5 Great Ways to Use Delta's Huge New SkyMiles Bonuses
skymiles bonuses

5 Great Ways to Use Delta’s Huge New SkyMiles Bonuses

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For more information check out our Advertising Disclosure.

American Express and Delta this week launched the biggest welcome bonus offers we’ve ever seen, with up to 90,000 SkyMiles available from a single credit card. But these massive SkyMiles bonuses won’t do you any good unless you’ve got a good way to use that bonus. We’ve got you covered there, too. 

While SkyMiles can get a bad rap, there are still plenty of valuable ways to redeem them. And earning 70,000 to 90,000 SkyMiles in one fell swoop is nothing to sneeze at. These huge new bonuses are available through April 28, 2021.

But not just any flight will do when it comes time to use them. So we’ll highlight some of our favorite ways to use these massive SkyMiles bonuses.

Thrifty Tip: With the current ability to easily cancel and get your miles back – plus any taxes and fees – we think SkyMiles are one of the best ways to book travel right now.
 


 

SkyMiles Deals & Flash Sales

Delta has been constantly criticized for not publishing an award chart, the cheat sheet that lays out what each flight should cost when using miles. But there’s a serious upside: SkyMiles Flash Sales. 

These are deeply, deeply discounted sales on award flights using your SkyMiles. And they’re the absolute best way, to use your SkyMiles. As Delta has devalued other ways to use SkyMiles, these flash sales shine even brighter now – especially as travelers look to put their SkyMiles to use after the pandemic. Capitalize on one of these sales, and you can book a trip for a fraction of the miles that other airlines typically charge!

Delta typically keeps a running list of available sales on their site, frequently pushing out two- or three-day occasional sales for travel within the U.S. Some sales are published, many aren’t – but we always find those and send them to our Thrifty Traveler Premium members, too.
 

skymiles bonuses

 

In just the last few months we’ve found some truly insane SkyMiles flash sales, like:

 

Often, you can spend half the SkyMiles (or less) you’d normally pay for the same trip by pouncing on one of these sales. While other airlines may have better ways to redeem miles for business class and more stable pricing, you cannot beat these sales.

Remember: SkyMiles never expire. So there’s no harm in hanging onto your SkyMiles for a while, waiting to pounce on the next great flash sale.

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 experts out there, and Delta has doubled down on them recently.

Read our guide to making the most out of these SkyMiles flash sales.

 

Domestic Flights for 10K SkyMiles RT – Or Less!

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

If you can snag a domestic flash sale, you can even get flights for as low as 8,000 SkyMiles round-trip!

Be sure to book well ahead of your flight to ensure the lowest-priced SkyMiles award space is available.

And 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.
 

skymiles bonuses
 

Business Class to the Middle East for 85K SkyMiles

Let’s not mince words: Business class redemptions using SkyMiles have taken a beating.

Booking a Delta One suite with SkyMiles often costs an arm and a leg. And after not one but two major price increases, booking partner business class awards like Air France or Korean Air – once a sweet spot with SkyMiles – now costs at least 120,000 miles each way.

But one sweet spot has escaped unscathed, at least for now. You can still fly to Middle Eastern cities like Tel Aviv (TLV), Dubai (DXB), and elsewhere for just 85,000 SkyMiles each way. This might be the best remaining business class redemption using SkyMiles.
 

skymiles bonus 

There are a handful of routes and airlines to choose from, but our favorite by far is flying Virgin Atlantic’s stellar new Upper Class class seats on the A350-1000 from New York City (JFK) and a handful of other cities to Tel Aviv. You’ll connect in London-Heathrow (LHR) for a pitstop at the amazing Clubhouse lounge before continuing onward to Israel.
 

virgin atlantic black friday 

Read our full review of the new Virgin Atlantic Upper Class suites!

 

Cheap Flights to Mexico & The Caribbean

Even if you don’t catch a SkyMiles flash sale, getting down to Mexico or the Caribbean for a winter escape is reliably cheap.

It’s pretty easy to book a round-trip flight to Mexico for under 30,000 SkyMiles – and sometimes under 20,000. That’s a solid deal, as many flights during the peak season can cost $500 or more.
 

skymiles bonuses 

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. Or pay a few thousand miles more and get those perks on your ticket.

