amex directly to your Delta SkyMiles account on a 1:1 basis (1 point = 1 Delta SkyMile). And thanks to some excellent bonus categories, you can earn even more SkyMiles than by using one of Delta's co-branded cards in certain spending categories.

One of the best is *amex platinum* which 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 175,000-point bonus for the same spending requirement – or can get the same bonus from a personal referral link.

But the points go beyond that initial bonus. One of the best features of this card is that it earns an unbeatable 5x points on airfare purchased directly through airlines or at amextravel.com on up to $500,000 spent in this category in a calendar year. Combined with some solid travel insurance, it makes the Platinum Card the best card for booking flights.

So if you buy a $500 ticket at Delta.com, you'd earn 2,500 Membership Rewards that you could transfer to your Delta SkyMiles account. You earn just 2x SkyMiles on Delta purchases with the *delta skymiles gold card*, so the same flight would earn you just 1,000 SkyMiles on the same purchase

This card carries a hefty fee, at $695 annually (see rates & fees). But with that comes an incredible suite of perks like $200 in travel credits, up to $200 toward free Uber rides, airport lounge access, up to $189 to cover the cost of a CLEAR® Plus membership, up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or PreCheck, and more. Those benefits can easily outweigh the annual fee.

It can even get you complimentary access to the Delta Sky Club when you've got a Delta flight that day – though that unlimited access will be capped starting next year.

Read more: Is the Amex Platinum Worth the Annual Fee? An Honest Review

*amex platinum*


Learn more about *amex platinum*.

The *amex gold* is another strong option. The card is currently offering a 60,000-point welcome bonus after spending $6,000 within six months of card membership. But like the Platinum Card, you may qualify for a much higher offer through CardMatch … or via personal referral links!

You'll also earn an unlimited 4x points per dollar spent at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 each year, then 1x) – the best return you'll find on groceries and dining – and 3x points on airfare booked directly with airlines or through amextravel.com. This card has an annual fee of $250 (see rates & fees), which we feel can be easily worth it.


*amex gold card*


Learn more about the *amex gold*


And then there's the *Amex Green Card* which Amex refreshed in October 2019 with a handful of new perks including a $189 credit to cover the cost of a CLEAR Plus membership and a $100 Lounge Buddy credit. It also earns 3x points on every dollar you spend on both dining and travel.

All information about the American Express® Green Card has been collected independently by Thrifty Traveler and has not been reviewed by the issuer.


American Express Green Card


Read our guide to help you decide which card is right for you: Gold, Green, or Platinum?

One important note: American Express Membership Rewards charges a fee of 0.06 cents per point up to a maximum of $99 when you transfer from American Express Membership Rewards points to any U.S. airline, including Delta. That means transferring 100,000 Amex points to Delta would incur a $60 fee.

It's not earth-shattering … but it is a slightly annoying quirk to be aware of when transferring Membership Rewards points to Delta.


Earn by Flying with Delta – or Partner Airlines

This one is obvious. Of course, you can earn SkyMiles by flying with Delta. But it's no longer the easiest way to earn Delta SkyMiles.

The days of earning miles based upon how many miles you fly are long gone. These days, everyday SkyMiles members earn 5x SkyMiles for every dollar spent on Delta flights. You can juice those numbers by paying for your flight with the right credit card or by earning Delta status – more on that soon.

But if you want to earn Delta SkyMiles on your flight, you'll need to avoid Delta basic economy fares. As of December 2021, Delta basic economy tickets no longer earn SkyMiles or credit towards Delta Medallion status.

So let's say you spend $200 on a Delta main cabin ticket from Chicago-O'Hare (ORD) to Atlanta (ATL). After you take that flight, you'll get just shy of 1,000 SkyMiles in your account – the taxes and fees you pay on each plane ticket don't count towards your mileage earning.

But you can also earn Delta SkyMiles by flying some of Delta's partner airlines like Air France, KLM, or countless more. Here's where it gets tricky.

If you book that KLM flight directly through Delta.com, you'd earn SkyMiles just as if you were flying Delta – it's based upon the cash price of your flight. But if you book through KLM and attach your SkyMiles account to your reservation, it's based upon the length of your flight, what cabin you're flying in, and other factors.

It gets complicated, but flying partner airlines is a way to earn even more SkyMiles.


