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March 3, 2018

How to Earn Delta SkyMiles Fast

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You don't need to fly a lot to earn a TON of Delta SkyMiles. Read on for 10+ smart ways to earn Delta miles fast.

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

Delta has a strong loyalty program where you can earn miles toward future flights.

The best part is that you don't even need to fly to rack up the miles.

Simply follow these insider tips and you'll be able to redeem an award flight before you know it.

Read on for all the different ways to earn SkyMiles.

Before you take any of these steps, you need a place to store all your miles. Sign up for a Delta SkyMiles account. This is completely free and you don't need a special credit card. You will need your frequent flyer number to enroll in the various partner programs.

Delta Co-Branded Credit Cards

© Alessandro Ambrosetti (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr

A Delta SkyMiles credit card is the fastest way to earn miles without flying. Delta credit cards are issued by American Express, a CreditDonkey partner. You can quickly amass a lot of miles with just the bonus miles.

Did you know: Delta purchases include: Delta flights purchased through Delta, baggage fees, Sky Club lounge passes, in-flight purchases, and Delta gift cards.

There are 4 personal cards to choose from:

  • Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card
  • Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card
  • Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card
  • Delta Reserve® Credit Card

Blue Delta SkyMiles
Apply for Blue Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express
If you don't fly Delta too often, go for the new Blue Delta SkyMiles. It's a Delta credit card with no annual fee. Plus, you can earn 2 miles per dollar at U.S. restaurants.

Gold Delta SkyMiles
Apply for Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express
If you are a frequent traveler, look into the Gold Delta SkyMiles® ($0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95). You get perks like priority boarding and a free checked bag.

The Platinum ($195 annual fee) and Delta Reserve ($450 annual fee) cards let you earn Medallion Qualification Miles (MQM), which allow you to reach the varying levels of Medallion Status. In order to achieve Silver Medallion Status, you need to earn 25,000 MQMs or make $25,000 or more in Eligible Purchases during the calendar year with your eligible Delta credit card. Medallion miles can buy you benefits like seat upgrades. The Platinum and Delta Reserve also give you a round-trip companion certificate each year.

Likewise, Delta also offers 3 business cards with similar perks.

Tip: Did you know you can even get a Sun Trust Delta SkyMiles® Debit Card? It's a great alternative if you don't want another credit card.

Credit Cards That Transfer to Delta

AMEX has a partnership with Delta. It offers several credit cards that allow you to transfer reward points into Delta SkyMiles.

  • American Express Platinum
    Apply for The Platinum Card from American Express
    American Express Platinum offers 60,000 Membership Rewards points if you spend $5,000 on purchases with your new card within the first three months of opening your account. You earn 5x Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel. This is a charge card so you will have to pay your balance in full each month. There is a $550 annual fee.

    This card includes several benefits for travelers: This card offers Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings. This card also offers up to a $200 airline fee credit per calendar year to cover baggage fees and more at your selected qualifying airline. This card gives you access to 5 airport lounge networks including The Centurion® lounge network, The International American Express lounges, Delta Sky Club® lounges, Priority Pass(TM) Select, and Airspace Lounge. Enrollment required for Priority Pass Select. There is no foreign transaction fees. This card also gives you access to Platinum Card® Concierge. You can enroll to get complimentary Hilton Honors™ Gold Status and complimentary Starwood Preferred Guest® Gold Status. Terms Apply.

  • American Express Gold Card
    Apply for American Express Gold Card
    American Express Gold Card lets you earn 25,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you use your new Card to make $2,000 on eligible purchases within the first 3 months. This card earns 4x points at U.S. restaurants. 4x points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000/year in purchases, then 1x). 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com. You can earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with The Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Shake Shack, and Ruth's Chris Steak House (enrollment required). There is a $250 annual fee.

    This card includes benefits for travelers: There is no foreign transaction fee and a $100 airline fee credit to cover up to $100 per calendar year in incidental fees (such as baggage fees) at one selected qualifying airline. Terms Apply.

  • Amex EveryDay Preferred offers 15,000 Membership Rewards® points if you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening your new card account. This card earns 3x points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000/year in purchases, then 1x), 2x points at U.S. gas stations, and 1x points on other purchases. There is a 0% intro APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable rate, currently 14.99% to 24.99%. There is a $95 annual fee.

    Look: if you make 30 or more purchases with this card in a billing period, you will get 50% more points on those purchases (less returns and credits). Terms apply.

  • Amex EveryDay offers 10,000 Membership Rewards® points if you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening your new card account. Enjoy a 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable rate, currently 14.99% to 25.99%. There is $0 balance transfer fee. Balance transfers must be requested within 60 days from account opening.

