For the international traveller, the Delta SkyMiles program will let you use miles to travel almost anywhere in the world.

Delta itself is one of the world’s largest airlines, and provides extensive coverage across the U.S., as well as a vast array of destinations to the rest of the world.

In the chance Delta can’t fly you where you want to go, as a member of SkyTeam and other partnerships, you can use your miles on 22 different airlines.

Throw in some good credit cards as well, and you can also earn miles on all of your day to day purchases.

So let’s see everything that SkyMiles has to offer, and how to best use your miles.

Related: Save Money Every Time You Fly – Credit Cards With Airline Miles

Delta SkyMiles at a glance

Value of a Delta SkyMile: High: $0.024 for magazine subscriptions
Low: $0.009 for Delta gift cards
Ways to redeem Rapid Rewards points: * Flights – 1.5 cents per point (CPP)
* Magazine subscriptions – 2.43 CPP
* Vacation packages – 1 CPP
* Private jets – 1 CPP
* Delta gift cards – 0.9 CPP
* Experiences
* Donations to charity
How to earn Delta SkyMiles: * Flights
* Other partners
* 4 credit cards
Who these rewards are good for: * World travellers
Frequently Asked Questions: * Level of flexibility? Medium
* Blackout dates? No
* Do rewards expire? No
* Rewards cover taxes and fees? No
* Can these rewards be transferred? No
* Is there a way to earn rewards faster? Yes
* How to access Delta login
* Delta customer service contact info

Calculating the value of a Delta SkyMile

If you’re collecting Delta SkyMiles, chances are you’re looking for free flights. But, there are other (and certainly interesting) ways to use your miles as well.

Redeem Delta SkyMiles for flights – 1.3 CPP

It should go without saying, but if you’re collecting Delta SkyMiles, you’re probably looking to get free flights.

And getting free flights also happens to be the best way to redeem your miles (with one exception as we’ll see).

Redeeming for flights yielded an average value of 1.3 cents per mile. We surveyed 17 flights departing from major Delta hubs, for flights within the U.S., as well as to Canada, Europe and Asia.

We booked one week trips, and looked at flights leaving 3 months in advance.

You can see our flight results here.

There’s a few things to keep in mind when redeeming for flights. The good news is that no matter where you went, the average value is the same. You won’t have to worry too much about losing value just because of where you are flying. Taxes and fees were also generally low across the board, with only 2 flights costing more than $100 out of pocket.

We also found no problems finding availability.

Delta has no blackout dates on their own operated flights. Just note that there is no set chart for redeeming miles. To see how many miles you may need for a potential redemption, simply do some test bookings and see what you require. They also offer specials from time to time, so you can use even fewer miles.

However, you should stick to Delta when redeeming for international flights. A couple of the flights to Europe we surveyed had SkyTeam partners as redemption options. These flights always required more miles than an equivalent Delta trip.

The lesson here is to always book flights operated by Delta, unless they don’t happen to fly there.

There’s also the option to book flights using miles and cash. While this can be a good option if you haven’t saved enough miles, it’s not a great option. It’s best to save enough miles for the full booking.

As an example, the first flight we surveyed was from Atlanta to San Francisco. For a full miles redemption, you needed 19,000 miles and only had to pay $11.20 in taxes and fees, against a flight cost of $278.

The equivalent cash and miles redemption needed 16,000 miles, but the amount you had to pay shot up to $191.20. You spent $180 more for your flight, but only needed 3,000 fewer miles.

It’s generally not going to be worth it to use your miles for these kinds of bookings.

Redeem Delta SkyMiles for magazine subscriptions – 2.43 CPM

Want something to read while you’re flying? Use your miles for magazine subscriptions.

And while it may seem like a strange redemption option, it actually provided the best value at 2.43 cents per mile.

Here are some of the subscriptions available, and how much it would cost to purchase the subscription itself (prices as found on Amazon):

Magazine subscription MIles needed Cost Mile Value
Sports Illustrated (39 issues) 1,400 $30 2.14
GQ (12 issues) 900 $10 1.11
People (54 issues) 2,200 $124 5.62
Golf Digest (11 issues) 1,200 $10 0.83

There’s going to be a limited number of miles you could use here, but if you’re a magazine lover it’s a great way to use your miles.

Redeem Delta SkyMiles for vacation packages – 1 CPP

If you want to use miles for more than just flights, you can also use miles to help pay for a Delta Vacation package that includes flights, hotels, and car rentals.

Simply make your selections, then use your miles to pay for your booking.

No matter what you’re looking at, each mile is worth the same – 1 cent each.

Redeem Delta SkyMiles for private jets – 1 CPP

Want to live the luxury life in the air? Save up your SkyMiles and use them for a luxurious private jet experience.

Seems great, right?

Only problem – redemptions start at 2.5 million miles for a $25,000 jet card. And that only gets up to 4 passengers on a round trip from Atlanta to Miami. Not very far.

It’s certainly unique, but you’ll be saving miles for a long time to unlock this redemption option.

Redeem Delta SkyMiles for Delta Gift Cards – 0.9 CPP

If you would prefer to use gift cards, or get one for someone else, there’s the option to do that.

You can redeem miles for Delta gift cards in various denominations from $50 to $1,000.

Each one gives the same mile value of 0.9 cents.

Redeem Delta SkyMiles for experiences

Want to use your miles for once in a lifetime experiences?

