Best Ways to Earn Delta SkyMiles

Delta has two types of points: SkyMiles and Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs). You can use SkyMiles to book free flights and EQMs is a method Delta uses to measure elite status


Flying on Delta or Partner Airlines

Flights on Delta– No Elite Status: 5 miles for every $1; Silver Medallion: 7 miles for every $1; Gold Medallion: 8 miles for every $1; Platinum Medallion: 9 miles for every $1; and Diamond Medallion: 11 miles for every $1. 

Points Maximum: The maximum number of points you can earn on a single flight is 75,000, which is a $15,000 flight for base member or $6,818 flight for Diamond Medallion. 

Flights on Partners– Delta has over 25 partner airlines that you can earn Delta points when you fly on those airlines. Aeromexico, Air France, KLM, and Virgin Atlantic have good earn rates depending on booking class for Delta since Delta owns a large share in those airlines.

Business Owners- If you have at least five employees and spend $5,000 annually on Delta and their partners for your business, you can qualify for Delta’s SkyBonus program. Your employees still earn their regular points and the business earns additional points on top of their travel. Delta awards points more points if you are flying to and from a non-hub (their hubs are ATL, CVG, DTW, MSP, and SLC). 


Transfer Partners

Delta is a one to one transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards, and Diners Club. For American Express, you will have to pay a small tax of $.0006 per point with a maximum of $99 (i.e. for a transfer of 50,000 points to Delta you would pay $30 in taxes).

You can also transfer from Marriott at a 3 (Marriott) to 1 airline point transfer ratio. You can also get an additional 5,000 airline points bonus if you transfer in increments of 60,000 Marriott points. (e.g., 60,000 Marriott points become 25,000 airline points, whereas if you only transfer 59,000 Marriott points, you would only get 19,667 airline points).

Recommendation: I do not recommend you transfer points from Membership Rewards since there are much better travel partners and you have to pay the points tax.

Other Ratios: Hertz (6 to 5), Le Club Accor (2 to 1), Hyatt (2.5 to 1), and Hilton, (1o to 1).


Credit Cards

Below are cards for the United States. If you live outside the U.S., visit Delta’s International Credit Cards page.

Gold Delta

Personal Application Link

  • Target Bonus: 60,000 SkyMiles
  • Current Bonus: 40,000 SkyMiles + $50

Business Application Link

  • Target Bonus: 60,000 SkyMiles
  • Current Bonus: 30,000 SkyMiles

Annual Fee: $0 first year; $95 subsequent years

Earning Delta Skymiles

  • 2 SkyMiles per dollar on Delta
  • 1 SkyMile per dollar everywhere else

Gold Delta Benefits 

  • Free first check bag
  • Priority boarding
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Only $29 to access Delta Skyclub
  • 90-day return and price protection


Platinum Delta

Personal Application Link

  • Target Bonus: 70,000 SkyMiles + 10,000 Medallion Qualifying Miles (towards elite status)
  • Current Bonus: 50,000 SkyMiles + $100 Statement Credit

Business Application Link

  • Target Bonus: 70,000 SkyMiles + Medallion Qualifying Miles (towards elite status)
  • Current Bonus: 35,000 SkyMiles + 5,000 MQM

Annual Fee: $195

Earning Delta Skymiles

  • 2 SkyMiles per dollar on Delta
  • 1 SkyMile per dollar everywhere else

Platinum Delta Benefits

  • Free first checked bag
  • Annual Companion Certificate every anniversary
  • Spend $25,000 and receive 10,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion Qualifying Miles every year
  • Priority boarding
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $29 Skyclub access
  • Baggage insurance
  • 90-day return and price protection


Delta Reserve

Personal Application Link

  • Target Bonus: 70,000 SkyMiles
  • Current Bonus: 40,000 SkyMiles + 5,000 Medallion Qualifying Miles (towards elite status)

Business Application Link

  • Target Bonus:  70,000 SkyMiles + 10,000 Medallion Qualifying Miles (towards elite status)
  • Current Bonus: 40,000 SkyMiles + 10,000 MQMs

Annual Fee: $450

Earning Delta Skymiles
  • 2 SkyMiles per dollar on Delta
  • 1 SkyMile per dollar everywhere else

Delta Reserve Benefits

  • Delta SkyClub (free for the cardholder; $29 for guests)
  • Free first checked bag
  • Priority boarding
  • Delta Companion Certificate at card anniversary
  • 15,000 bonus miles + 15,000 Medallion Qualifying Miles if you spend $30,000
  • Baggage insurance
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 90-day return and price protection

Note: You can also get free Skyclub access with the American Express Platinum, but you must be flying Delta for access. 

 


Blue Delta

Application Link

  • Target Bonus: 10,000 SkyMiles
  • Current Bonus: 10,000 SkyMiles

Annual Fee: $0 

Earning Delta Skymiles
  • 2 SkyMiles per dollar on Delta and U.S. Restaurants.
  • 1 SkyMile per dollar everywhere else.

Delta Blue Benefits

  • 90-day return and price protection

 


SkyMiles Partners

Lyft– Delta and Lyft have a partnership in which you can 1 Delta point per dollar spent at Lyft and 3 Delta points per dollar on Lyft trips to the airport. You can register here.

Airbnb– Delta and Airbnb most of the time have a promotion where you can earn 2 or 3 Delta points per dollar spent at Airbnb. You can see the current offer here.

Rental Cars– You can earn Delta points with most major rental car companies. However, you forgo the rental car points. If you have elite status, Hertz is a great option due to higher earning levels for elite members, 5 star status for Gold members, and President’s Circle for Platinum Members. 

Other Ways: Delta’s Shopping Portal, Eating at Restaurants, Staying at Hotels, Cruises, Vacation Packages, and even paying your Natural Gas Bill