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Delta SkyMiles Flash Sales: How to Find the Best Deals & Fly Delta for Less

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Looking to put your SkyMiles to good use? Look no further than Delta SkyMiles flash sales.

Using SkyMiles for big value has gotten harder and harder over the years, thanks to the airline's unpredictable and ever-changing award prices and the routinely sky-high rates to book business class. But these flash sales are an excellent exception.

Delta occasionally slashes award rates on flights within the U.S., to Europe, Asia, the Caribbean, and beyond. Sometimes these sales are advertised; other times they’re secret – but we find them anyway and send them to our Thrifty Traveler Premium members. 

After devaluations and eliminating other sweet spots, these Delta SkyMiles flash sales are easily the best way to use your SkyMiles. What other airline program will get you to New Zealand for less than 40,000 miles roundtrip? Or out to Hawaii for 13,000 SkyMiles or less? Or down to Cancún (CUN) and back for just 9,000 SkyMiles total? There's even the rare sale to book Delta One business class for under 100,000 SkyMiles with these sales.

But what's going on here? How do these SkyMiles flash sales work? What's Delta up to? And, most importantly, how can you find these elusive deals? 

 

 

All About Delta SkyMiles Flash Sales

Big-time bloggers and so-called “experts” have bashed Delta for years for its dynamic award pricing, atrociously high rates to fly business class, and unpredictability. And while that’s frustrating, these incredible deals are the upside.

A quick lesson…

Years ago, Delta got rid of its award chart – the cheat sheet most airlines use that governs how many miles you need to fly from Point A to Point B. These days, that rate changes based on demand, time of year, cash price, and other factors. That means the amount of SkyMiles you need to book a flight can vary wildly.

And while that comes with a big downside – constantly changing rates that can swing drastically day by day, and often 250,000 SkyMiles or more to fly business class – there’s a major upside for travelers. Delta is now untethered.

That gives Delta the freedom to cut award rates however it sees fit. Call them SkyMiles flash sales or SkyMiles deals – call them whatever you want. They can be amazing. Sometimes, it’s an easy way to save a few thousand SkyMiles on a trip. Other times, you’ll save 50% of your miles or more, making it easily the cheapest way to travel with miles. Like SkyMiles themselves, the deals vary greatly.

 

delta skymiles deals page

 

If you’re flexible, willing to go wherever you can for a good price, these deals are unbeatable. There’s no telling when Delta will cut award rates on flights to the Caribbean islands. Or Mexico resort towns. Or top spots all across Europe and beyond. American has flirted with sales like these, as has United. But neither airline has gone nearly as far as Delta.

Sometimes Delta posts these publicly on its ongoing list of SkyMiles Deals page tailored to specific departure cities. The airline also occasionally emails flyers with deals, too. But we find even better, unadvertised deals and send them to our Thrifty Traveler Premium subscribers instantly.

 

A Slew of Recent SkyMiles Flash Sales

A year ago, we were worried. The-once steady stream of international Delta SkyMiles flash sales like 32,000 SkyMiles to Europe had disappeared. Once-or-twice yearly deals to book Delta One business class to Europe or Asia at reasonable rates vanished, too.

Thankfully, the tide has turned for travelers with some SkyMiles and the flexibility to hop on a sale. In fact, I'd say we've seen some of the best-ever SkyMiles deals over the last year. 

Some stunners include:

  • 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!

 

delta one premium deal

 

Want the next crazy SkyMiles flash sale like this? Thrifty Traveler Premium  finds you both cheap cash fares and award deals to use your points and miles!

In almost every case, these dirt-cheap rates disappeared within just a few days, so many of these sales are no longer available.

But unlike the SkyMiles deals from years past, Delta rarely advertises these sales. You have to dig to find these unpublished deals – or get them straight to your inbox with Thrifty Traveler Premium.

 

New Zealand SkyMiles deal

 

 

The Best-Ever SkyMiles Flash Sales

Over the years, we've seen some truly incredible Delta SkyMiles flash sales. Combined with the recent stretch of equally incredible deals, we're feeling hopeful that this trend will continue, giving SkyMiles a much-needed boost.

And yes, that includes fares flying Delta One Suites. Despite a few decent deals recently, Delta still normally charges 300,000 SkyMiles or more each way to Europe or Asia. In years past, we've seen even better deals. 

 

delta skymiles flash sales

 

Get the next great SkyMiles sale flying Delta One – we're always looking for our Thrifty Traveler Premium members!

Here's just a sliver of the absolute best SkyMiles flash sales we've seen over the last few years:

  • 90,000 SkyMiles to fly Delta One to Japan and back!
  • Or 98,000 SkyMiles to fly almost anywhere to Europe in business class roundtrip
  • Roundtrip flights to Alaska starting at just 5,000 SkyMiles!
  • A nationwide flash sale to Paris-Charles de Gaulle (CDG) from just 20,000 SkyMiles total
  • Fly to London-Heathrow (LHR) and back for only 14,000 SkyMiles!
  • Domestic flights to Los Angeles (LAX), Denver (DEN), Palm Springs (PSP), Seattle (SEA), and New York City as low as 6,000 SkyMiles roundtrip
  • Jamaica for 11,000 SkyMiles roundtrip, too
  • Fly from U.S. airports nationwide to Australia for just 70,000 SkyMiles roundtrip!

