Updated July 18, 2018

15 Best Ways to Redeem Delta SkyMiles

Read more about Airline Rewards

Redeem Delta SkyMiles for the most value. This guide highlights some of the best award redemption opportunities with Delta miles.

© Bernal Saborio (CC BY-SA 2.0) via Flickr

Best Way to Use Delta SkyMiles

What to Know About Delta Miles

  • Delta changed their award chart to be cost-based. This means that there is no set mileage for routes and traveling between regions. The amount of miles you earn depends on the cost of the fare. So the exact same route can cost different miles on different days.

  • SkyMiles are not just for flights—they can also be used for upgrades that make all the difference in starting off a trip right. "I typically use miles to upgrade economy tickets to first class," says Kristina Portillo, the founder of Businesstravellife.com. "The best use of my mileage upgrade was on a flight from Sydney to LA. We enjoyed first class, lay-down seats for the price of an economy ticket. It was amazing. I have also done the same for roundtrip tickets to Hawaii."

  • Stop-overs and open-jaws are not allowed. So if you're going on a multi-city trip, you may need to take the time to piece your award itinerary together. This means searching for each flight segment one-by-one.

  • Delta does not levy a surcharge when the flight takes off within the U.S. However, if you fly Delta (or its partners) starting from outside of the U.S., you will be hit with surcharges. So it's best to book either a one-way flight out of the U.S. or a round-trip to avoid excessive fees.

  • Delta does do one-way flights, so feel free to book one-way awards as necessary. Round-trip flights are double the miles.

  • If you want to book partner flights that are available online, you can call Delta to book over the phone. Delta does not charge a fee for booking by phone.

Tip: Sign up and track Delta's special offers. Sign up for "SkyMiles Promotions" and the "Fare Sales & Last-Minute Deals" newsletters to get email alerts on the latest flash sales - which means you could get an even better deal if you act quickly!

Delta Partners

Delta is part of the Sky Team Alliance. In addition, it partners with some other airlines not with an alliance. You can also fly on any of these Delta partners with SkyMiles:

  • Aeroflot
  • Aerolineas Argentinas
  • Aeromexico
  • Air France
  • Alitalia
  • China Airlines
  • China Eastern
  • China Southern
  • Garuda Indonesia
  • GOL
  • Great Lakes
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
  • Jet Airways
  • Mandarin Airlines
  • Korean Air
  • Saudia Airlines
  • Middle East Airlines
  • Tarom Airlines
  • Shanghai Airlines
  • Virgin Atlantic
  • Vietnam Airlines
  • WestJet
  • Virgin Australia
  • Xiamen Airlines

Award travel on all airlines except Air Europa, Air Tahiti Nui, Kenya Airways can be booked on delta.com. You may be able to find award availability for those airlines on the Flying Blue website (the KLM and Air France frequent flyer program) or by calling Delta Reservations.

Note: Aeroflot, Air Europa, Air Tahiti Nui, Kenya Airways and the 3 Chinese airlines typically charge high surcharges. So it may not be worth it to book with them.

How to Find Award Flights on Delta

Go to delta.com and search for your flight. You don't need a SkyMiles account. Click "show award price in miles" when searching for flights.

You are allowed to search for and book flights up to 11 months out. Delta also releases additional space 1-2 weeks out, so it never hurts to check if you have to travel at the last minute.

Choose "Flexible Days" so you can see the miles needed on different days. To find the best deal, play around with the 5-week calendar view to see your options over several weeks.

You can see that the miles needed change daily. It can also change overnight.

Another lesser known way to find the best deal is by using the "Compare Nearby Airports" tool. You can get pricing from all the top airports within 25-100 miles of your location. This lets you zone in on the cheapest airport to fly out of without having to do multiple searches.

You may want to compare pricing for "Delta only" and "Delta + partner airline" options.

The good thing about "Delta only" award tickets is that you have the option of booking Delta COMFORT+®, which is a step up from the main cabin. You'll get perks like priority boarding, dedicated overhead bin space, and more legroom. However Delta COMFORT+® is only available on select routes.

