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 its unpredictable and ever-changing award prices. Earlier this year, it seemed like SkyMiles had sunk to a new low. But these flash sales are an exception.
Delta occasionally slashes rates on flights within the U.S., to Europe, Asia, the Caribbean, and elsewhere . 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 disappearing earlier this year, these excellent sales have made a comeback recently.
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?
But what's going on here? How do these SkyMiles flash sales work? What's Delta up to? How can you find them?
All About Delta SkyMiles Flash Sales
Big-time bloggers and so-called “experts” have bashed Delta for years for its dynamic award pricing, sky-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 (unpredictable 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.
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 through “web special” fares, 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
Earlier this year, 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.
But lately, things are looking up for travelers with some SkyMiles and the flexibility to hop on a sale. In fact, we've seen some of the best-ever SkyMiles deals in the last few weeks.
- 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.
- Even as it charged 130,000 SkyMiles or more for roundtrip flights to Honolulu (HNL), Delta made a splash on its brand-new nonstop route from Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) to Maui (OGG) by briefly selling tickets as low as 42,000 SkyMiles roundtrip next winter!
- Delta followed that up this week with an even cheaper SkyMiles sale to Maui and other Hawaiian islands, with roundtrip fares from across the country this summer and fall starting as low as 13,600 SkyMiles!
- We've also found dirt-cheap SkyMiles deals to Cancún (CUN) and Costa Rica for 10,000 SkyMiles or less!
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!
After going more than six months without a solid sale, all of these Delta SkyMiles flash sales have popped up within just the last few weeks … for travel as far out as March 2024! 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 is no longer advertising these sales. You have to dig to find these unpublished deals – or get them straight to your inbox with Thrifty Traveler Premium+.
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. Delta may normally charge 300,000 SkyMiles or more each way to Europe or Asia, but these flash sales can help you snag a serious bargain.
Get the next great SkyMiles sale flying Delta One – we're always looking for our Thrifty Traveler Premium+ members!
Here are 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!
- Nationwide flights to almost anywhere in Europe … roundtrip from 32,000 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
- Tahiti (PPT) and back as low as 50,000 SkyMiles total
- Jamaica for 11,000 SkyMiles roundtrip, too
- Fly from U.S. airports nationwide to Australia for just 70,000 SkyMiles roundtrip!
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 years back could have gotten you there and back from the West Coast for less than a quarter of that amount!
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, especially after a series of massive devaluations for partner awards on airlines like KLM, Virgin Atlantic, and Korean Air over the last few years.
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 2023 and beyond!
Delta Holds All the Cards
Despite some of the amazing deals you can get through these flash sales, it’s 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 60,000 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.
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 American Express® Gold Card. It's one of the best cards, period, thanks to the 4x points it earns at both restaurants worldwide and U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 each year then 1x). You can get a 60,000-point welcome bonus after spending $4,000 within six months – but check to see if you qualify for a massive 75,000-point bonus via CardMatch!
Click Here to learn more about the American Express Gold Card.
Want to have a stash of points you can use for SkyMiles flash sales and travel perks, too? That's where The Platinum Card® from American Express. It starts with a standard, 80,000-point welcome bonus after spending $6,000 in six months. But be sure to check and see if you qualify for a 150,000-point bonus for the same spending requirement.
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® 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.
Click Here to learn more about the Platinum Card from American Express.
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 earlier this year, Delta is once again 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.