Ask for SkyMiles When Things Go Wrong 

Seat slightly broken? Wi-Fi or seatback screen not working? Flight delayed? Ask Delta for some SkyMiles!

Airlines are under no obligation to compensate passengers when things go wrong … but Delta will readily hand out some SkyMiles as an apology. It never hurts to ask! 

Exactly how many SkyMiles you can get for your troubles varies wildly based upon the severity of your issues and your Delta loyalty: The airline can be more generous to top Medallion flyers with status. And sometimes, it just comes down to the luck of the draw of which Delta representative is helping you.

For example, my wife and were stranded overnight in Detroit (DTW) after some bad weather caused a diversion – and unable to get our bags off the plane. While Delta didn't cover our hotel costs, they quickly offered us 5,000 SkyMiles each to say sorry. 


delta skymiles compensation


Not happy with your Delta flight but not sure where to start? Skip the long hold times: Send them a message instead!


Bags Late? Get 2,500 SkyMiles

There's a little known way to get a few thousand SkyMiles if it takes too long to get your luggage.

Delta offers a 20-minute guarantee to get checked bags onto the carousel after arrival. Did it take 21 minutes or more for your bags to slide down? You can easily (and, in most cases instantly) get 2,500 Delta SkyMiles as compensation for the delay! The 20-minute timer starts from the moment the boarding door opens and it ends when your bag arrives on the carousel.

If your bags take more than 20 minutes to arrive, just go file a claim directly with Delta or tap delta.com/bagsontime into your web browser. You need to submit these claims within three days of your flight to get the 2,500 bonus SkyMiles. It couldn't be easier – and those 2,500 SkyMiles will typically hit your account instantly (or close to it).


delta bags on time form


Unfortunately, this method of earning SkyMiles when you check a bag might not be around for much longer. There have been rumblings it's on the chopping block.

Read more about how to earn 2,500 SkyMiles when bags are late!


Earning Delta Medallion Status

Delta's Medallion status program isn't for everyone, especially now that Delta has drastically raised the spending requirements to earn most tiers. But if you've got it, it's a great way to earn some additional SkyMiles.

The higher you climb on Delta's status ladder, the bigger bonuses you'll get on Delta purchases. The lowest level is Silver Medallion, and with that, you'll earn 7x SkyMiles on all Delta purchases – up from the 5x everyday SkyMiles members earn. Gold members earn 8x, while Platinum members get 9x SkyMiles. At the very top is Diamond, and those members get 11x SkyMiles on Delta purchases.

Related reading: Why Free Upgrades on Delta are Getting Harder & Harder


earn delta skymiles medallion status


Needless to say, any level of status with Delta is a great way to accelerate your ability to earn Delta SkyMiles


Marriott Bonvoy Points & Credit Cards

Marriott points aren't just good for hotel stays.

Transferring hotel points to airlines is generally a poor value, but Marriott can be an exception in certain circumstances. You can transfer Marriott Bonvoy points to over 40 different airline partners, including Delta, at a 3:1 ratio.

So if you transfer 60,000 Marriott points to your Delta account, you'll get 20,000 Delta SkyMiles. Unfortunately, Marriott ended a 5,000-point bonus for transfers to Delta (and several other airlines) in late 2022.

That means this method of earning SkyMiles is probably only best in a pinch if you need a few thousand more SkyMiles to book a flight … or if you've simply got more Marriott Bonvoy points than you know what to do with.

Both American Express and Chase offer different versions of Marriott Bonvoy credit cards that will earn Bonvoy points.

Read more: How to Transfer Marriott Bonvoy Points to Partner Airlines


marriott transfer points to delta


The SkyMiles Shopping Portal

Shopping portals are one of our favorite ways to earn additional points and miles for the online shopping you're doing anyway. And Delta SkyMiles has its own dedicated shopping portal called (go figure) SkyMiles Shopping.

By using the program, you can shop with hundreds of online retailers and earn additional SkyMiles just for clicking through their portal on the way to your favorite online retailer. Delta frequently offers bonuses at specific retailers, so be sure you're signed up for email alerts. To register for the SkyMiles shopping program, visit their site.


