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.
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.
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.
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 quickly 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 4k SkyMiles. You can get 2 cents per SkyMile, which is a solid value.
- [NEW] Laurent Perrier La Cuvee Brut Rosé NV – 4,000 SkyMiles (retail $80)
- Dom Perignon – 12,500 SkyMiles (retail $250)
This deal has been around since last spring, and I’ve taken advantage of it several times. 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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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, check out our Top Cards section.
Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.