Using Delta SkyMiles to Travel for Less

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Delta SkyMiles gets a bad rap for it’s recent devaluations and customer-unfriendly moves such as removing its award chart. Say what you will, but we’ve been able to use their miles for a few trips; in short, miles open the door for options. Here’s shortlist of possibilities for award travel with your hard earned Delta SkyMiles.

Sunset reflexions at Atlanta airport – Photo: Franco Folini via Flickr, used under Creative Commons License (By 2.0)

Travel to Asia

Korean Air and China Airlines (amongst other Chinese airlines) offer good coverage to Asia. They can be booked via Delta but keep in mind Korean Air availability is limited on Delta as they like to release only one business class seat for partners. Here is the one-way cost for that one seat:

Travel to Oceania

Virgin Australia award fares are bookable via Delta’s site and there’s plenty of destinations in the Pacific to fly to such as Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti or Fiji, to name a few. It’ll cost 90,000 roundtrip in Main Cabin to Fiji from Los Angeles:

 

Travel to Europe

Air France and KLM release their award space 300 days out. Delta releases theirs 331 days out so take advantage of this head start. During this period you may be able to find Air France/KLM availability on Delta’s site. After this, the likelihood really slims down.

 

Consider the following cards from Delta and American Express to help you pad those mileage balances.

Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card

  • Earn 2x miles on purchases made directly with Delta; 1x on all other purchases
  • Domestic Main Cabin companion certificate yearly
  • First checked bag free
  • Delta Sky Club Access for you and up to 2 guests when traveling on a Delta flight
  • $195 annual fee

Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card

  • Earn 2x miles on purchases made directly with Delta; 1x on all other purchases
  • First checked bag free
  • Discounted Delta Sky Club Access for you and up to 2 guests when traveling on a Delta flight
  • $95 annual fee, waived the first year

Starwood Prefered Guest Credit Card

We like the flexibility of the the Starwood Prefered Guest card where you can transfer your points to over 30 airline frequent flyer programs.

  • Earn 2 points for every dollar spent at Starwood and Marriott; 1 point on purchases elsewhere
  • Receive a 5,000 Starpoint bonus when you transfer 20,000 Starpoints to a participating frequent flyer program
  • $95 annual fee, waived the first year

Amex EveryDay® Credit Card

  • Earn two points for every dollar spent with US supermarkets; one point per dollar spent elsewhere
  • Use your Card 20 or more times on purchases in a billing period and earn 20% extra points
  • Transfer points to travel partners such as Delta
  • $0 annual fee

Platinum Card from American Express

A nice benefit from this card is the included SPG Gold status. SPG elites get 1 Starpoint per dollar spent on Delta so you get an extra point for each dollar you spend. Yes, it carries a hefty annual fee but it’s worth it at least for the first year when you factor in the cost for the perks listed below and its sign-up bonus.

  • Earn 5 points for every dollar on airfare booked directly with the airline or with American Express Travel
  • Annual $200 Airline Fee Credit
  • $100 Global Entry or TSA Pre✓ fee credit
  • Complimentary Boingo wifi access
  • Complimentary Delta Sky Club access
  • Complimentary Centurion Lounge access
  • $450 annual fee

Other Mileage-earning opportunities

These are no brainers and very simple ways to earn extra miles for things you possibly do already anyways.

From these simple ways to credit card bonuses there are plenty of ways to gain extra miles. Just make sure you spend ’em if you got ’em; there is only one constant with miles, they will be worth less in the future.

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5 Responses to "Using Delta SkyMiles to Travel for Less"

  1. credit says:

    Are you saying delta skymiles are better than nothing or are you saying delta are better than other frequent flyer programs.

    We all know they are better than nothing. This article would be useful if you showed trips that you can only book with delta (or in a cheaper way) compared to the other airlines.

    Reply
  2. Concerned Reader says:

    This “perk” from the platinum delta Amex card:
    Delta Sky Club Access for you and up to 2 guests when traveling on a Delta flight
    This implies you get access with 2 companions for free. That’s not true. You and up to 2 companions can pay a reduced fee, but still have to pay. Everyone has “access” to the club so the wording needs to be change to include there’s a fee.

    Reply
  3. Linda O says:

    My family used Delta Miles for a trip from Boston to Marco Island. This was four round trip tickets. We had no problem using them or getting our flights. It did take a long time to earn the
    se miles?

    Reply
  4. Delta better then walking says:

    The only point of this “article” was so that they can show you the credit card offers, for which they invariably get an affiliate commission for. And like sheep, we all followed the link. Baaahhhhhh

    Reply
  5. Anthony Lewis says:

    If you continue to illustrate less desire to be customer friend there’s simply too much competition and choice. I was loyal to Delta DTE and Hartsfield until my American Express was abused and Sky Miles not credited. For the last 30,000 miles I’ve been using another primary Domestic carrier. I recently decided to give Delta another try. Now This ?

    Reply

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