Looking to put your SkyMiles to good use? Look no further than Delta SkyMiles flash sales.
Using SkyMiles for big value has gotten harder over the years, thanks to its unpredictable and ever-changing award prices … but this is the big exception. Delta frequently sells award flights within the U.S., to Europe, Asia, the Caribbean, and elsewhere at huge discounts. 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. Throughout the pandemic and even as flight prices have climbed, these steep sales have continued … and, in some cases, gotten even better. What other airline program will get you to Mexico or Hawaii for just 10,000 miles roundtrip? Or roundtrip in business class to Europe for under 100,000 miles? Or to Australia or Tahiti and back for under 60,000 miles?
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.” love to bash Delta 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 started flirting with sales like these through what it calls “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
As travel collapsed at the start of the pandemic, these Delta SkyMiles flash sales all but disappeared. But for the last year and change, they've been back with a vengeance.
Recently, we've found some of the best-ever SkyMiles flash sales with deeply discounted rates to Hawaii, Alaska, Mexico, Europe, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, and beyond. Here's a small sample of the best recent deals we've found.
Thrifty Tip: SkyMiles are one of the best ways to book your upcoming trips, as you can easily cancel any award booking and get your SkyMiles (plus any taxes and fees) back for free if your plans change.
Want the next crazy SkyMiles flash sale like this? Thrifty Traveler Premium+ is the only flight deal alert service that finds both cheap cash fares and award deals to use your points and miles!
- Domestic flights to Los Angeles (LAX), Denver (DEN), Palm Springs (PSP), Seattle (SEA), and New York City as low as 6,000 SkyMiles roundtrip
- Nationwide flights to Europe … roundtrip from 32,000 SkyMiles!
- Tahiti (PPT) and back as low as 60,000 SkyMiles total
- SkyMiles to Mexico from 11,000 miles roundtrip!
- Costa Rica for 11,000 SkyMiles roundtrip!
- Jamaica for 11,000 SkyMiles roundtrip, too
- Fly from U.S. airports nationwide to Australia for just 70,000 SkyMiles roundtrip!
All of these Delta SkyMiles flash sales have popped up within the last several months, for travel as far out as the summer 2023. 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 ago, Delta is rarely 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 gives us confidence they'll continue, giving SkyMiles a much-needed boost.
And yes, that includes fares flying Delta One Suites. Delta may normally charge 250,000 SkyMiles or more each way to Europe or Asia, but these flash sales can help you snag a serious bargain.
Here are just a few of the absolute best SkyMiles flash sales we've seen over the last two or three 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
- Flights to Hawaii for just 10,000 SkyMiles from Seattle (SEA)!
- 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!
- Roundtrip flights to China for just 30,000 SkyMiles!
Many of these flash sales are deeply, deeply discounted – and not just compared to Delta's normal rates, but what you'll 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 could get 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 summer 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 rarely 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 2022 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 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.
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 50,000 SkyMiles from a single credit card. They make it easy to earn a big stash of SkyMiles and wait for the perfect SkyMiles flash sale – especially since SkyMiles never expire.
You can currently earn 40,000 SkyMiles on the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card after spending just $2,000 within the first six months.
You'll get a free bag on every Delta flight you take, plus priority boarding and other benefits. Best of all, the card has a $0 introductory annual fee and then just $99 each year after that (see rates & fees).
But arguably, 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 … then, just wait for the next great SkyMiles flash sale that works for you and transfer your Amex points straight to your Delta account!
Look at the American Express® Gold Card. It's one of the best credit cards, period, thanks to the 4x points it earns at both restaurants worldwide and U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 each year). 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 when you pay cash for flights directly with any airline or through the American Express travel portal at amextravel.com.
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.
Delta regularly offers pricing on routes near and far that 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.