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Branded and Partnered Credit Cards
There are several credit cards that can help you quickly collect Delta SkyMiles that can be redeemed for some amazing flights.
Delta SkyMiles Credit Cards
American Express provides co-branded Delta credit cards that earn SkyMiles directly.
American Express Membership Rewards Credit Cards
Amex points can be transferred directly to Delta Air Lines at a ratio of 1:1. Earning Membership Rewards is probably the best way to earn lots of SkyMiles.
Recommended Personal Cards
Recommended Business Cards
Marriott Credit Cards
Recommended Marriott Cards
Hotel Partner Credit Cards
Several hotel programs will let you transfer points to Delta. However, this is almost always a poor use of hotel points. Unless you are really in a bind, save your hotel points for hotel award stays at your destination.
Delta Air Lines Overview
Delta’s mileage program is named SkyMiles. When it comes to earning SkyMiles, the program has shifted from a mileage-based to a revenue-based program. This means miles are now earned based on the amount spent on tickets rather than the distance traveled.
Big spenders and short distance flyers will likely see an increase in their mileage earning. But leisure and long-distance flyers may see their earnings drop, often dramatically.
Elite status is still earned by traditional miles and segments flown, but spending requirements have been added to the flying requirements.
Joining is free and you can sign up online.
You’ll immediately become a General Member and begin earning miles on Delta flights and partner activity.
How to Sign in to Your SkyMiles Account
Log in on the delta.com homepage.
Viewing Your Account Activity
The Delta website has 2 useful pages to manage your account:
- My SkyMiles shows all your account activity.
- My Wallet shows your SkyMiles and Sky Club membership cards, and any certificates you may have such as elite upgrade certificates. You can also print trip receipts.
Delta SkyMiles is the only U.S. airline loyalty program with no mileage expiration. With Delta, infrequent travelers need not worry about finding ways to avoid expiration.
Delta Mileage Program
SkyMiles Elite Status
Delta SkyMiles offers members 4 membership tiers:
- Silver Medallion
- Gold Medallion
- Platinum Medallion
- Diamond Medallion
Elite status requirements:
- Silver Medallion – 25,000 Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQMs) or 30 Medallion Qualifying Segments (MQSs) and $3,000 in Medallion Qualifying Dollars (MQDs)
- Gold Medallion – 50,000 MQMs or 60 MQSs and $6,000 MQDs
- Platinum Medallion – 75,000 MQMs or 100 MQSs and $9,000 MQDs
- Diamond Medallion – 125,000 MQMs or 140 segments and $15,000 MQDs
MQD requirements are waived if spending $25,000 per year on a Delta-branded American Express card.
You can also earn MQMs with credit card spending.
SkyMiles Elite Benefits
SkyMiles Silver Medallion:
- Complimentary upgrades on paid flights (not award flights), up to 24 hours before departure if available
- 1 free checked bag up to 70 pounds for Silver member and up to 8 traveling companions on the same reservation
- Priority check-in and boarding
- Virgin Atlantic flights: priority check-in, priority boardings, and 1 additional checked bag (in addition to standard Virgin Atlantic allowance)
SkyMiles Gold Medallion:
- All Silver benefits, plus:
- Complimentary upgrades available up to 72 hours before departure
- Complimentary upgrades on award tickets
- 2 free checked bags up to 70 pounds each
- Free same-day changes and same-day standby
- Award booking fee waived
- SkyPriority check-in, security, and boarding on Delta and partners
- SkyTeam ElitePlus status includes partner lounge access on international itineraries, even in economy
- Hertz 5-Star status (register here)
- Virgin Atlantic flights: premium economy check-in, Fast Track security, premium economy baggage handling
SkyMiles Platinum Medallion:
- All Gold benefits, plus:
- Complimentary upgrades available up to 5 days before departure
- 3 free checked bags up to 70 pounds each
- 1 annual Choice Benefit. Choose between:
- 4 Regional Upgrade Certificates (RUC)*
- 20,000 bonus SkyMiles
- Ability to gift Silver status
- $200 gift card
- Hertz President’s Circle Status (register here)
- Virgin Atlantic flights: Upper Class check-in, Upper Class security, Upper Class priority baggage handling, and lounges: Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse or No.1 Lounges Heathrow Terminal 3, and the Virgin Atlantic Revivals Lounge (arrivals)
*Regional Upgrade Certificates can be used to jump to the top of the upgrade list on competitive flights such as New York to Los Angeles or San Francisco. They can be used for U.S. domestic flights and selected short-distance international flights.
