How to easily earn and maximize 90,000 Delta SkyMiles
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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with the latest information.
Though the Delta SkyMiles program may no longer maintain published award charts, there is still plenty of value to be had in SkyMiles. You may need to put in a bit of work to find the best deals but it’s worth your effort.
And in honor of Delta credit card welcome bonuses currently going as high as 90,000 bonus miles from one card, today, we’ll show you various ways to redeem 90,000 SkyMiles on both domestic and international travel.
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Earning Delta SkyMiles
Credit card bonuses and spending
There are a variety of ways to earn Delta miles — from Delta-operated flights to trips on other SkyTeam airlines to various non-travel partners. As with most carriers, credit card welcome bonuses are the fastest way to earn huge amounts of airline miles — short of flying a few hundred thousand miles on paid tickets. Amex issues cobranded Delta cards which earn Delta SkyMiles directly, and you can transfer American Express Membership Rewards points to Delta at a 1:1 ratio.
One of the best ways to boost your SkyMiles balance is by adding any of these cards to your arsenal:
- Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card ($0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99; see rates and fees): Earn 70,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months card membership. Terms apply. Offer ends 11/10/2021
- Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card ($250 annual fee; see rates and fees): Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months of card membership. Terms apply. Offer ends 11/10/2021
- Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card ($550 annual fee; see rates and fees); Earn 80,000 bonus miles and 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles after you spend $5,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months of card membership. Terms apply. Offer ends 11/10/2021
Related: Choosing the best credit card for Delta flyers
Other ways to earn
Another easy way to earn bonus Delta miles is by signing up for the SkyMiles Dining program. The program partners with thousands of restaurants, bars and clubs where you can earn Delta miles every time you dine. It’s easy to use and lets you rack up miles at places you already planned to dine.
Delta also has a partnership with Lyft where you can earn bonus SkyMiles for every ride you take. You can visit deltalyft.com to get started.
Lastly, another great way to earn SkyMiles is through the SkyMiles Shopping program. With hundreds of your favorite stores, you won’t find it hard to earn miles through the shopping portal.
Related: Maximizing online shopping portals
Maximize redeeming 90,000 SkyMiles
Delta has focused on on-time performance, improved its business-class seats with the Delta One Suites and expanded its Sky Club lounge network. However, the SkyMiles program has taken its fair share of knocks over the years. TPG currently values each SkyMile at 1.1 cents, ranking behind American AAdvantage miles (1.4 cents) and United MileagePlus miles (1.3 cents).
But there are still plenty of great ways to use SkyMiles.
For example, Delta runs SkyMiles flash sales regularly — and we frequently write about these deals at TPG. Just recently we saw a long list of domestic flights available from 4,000 – 6,000 miles each way. These are some of the absolute best ways to redeem SkyMiles. Frequently, Delta will run these sales without much advertisement, so your best bets are to bookmark the flash sales page and keep an eye on our deals page.
Sun and sand in Mexico
Even with unbelievable demand for flights to Mexico right now, there are still super cheap SkyMiles awards available. Mexico has easy COVID-19-related entry requirements, and testing to get back into the U.S. is widely available. Booking an award flight for 12,000 Delta miles round-trip is an unbelievable price. Not only can you score this deal for a family of four, you can book on multiple dates over the next six months.
One important detail to note here is that this is a basic economy fare. Delta’s version of basic economy actually compares well to others. While you won’t get an advance seat assignment, you can bring a full-size carry-on bag onboard.
Since you’ll be last to board, you might end up having to gate-check your bag at no additional expense to you. And, Delta has made basic economy tickets fully changeable and cancelable until the end of 2021. A 90,000-mile welcome bonus could actually net you seven round-trip tickets to Cancun if you’re willing to pack light!
Head to Hawaii
It’s hard to beat 12,000-mile round-trip flights to Cancun.
However, a 16,000-mile round-trip flight to Honolulu is another solid choice (once Hawaii is again welcoming tourists with open arms). Again, this fare is in basic economy but we are seeing plenty of availability. If you’re not on the West Coast, the price will probably be closer to 30,000 miles per round-trip.
The Caribbean is also cheap
The Bahamas are an easy jaunt from many cities east of the Mississippi, and award flights are cheap as well. You can currently take a family of four to the Bahamas twice for less than 90,000 SkyMiles total.
Related: How to travel to the Caribbean with points and miles
Round-trip to Europe
Europe is one of the most popular destinations — especially for points and miles enthusiasts looking to score a cheap flight.
With frequent SkyMiles flash sales, it won’t be too difficult to find flights to cities like Paris and Brussels as low as 30,000 SkyMiles round-trip in main cabin, or just a bit more in Comfort+. Right now, prices are just a bit higher, though the 58,000-mile round-trip rates are widely available across the calendar from a number of departure cities.
Related: The best ways to get to Europe with points and miles
Round-trip to South America in economy or Delta One
Flights to Bogota, Colombia, are ridiculously affordable right now. Just 10,000 SkyMiles will get you to Bogota and back in basic economy.
If economy isn’t your cup of tea, for just under 50,000 SkyMiles you can fly Delta One between New York-JFK and Bogota (BOG) round-trip. While it’s on the much older Boeing 767, it’s not a bad deal for a five-hour flight each way.
Related: The ultimate guide to Delta One Suites
Smart travelers will find plenty of ways to use their Delta SkyMiles. Despite having a bad rap for no award charts and somewhat frequent devaluations, there are still great deals to be found. But because of the lack of a published award chart, the best deals ebb and flow over time and require a little searching to find.
To find the best deals, you can use Delta’s flexible pricing calendar to compare prices for a specific trip over a period of months between two cities. If you take the time to earn SkyMiles, whether through credit card spending, the current increased welcome bonuses, paid flights or other methods such as the Delta shopping portal, a bit of research will yield some tremendous opportunities for travel.
Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy.
Additional reporting by Victoria Walker.
For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles Gold Amex card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles Platinum Amex card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles Reserve Amex card, click here.