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How Much Are Delta SkyMiles Worth?

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Updated January 8, 2024

Delta Air Lines is one of the biggest airlines in the United States. It flies to 325 destinations in 52 countries and is a member of SkyTeam, a global airline alliance including airlines such as Air France, KLM, and Korean Air.

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Delta’s loyalty program, SkyMiles, offers members the opportunity to earn points by flying on the airline, engaging with the airline’s partners and using the airline’s co-branded credit cards. SkyMiles can be used for a limited number of reward redemption options, the most valuable of which is booking flights with Delta and its partners.

The value of a Delta SkyMiles point

The number of Delta SkyMiles required to redeem a Delta flight is loosely tied to the cash cost of the same ticket. Based on a sampling of main cabin flights within North America, we value Delta SkyMiles at 1.16 cents per mile. This is the value that most U.S.-based SkyMiles members can expect to get when redeeming SkyMiles for coach travel with Delta and its partners.

However, the value you get from your Delta SkyMiles can vary. When searching, we saw redemption values as low as 0.8 cents per point and as high as 1.6 cents per point. While the redemption value of SkyMiles is loosely tied to the cash price of the ticket, the value you get for your miles will vary. In some cases, you may be able to get increased value for your SkyMiles, such as if you redeem them during SkyMiles award sales or for international travel.

How to calculate Delta SkyMiles value

When you book with Delta Air Lines using SkyMiles, you can and should calculate the value that you are getting for your SkyMiles.

To calculate the value you get from your SkyMiles, you need to know three things:

  • The cash price of the itinerary you want to book (Cash price).
  • The amount of taxes and fees charged on your award ticket (Award taxes).
  • The number of SkyMiles Delta charges for your award ticket (SkyMiles cost).

With this information, you can easily calculate the value (cents per point) you are getting from your SkyMiles using the following formula:

SkyMiles value = (Cash price - Award taxes)/(SkyMiles cost) x 100

For example, if you were looking at this flight from Boston to San Diego on the 20th of October in Main Cabin:

Delta Skymiles Delta Skymiles

…your SkyMiles value calculation would be as follows:

  • Cash price = $277.
  • Award taxes = $6.
  • SkyMiles cost = 24,000 SkyMiles.

Subtract six from 277, divide this figure by 24,000, and then multiply what you have by 100. On this redemption, your SkyMiles value would be 1.13 cents per mile.

How to earn Delta Air Lines SkyMiles

You can earn Delta Air Lines miles by: flying with Delta and its partners, making purchases from and participating in promotions through SkyMiles partners, through the SkyMiles dining program and even by switching your home energy providers.

Flying

You can earn Delta Air Lines SkyMiles by flying with Delta and its partners. The number of miles you earn on Delta-operated and Delta-marketed flights is based on the total of the base fare and the carrier-imposed surcharges, but excludes any government-imposed taxes and fees. If you fly on a ticket purchased through one of Delta’s partners that isn’t marketed by Delta, you will earn miles based on the distance you fly and the specific airfare you book. Some exception fares like cruise fares, consolidator fares, and vacation packages earn miles based on the number of miles you fly.

Partner programs

Delta offers several partnerships that can help you pad out your balance of SkyMiles. The airline’s partnerships with Starbucks and Lyft will interest most SkyMiles members, but there are plenty of opportunities to earn miles with Delta’s other partners.

SkyMiles members who link their Starbucks app with their Delta SkyMiles account can earn one mile per $1 spent at most Starbucks locations. Lyft riders who link their Lyft accounts to SkyMiles can earn one mile per dollar spent on every Lyft ride in the U.S.

You can also earn Delta SkyMiles with your rental car reservations. Hertz, Dollar, Thrifty, Alamo, Enterprise, National, Sixt, and Europcar all partner with Delta. In addition, Delta offers miles on car rentals booked and completed through its car rental portal on its website.

