Your Simple Guide To Delta Airlines SkyMiles

Frequent Flyer Miles
Want to make the most of your Delta Airlines SkyMiles? Look no further than this guide, complete with tips on earning and redeeming miles, plus a handy calculator.
Last Updated 2023-04-27 By R.Flowers III

Delta SkyMiles: Quick Overview

How To Earn SkyMiles: SkyMiles are primarily earned flying Delta and their airline partners. You can also earn miles using credit cards and spending with Delta partners.

Redeeming SkyMiles: SkyMiles can be redeemed for flights, hotels, car rentals, gift cards, merchandise, and cruises.

Delta SkyMiles Value: Based on our valuations, Delta SkyMiles are worth 1.2 cents on average. This means 10,000 miles are worth about $120 in flight value.

Airline Alliance: Delta Airlines is part of the SkyTeam alliance.

Major Credit Card Partners: American Express Membership Rewards is the only major U.S. credit card rewards partner.

Best Credit Cards For Delta SkyMiles

Delta Airlines partners

Delta Airlines is part of the SkyTeam alliance which allows you to earn and redeem SkyMiles for flights with Delta and their airline partners all around the world. If you fly Delta and their partners enough, you can obtain SkyTeam elite status which will grant you benefits when flying SkyTeam partners.

SkyTeam Alliance

Here are Delta Airlines' SkyTeam alliance partners:

  • AerolĂ­neas Argentinas
  • Aeromexico
  • Air Europa
  • Air France
  • China Airlines
  • China Eastern
  • Czech Airlines
  • Garuda Indonesia
  • ITA Airways
  • Kenya Airways
  • KLM
  • Korean Air
  • Middle East Airlines (MEA)
  • Saudia
  • TAROM
  • Vietnam Airlines
  • Virgin Atlantic
  • XiamenAir

Other airline partners

Delta SkyMiles can also be earned and/or redeemed on a few select partners outside of the alliance. This includes:

  • Cape Air
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • WestJet

What's the value of Delta SkyMiles?

How much are Delta SkyMiles worth? The simple answer: about 1.2 cents per mile on average. This means 10,000 SkyMiles are equal to about $120 in value when booking flights with Delta and their partners.

SkyMiles can also be used for car rentals, gift cards, merchandise, and cruises. All of these redemptions will give your SkyMiles less than 1 cent in value.

Redemption option Redemption value in cents
Delta Flights 1.2
Pay With Miles 1.0
Car Rentals 0.84
Delta Gift Cards 0.69
Merchandise 0.55
Cruises 0.47
Hotels 0.42
Other Gift Cards 0.41

How to earn Delta SkyMiles

If you're looking to earn Delta SkyMiles, there are plenty of options available to you. Of course, you can earn miles by flying with Delta and their partner airlines, but there are also other ways to accumulate miles. For example, you can earn miles by using Delta co-branded credit cards, shopping with retail partners, renting cars, booking hotels, and even dining out at participating restaurants.

Fly Delta Airlines

The easiest and most straightforward way to earn Delta SkyMiles is by flying Delta Airlines. As a Delta SkyMiles member, you'll earn miles based on the cost of your ticket minus government-imposed taxes and fees.

The amount of miles you earn will depend on your Delta Medallion status in the Delta SkyMiles program and the fare booked.

Here's how many SkyMiles each Medallion level earns per dollar spent:

  • SkyMiles members: 5 miles per $1 spent.
  • Silver Medallion members: 7 miles per $1 spent.
  • Gold Medallion members: 8 miles per $1 spent.
  • Platinum Medallion members: 9 miles per $1 spent.
  • Diamond Medallion members: 11 miles per $1 spent.

Do note that you will not earn Delta SkyMiles or Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) when booking basic economy flights.

So for example, a general SkyMiles member booking a $300 flight would earn 1,500 SkyMiles ($300 x 5 miles per $1). A Diamond Medallion member booking that same flight would earn 3,300 SkyMiles ($300 x 11 miles per $1).

Fly partner airlines

Delta SkyMiles can be earned flying partner airlines. This includes SkyTeam alliance partners and a handful of non-alliance airlines.

The amount of SkyMiles you earn will depend on the airline. For example, here's the mile accrual chart for Aeromexico:

aeromexico delta skymiles accrual
Delta SkyMiles accrual rate for flying Aeromexico.

As you can see, you can earn 100% of your miles when flying economy and business class fares with Aeromexico, but discount fares will only earn you 50% of your miles. Even lower than that is Deep Discounted Economy (fare class V) which will only give you 25% of your miles.