SkyMiles Diamond Medallion:
- All Platinum benefits, plus:
- Free membership to CLEAR so you can breeze through security
- 3 additional Choice Benefits from a better slate of options than Platinum:
- 4 Global Upgrade Certificates (GUC)*
- 25,000 bonus miles
- Delta Sky Club membership (individual and executive)
- Ability to gift Gold status, and more
*Global Upgrade Certificates can be used on any paid (non-award) Delta flight except Basic Economy, and limited partner flights.
Value of Delta SkyMiles Status
Delta SkyMiles status is competitive with American Airlines and United.
Silver Medallion has minimal benefits. Much of what is offered is similar to benefits extended to Delta credit cardholders.
Gold Medallion stands out for same-day change and same-day standby fee waivers, which are not a benefit of American and United at their comparative status levels. Gold Medallion members get SkyTeam ElitePlus status, and will receive a high level of treatment when flying partner airlines.
Regional Upgrade Certificates are a popular Choice Benefit for Platinum Medallions that frequently fly domestic DeltaOne routes such as New York to Los Angeles or San Francisco. Without certificates, complimentary upgrades are not available on these routes branded as DeltaOne.
Diamond Medallion members receive a high level of service. When there are delays or cancellations, Diamonds are among the fastest to be re-accommodated on the best alternate flights. The Diamond Medallion hotline is staffed by experts who are quick to help.
Global Upgrade Certificates are a highlight of Choice Benefits for Diamond members. These can be used to upgrade to business on paid economy tickets, even on the longest international routes. Availability to use the certificates is generally good, especially when compared to United and American’s certificates (which are very difficult to use on international flights).
With continuing cuts to American Airlines Executive Platinum, many road warriors now rank Delta’s Diamond Medallion as the top airline elite status in the U.S.
How to Earn Delta Miles
From flying to using credit cards for your daily expenses, you’ll have tons of opportunities to earn SkyMiles.
Earn SkyMiles Through Flying
Delta SkyMiles members now earn miles by the dollar amount spent on their ticket (up to 75,000 miles maximum per ticket).
Earning base miles varies by status:
- General – 5 miles per dollar
- Silver Medallion – 7 miles per dollar
- Gold Medallion – 8 miles per dollar
- Platinum Medallion – 9 miles per dollar
- Diamond Medallion – 11 miles per dollar
SkyMiles can be earned on any Delta flight, as well as flights with many SkyTeam partner airlines and other partners.
Certain airline partner flights still earn based on distance instead of price. You can consult the SkyMiles airline partner page to figure this out, but you will need the airline booking fare code of your ticket (which is not provided by all airlines and websites). You might need to call the airline directly to find out the booking fare code.
List of SkyTeam Alliance Airline Partners
|Aeroflot (temporarily suspended)||ITA Airways|
|Aerolineas Argentinas||Kenya Airways|
|Air Europa||Korean Air|
|Air France||Middle East Airlines|
|Delta Air Lines||Saudia Airlines|
|China Eastern||Vietnam Airlines|
|Czech Airlines||Virgin Atlantic|
|Garuda Indonesia||Xiamen Airlines|
List of Non-Alliance Delta Partners
|Delta Other Partners|
|China Southern||Virgin Australia|
Earning SkyMiles With Credit Cards
With several co-branded Delta credit cards, it’s easy to earn SkyMiles directly. Most purchases will earn 1X points per dollar, but purchases with Delta will earn 2X points.