Like other airlines, Delta SkyMiles offers a dining program, called SkyMiles dining. SkyMiles members can earn up to five miles per dollar they spend at thousands of participating restaurants. All you have to do is enroll your credit card with SkyMiles dining. When you dine at participating restaurants or takeout and delivery in the U.S. and pay with your enrolled credit card, you will earn SkyMiles.

Online shoppers can earn miles from SkyMiles shopping, a shopping portal with over 100 retailers. Earning miles through SkyMiles shopping simply requires registering with the portal. Once that’s done, when you click through to partner merchants in the SkyMiles shopping portal, you will earn SkyMiles for eligible purchases.

Finally, in several states, some energy providers offer SkyMiles based on monthly natural gas bills.

Credit cards

Like almost every other major airline, you can earn miles on Delta through its branded credit cards. Delta offers seven different co-branded credit cards in partnership with American Express. Delta-branded American Express cards offer the ability to earn SkyMiles on every purchase, plus increased earnings on purchases with Delta Air Lines and in select categories.

All of the Delta co-branded credit cards offer a welcome bonus for new cardmembers who have not had the card before. Delta also offers versions of most of its credit cards for small business owners.

Credit cards to earn Delta SkyMiles

If you are looking to earn Delta SkyMiles using a credit card, check out Delta’s loyalty credit cards. Delta offers several co-branded rewards cards in partnership with American Express. Here are the details on Delta’s offering:

  • card_name. This is the entry-level card that Delta and American Express offer. The card has a annual_fees annual fee (Rates & Fees) and, among other things, earns two miles per dollar spent on Delta purchases and at restaurants worldwide plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
  • card_name. Standout benefits from this card include earning two miles per dollar spent with Delta, at restaurants plus takeout and delivery in the U.S. and at supermarkets, and a $100 Delta flight credit after spending $10,000 on the card within a calendar year. These perks command a annual_fees (Rates & Fees)
  • card_name. The platinum card is for frequent flyers traveling with a companion or pursuing elite status with the airline. The card earns three points per dollar spent on Delta purchases and offers members a companion ticket, which is good for a flight in Main Cabin within the continental United States in select fare classes. Other benefits include an opportunity to earn additional Medallion Qualifying Miles through spending on the card. The card has an annual fee of annual_fees (Rates & Fees) and a business version called the card_name.
  • card_name. This high-end card comes with access to Delta SkyClub airport lounges when flying with Delta, plus access to the Centurion Lounge and Escape Lounges by American Express. Other interesting features include earning three miles per dollar when purchasing Delta flights and services and the ability to earn additional Medallion Qualifying Miles toward elite status. The card comes with an annual fee of annual_fees (Rates & Fees) and the business version is the card_name.

All SkyMiles credit cards offer a 20% statement credit when you use your card for Delta in-flight purchases and 1X mile on every eligible dollar spent on other purchases. With the exception of the card_name, Delta’s co-branded credit cards also give you both a 15% discount on award redemptions and a free first checked bag on Delta flights.

In addition to Delta’s co-branded credit cards, you can transfer “Membership Rewards” points to Delta. Membership Rewards is a rewards currency earned by many American Express cards, including the company’s flagship card_name. You will pay a small amount of excise taxes when you transfer Membership Rewards to SkyMiles, but Membership Rewards are easy to earn and can be a great way to top off your Delta SkyMiles account if you need a few extra miles for an award flight.

What can you get for your Delta SkyMiles?

Most Delta SkyMiles members will get the most value from their miles by redeeming SkyMiles for flights on Delta and its partner airlines. Redeeming SkyMiles at Delta.com is simple. Either select “Shop with Miles” when searching for an itinerary on Delta.com or look to the top of the webpage and select “Miles” under “Show Price In:” when viewing itinerary options.

delta skymiles

Delta SkyMiles can be redeemed for one-way, round-trip, and multi-city travel. Almost any itinerary bookable on Delta’s website should be bookable with SkyMiles as an award ticket.