Earn Delta SkyMiles


About to make an online purchase? Visit cashbackmonitor.com to see whether the store offers bonus miles through the SkyMiles shopping portal. You don't need to use a Delta SkyMiles credit card to receive the bonus miles through the program. Simply go through the shopping portal and pay with whatever credit card you'd like to earn the additional SkyMiles.

Check out our full guide to SkyMiles shopping here.


The SkyMiles Dining Program

Dining portals offer another great way to rack up additional points and miles. And Delta's SkyMiles Dining Program offers an easy way to earn Delta SkyMiles just for eating at or getting takeout from certain restaurants.

Sign up and link a credit card to your account. Just as with the SkyMiles shopping portal, it doesn't need to be a co-branded Delta credit card. Then, visit one of the many participating restaurants and pay with your linked card.

So long as you opt in to receive SkyMiles Dining emails, you'll earn a flat 3x miles for every dollar you spend on your bill. Super-users can level up to earn 5x starting with their 12th SkyMiles Dining visit each calendar year.

That's in addition to whatever points, miles, or cash back you earn on the credit card you are paying with.


skymiles dining portal


But you can get even more SkyMiles with Delta's promotion for new members. You can earn a bonus 1,000 SkyMiles by spending at least $30 (taxes and tips count!) within 30 days of signing up.

These bonuses don't rival the huge bonuses you'll get from credit cards. But it's a great way to continue earning SkyMiles for everyday spending. You can join SkyMiles Dining here.

Check out our full guide to SkyMiles Dining!


Earn SkyMiles on Your Starbucks Run

Delta practically broke the internet with this. SkyMiles for Starbucks?!

Yes, it's real. Delta and Starbucks teamed up in late 2022, allowing SkyMiles members to earn bonus miles on their coffee orders while double-dipping with extra Starbucks Rewards Stars on select orders, too. Delta SkyMiles members can now link their accounts with Starbucks Rewards at deltastarbucks.com and start earning miles on almost every purchase at participating Starbucks locations:

  • Travelers will earn 1x SkyMile per $1 spent on eligible Starbucks purchases – everything except gift cards, alcohol, tax, and tips count towards earning bonus SkyMiles at participating Starbucks stores.
  • On days when you're catching a Delta flight, you'll also earn double stars in your Starbucks Rewards account – even when ordering ahead via mobile at participating airport Starbucks


delta skymiles starbucks


Spending $20 a week on Starbucks? That's another 1,000-plus SkyMiles a year. And while that's by no means earth-shattering, every little bit counts!


Link Your Lyft Account to Delta SkyMiles

Delta and Lyft have a great partnership that allows you to earn Delta SkyMiles every time you hop in a Lyft. It's as simple as linking your Delta SkyMiles and Lyft accounts. You will earn 1x SkyMile per dollar spent at Lyft & 2x SkyMiles per dollar spent on rides to and from the airport. 

Again, these miles are in addition to any points, miles, or cash back you are earning on the credit card you use to pay for your ride.

You can also link your Lyft account to your Hilton Honors account or Bilt Rewards and Lyft. However, you have to pick one: You can't earn points with all three for each Lyft ride.


Earn Delta SkyMiles


Link your accounts today and start earning!


Add Your SkyMiles Number to Your Turo Account

Delta Air Lines and Turo have launched a partnership allowing Delta SkyMiles members to earn miles each time they rent through the car-sharing platform.

Think of Turo like the Airbnb of cars: Rather than renting from a company, you’re paying to borrow a car from its owner. You can add your SkyMiles membership number to your Turo account to earn bonus miles.

New Turo members will get 2,000 SkyMiles after completing their first rental. After that, you’ll get 500 SkyMiles for each Turo rental.

Unfortunately, the 2,000 SkyMiles bonus is only available on accounts that have not yet completed a Turo rental. If you’ve already rented through Turo, the best you can do is get 500 SkyMiles for each and every rental once your SkyMiles number is linked.


earn delta skymiles with turo


Link your accounts today and start earning!


Purchase Tickets Through Ticketmaster

Yes, you can even earn SkyMiles buying tickets through one of America's most-hated companies.