Delta is also an American Express transfer partner and a Marriott transfer partner. Cards that earn Membership Rewards often have multiple bonus categories to help you earn points faster while Marriott Bonvoy points provide a transfer bonus of 5,000 SkyMiles when you transfer a block of 60,000 points.
How to Redeem Delta Miles
When it comes to redeeming miles, Delta wants customers to pay whatever price the Delta website quotes. They even went so far as to remove their award chart so that customers have no firm reference to what an award “should” cost.
As a general rule, though, Delta sticks pretty close to their old award chart, which is included here for reference.
Note that some award prices have increased or decreased since this chart was last published. Delta typically does not announce changes in advance, sometimes only announcing that certain prices are immediately in effect for any travel from a specific date. Delta also regularly runs award sales of as little as 5,000 miles per flight for domestic flights.
The Delta website has many award ticket booking and pricing errors. Not all partners are shown online, and sometimes the site shows “phantom availability” for partner airlines (awards that are not really available for booking).
Do careful research on awards and always search segment by segment. For partner awards, you can compare to results shown on the Air France website since they have many partners in common.
Many Delta awards require a phone call to book. Ask for a telephone booking fee waiver if it is not possible to book your trip online.
As of 2021, award tickets for travel in the U.S. can also be canceled or changed at any time prior to departure.
See our article on How to Redeem Delta SkyMiles for details on the many award options to maximize your SkyMiles value.
The information regarding the Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding The World of Hyatt Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card, click here.
For rates and fees of Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, click here.
For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, click here.
For rates and fees of The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of the American Express® Business Gold Card, click here.
For rates and fees of The American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Express® Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card, click here.
Frequently Asked Questions
SkyMiles is the Delta Air Lines frequent flyer loyalty program. By joining this free program, you can earn benefits while traveling with Delta Air Lines, depending on your level of status within the program.
When you travel, you will earn miles which can be redeemed for award flights and more once you’ve earned enough.
The benefits include bonus miles earned, priority boarding, free checked bags, security line status, complimentary upgrades, and more. When you earn enough miles, you get to redeem them for travel or other purchases.
The levels of elite status membership are Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond. To earn these levels, you must reach a certain number of miles/segments and meet a certain spending threshold each year.
Delta has a unique gift-giving scheme when you achieve your elite Medallion statuses, dubbed Choice Benefits.
When SkyMiles members first achieve Platinum status, they are allowed to choose a gift from a list of choices, including upgrade certificates, and more.
Achieving Diamond status yields 2 gifts, and the gift options differ between the statuses too.
For example, for Platinum, the upgrade certificate gift includes 4 regional flight upgrades, while for Diamond it is 4 global or 8 regional flight upgrades. You get an extra gift just for being Diamond as well.
One gift exclusive to Diamond status is upgrading an individual Delta Sky Club Membership to an executive membership.
Delta SkyMiles can be used for free flights on Delta or any of their partner airlines. They can also be used for hotels and other partners.
You can transfer points from partnered programs to Delta SkyMiles as well. There is no longer a 250,000-mile transfer limit.
SkyMiles have been valued anywhere from $0.005 to $0.015 per point. This always depends on what types of redemptions are available.
Yes, there are multiple Delta American Express cards: the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express, the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express, and the Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express.
You can find your number by signing into your account and navigating to your account page. If you don’t have that, you can search your inbox for a marketing email, or use the “forgot my password” tool to reset your password and get into your account.
If neither of those work, you can always call customer service to retrieve your account number.
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About Brian Graham
Brian’s first ever airplane ride was in a private turbo-prop jet. He was merely an intern boy trying to make a good impression, but it turns out the plane made an impression on him.
It wasn’t until Brian relocated to Dallas, TX, and moved in with an American Airlines employee that he truly discovered how incredible travel could be.
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UP's Bonus Valuation
This bonus value is an estimated valuation calculated by UP after analyzing redemption options, transfer partners, award availability and how much UP would pay to buy these points.