    This card earns 2x points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000/year in purchases, then 1x) and 1x points on other purchases. If you use your card 20 or more times on purchases in a billing period, you will earn 20% more points on those purchases (less returns and credits). There is no annual fee. Terms apply.

You get points on everyday purchases. All you have to do is spend and then transfer your points into SkyMiles at a 1:1 ratio.

American Express cards are great for those who fly frequently and on different airline carriers. Their Membership Rewards program allows you to transfer miles to 17 airline partners, including Delta, JetBlue, and Hawaiian Airlines.

Earn Miles for Traveling

Fly with Delta
Even if you don't have a Delta credit card, you can still earn miles when you book flights on delta.com. Here's what you get:

  • General SkyMiles Members: 5x miles for every $1
  • Silver Medallion Members: 7x miles for every $1
  • Gold Medallion Members: 8x miles for every $1
  • Platinum Medallion Members: 9x miles for every $1
  • Diamond Medallion Members: 11x miles for every $1

Medallion status is reached based on how often you fly, the distance of the flights, and how much you spend. You will automatically earn towards Medallion status when you join SkyMiles and fly with Delta and its partners.

You may even be able to earn miles on exception fares, which are unpublished fares that come from travel agents, vacation packages or other third-parties, depending on the fare class. In this case, a percentage of bonus miles is better than nothing!

How many Delta miles does it take to get a free flight? Delta does not publish an award chart. It has a cost-based program, so the number of miles vary flight to flight. A short haul flight (like from Los Angeles to Las Vegas) can be as low as 5,000 miles. On the other hand, a longer distance domestic flight can be as high as 25,000 miles one-way on certain days.

Fly with a Delta Partner Airline
For routes that Delta doesn't cover - look into eligible flights on one of Delta's partner airlines including:

  • Aeromexico*
  • Air France*
  • Alitalia*
  • China Eastern*
  • GOL*
  • KLM*
  • Korean Air
  • Jet Airways
  • Virgin Atlantic*
  • Virgin Australia
  • Air Europa*
  • Kenya Airways
  • Middle Eastern Airlines
  • Saudia, Tarom
  • Aeroflot
  • Aerolineas Argentinas
  • China Eastern
  • China Southern
  • Czech Airlines
  • Garuda Indonesia
  • Vietnam Airlines
  • Xiamen Air
  • Great Lakes Airlines
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • WestJet

Award flights on partner airlines need to be booked at least a few days out, as last-minute availability (within 24-48 hours prior to departure) is blocked out.

* The airlines marked with an asterisk indicate that they allow you to earn 100% MQMs on their economy flights. Learn more about Medallion Status here.

Missing Delta SkyMiles: If you took a flight and don't see the miles in your account, you can claim them retroactively. You have 9 months from the date of your flight to claim the miles. To do so, you need your SkyMiles number and your flight ticket number (from your boarding pass or receipt). You can also claim miles for flights taken with any SkyTeam partners.

Online Shopping Portal

Online shopping addicts will rejoice at Delta's convenient SkyMiles Shopping portal. Sign up for free with your SkyMiles membership number. Then use the portal to search and buy items from hundreds of popular stores. You will earn bonus miles for every dollar spent.

To get the best deal, take advantage of the special offers that Delta posts. Offers are constantly changing, so be sure to stay updated here.

You don't need a special credit card to shop through this portal. But if you do use a Delta credit card, you'll earn 1 SkyMile per dollar spent on top of the bonus points for using the portal.

How much is 40,000 miles worth? Since Delta switched over to a cost-based award chart, we generally value each SkyMile to be worth around 1.4 cents a piece for domestic flights. So 40,000 miles would be worth a flight around $560. For international flights, the value varies. For example, you can find flights to Europe and Asia for less than 40,000 miles each way.

Dining Program

Delta SkyMiles Dining makes it easy to earn miles just for eating out at restaurants. Join for free and register your credit cards. Then eat at a participating restaurant and pay with the card to receive bonus miles.

Here's what you can get:

  • Basic member: 1 mile per every $2 spent
  • Online member: 3 miles per every $1 spent (you elect to receive emails from SkyMiles Dining)
  • VIP member: 5 miles per every $1 spent (you elect to receive emails and have completed 11 qualified transactions in one calendar year)

As a sign-up bonus for new members, you can earn up to 3,000 bonus miles. You need to dine out 3 times within the first 30 days, and spend at least $30 each time. Then you must write an online review within 30 days of each restaurant visit.

Once again, you don't need a specific credit card to join this program. But if you have a Delta credit card, you'll earn another 1x miles on your meals. Blue Delta cardholders earn an extra 2x miles at restaurants.

Delta Vacations

If you like the convenience of a vacation package, Delta Vacations offers incredibly attractive offers. You have the opportunity to earn up to 7,500 bonus miles per person on eligible flight + hotel getaways. We recommend signing up to receive special offers by email.