Best Ways to Redeem Delta Miles

Note: The miles and redemption values are based on February 2018 data. Redemption options and value can change at any time.

Delta Flights Within the Mainland U.S.

Since Delta's award is cost-based, you can find domestic flights for very few miles, depending on when you fly. This can be a great option for normally low-priced routes, off-season flights, and weekday flights.

For example, it's possible to find a round-trip award flight from Los Angeles to Las Vegas for just 10,000 SkyMiles. In comparison, this flight would cost 20,000 miles with United and 15,000 miles with American Airlines.

When comparing cash prices to miles needed, we generally find that the value is between 1.2 - 1.8 cents per point.

Delta Flights to Alaska

Whether you want to see the Northern Lights or Midnight Sun, Delta makes it more affordable to get to Alaska (and vice versa). Also a great option if you are starting or ending a cruise in one of Alaska's popular cruise ports. Keep in mind you will probably have 1-2 connections.

Delta Flights to Latin America and the Caribbean

That winter beach break can be a reality thanks to decent main cabin award availability throughout the year and the fact that Delta serves over 50 destinations in the region. Go for pricier long-distance routes to get the most value for your SkyMiles.

From time to time, you can also find flash sales to flights in these regions. These are fantastic deals. For example, Delta had a flash sale from Baltimore (BWI) to Nassau (NAS) round-trip for just 14,000 SkyMiles.

Generally, you're looking at around 35,000-40,000 miles for a round-trip flight in Economy to these regions.

Should you wish to fly in Delta One in the Airbus 330, consider the Atlanta or Minneapolis nonstop route to Cancun for 65,000 SkyMiles.

Delta Flights to Europe

Flying on Delta to Europe is not the worst deal, especially if you intend to travel in the summer or during the holidays when airfare is double or triple the price. Play around with the 5-week calendar view to find the mileage pricing. We found routes to Europe for 60,000 SkyMiles round-trip in the summertime.

Another good thing is that Delta doesn't levy surcharges on flights originating from the U.S. So there are very few extra fees. However, one-way flights from Europe to the U.S will have hefty surcharges, so always go round-trip or one-way to Europe.

As long as your travel dates are a few months out, you'll have a decent chance of getting an award ticket.

Look into the new Indianapolis-Paris nonstop route starting in May 2018.

Delta Flights to Asia in Business Class

Economy flights on budget Chinese airlines are dirt-cheap, sometimes as low as $300-$400. Instead of suffering on a 14+ hour flight in economy class, splurge on Delta One® Business Class.

For example, you can go round-trip from Los Angeles to Shanghai for 160,000 SkyMiles, plus just $36.01 in fees. The same route on China Eastern would cost you 175,000 SkyMiles plus a few hundred in fees. It's obvious which airline to choose.

Tip: If you have miles to burn, you can treat yourself to the luxurious Delta One Suite on the nonstop Atlanta-Seoul route from March 2018 onwards. You can experience the Delta One Suite with lie-flat beds and privacy door on their brand-new Airbus 350. A round-trip ticket costs an arm and a leg at 470,000 SkyMiles.

Virgin Atlantic Flights to London

Travel to London in style on partner airline Virgin Atlantic! Virgin Atlantic has nonstop flights from New York, Seattle, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Orlando, Miami, Atlanta and Las Vegas to London. Economy is just 60,000-70,000 SkyMiles round-trip.

It's an even better idea to use your SkyMiles for a coveted seat in Virgin Atlantic's Upper Class, which is equivalent to the Delta One® Business Class. A round-trip ticket from New York to London, for example, requires 140,000 SkyMiles. And you'll get to experience the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse in Heathrow before your flight back.

Virgin Atlantic flights have "VS" in the top right corner on the flight details page. You can find award flights around 6 months out.