 

Tahiti SkyMiles flight deal

 

In every case, these flash sales are deeply, deeply discounted – and not just compared to Delta's normal rates, but also stacked against what you'd pay using other airline miles like American AAdvantage miles or United MileagePlus.

For example, American would typically charge at least 60,000 AAdvantage miles for a roundtrip flight to London. One of these Delta SkyMiles flash sales from a few weeks back could have gotten you there and back from the West Coast for less than half that amount all the way from the West Coast. 

 

London SkyMiles deal

 

Limitations of SkyMiles Flash Sales

Let's be clear: While these Delta SkyMiles flash sales can be amazing, they're far from perfect.

Many of the same basic rules that govern how Delta sets SkyMiles award pricing apply to these great flash sales. Most importantly: You'll need to be flexible. 

If you've got travel plans set in stone, the odds that a SkyMiles flash sale will get you to London or Tokyo next years on the dates you've decided on are slim. But if you're nimble and have some SkyMiles to book a trip to wherever the next great flash sale can take you, SkyMiles and these flash sales are close to unbeatable.

While steep business class flash sales do exist, they're rare and unpredictable. There's no question that SkyMiles have lost almost all their luster when it comes to booking premium cabin awards.

 

delta one suite 

 

And unfortunately for flyers in Delta’s hubs, the biggest savings don't always extend there. We call it the SkyMiles Hub Penalty. Delta hubs like Atlanta (ATL), Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP), Salt Lake City (SLC), and more will still find some discounts when these flash sales pop up. But in many cases, you'll find the lowest award rates from other airports where Delta isn't as strong. 

Read up on our tips to maximize your Delta SkyMiles in 2024 and beyond!

Despite some of the amazing deals you can get through these flash sales, it’s also important to point out: Delta is at the wheel.

Delta decides what routes it will slash rates on, and when. In that way, it’s not much different than how airlines handle cash prices. It’s another reminder that Delta is increasingly treating SkyMiles flights like cash fares.

SkyMiles are just getting ever more unpredictable. The upside, of course, are some incredible award flights at prices you’ll never find on competitors. But Delta holds all the cards here. The airline is using these fares to boost SkyMiles’ reputation, all while steering you and I toward the flights it wants us to take.

Typically, that means fewer redemptions where you get outsized value from burning your miles versus using your cash. But there's still no question these are the best way to use your SkyMiles when you can find them.

Read more: How Much Are Delta SkyMiles Worth?

 

Earn SkyMiles for the Next Great Sale

Want to hop on the next great Delta SkyMiles flash sale? Or a few of them? You're in luck – they're easy to earn.

Delta and American Express are currently out with offers to earn up to 95,000 SkyMiles from a single credit card. But far beyond those miles, the real value of Delta's co-branded credit cards are the benefits like free checked bags and Delta companion certificates for once-a-year buy-one, get-one flights.
 

delta credit card offers 

But really, the best way to earn SkyMiles isn't a Delta credit card at all. Instead, consider a card that earns American Express Membership Rewards points. These points are even more versatile, valuable, and easier to earn. They're a much safer bet than putting all your eggs in Delta's basket.

You could transfer those points to Delta if another great SkyMiles deal pops up … and if it doesn't, you've got more than a dozen other, more valuable airline programs that are Amex transfer partners.

Look at the *amex gold*. It's one of the best cards, period, thanks to the 4x points it earns at both restaurants worldwide (including takeout and delivery in the U.S.) and U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 each year then 1x). You can earn 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 … or maybe even more from a personal referral link.

 
*amex gold card*
 

Learn more about the *amex gold*
 

Want to have a stash of points you can use for SkyMiles flash sales and travel perks, too? That's where*amex platinum* shines. 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 … and as much as 175,000 points through some lucky personal referral links.

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, gets you into airport lounges (including Delta Sky Club access), up to $189 to cover the cost of CLEAR® Plus membership, up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or PreCheck, and more. Those benefits can easily outweigh the annual fee. Plus, you earn an unbeatable 5x points per dollar when you pay cash for flights directly with any airline or through the American Express travel portal at amextravel.com on up to $500,000 spent in a calendar year.

 
*amex platinum*

 

Learn more about *amex platinum*.

 

Bottom Line

It requires some flexibility, but these Delta SkyMiles flash sales are the best way to use Delta miles – and it's not even close. 

After disappearing last year, Delta keeps slashing award rates down to lows you will never see on other airlines. So keep your eyes peeled for the next deal. Be flexible, and you might just get the deal of a lifetime and prove the haters wrong about SkyMiles being worthless.

 

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

  • If you already have the Gold Card, you could apply for the Delta SkyMiles Platinum card and earn that bonus.

  • My wife, daughter, and I are in Amsterdam thanks to a thrifty traveler flash sale alert this summer. 148k miles R/T from MSP in business class!!
    Awesome Trip Thanks Guys

    Bruce

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