You can find all Delta partner airlines and the mile accrual charts on their Earning With Airline Partners page.

Use Delta credit cards

Delta offers a whopping seven credit cards through American Express. These cards not only earn you SkyMiles per $1 spent, but they also offer a wide range of benefits including free checked bags, annual companion passes, and shortcuts to Medallion status through spending.

One of our top picks for Delta is the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card. It earns 3 SkyMiles per $1 spent on Delta purchases, 2 SkyMiles per $1 spent at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery in the U.S. and at U.S. supermarkets, and 1 SkyMile per $1 spent on all other purchases. It offers a range of benefits, but the best one is the Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year which allows a person to travel with you for just the cost of taxes and fees (which is no more than $80 for round-trip).

Transfer points to Delta SkyMiles

Delta SkyMiles can be earned by transferring rewards earned in partner programs directly to your SkyMiles account. Here's the complete list of Delta transfer partners:

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American Express Membership Rewards is the only major U.S. credit card rewards program that is partnered with Delta. Membership Rewards points can be transferred to Delta at a 1:1 ratio meaning that every 1,000 AMEX points you transfer will give you 1,000 Delta SkyMiles.

With multipliers as high as 5X and intro bonuses reaching as high as 120,000 points, this makes Membership Rewards credit cards an excellent choice for earning SkyMiles. On top of that, you can even receive complimentary Delta SkyClub access with the The Platinum Card from American Express and The Business Platinum Card from American Express.

Spend with car rental and rideshare partners

Delta SkyMiles can be earned on car rentals by booking rental cars directly through delta.com/cars or by booking directly with partners such as Hertz, Dollar, Enterprise, and Thrifty.

You can also earn miles on limo rentals with Carmel Car & Limo and using rideshare with Lyft.

Book hotels

You can earn Delta SkyMiles booking hotel stays. This can be done directly through delta.com/hotels or directly with the hotel by either booking through a special portal or by changing your earning preferences to Delta SkyMiles. Partners include Marriott, IHG, Radisson, and Airbnb.

Pay your gas bill

Delta Airlines partners with Natural Gas in several states which allows you to earn 2 SkyMiles per $1 spent when paying your gas bill. This includes:

  • Energy Plus
  • Georgia National Gas
  • Grand Rapids Energy
  • Illinois Energy
  • Illinois Energy Solutions
  • Ohio Natural Gas

It's an easy way to earn SkyMiles on what you would normally do anyway.

Shop and dine out with partners

Delta has a small handful of partners that you can use to earn SkyMiles when shopping or dining out. You can earn SkyMiles with Starbucks (Stars too!), on gifts through FTD, and when signing up for wine delivery though Vinesse Wines.

Delta also offers SkyMiles Dining which allows you to earn up to 5X miles at participating restaurants and SkyMiles Shopping which offers the ability to earn miles shopping online with hundreds of leading retailers.

Shop for groceries online

Instacart and Delta has teamed up to earn you SkyMiles when shopping for groceries. You can earn 1 mile with Delta per $1 spent on Instacart and get up to 3 months free based on your Delta Medallion status.

Ways to redeem Delta SkyMiles

Delta SkyMiles will have the best value when redeemed for award flights through delta.com, but you can also use them for hotels, car rentals, gift cards, and cruises.

Award flights

You can book flights with Delta Airlines and their airline partners through delta.com. When selecting the 'Book with Miles' option, all Delta and partner flights will be listed in the results together.

Delta has a few sweet spots that can net you some solid value:

  • Short-haul flights in the U.S.
  • Long-haul economy flights in the U.S.
  • Flights to the U.K. on Virgin Atlantic
  • Flights to Brazil on LATAM
  • Flights from the U.S. to Canada

You can also obtain excellent value through Delta's flash sales and weekend getaways. During these promos, award flight costs are heavily reduced which can save you lots of SkyMiles in the long run.

If you have a Delta SkyMiles American Express Credit Card, you'll have exclusive access to Pay with Miles which allows you to redeem your SkyMiles towards the cost of your flight starting at 5,000 SkyMiles for $50 off. It's not the "best" value, but it's a great alternative if you don't have enough miles to book the full award flight.

Hotel stays

Delta SkyMiles can be used to book hotel stays through the Delta SkyMiles marketplace. You'll need to have at least half of the miles required for the booking. You can pay cash for the remainder of the balance if you do not have enough SkyMiles.