Way back in 2019, Delta launched a partnership with ticket-selling behemoth Ticketmaster, allowing SkyMiles members to earn bonus SkyMiles when buying tickets to concerts, sporting events, and more.


earn delta skymiles ticketmaster


Simply head to the partnership page at Delta.com/ticketmaster and punch in your SkyMiles number before buying tickets. This partnership will earn 1x SkyMiles per dollar spent, and if you buy a lot of tickets, that can add up fast. However, you won’t earn SkyMiles for the (often extensive) taxes and fees on your tickets.

Almost all tickets purchased through Ticketmaster will be eligible to earn SkyMiles. According to the terms of the partnership, that even includes resale tickets bought on Ticketmaster.com. Just be sure to make your purchase through the Delta.com/ticketmaster page


Book With Airbnb

Years ago, Delta and Airbnb launched a partnership allowing you to earn Delta SkyMiles for Airbnb stays. To get those bonus SkyMiles, you must book through delta.com/airbnb. You'll earn 1x SkyMile per dollar spent on qualifying Airbnb stays.


earn delta skymiles


Read our guide on the Top 5 Ways to Save on Airbnb Bookings!


Book Car Rentals Through Rental Agencies

Need to rent a car? Make sure you're earning SkyMiles.

Rather than earning credits with the car rental company, you can credit those rentals to your SkyMiles account instead! It's a little-known option, but an easy way to earn some extra SkyMiles. For every qualifying rental, you'll earn 500 SkyMiles.

Delta has partnerships with Hertz, Dollar Car rental, Thrifty Car Rental, Alamo, Enterprise, National, Europcar, ExecuCar, Carmel, Sixt, and Super Shuttle.

We're partial to National because of the Free Executive Status that comes with a handful of travel rewards credit cards.


earn delta skymiles car rental


Book Cruises Through SkyMiles Cruises

You can even earn Delta SkyMiles by booking a cruise. Through their partnership with CruisesOnly, you can book a cruise to places like Alaska, the Caribbean, and even Europe on many of the large cruise lines and earn bonus SkyMiles based on the number of nights in your package.

There are regular promotions to earn more miles, too. Simply start the booking process at skymilescruises.com to start earning.


delta cruises bonus


Can You Transfer SkyMiles to Another Member?

Technically, Delta allows you to transfer SkyMiles to other program members. But we don't recommend it.

That’s because Delta will charge you $0.01 per mile plus a $30 processing fee per transaction (plus applicable taxes). And you must transfer miles in increments of 1,000 SkyMiles.

So if you were looking to transfer 30,000 SkyMiles to another user, it would cost you $330 ($300 for the miles and a $30 transaction fee).

You can transfer a maximum of 30,000 SkyMiles per transaction. Within a calendar year, one SkyMiles account can transfer a maximum of 150,000 SkyMiles. One SkyMiles member can receive a maximum of 300,000 SkyMiles each year via transfer.

But with costs that high, I can’t think of a situation where this would make financial sense. Just avoid these transfers. It isn't a good way to earn Delta SkyMiles.

Read more: Can I Transfer Airline Miles to Someone Else?


Can You Buy Delta SkyMiles?

You may be just a few miles short of your next SkyMiles redemption, and one of the options above just simply won't work. In this case, it may make sense to buy some SkyMiles.

But that's the only situation in which it makes sense to buy SkyMiles direct through Delta – the costs are simply too high for it to be worth it.

Delta charges $0.035 per SkyMile … and you must buy them in increments of 2,000 SkyMiles. That means buying 2,000 miles would cost you $70. There are no savings as you buy more and more SkyMiles.

Delta allows you to purchase a maximum of 60,000 SkyMiles each year.


earn delta skymiles buy miles


This clearly isn't the best option for earning Delta SkyMiles – or even a good one, really. But it can work if you are just short of making a redemption and need to top off your SkyMiles account.

Read More: A Guide to Buying Airline Miles: When to Buy, When to Skip


Bottom Line

Whether you're near a Delta hub airport or not, Delta SkyMiles are absolutely worth earning. And luckily, there are tons of great ways to earn big bonuses and keep adding to your SkyMiles stash in 2024 and beyond.


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

  • For the last 6 years or so, I’ve received ~4,000 Delta miles each year merely for registering at 12status.com. One mile for each Seahawk passing yard during the season. YMMV as need WA address.

  • I did a transfer of miles recently. Cost $100 but it gave us enough miles to book reward travel, saving $1400. So that made sense.

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