Top 8 Ways to Redeem Delta SkyMiles

It’s no secret that we here at Thrifty Traveler are Delta apologists. Many of Delta’s changes in the last few years have had the frequent traveler community in an uproar, and there is a lot misinformation out there, with SkyMiles being dubbed as “worthless” or “Skypesos”. We simply don’t agree with these statements and are firm believers that there is plenty of value in the SkyMiles program.

It is true that Delta doesn’t publish an award chart, which essentially allows them to change and fluctuate the amount of SkyMiles needed for different redemptions. This can make it difficult to know if you’re getting the best value for your SkyMiles. Let us show you the top 8 ways to redeem Delta SkyMiles.

 

Booking Flight Deals with SkyMiles

Delta’s “Pay with Miles ” feature allows you to save SkyMiles while still working towards earning Delta Medallion status. If you are an American Express Delta cardholder, then you can use your SkyMiles to book cash tickets. By harnessing the power of flight deals found here or through Thrifty Traveler Premium, you are able to save SkyMiles while still getting many elite benefits such as Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQMs) and upgrades.

SkyMiles are worth 1 cent per dollar but you’re getting an incredible deal because many international flight deals can be found for far less than a normal award ticket. For example, the flight below is from New York to Singapore for around $450 or 45,000 SkyMiles round-trip, when using “Pay with Miles”. A typical award ticket on this route typically costs over 100k SkyMiles. You’re not only saving 65k+ SkyMiles, but you’ll also be able to collect MQMs towards Delta status. This is how I book most of my Delta international tickets.

 

Flight deal using “Pay with Miles”

 

Domestic Round-trip Tickets for 10k Skymiles

Shorter routes can easily be snagged for 10k SkyMiles round-trip. Flights shorter than 750 miles seem to be the sweet spot. I’d recommend booking well ahead of your flight to ensure the 10k SkyMiles award space is available.

 

Sample 10k SkyMile flight

 

Premium Select on the new Airbus A350 

If you are booking any trips to Asia next year, you’ll want to take a look at Delta’s new Premium Select product. Premium Select is bookable for only 99k SkyMiles round-trip, which is an insane deal, especially when you’re flying the new A350.

You’ll find more space to stretch out and relax with a wider seat, additional recline and an adjustable footrest and leg rest. Plus, with plated meals and a dedicated flight attendant, you can cruise in complete comfort with an enhanced travel experience on Delta’s longest flights. – Delta

The unique bonus for this redemption is all your domestic connecting flights (to Detroit) will be upgraded to First Class. I’d recommend booking ASAP on this one as I’m still dumbfounded that Delta is offering this new product for so few SkyMiles.

 

Delta Premium Select

 

Monthly Delta Flash Sales 

For the last year, Delta has run monthly flash sales to various destinations worldwide. These are some of my favorite redemptions but you need to move quick on them as the sales typically last 48 hours. The flash sales are typically offered from most U.S. airports with Delta service. We post every flash sale so don’t worry, you won’t miss it.

Sample monthly sales from the last year: 

  • Delta flights to NYC from 11k SkyMiles round-trip
  • Delta flights to Hawaii for 35k SkyMiles and Alaska for 20k
  • Delta A350 Premium Select flights to Asia for 80k SkyMiles
  • Delta Economy flights to Asia for 49k SkyMiles
  • Delta One Flights to Europe for 99k SkyMiles
  • Delta flights to Canada for 18k SkyMiles round-trip
  • Delta flights to the Caribbean and Florida for 20k SkyMiles round-trip
  • Delta flights to South America for 50k SkyMiles round-trip

 

Buying Champagne in the Delta Sky Club 

I know this one won’t be for everyone, but it’s a heck of a good value for your SkyMiles. You can buy expensive (and delicious) bottles of champagne in the Delta Sky Club for as low as 10k SkyMiles. You can get 2 cents per SkyMile, which is solid value.

  • Krug – 10,000 SkyMiles (retail $200)
  • Dom Perignon – 12,500 SkyMiles (retail $250)
  • Louis Roederer Cristal – 13,750 SkyMiles (retail $275)

 

 

This deal has been around since last spring, and I’ve taken advantage of it twice so far. They will even give you a bucket of ice if you’d like to drink it away from the bar. I’ve even asked if it was alright if I opened the bottle at my table. They were alright with it. Using this method we’ve been able to buy several bottles of champagne and take a few home with us. If you’ve got SkyMiles to burn, this is a great way to start your trip off right.

 

Business Class or Economy to the Caribbean and Mexico 

Flights to the Caribbean or Mexico are around 30-45k SkyMiles round-trip in Economy. This is solid value as many flights during peak season can cost upwards of $500.
 

Sample economy flight to Cancun

 

Now this one is my favorite: For around 60k SkyMiles you can fly round-trip in lie-flat Delta One from both Atlanta & Minneapolis to Cancun. Delta runs a wide-body Airbus A330 on these routes from January – March.

 

Mrs. TT enjoying Delta One from Cancun back to Minneapolis

 

To find award space you’ll need to book a flight that originates or connects through Atlanta or Minneapolis to Cancun. They only run the A330 once per day and here are the flight times from January – March:
 

  • ATL – CUN (9:45am)
  • CUN – ATL (1:20pm)

 

  • MSP – CUN (9:00 am) 
  • CUN – MSP (3:10pm)

 

Lie-flat flight from Minneapolis to Cancun on the A330

 

 

Business Class Awards to Europe

You don’t have to look terribly hard to find one-way Delta One (business class) awards for around 70,000 SkyMiles or 140k SkyMiles round-trip. While this is still a good value for your SkyMiles, I’d wait for a SkyMiles Flash Sale to save even more points.

 

Sample Flight

 

Domestic Trips to Alaska

Another one of our favorite Delta SkyMiles redemptions is for round-trip flights between the lower 48 States and Anchorage, Alaska. I was able to easily find a nonstop round-trip flight between Atlanta and Anchorage for only 25,000 SkyMiles. This is a great value for nonstop service considering the flight is over 7 hours. Even if you’re not in a Delta hub, you can find this redemption for 25k SkyMiles.

 

Sample Flight from Atlanta to Anchorage for only 25k SkyMiles nonstop!

Sample Flight from Atlanta to Anchorage for only 25k SkyMiles nonstop!

 

Bottom Line

The tide is turning and more frequent fliers are defecting from American and United and coming to Delta. It’s hard to beat Delta’s on-time flights, awesome elite telephone line, fancy new aircraft (A350), and monthly SkyMiles flash sales. The best way to earn more Delta SkyMiles is by applying for one of their six American Express Delta credit cards. If you’re low on SkyMiles, Delta is currently offering 60k & 70k SkyMiles sign-up bonuses on their American Express credit cards. These limited time offers end November 8th!

 

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  • Infrequent Traveler

    Those short domestic round trips, does that mean one ways are 5k?

    • asdf

      Math checks out

  • Suman Lavania

    Delta is the best with the customer service. Have been with them since 1990 and they have taken good care of us in emergency situations like no one will. I always brag about my Delta sky miles card and fly Delta always.
    Thanks Delta.

    • CommentatusMaximus

      That’s why I switched to Delta.

  • Jack A. Cowan

    Costco sells Dom for $132.99

    • Difference between retail and restaurants/bars. Usually a big markup.

      • Jack A. Cowan

        Yes and I agree that if you drank it AT the SkyClub you might use the higher value but if you take it home you should use the retail value to compare