You can use your SkyMiles to bid on experiences. To see what’s available, head over here and see what you can bid on. Some events have a buy it now feature, where you won’t have to wait for the auction to be over.

Many of these items are hard to put a price on, so whether or not you want to use your miles depends on how much the experience is worth to you.

Redeem Delta SkyMiles for Donations

Finally, you can use your miles for donations to charities. There’s a decent selection of charities available, and donating to a good cause is never a bad idea.

You can see the full list of charities you could donate to in the US right here.

Earning Delta SkyMiles

There’s a few ways to earn Delta SkyMiles:

  • You can earn miles when you fly,
  • Earn with select partners, or
  • use affiliated credit cards.

Earn Delta SkyMiles by flying

The fastest way to earn Delta SkyMiles is by flying either with Delta or their partners.

On Delta marketed flights, you’ll earn 5 miles per $1 spent on flights with Delta (miles are not earned on government imposed taxes and fees).

The marketed flight earn rate is important, as this will apply anytime you book a flight through Delta on partner airlines. This earn rate will apply to your booking as Delta will generally have their own flight number applied, even if you’re flying with a partner airline.

If you’re flying and booking with a Delta partner, the earn rates vary by partner.

This page will give you the details for every Delta partner out there.

Earn Delta SkyMiles with other partners

Delta SkyMiles also has a host of other partners you could earn with. There’s a good list of hotel chains, car rental agencies – even Airbnb and Lyft.

To see the full details on the other partners available, and how much you could earn, this site has everything you need to know.

American Express Delta SkyMiles Cards

Want to earn Delta SkyMiles on all of your everyday purchases? American Express issues 4 different credit cards for you to choose from.

They all have varying perks and welcome bonuses, but have the same earn rates (with one exception):

  • 2 points per $1 spent on Delta purchases, and
  • 1 point per $1 on everything else.

Which card is for you?

It all depends on how much of an annual fee you want to pay, and what kind of perks you’re looking for.

Here’s what each one offers.

Related: Airline Credit Card Face Off – JetBlue Vs Southwest

Blue Delta SkyMiles Credit Card

The entry level card, the has no annual fee, but surprisingly would earn you the most miles of any of these cards, as you earn 2x the miles on restaurants as well.

Best part?

It comes with a welcome bonus of 10,000 miles after spending $500 in the first 3 months.

However, the only perk this card comes with is a 20% savings on Delta in-flight purchases.

Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card

The next card is the is the . For an annual fee of $95 (which is waived for the first year), this card will start you out with 30,000 bonus miles after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months. You’ll also get a $50 statement credit when you make a Delta purchase within the first 3 months.

It also has a few perks:

  • First free checked bag on Delta flights,
  • 20% savings on Delta in-flight purchases, and
  • no foreign transaction fees.

Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card

Kicking things up another notch, the offers a bevy of perks for it’s $195 annual fee.

First though, you’ll get a large welcome bonus of 50,000 miles after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months.

Among its perks, the companion voucher stands out. Travel once per year with Delta in the Continental U.S., and you’ll receive a companion voucher. Book an economy class ticket for one person, and bring someone else with you for just the taxes and fees.

It also comes with these other perks as well:

  • Priority boarding,
  • 20% savings on Delta in-flight purchases, and
  • first free checked bag on Delta flights,
  • 10,000 bonus miles and 10,000 medallion qualifying miles after spending $25,000 per year, and
  • no foreign transaction fees.

Related: Best Airline Credit Cards For 2019

Delta Reserve Credit Card

To get the most Delta perks possible, the is for you.

While it has a large $450 annual fee, it also gives you:

  • Priority boarding,
  • 20% savings on Delta in-flight purchases, and
  • first free checked bag on Delta flights,
  • 15,000 bonus miles and 15,000 medallion qualifying miles after spending $30,000 per year, and
  • no foreign transaction fees.

It comes with an annual companion voucher too, but this one can also be used on first class and Delta Comfort+ seats if you so choose.

It does have a slightly lower welcome bonus of 40,000 miles after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months. But will also give you 10,000 medallion qualifying miles as part of the welcome bonus.

Delta SkyMiles questions and answers

How flexible are these rewards?

All in all, these are fairly flexible rewards.

You can use your points to book almost any flight operated by Delta and SkyTeam, and use your points for vacation packages, as well as cash-like items like gift cards.

Are there blackout dates?

No. For flights operated by Delta, there are no blackout dates.

Do these rewards expire?

No, your miles will never expire.

Can you use points to cover taxes & fees?

Points don’t cover taxes and fees when redeeming for flights.

Can these rewards be transferred?

No, these rewards cannot be transferred to other partners.

Is there a way to earn rewards faster?

Yes, by using both your Delta SkyMiles number and credit card on Delta and SkyTeam flights.

How to access your Delta SkyMiles login

To access your SkyMiles login, go to and click log in at the top right corner.

Delta customer service contact info

To contact Delta customer service, call 1-800-221-1212 or 1-800-323-2323 if you’re a SkyMiles member..

In conclusion

If you want to use miles to travel almost anywhere, the Delta SkyMiles program is a great choice.

Generally no matter where you fly, you’ll get the same value for your miles.

If Delta can’t get you where you want to go, SkyTeam and their other partners are sure to be able to fill in.

Plus, you can also use points to pay for other parts of traveling, like hotels and car rentals.

What are your thoughts on the SkyMiles program?

Let us know in the comments below.