Making the best use of Delta SkyMiles frequent flyer program can get you exceptional value when earning and redeeming Delta miles.
Travellers will often feel happy when an airline offers them certain travel bonus, in the form of points or rewards. These rewards or points then allow you to spend less money on, say, booking a flight reservation to your holiday destination etc. However, there may be certain individuals that accumulate these points, but do not use such travel bonus at all. So, instead of just keeping them, why no use them on purchasing merchandise and services, including Delta’s partner retails.
In this travel guide prepared by Treknova, we shall take a look at how to make the best use of your Delta SkyMiles.
A Quick Look at Delta SkyMiles
Delta Airlines offers a travel program called SkyMiles to their customers. Basically, it is a bonus miles program that customers can earn each time they make a purchase of products and services. It is a dollar-based program. Unlike mileage-based redemption programs where miles are earned based on distance or segments travelled, under this program, bonus miles are earned based on the dollar amount spent.
Now, in order for you to start using this travel program, it is required that you first sign up for the SkyMiles account on the airline’s website. The purpose for having to sign up for such account is that customers can easily keep track of their bonus miles and even redeem them later. There are, of course, other features and benefits that are included too.
When you sign up for a membership, you will be assigned a unique Delta SkyMiles account number, which you can use to earn miles in a variety of ways. There are, in fact, two types of miles in the Delta SkyMiles loyalty program referred to as miles and Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs). Miles are earned by making purchases and can be redeemed for awards. As a member, you will begin earning 5 bonus miles for every $1 you spend on flights. You can also earn more if you use a Delta SkyMiles credit card. The other program called MQMs is based on the distance travelled, and they help you achieve elite status, like Silver, Gold, Platinum and Diamond, and extra benefits.
While Delta SkyMiles never expire, they also do not do you any good if they are just sitting in your account. So, you should make use of it.
Credit Cards that Let You Earn Delta SkyMiles Bonus Miles
American Express offers various personal and business Delta credit cards. Most of the cards offer a welcome bonus once you meet a spending requirement. Because there are several options, you should choose the card that works best for your situation. It is important to evaluate your spending habits before making a decision.
If you are looking to pick up a personal credit card, here are the options (terms apply):
(i) Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card: You can earn 35,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Also, there is a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99. You can use this card to get one free checked bag for you and up to 8 companions on your itinerary, which we see as a must-have if you fly Delta regularly.
(ii) Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card: You can earn 40,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first three months. Plus, you earn a $100 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months.
(iii) Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card: You can earn 40,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.
(iv) Delta SkyMiles Blue American Express Card: You can earn 10,000 miles after you spend $500 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.
When you make a purchase with a Delta SkyMiles credit card, you will receive twice the miles on Delta official purchases. The best part is your purchases do not necessarily have to be for flights in order to qualify. For example, you can just pay for baggage fees with your Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card and you will still earn 2 miles per $1 spent.
How to Use Your Delta SkyMiles Points
If you want to get the best value for those unused miles, here are ways to redeem them.
Log In to Your Delta SkyMiles Account and Check Accumulated Miles
The first thing you want to do is to log in to your SkyMiles account on Delta.com. At the login page, enter your SkyMiles number or user name and your password to access your account.
Note:If you have forgotten any of this information, there are links that will allow you to recover your account.
Once you are logged in, you will be able to see an overview of your SkyMiles account. From here, you can see your SkyMiles balance, and any trips you currently have booked or choose to book one now.
View Your SkyMiles Balance
After you are logged in to your SkyMiles account, go to the left side of the page to see your current SkyMiles balance.
You may have accumulated these miles through travel with Delta, as rewards for use of a credit card or by spending money with one of Delta’s partners.
But, how you got the miles is not nearly as important as how you use them. In order to get the maximum value out of your miles, you have to understand their value.
What are Your Delta SkyMiles Worth
Knowing the amount of miles you have to redeem is important, but understanding how much those miles are typically worth is what will give you a sense of when you should redeem them and when you would be better off paying cash.
While Delta regularly offers sales for reduced mileage, these are typically for low demand flights that are often heavily discounted if you were to pay cash. Therefore, Delta SkyMiles are often worth about one cent each, and sometimes less or just a little more, towards Delta flights. So, if each SkyMile has a relative cash value of around a penny or just a little more, the key to figuring out how to maximize your SkyMiles is to look for situations where they are actually worth more.
Redeeming Your Miles for Delta Flights
After getting the rough idea of how many SkyMiles you have and how much they are worth, the next thing to do is to figure out what you can do with these miles. If you have a trip that you would like to take in the near future but have not booked yet, take a moment to see if it might make sense to use miles for booking.
For example. If you want to take your family of four on a trip to Orlando for a winter holiday in February, here is how you would determine if you should use miles or pay with cash. First, you would go to Delta’swebsite. On the homepage,you will need to put in your trip details, then check the “Shop with Miles” box. The resulting grid will show you that each ticket will cost you between 9,000 and 38,500 miles, depending on when you choose to travel.
We will assume the miles are worth one cent apiece, that is the equivalent of paying anywhere between $90 and $385 per ticket. If you can adjust your travel days to one day earlier and one day later than you had planned, you can travel round-trip from Atlanta to Orlando from February 12-18 for 9,000 miles (plus $11.20 in fees) per ticket.
In order to see if that’s a good deal versus paying cash for the tickets, you will need to do a little more search, however, this time without selectingthe “Shop with Miles” box. The key is to look for cases where there is an advantage to using miles over paying cash, typically when the value of each mile exceeds a cent or more. Delta does run specials on SkyMiles tickets, which you can find on its SkyMiles Deals page. Even with these, you should check the cash price on equivalent tickets to make sure you really are getting a deal.
Use Your SkyMiles for Shopping at SkyMiles Marketplace
There are other ways too,where you can use your Delta SkyMiles that do not involve travel. However, you are likely to find that it is even more difficult to get real value out of your miles using them this way. The SkyMiles Marketplace offers a variety of merchandisewhichyou can purchase using your SkyMiles. For example, the Bose QuietComfort 35 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones issold for $350 at Best Buy. If you pay 76,396 miles for the item that would make your miles effectively worth less than half a cent per mile.
However, if you have only flown Delta a couple of times and do not have enough miles to redeem for travel, then you might want to consider redeeming them for magazine subscriptions. For example, you can get 10 issues of Bon Appetit for as little as 600 miles. There are dozens of other choices.
Conclusion – Make The Best Use of Your Delta SkyMiles
Although Delta SkyMiles might not be worth a lot in the wider realm of frequent flyer programs, if you do have these miles and you are not using them, then they are simply just not worth anything at all.
Thus, now that you know what these miles should be worth and more importantly, could be worth, take some time to explore your options. Do not let those miles you have earned go to waste.