It's also possible to make individual hotel reservations and earn anywhere from 250-750 bonus miles per person at US & Canadian properties, or 1,000-3,000 bonus miles per person at overseas destinations. Furthermore, qualified car rentals from Alamo or National allow you to earn 500 bonus miles per booking.

If you have a Delta SkyMiles credit card, you can earn double miles for every eligible dollar spent.

SkyMiles Cruises

For those who prefer cruising, SkyMiles Cruises makes it seamless to earn miles on your next cruise. You can earn at least 1,500 miles on any booking and up to 30,000 miles when you book a balcony or a suite stateroom. In addition, you can get massive savings and perks like onboard credit.

Most of the time, the deals are about the same price if you were to book directly with the cruise line. Often, they're even slightly better due to the amenities that they extend.

Hotel Partners

Delta has partnerships with all the top hotel brands. You can earn SkyMiles by staying with one of their hotel partners. For example, the World of Hyatt will give you 500 SkyMiles for each eligible stay. Marriott gives you up to 2x miles per dollar, depending on the property.

Delta's hotel partnerships include:

  • Hilton Honors
  • Marriott Rewards
  • IHG Rewards
  • Carlson Rezidor
  • Accor Hotels
  • Hyatt
  • Langham Hospitality Group
  • Millennium Hotels & Resorts
  • Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts
  • Worldhotels

Check out the full list of hotels and offers on Delta's website.

Airbnb

Delta has also teamed up with Airbnb to give you SkyMiles on stays. We love Airbnb as an alternative lodging option to hotels.

For those who already have Airbnb accounts, you can earn 2x miles on all stays worldwide.

If you want to become an Airbnb host, you can earn up to 25,000 SkyMiles when you reach earning tiers.

Car Rental / Transportation Partners

  • Car rentals with Hertz, Alamo, Enterprise, and National. Each program has different stipulations, but the mileage reward for all 500 bonus miles per reservation.

  • Ride with Lyft. Earn at least 1 mile per dollar spent on every Lyft ride in the US (excluding taxes, fees, tolls and tip). Plus new users get a $20 ride credit.

  • Europcar. This can come in handy for your next European road trip adventure! A total of 60 miles can be earned per day.

  • Private transfers. Prefer private transfer to and from the airport? Delta is partnered with popular companies like ExecuCar, Carmel, Sixt (both rental cars and private chauffeur service), and SuperShuttle.

Other Ways to Earn SkyMiles

  • Send flowers. Do you send flowers to loved ones and business clients often? FTD allows you to earn bonus miles on your purchases.

  • Join a wine club. Likewise, it's possible to earn miles by joining Vinesse Wines. They offer 1,500 bonus miles plus 5 miles per dollar spent on all club shipments and orders. Your first shipment of 6 exceptional wines costs $41.94 plus 1 cent shipping.

  • Eat cookies. Sweet tooth lovers can earn 1 mile per $1 spent at shopbiscoff.com. There's no better cookie to enjoy with your morning coffee. All you have to do is make sure to include your Delta SkyMiles number when ordering online.

  • Shop with Gilt. Love fashion? Delta's partnership with Gilt allows you to earn 1,000 miles for your first Gilt purchase of $50 or more! Plus, you get up to 60% off your favorite labels while earning 1 mile per $1 spent.

  • Pay utility bills. Use one of Delta's preferred electricity suppliers like Energy Plus, Georgia Natural Gas, Grand Rapids Energy, Illinois Energy, Illinois Energy Solutions, and Ohio Natural Gas to rack up miles on a monthly basis just by paying your bill.

Can you earn Delta SkyMiles by doing surveys? Unfortunately, Delta has ended partnerships with e-Rewards and eMiles (two popular survey sites for earning miles). So you can no longer take surveys to earn SkyMiles. However, Delta does send out SkyMiles/Medallion user surveys and reward you miles for completing it.

The information for Platinum Delta and Delta Reserve have been collected independently by CreditDonkey. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. This site may be compensated through the Advertiser's affiliate programs.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by American Express. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by American Express. This site may be compensated through the Advertiser's affiliate programs.

Disclaimer: The information for the The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express, The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express, and Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express has been collected independently by CreditDonkey. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

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The Platinum Card from American Express
Apply for The Platinum Card from American Express
At American Express' Secure Site
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
  • Go to issuer's official application, terms, and details
Introductory Bonus Reward PointsTravel RewardsAirline RewardsHotel RewardsPoint RewardsNo Pre-Set Spending LimitConciergeEventsCar Rental Insurance Extended WarrantyPurchase ProtectionReturn ProtectionTravel Accident Insurance$0 Fraud LiabilityIdentity Theft Assistance
Card TypeAnnual Fee
Personal Charge Card
$550
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