Virgin Australia Flights to Australia or New Zealand

Flying to Oceania can be very pricey. Instead, you can get there (round-trip) for 90,000 SkyMiles plus around a hundred dollars in fees. Nonstop flights are available from Los Angeles to Sydney and Melbourne. From there, you can connect onwards to elsewhere in Australia easily or even New Zealand.

For award flight availability to Fiji, Samoa, Tonga and other islands with complex routing, always call Delta SkyMiles at 1-800-323-2323, as you won't be able to search and book on delta.com. Don't worry - there's no fee to book over the phone!

Business class awards are expensive, starting at around 335,000 SkyMiles plus fees. You may have to book 8-10 months out. Unless you have hundreds of thousands of miles to burn, we recommend looking into the other redemption options in this article.

Flights within Asia on Partner Airlines

Most people like to visit more than one country in Asia while they are out there. Use your miles to fly within Asia on one of Delta's partner airlines in the region, including China Airlines, China Eastern, China Southern, Garuda Indonesia, Mandarin Airlines, Korean Air, Shanghai Airlines, Vietnam Airlines and Xiamen Airlines. A shorter distance route, such as Tokyo-Seoul, costs 15,000 SkyMiles in economy - a great deal.

Business class awards on Garuda Indonesia are also top-notch. Roundtrip from Jakarta to Tokyo costs 80,000 SkyMiles plus $58.60 in fees.

Jet Airways Flights from Amsterdam to Toronto

Consider redeeming an award flight on Jet Airways on the Toronto to Amsterdam route. This is the only North America option. Round-trip in main cabin costs 70,000 SkyMiles, while business class costs 170,000 SkyMiles. Jet Airways' business class offers a lie-flat bed and a privacy wall ideal for this overseas redeye flight.

Korean Air Flights to South Korea

Here is the opportunity to fly on 4-star Korean Air! Their in-flight experience is excellent even in economy. Nonstop flights from Honolulu, Los Angeles, Vancouver, San Francisco, Chicago, Dallas and New York City to Seoul are available. You can find round-trip awards for as low as 80,000 SkyMiles.

Prestige Class (business class) features a 180-degree, full-flat seat, and requires 190,000 SkyMiles. Availability is rare, though, at usually only one seat per flight. Sometimes award flight availability might not show up at all. In this case, call Delta SkyMiles at 1-800-323-2323.

Air France Business Class Flights to France

Business class flights on highly-rated Air France usually cost anywhere from $2,000-$3,000. But you can experience it for just 70,000 SkyMiles plus taxes and fees (very minimal compared to other airlines) for one-way to Europe. Once you fly business class in Air France without having to pay full price, you won't ever want to fly economy again!

Flights to Africa

A nice way to get to Africa is a direct flight to European cities like Paris, Amsterdam and London (preferably on Delta) plus a connecting flight to Nairobi or similar. The further you book in advance, in the better.

You can make your safari dreams come true for as low as just 70,000 miles round-trip in Economy.

Aerolineas Argentina and GOL Flights to South America

Places like Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro and Patagonia are within reach thanks to Delta's partnership with these 2 South American airlines.

Sample routes (round-trip, Economy):

  • New York (JFK) to Buenos Aires (BUE) nonstop for 70,000 SkyMiles
  • Miami (MIA) to Buenos Aires (BUE) nonstop for 65,000 SkyMiles
  • New York (JFK) to Rio de Janeiro (GIG) for 60,000 SkyMiles

Tip: Flying within South America on SkyMiles is reasonable. You can fly one-way between cities in South America for just 12,500 miles.

Aeromexico Flights from Mexico City to Madrid (and Vice Versa)

If you can get a cheap flight from the U.S. to Mexico City, look into this option. Aeromexico flies nonstop from Mexico City to Madrid. You can get a one-way ticket for 35,000 SkyMiles (main cabin) or 65,000 SkyMiles (business class) plus minimal fees. Not a bad deal at all!

On the return flight portion, simply book Madrid to your home airport using the multi-city search.