Car rentals

Delta SkyMiles can be redeemed for car rentals booked through Delta SkyMiles marketplace. This includes all the leading rental companies such as Hertz, Dollar, Alamo, and Thrifty.

Cruises

If you're big on cruising, you can put your Delta SkyMiles towards such through the Delta SkyMiles marketplace. Standard interior rooms start as low as 78,000 SkyMiles and there's a wide range of cruise lines you can pick from.

Gift cards

Delta SkyMiles can be redeemed for gift cards. Categories include dining, entertainment, gas, and travel. You can also redeem them for Delta gift cards, though you would receive significantly better value using them to book award travel instead.

Merchandise

Delta SkyMiles can be redeemed for merchandise through the Delta SkyMiles marketplace. This includes suitcases, electronics, kitchen appliances, Apple electronics, and much more. This redemption will give your SkyMiles low value.

Delta Medallion Status

Once you sign up for a Delta SkyMiles account, you'll be given a Delta SkyMiles number. You'll use this number when booking flights with Delta and their partners to earn Delta SkyMiles.

When you use your SkyMiles number to book flights, you will also earn credit towards Delta Medallion status. For every flight (excludes Basic economy), you will earn:

  • Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs): These are earned based on distance flown and your fare class. They are not to be confused with actual Delta SkyMiles which are used to book award flights.
  • Medallion Qualification Segments (MQSs): These are the number of flights you've take from wheels up to wheels down. So a straight flight with no layover would be 1 segment. A flight with a layover would be 2 segments since it's two flights.
  • Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs): These are earned based on your annual spend on Delta flights and on most partner flights.

Each level in the Delta Medallion program requires a combination of flying and spending with Delta and partners. You will need to meet either the Miles or Segments requirement AND meet the MQDs requirement or spend your way to the MQD waiver using Delta SkyMiles American Express Credit Cards.

Here's the requirements for earning Delta Medallion status:

  • Delta Silver Medallion: 25,000 MQMs or 30 MQSs AND $3,000 MQDs or MQD Waiver.
  • Delta Gold Medallion: 50,000 MQMs or 60 MQSs AND $8,000 MQDs or MQD Waiver.
  • Delta Platinum Medallion: 75,000 MQMs or 100 MQSs AND $12,000 MQDs or MQD Waiver.
  • Delta Diamond Medallion: 125,000 MQMs or 140 MQSs AND $20,000 MQDs or MQD Waiver.

As a Delta Medallion member, you'll also receive SkyTeam Elite status which grants benefits when flying other SkyTeam alliance airlines.

Delta Silver Medallion benefits

Delta Silver Medallion members receive 7 SkyMiles per $1 spent, unlimited complimentary upgrades on day of departure with Delta and on select Aeromexico flights, a free checked bag, priority check-in, and priority boarding.

When flying SkyTeam partners, Delta Silver Medallion members will be able to enjoy SkyTeam Elite status which offers priority boarding, preferred seats, and more.

Delta Gold Medallion benefits

Delta Gold Medallion members receive 8 SkyMiles per $1 spent, unlimited complimentary upgrade beginning 72 hours prior to departure with Delta and on select Aeromexico flights, complimentary preferred seats, a free checked bag, Sky Priority check-in and boarding, and drink vouchers.

When flying SkyTeam partners, Delta Gold Medallion members will be able to enjoy SkyTeam Elite+ status which includes priority baggage handling, global lounge access, and more.

Delta Platinum Medallion benefits

Delta Platinum Medallion members receive 9 SkyMiles per $1 spent, one Choice Benefit, unlimited complimentary upgrade beginning 120 hours prior to departure with Delta and on select Aeromexico flights, complimentary preferred and Delta Comfort+ seats, a free checked bag, Sky Priority, Hertz President's Circle Status, and drink vouchers.

When flying SkyTeam partners, Delta Platinum Medallion members will be able to enjoy SkyTeam Elite+ status.

Delta Diamond Medallion benefits

Delta Diamond Medallion members receive 11 SkyMiles per $1 spent, a Choice Benefit, complimentary CLEAR Plus membership, highest priority boarding among Medallion members, Sky Priority, complimentary upgrades beginning 120 hours prior to departure with priority for Delta and select Aeromexico flights, complimentary preferred and Delta Comfort+ seats, a free checked bag, Sky Priority, Hertz President's Circle Status, and drink vouchers.

When flying SkyTeam partners, Delta Platinum Medallion members will be able to enjoy SkyTeam Elite+ status.

