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It’s no secret that using SkyMiles can be confusing — and sometimes frustrating — without price charts and seemingly constant changes and cancellations. However, once you have a large amount of SkyMiles in your account and arm yourself with the knowledge you need to navigate this program, you’ll find that you can get tremendous value out of your SkyMiles.
Frequent Flyer Miles Calculator Delta
For example, we’ve seen Delta award flash sales offering round-trip tickets for just 5,000 SkyMiles. And Delta has launched flash sales in Europe, like round-trip economy flights for 32,000 SkyMiles and even Delta One flights. You’ve probably already started thinking about the possibilities!
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While it takes some effort to understand and ultimately use your SkyMiles, many believe Delta’s in-flight experience is the best of any US airline — and it was named TPG’s Best Airline for 2021. Today I’m going to tell you five things you need to know about Delta SkyMiles so you can make the most of them.
Simply put, we don’t know how many miles an award flight on Delta should cost. In 2015, Delta removed the award lists from their site without warning, and they haven’t returned (and apparently never will). If you want to save miles for a future award flight, you should search the scheduled itinerary for multiple dates to estimate the approximate range of miles you need, knowing that it can change at any time.
The second thing to note about the lack of published price tables is how large a range of SkyMiles can be claimed for the same itinerary. Domestic flights that cost 10,000 miles a day can be cut in half in just a few days. Check out the weekly price difference for a short flight from New York-JFK to Chicago-O’Hare (ORD):
When it comes to international lines – and premium cabins in particular – the discrepancy can be even more significant. Check out this price search for one-way business class flights from Detroit (DTW) to Tel Aviv, Israel (TLV):
Delta Skymiles Value: How Much Are Delta Miles Worth?
Availability with award programs is always a challenge, but without set awards, these significant changes end up forcing you to plan your travel schedule based on availability, rather than SkyMiles rewarding you with the schedule you want.
Finally, without fixed prices, last-minute SkyMiles award tickets work like revenue tickets: they tend to be much more expensive. Delta does not charge a ticket fee like other carriers, but the highest number of miles claimed within 21 days of departure is a de facto fee.
This is a major disadvantage of collecting SkyMiles compared to the miles of other legacy carriers. If I need a last-minute ticket, I don’t even bother looking for SkyMiles anymore. In this example from Detroit (DTW) to Chicago (ORD), short-term award tickets are more than triple the price compared to booking two to three weeks out, which is typical for Delta:
Counterintuitively, to pay less miles for a Delta award ticket, you sometimes have to fly more. This is a result of Delta benefiting from little/no competition on routes from its hubs. Try to avoid searching for domestic prices on Delta.com from Atlanta (ATL), Detroit (DTW), or Minneapolis (MSP). Award tickets are usually much more expensive because there are no other nonstop options, especially if you’re hoping to fly first class.
Delta’s Website And App Now Display
If you move the departure point to New York-JFK, which is served by many other carriers, the prices drop significantly – many routes these days go to Detroit:
In late 2020, Delta once again increased the SkyMiles required to book partner award flights. Now, flying on partner airlines for flights to and from the US is worth even more miles.
Business class fares have been hit particularly hard by these changes. For example, Virgin Atlantic flights to and from the US now cost 120,000 miles – up from the previous price of 86,000 miles. Economy fares have also increased by 10,000 miles and now cost 35,000 miles one way.
Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, Delta regularly posted SkyMiles sales on specific routes and travel dates, often with great benefits for both Prime and Delta One bookings. As the pandemic took its toll on the travel industry, Delta stopped publishing them. However, they are starting to come back. You can find domestic routes from 10,000 miles round trip. And you can often find one-way tickets from 4,500 miles.
Things You Need To Know About Delta Skymiles
Keep an eye on the Delta SkyMiles sales page to find these offers. They were more common with more offers, but are slowly coming back. This is good news for travelers.
Delta SkyMiles is one of the few programs that allows you to earn elite status only through credit cards. It used to be the only one among the big three US carriers, but American Airlines joined the list in 2022 with the introduction of loyalty points.
If you have both co-branded Delta cards issued by American Express that earn qualifying Medallion miles (consumer or business versions of each card), you can work your way to top-level Platinum Medallion status without ever stepping foot a Delta plane.
If you have a Delta Platinum Amex and a Delta Reserve Amex and can spend $50,000 and $120,000 (respectively) on them, you will earn Platinum status. This is because you will have 80,000 MQM (just over the required threshold of 75,000) and waive the Medallion Qualifying Dollar (MQD) requirement for Silver, Gold and Platinum status.
Delta Skymiles: How Much Are They Worth?
While not Delta’s highest tier, Medallion Platinum still comes with unlimited upgrades and a selection of perks that will greatly enhance your flight.
Also remember that all MQMs earned in 2021 carry over to 2022. As a result, this should give you a big head start on getting status this year.
On the one hand, it’s hard not to pay just 2,500 miles for domestic tickets. On the other hand, Delta president Glen Hauenstein doesn’t want people to use miles for free flights. Also, I have a hard time trusting a program known for unannounced depreciations on a regular basis.
I continue to find great value in using SkyMiles for domestic flights for me and my family, and I see no less value in Delta Platinum Medallion status. However, if I’m looking for premium prices on long-haul cabins, SkyMiles is not the currency.
Delta Skymiles Devalued? Let’s Do The Math
Richard Kerr is the Loyalty and Engagement Editor at The Points Guy, focused on creating content that educates and empowers TPG readers.
Earn 90,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 on new card purchases in the first 3 months. The offer is valid until August 3, 2022.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQM) after spending $25,000 in purchases on your card in a calendar year, up to twice a year, moving you closer to Medallion status. Earn 3X miles on Delta purchases and direct hotel purchases, 2X miles on US restaurants and supermarkets, and earn 1X miles on all other eligible purchases. Terms and conditions apply.
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Delta Air Lines Skymiles Calculator: Miles And Elite Status Earned Per Flight
Editorial Note: The opinions expressed herein are solely those of the author, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Delta Air Lines 737-900ER, flight number N815DN, is seen from the Detla Sky Club at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) in Seattle, Washington.
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Delta Air Lines announced in March that SkyMiles members can earn 50%-75% elite qualifying bonuses on eligible flights through the end of 2021 (even on award tickets!). The airline called this medallion the “Accelerator.”
But Delta initially said the MQD and MQM bonuses would not be reflected on the inbound departure/arrival page. If you want to figure out how much MQD and MQM you would earn, you need to manually multiply the displayed earnings by 1.5 (for a premium cabin) or 1.75 (premium cabin) to get the approximate results.
Delta Miles + Cash Vs. Pay With Miles Tickets
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