In addition to flights for yourself, you can book flights for others using your SkyMiles, including people not traveling with you. Delta also offers options to redeem your SkyMiles for a limited number of other awards. In most cases, redeeming for something other than flights with Delta and its partners will mean accepting a lower value for your SkyMiles. Other options for redeeming SkyMiles include Delta SkyClub membership, Delta gift cards, Delta vacation packages and SkyMiles experiences.

Delta SkyMiles vs. the competition

Delta Air Lines SkyMiles offer a value of just over a penny a point for most redemptions. Here is how the program stacks up against the reward programs offered by other major airlines in the United States:

Rewards ProgramValue of Average Mile
Delta SkyMiles
1.16 cents
Alaska MileagePlan
1.5 cents
American AAdvantage
1.5 cents
JetBlue TrueBlue
1.5 cents
Southwest Rapid Rewards
1.35 cents
United MileagePlus
1.2 cents

Pros and cons of Delta SkyMiles

While you might get 1.16 cents of value on average when you book a ticket using Delta SkyMiles, you could end up with less or more. In limited cases, you might be able to get enhanced value from your SkyMiles by booking certain international itineraries. Additionally, SkyMiles may provide some intangible value in the form of flexibility if you need to cancel your flight. Here are some things to consider about Delta SkyMiles.

Valuation FactorOur Take
Average value for U.S. domestic coach flights
Delta Air Lines miles are worth an average of 1.16 cents per mile when redeemed for most U.S. domestic main cabin airfares.
Opportunity for enhanced value
Delta SkyMiles no longer provides most members with an opportunity for enhanced value. While you used to be able to use SkyMiles for travel with airline partners at a moderately-increased value, these redemption options largely no longer exist.

You can still find opportunities for enhanced value by redeeming SkyMiles for itineraries with partners that do not originate or terminate in the United States. But these are of limited use to most SkyMiles members.
Flexibility
If your plans change, and you booked your ticket with Delta SkyMiles, you can get the miles you spent back in your account. Currently, the airline is waiving award redeposit fees for all members.

SkyMiles are useful and usable

If you live in a Delta hub or your travel patterns have you flying Delta frequently, you can get plenty of value out of Delta SkyMiles. And if you have a co-branded credit card with Delta, it is easy to earn a mountain of SkyMiles. The points have a relatively stable value of 1.16 cents per point, which is lower than most other U.S. domestic airlines’ point values. But since Delta SkyMiles can be used to purchase a ticket for any open seat, most members will find them useful and usable.

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Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

How much are 10,000 Delta miles worth?

At a valuation of 1.16 cents per SkyMile, 10,000 Delta SkyMiles are worth around $116.

How much are 50,000 Delta miles worth?

At a valuation of 1.16 cents per SkyMile, 50,000 Delta SkyMiles are worth around $580.

How much are 100,000 Delta miles worth?

At a valuation of 1.16 cents per SkyMile, 100,000 Delta SkyMiles are worth around $1,160.

Should you use Delta SkyMiles or pay cash?

In most cases, if you can book a flight with SkyMiles, you should choose that route. There are few ways to get increased value for your SkyMiles and tickets booked with SkyMiles earn MQMs, which help you qualify for elite status with Delta.

Should you use your Delta SkyMiles for upgrades?

Delta sometimes offers SkyMiles members the opportunity to upgrade using their miles. Prices vary for upgrades and are only available for some reservations. If you are offered an upgrade, consider the cash price of the upgrade and compare the value you get to our valuation of 1.16 cents per SkyMile.

How many Delta miles does it take to get a free flight?

The number of miles you need to book a flight on Delta varies with the cash price of the itinerary. Occasionally, Delta offers sales on SkyMiles tickets, making a one-way ticket as low as 5,000 SkyMiles.

What airlines can I use Delta miles on?

You can use your SkyMiles to book travel with Delta and its airline partners like KLM, Air France, and Korean Air. SkyMiles booking with partners may be limited and not all partner flights will be bookable with SkyMiles.

The information presented here is created independently from the TIME editorial staff. To learn more, see our About page.

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