Credit Cards that earn Delta SkyMiles

There are a total of seven co-branded Delta credit cards available from American Express. If you fly Delta, even if only once or twice a year, picking up a Delta credit card can be very well worth it due to the benefits they offer.

Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card

  • Earn 10,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months.
  • Earn 2X miles per dollar spent on Delta purchases and at restaurants worldwide, and 1X miles on all other purchases.
  • Pay with Miles: take up to $50 off the cost of your flight for every 5,000 miles you redeem with Pay with Miles when you book on delta.com.
  • Receive a 20% savings in the form of a statement credit after you use your Card on eligible Delta in-flight purchases of food, beverages, and audio headsets.

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

  • Earn 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months.
  • Earn 2X miles on Delta purchases, at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery in the U.S. and at U.S. supermarkets. 1X miles on all other purchases.
  • Enjoy a free checked bag on Delta flights and Main Cabin 1 priority boarding.
  • Save 15% on Award Travel when using miles to book Delta flights through delta.com and the Fly Delta app.
  • $100 Delta Flight Credit: After you spend $10,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, receive a Credit to use toward future travel.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

  • Earn 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months.
  • Earn 3X miles on Delta purchases and on purchases made directly at hotels, 2X miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets, and 1X on all other purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year.

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card

  • Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $5,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months.
  • Earn 3X miles on Delta purchases and 1X miles on all other purchases
  • Complimentary access to the Delta Sky Club® for you when traveling on a Delta flight and access to The Centurion Lounge when you book a Delta flight with your Reserve Card.
  • Receive a domestic First Class, Delta Comfort+® or domestic Main Cabin round trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card.
  • Earn up to 60,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) With Status Boost® per year.

Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card

  • Welcome Offer: Earn 50,000 Bonus Miles after spending $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 2X miles on Delta purchases, U.S. advertising in select media, U.S. shipping purchases, and at restaurants. 1X miles on all other purchases.
  • Enjoy a free checked bag on Delta flights and Main Cabin 1 priority boarding.
  • Save 15% on Award Travel when using miles to book Delta flights through delta.com and the Fly Delta app.
  • Receive a $100 Delta Flight Credit to use toward future travel after you spend $10,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card

  • Welcome Offer: Earn 60,000 Bonus Miles after spending $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 3X miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels and 1.5X miles (and additional half mile per $1) on single eligible purchases of $5K or more, up to 50K additional miles per year. 1X miles on other purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year.

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card

  • Welcome Offer: Earn 70,000 Bonus Miles after spending $5,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 3X miles on purchases made with Delta and 1X miles on all other purchases. After you spend $150,000 on your Card in a calendar year, you earn 1.5X miles on eligible purchases the rest of the year.
  • Complimentary access to the Delta Sky Club® for you when traveling on a Delta flight and access to The Centurion Lounge when you book a Delta flight with your Reserve Card.
  • Receive a domestic First Class, Delta Comfort+® or domestic Main Cabin round trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card.
  • Earn up to 60,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) With Status Boost® per year.
Enjoy complimentary Delta SkyClub access with the Delta's Reserve credit cards or with AMEX's Platinum credit cards.
Earn SkyMiles using credit card transfer partners.

American Express Membership Rewards is the only major U.S. credit card rewards program that is partnered with Delta SkyMiles. This opens up several top-notch travel credit cards that you can use to earn lots of SkyMiles via intro bonuses and everyday spending.

Here's our top Membership Rewards credit card picks for earning Delta SkyMiles:

American Express® Gold Card

  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months.
  • Earns 4X points on restaurants purchases worldwide, 4X points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year), 3X points on airfare booked direct, and 1X points on everything else.
  • Up to $120 in annual Uber Cash and up to $120 in annual dining credits. Terms apply.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

  • Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on the Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earns 5X points on airfare purchased direct or through American Express Travel (on up to $500,000 per year) and 5X points on prepaid hotel bookings through American Express Travel.
  • Global airport lounge access, over $1,400 in annual credits, complimentary elite status with several loyalty programs, top-notch travel insurance, and much more. Terms apply.

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express

  • Earn 120,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with your Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Earns 5X points on airfare and pre-paid hotel bookings through American Express Travel and 1X points on everything else.
  • Global lounge access, over $1,400 in annual credits, 35% point rebate when booking flights via AMEX Travel, complimentary elite status with top travel programs, and much more. Terms apply.

Delta SkyMiles calculator

Use the Delta SkyMiles calculator to determine which credit cards will earn you the most SkyMiles based on the monthly or yearly spending amounts you enter.

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