For years, Delta steadily stripped the value out of its SkyMiles program with sky-high rates to book business class, basic economy awards with painful restrictions, and disappearing SkyMiles deals. Unless you used them for short domestic flights, Delta miles started to feel worthless. Then, Delta poured salt in the wound with sweeping and painful changes to its Medallion status program.
But there's a silver lining if you've got Delta miles to use: Deeply discounted Delta SkyMiles flash sales have roared back this year, with jaw-dropping deals to Tokyo, Australia, New Zealand, and more serving as proof. After going six-plus months without a halfway decent SkyMiles deal abroad, we've found and sent Thrifty Traveler Premium members more than a dozen dirt-cheap Delta SkyMiles deals in the last two months. Heck, Delta is even advertising these deals again!
We're always looking for Delta SkyMiles deals for our Thrifty Traveler Premium members!
- Out of nowhere in June, 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.
- Delta followed that up with a dirt-cheap 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!
- There was a brief window to down to Bogota (BOG) in Delta Comfort Plus seats for 30,000 miles roundtrip – less than half of what Delta was charging for standard economy seats!
- Business class fares abroad typically cost 400,000 SkyMiles or more, so we loved finding roundtrip fares to Seoul (ICN) in Delta One Suites for just 170,000 SkyMiles total!
- Want to get to Japan? For the first time in a year, Delta slashed award rates on roundtrip flights to Tokyo from airports nationwide: as low as 42,000 SkyMiles roundtrip!
- Auckland (AKL) 37,400 SkyMiles roundtrip
- Santiago (SCL) 44,000 SkyMiles
- Maui 13,600 SkyMiles
- Bogota (BOG) 30,000 SkyMiles
- Seoul (ICN) 170,000 SkyMiles total
- Tokyo (HND) 42,000 SkyMiles
- A slew of SkyMiles deals to destinations throughout Mexico and even Costa Rica have cropped up for as little as 9,000 SkyMiles.
- Just this week, Delta slashed award rates to Tahiti (PPT) to the lowest point we've ever seen: As low as 39,000 SkyMiles roundtrip!
- After that earlier sale to Auckland, Delta launched another sale to both New Zealand and Australia for 70,000 SkyMiles nationwide … or just 34,000 SkyMiles on the nonstops from Los Angeles (LAX)!
These Delta deals are gone now – get the next SkyMiles sale straight to your inbox with Thrifty Traveler Premium!
Those are some incredible deals, at far cheaper rates than you'll ever see from the likes of American Airlines or United. And it's a marked turnaround for Delta. Until recently, the steady stream of international Delta flash sales that travelers with SkyMiles had come to rely on like 32,000 SkyMiles to Europe or 50,000 SkyMiles to Tahiti and back had practically disappeared.
While we still wouldn't encourage travelers whose primary goal is booking business class seats to pile up SkyMiles, it's been encouraging to see more discounted rates popping up on Delta One award fares. That includes this recent 170,000-SkyMile-fare to Seoul we sent to Thrifty Traveler Premium members a few weeks back.
Is 170,000 miles for a roundtrip to Asia in business class the best deal in the world? Hardly. But unless you're content paying 400,000 SkyMiles or more for these seats, hopping on one of these occasional discounted Delta deals is the best way to do it with Delta.
Best of all, many of these latest SkyMiles sales have extended to travelers in airports nationwide … including major Delta hubs like Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP), Detroit (DTW), and Atlanta (ATL). Those big hubs often miss the cut for the best deals thanks to Delta's hub penalty. (The airline knows it can get away with charging diehard Delta fans more, and that's exactly what they do.)
But whether you were in San Francisco (SFO) or Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP), you could get all the way down to Santiago (SCL) for just 44,000 SkyMiles roundtrip – or even less with a co-branded Delta credit card.
We know our Thrifty Traveler Premium members had been waiting for the return of deals like these. Heck, so had we. The response in our members-only Facebook group has been amazing to see, full of travelers taking trips to Hawaii, New Zealand, or Chile for 50,000 SkyMiles or less. It's a good reminder: While the vast majority of people still wish their SkyMiles went further, they still love a great Delta SkyMiles flash sale.
What Does This Mean for Future Delta SkyMiles Sales?
So what gives?
Has Delta had a change of heart after years of tanking SkyMiles' value? Are they just throwing frustrated flyers a bone? Is the airline merely trying to fill some empty seats on several relatively new routes? Or, at a time when some travelers might be rethinking their allegiance to SkyMiles, are they hoping some solid sales generate a new buzz?
Of course, it does matter. Travelers who have banked up SkyMiles rightfully want to know whether this is a brief detour or whether they can count on solid deals from Delta in the future. Only time will tell.
In good times and bad, these SkyMiles flash sales have long been the best way to use Delta SkyMiles. That's no accident: These occasional, deeply discounted award rates have helped travelers look past the unpredictable award pricing, sky-high business class rates, and constant devaluations. When you believe there's a 32,000-SkyMile flight to Europe in your future, what more reason do you need to keep earning SkyMiles?
To be clear, SkyMiles don't go nearly as far as they did just a year ago. Travelers who default to swiping their Delta credit card would be much better served by earning flexible credit card points like American Express Membership Rewards from cards like the *amex gold card*.
That way, if another great Delta deal pops up, you can transfer some points to your SkyMiles account and book! And if it doesn't, you've got plenty of other Amex transfer partners to make better use of those points.
But this trend is undeniable: Delta SkyMiles sales are back in a big way. And we're searching harder than ever to find the next one for Thrifty Traveler Premium members.
A few months ago, we worried about the sad state of Delta SkyMiles. With this recent turn of events, things have changed.
With deeply discounted flights to Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Hawaii, Mexico, and more, it's safe to say now that Delta SkyMiles flash sales have made a comeback. And that's a win for anyone with some SkyMiles to spare.
If you want to make sure you are at the front of the line as soon as we find the next big Sky Miles deal, then you'll want to join Thrifty Traveler Premium now.