 

Use Delta Pay With Miles to Book a Cheap Flight

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

Delta’s “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 credit cardholders.

And as a bonus, you can still work toward earning Delta Medallion status by using this potentially powerful feature. While you won’t earn redeemable SkyMiles (unless if you pay for some of your flight in cash), you will earn Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQMs). 

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 last year from New York-JFK (JFK) to Singapore (SIN) for around $450 – or 45,000 SkyMiles round-trip. A normal award ticket on this route typically costs over 100,000 SkyMiles. You could book up to two of these flights with the current SkyMiles bonuses.
 

skymiles bonuses
Booking a flight deal using Pay with Miles”

This is also how our team member Mikhala booked two round-trip tickets to Hawaii for $27.80 a few years back. If you play it right, using this method can be one of the best ways to use SkyMiles.

 

Load up on SkyMiles Now

There’s never been a better time to load up on SkyMiles, thanks to some record-shattering bonuses on most of Delta’s co-branded American Express cards. Here’s a look at what’s available, from the Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card to the top-tier Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card.
 

Earn 70K with the Delta SkyMiles Gold

  • Earn 70,000 SkyMiles after spending $2,000 in the first three months of card membership. This limited-time offer ends April 28, 2021.
  • Check your first bag free on every Delta flight – savings of up to $60 on each round-trip flight per person.
  • Priority Boarding (even with a basic economy ticket)
  • Earn 2x SkyMiles per dollar spent at both restaurants and U.S. supermarkets
  • Earn 2x SkyMiles per dollar on eligible Delta purchases and 1x mile for all other spending. Though you can get an Amex offer to earn 5x miles per dollar.
  • Earn a $100 Delta flight credit if you spend $10,000 on the card in a calendar year.
  • Get $10 back each month through Dec. 2021 at U.S. restaurants via Amex Offers.
  • Enjoy 20% off in-flight purchases such as food & drinks in the form of a statement credit
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year (then $99 per year).

 

Delta Credit Card Offers
 

Click Here to learn more about the Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card.

 

90K SkyMiles & a Companion Ticket with the Delta SkyMiles Platinum

 

Delta Credit Card Offers
 

Click Here to learn more about the Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card.

 

80K SkyMiles and Fast-Track Delta Status with the Reserve

  • Earn 80,000 SkyMiles and 20,000 MQMs after spending $5,000 in the first three months of card membership. This limited-time offer ends April 28, 2021.
  • Work your way toward Delta Medallion Status faster with Status Boost, earning 15,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $30,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to four times per year.
  • Check your first bag free on every Delta flight – savings of up to $60 on each round-trip flight per person.
  • Priority Boarding (even with a basic economy ticket)
  • Complimentary Delta Sky Club access when you are flying Delta. You’ll also get two, one-time guest passes each year to the Delta Sky Club.
  • Complimentary access to the American Express Centurion Lounges when you are flying Delta on a ticket that was purchased with the card. You can also bring up to two guests in with you for a fee of $50 each.
  • Receive a domestic main cabin or first-class round-trip companion certificate each year upon card renewal.
  • Earn 3x SkyMiles per dollar spent on Delta purchases. Though you can get an Amex offer to earn 5x miles per dollar.
  • Receive up to a $100 credit to cover the cost for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck once every four years.
  • Complimentary space-available upgrades, even for non-Medallion members. A great way to improve your upgrade chances.
  • Get $20 back each month through Dec. 2021 at U.S. restaurants via Amex Offers.
  • Enjoy 20% off in-flight purchases such as food & drinks in the form of a statement credit.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $550 annual fee (not waived for the first year of card membership).

 

Delta Credit Card Offers
 

Click Here to learn more about the Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card. 

 

Bottom Line

Delta’s massive SkyMiles bonuses on their co-branded Delta SkyMiles cards can put serious travel within your grasp. These bigger bonuses expire soon on April 28, so now is the time to apply.

 

Lead photo courtesy of Delta

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.

2 Responses

  • When you use Pay with Miles, each SkyMile is worth 1 cent toward the fare, so 5,000 SkyMiles is worth $500 off your fare. And you have to pay in 5,000-mile increments.

    Please check your math — if every skymile is worth 1 penny toward the fare, then 5000 sky miles would be $50, not $500.

    ?????

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *