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How to Find & Book the Best Delta SkyMiles Deals

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With sky-high business class rates and constantly changing prices for everything else. Delta SkyMiles have taken a lot of heat over the years. But don't write off your SkyMiles as worthless.

But we get it: The unpredictability of Delta's dynamic pricing is frustrating, and it makes it feel impossible to figure out whether you're getting a good deal with your SkyMiles. Even on the exact same route, the number of SkyMiles Delta is charging for a flight can vary wildly day by day. Trust me: You can still find a good deal.

So let's go back to basics and show you how it works – and how to ensure you're getting the lowest rate you can. Whether you're a Thrifty Traveler Premium member trying to take advantage of a Delta SkyMiles flash sale in your inbox or just looking to use SkyMiles to book your next trip, use this guide to find and book the flights you want.

See the best Delta SkyMiles deals we've found including many under 20K SkyMiles!


Step 1: Start an Award Search on Desktop with Delta

Whether you're starting off a search from scratch or you caught wind of this recent Thrifty Traveler Premium alert about a Delta SkyMiles flash sale with flights to Australia as low as 56,000 SkyMiles, the process works much the same.

But take our advice: Finding deals like these is much, much easier if you search on a desktop or laptop instead of a mobile phone. While you can search for SkyMiles fares via mobile, the lack of features – especially a calendar to see flights over a week- or even month-long span – makes it much harder.

Thrifty Traveler Premium Delta SkyMiles flash sale Australia 

Thrifty Traveler Premium Australia SkyMiles deal departure cities 

To begin, do a normal search for flights at Delta.com and be sure to check the box that says “Shop with Miles.” To zero in on the cheapest SkyMiles rates for your desired destination, you'll also want to be sure to select “Flexible Dates.”

Delta.com search for award flights from Denver (DEN) to Sydney (SYD) 

You'll want to search for roundtrip tickets when using Delta SkyMiles. Delta will almost always charge you more for booking one-ways separately – and it can be a lot more for a big trip abroad.

Read more: 10 Tips to Maximize Your Delta SkyMiles


How to Search for Premium Cabins

Want to redeem your SkyMiles to fly in Delta Comfort Plus, First Class … or maybe even Delta Premium Select or Delta One Business Class?

Follow the same steps above, but before hitting “Search” expand the “Advanced Search.” Select the cabin you want from the dropdown menu.

Delta SkyMiles advanced search for Denver (DEN) to Sydney (SYD) search 

Keep in mind that not all cabins will be available on every flight. For instance, you'll only find Delta Premium Select seats on international flights as well as a few transcontinental routes. You can also choose “Main Cabin” here if you want to filter out Delta Basic Economy award fares in your search results – those don't include free seat selection and also can't be canceled for free.

Delta SkyMiles search for premium cabins 

Now it's time to look at some prices. To find the lowest ones, keep reading.


Step 2: Pull Up the Price Calendar For the Cheapest Rates

On the next page, you'll see a grid full of fares.

Delta SkyMiles flexible dates calendar for Denver (DEN) to Sydney (SYD) flights 

Click the “Price Calendar”  to get the clearest (and largest) view of what's available. Use the arrows on the right and left sides to click through to another month's worth of flights.

Delta SkyMiles DEN-SYD price calendar 

The fares you see initially will be for all flights, including those with connections. If you're looking for nonstop flights, you can select to show only nonstop flights on the calendar by selecting that option in the upper right. You can also adjust the trip length to try and find cheaper prices.

Delta SkyMiles DEN-SYD nonstop filter 

Thrifty Tip: In many cases, you'll need to search for a trip of at least seven or eight days in order to get the lowest prices – especially if you're flying somewhere far away.

Step 3: Use the Filters to Find the Best Flights

Once you've zeroed in on the dates with the cheapest fares, you'll be taken to this page where you can see all the available flights. Select the “Sort and Filter” button in the upper right-hand corner to filter for the best flights.

Delta SkyMiles DEN-SYD flights 

Here you can filter by number of stops, length of potential layovers, and even for the cheapest SkyMiles fares.

Delta sort and filter DEN-SYD 

You can also choose to sort the results as you wish to help you find the best flights.

Delta SkyMiles DEN-SYD sort and filter flights 


Step 4: Select Your Flights & Book!

Choose the flights with the SkyMiles fares you're comfortable with and click through to book!

Delta SkyMiles DEN-SYD 

Unlike some other airlines, Delta's lowest-priced SkyMiles award tickets are almost always in Delta basic economy, meaning you can't pick your seat or change or cancel your flight for free. If you want to cancel or change your ticket, you can expect to fork over 9,900 SkyMiles for domestic trips or to Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean – and 19,900 for long-haul international travel – to get the rest of your miles back.

That's why we regularly recommend picking a main Main Cabin fare that includes advanced seat assignments and the ability to cancel online for a full refund of your SkyMiles and fees. That can easily be worth paying the upcharge in SkyMiles.

Delta SkyMiles DEN-SYD main cabin flight 

If you want to see only Main Cabin fares, you can select that option under “Advanced Search” when initially beginning your search for award flights.

Delta SkyMiles search for premium cabins 


Have a Delta Card? Get 15% Off SkyMiles Award Tickets

If you hold a Delta SkyMiles co-branded credit card (except for the free Delta Blue card), you'll get a 15% discount when booking Delta flights with SkyMiles. So long as you're logged in and your card is connected to your SkyMiles account, you'll see that TakeOff 15 discount reflected in your search results from the get go.

Delta SkyMiles Denver (DEN) to Sydney (SYD) flight with TakeOff 15 discount price calendar 

That 15% discount applies to all fare classes from basic economy all the way to Delta One business class.

Delta SkyMiles Denver (DEN) to Sydney (SYD) flight with TakeOff 15 discount  


Bottom Line

Delta SkyMiles may get a bad rap, but they still have plenty of value for everyday travelers – especially when a good flash sale rolls around. And that's happening all the time.

Whether you've got a few thousand or more than 100,000 Delta SkyMiles in your account, use this guide to find the cheapest fares for your next trip.


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.

1 Responses

  • I have been doing all your suggestions booking Delta, but their business rates are so high that i have used other airlines, AA, virgin, even KLM for Europe flights. I have the AMEX Deltaa platinum card, about 350K miles, and am stuck for two passengers. I may need to bookone ticket on miles, one cash. I hate going thru LHR due to landing fees on Virgin code-sharing but the UK is my primary destination.
    Any ideas?
    Steve Savran

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