Splurge on a Bottle of Champagne Before Your Flight

If you are going on a once-in-a-lifetime trip, why not celebrate with some champagne? All you have to do is make your order at one of the participating Delta Sky Hubs. Mileage pricing varies accordingly:

  • Krug for 10,000 SkyMiles
  • Dom Pérignon for 12,500 SkyMiles
  • Louis Roederer Cristal for 13,750 SkyMiles

You can also use miles for seat upgrades, a Delta Sky Club Membership, and more. Learn more about it here.

Last Word on Award Flight Redemption

Overall, the key to successfully redeeming your SkyMiles is patience and time in order to perform multiple searches to ensure you are getting the best deal. If flying to/from smaller airports, be creative with routing. Use Google Flights to your advantage! Since stopovers and open-jaw flights are not allowed, you may want to book several one-way awards. Search for each leg of your trip one at a time, then piece it all together in the end.

Finally, be as flexible as possible with your travel dates and always look into space ahead of time. Delta doesn't make award flights as seamless as others like American Airlines, but it is possible to find and book something amazing!

Other Ways to Spend SkyMiles

Besides flying, there are several other ways to use SkyMiles.

  • Shop in the marketplace. Delta has a SkyMiles marketplace where you can exchange miles for gift cards, travel, and shopping. Just remember to always enter your SkyMiles number at time of purchase. You can even redeem SkyMiles to pay for the $100 Global Entry Application fee and get magazine subscriptions.

  • Hotel and car packages. Delta makes it easy to book hotel, car, or hotel + car packages. Plus, they have exclusive hotel deals that you can take advantage of on this page. Additionally, Medallion members can convert their miles into hotel points to enjoy a stay at one of Starwood hotels and resorts around the world.

  • Delta Vacations. Booking a vacation package through Delta Vacations is another great opportunity to take advantage of your miles. You could even use SkyMiles to help pay for a dream destination wedding or honeymoon. Simply make your search and enter the number of miles you have in the "Use Your Miles" section on the right-hand side to apply your discount. Generally, 10,000 SkyMiles equals a $100 discount. To save more, scan the special offers for savings up to $300.

  • Bid for experiences. Delta offers SkyMiles Experiences, a program that allows you to bid on once-in-a-lifetime experiences (such as attending the Grammy awards like a VIP). The program is very similar to eBay. In-demand experiences cost anywhere from 200,000-500,000 SkyMiles or more. However, you may be able to win other cool experiences for as low as 20,000 SkyMiles should no one else bid.

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author's alone. Please support CreditDonkey on our mission to help you make savvy decisions. Our free online service is made possible through financial relationships with some of the products and services mentioned on this site. We may receive compensation if you shop through links in our content.

More from CreditDonkey:


Airline Miles for Beginners


Delta Credit Card


How to Earn Delta SkyMiles

More Articles in Tips


Airline Credit Cards

How to land great flights for cheap

How to Find Cheap Flights

Finding the best priced airfare can be a stressful task – especially when you're trying to stick to a strict travel budget. Thankfully, there are some tips you can follow to cut down on the financial investment of your next flight.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Review

Travel credit cards are a great way to earn flights and hotel stays. Our favorite is the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card because of its bonus point offer and premium travel benefits. Read on to see if the annual fee is worth it for you.
More Articles in Tips







About CreditDonkey®
CreditDonkey is a credit card comparison website. We publish data-driven analysis to help you save money & make savvy decisions.

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed on this page are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

†Advertiser Disclosure: Many of the card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which CreditDonkey receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). CreditDonkey does not include all companies or all offers that may be available in the marketplace.

*See the card issuer's online application for details about terms and conditions. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. However, all information is presented without warranty. When you click on the "Apply Now" button you can review the terms and conditions on the card issuer's website.

CreditDonkey does not know your individual circumstances and provides information for general educational purposes only. CreditDonkey is not a substitute for, and should not be used as, professional legal, credit or financial advice. You should consult your own professional advisors for such advice.