Delta SkyMiles Loyalty Program Benefits & Review 2022 – How to Earn Elite Status (June 2023)
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Delta SkyMiles is the loyalty program for Delta Air Lines and gives you a variety of ways to earn miles from its many co-brand credit cards and travel partnerships. This airline loyalty program can be an excellent option for domestic flights on Delta or international trips through a SkyTeam alliance partner.
Here is an in-depth look at how to maximize your SkyMiles benefits.
Delta SkyMiles At A Glance
|Loyalty Program||Delta SkyMiles|
|Cost to Join||Free|
|Membership Tiers||General, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Diamond|
|Fare Classes||Main Cabin, Delta Comfort+, First Class, Delta Premium Select, Delta One|
|Number of Alliance Members||25|
|Popular Alliance Airlines||AeroMexico, Air France, KLM, Korean Air, LATAM Airlines, Virgin Atlantic|
|Average Point Value||1.2 cents|
|Point Expiration Policy||Never|
|Point Redemption Options||Award Flights, Experiences, Magazines, Merchandise, Delta Gift Cards|
|Number of Co-Brand Credit Cards (Accepting New Applications)||7|
Here is everything you need to know about the Delta SkyMiles loyalty program.
Joining the Program
You can join Delta SkyMiles for free online or through the mobile app. You will receive your SkyMiles membership number after providing your name, date of birth, and email address.
Delta SkyMiles Loyalty Program Levels
There are four different Medallion elite status tiers that you can upgrade to as a frequent flyer.
You can earn Medallion status by accruing a minimum number of these qualifying metrics:
- Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs)
- Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs)
- Medallion Qualification Segments (MQSs)
Here are the Medallion Status minimums for 2022.
|Medallion Status Tier||Flying Requirements||Spending Requirements|
|Silver||25,000 MQMs or 30 MQSs||$3,000 MQDs or a MQD Waiver|
|Gold||50,000 MQMs or 60 MQSs||$6,000 MQDs or a MQD Waiver|
|Platinum||75,000 MQMs or 100 MQSs||$9,000 MQDs or a MQD Waiver|
|Diamond||125,000 MQMs or 140 MQSs||$15,000 MQDs or a MQD Waiver|
Here are several notes of interest that can make it easier to earn Medallion status:
- Status Extension: Current Medallion members have a status extension through January 31, 2023.
- MQM Rollovers: Your entire MQMs balance from 2021 will roll into 2022. Usually, only the unused portion carryover.
- MQD Waivers: Delta Air Lines American Express cardholders can get an MQD waiver by making at least $25,000 in annual card purchases for Silver, Gold, and Platinum status. The spending minimum is $250,000 for Diamond Medallion status.
Here is a closer look at the SkyMiles membership levels and how to earn elite status.
General membership is best for accumulating airline miles and accessing a few other travel perks.
Your benefits include:
- Earn 5x SkyMiles on Delta-operated flights and most partner flights (Main Cabin or above)
- Discounted CLEAR membership ($119 annually)
- SkyMiles don’t expire
- No close-in award flight booking fees
You will also earn the various Medallion Qualification credits as you become a frequent flyer.
The first tier of Medallion status is Silver and includes these benefits:
- 7x SkyMiles on Delta-operated flights
- Complimentary U.S. 50 Delta One upgrades on day of departure
- Complimentary First Class and Delta Comfort+ upgrades 24 hours before departure
- Preferred seats
- Priority waitlist status
- Waived baggage fees
- Priority check-in and boarding
- CLEAR preferred pricing ($109/year)
- 1,000 miles per qualifying Hertz car rental
- Up to $350 savings on Delta Vacations purchases
- Bag tags upon earning status
Gold Medallion members will enjoy these additional flight and travel benefits:
- 8x SkyMiles on Delta flights
- First Class and Comfort+ upgrades up to 72 hours before departure
- Waived same-day confirmed fees
- Sky Priority boarding
- Priority security and baggage handling
- SkyTeam lounge access
- Hertz Five Star loyalty status
- Four drink vouchers upon earning status
Platinum members (and Diamond members) get access to Choice Benefits in addition to the other enhanced perks.
Featured benefits include:
- 9x SkyMiles on Delta flights
- 1 Choice Benefit (i.e., Delta Sky Club membership, bonus miles, upgrade certificates)
- First Class upgrades up to 120 hours before departure
- Hertz President Circle status and 1,250 miles per rental
The highest loyalty tier is Diamond Medallion which sports these benefits:
- 11x SkyMiles on Delta flights
- 3 Choice Benefits
- Highest priority boarding
- Complimentary CLEAR membership
You can receive automatic Medallion status by earning at least 1 million miles during your lifetime. Your complimentary status depends on how many multi-millions you have:
- Silver: 1 million
- Gold: 2 and 3 million
- Platinum: 4 and 5 million
- Diamond: 6 million or more
There is also an invite-only loyalty tier known as Delta 360. The airline will contact you directly if you’re a candidate.
The eligibility standards are not public knowledge as the airline states that your qualification depends on your “overall investment with Delta.”
Delta SkyMiles Status Match
If you have elite status with a competing airline, it’s possible to get matching Delta SkyMiles Medallion status. You’re eligible to apply for a match once every three years.
You will get matching status for three months and must complete these activities to get an extension:
- Silver: 6,250 MQMs or 8 MQSs and $750 MQDs
- Gold: 12,500 MQMs or 15 MQSs and $1,500 MQDs
- Platinum: 18,750 MQMs or 25 MQSs and $2,250 MQDs
Learn more about the Delta status match here.
Delta Reclaim My Status Challenge
All Medallion members who lose their status due to life circumstances have the opportunity to reclaim their status with the Reclaim My Status feature.
It’s possible to extend your status for three months and have a limited time to renew your membership level by earning a qualifying amount of flight and spending requirements.
The Vacationer Tip
Planning to fly Delta Air Lines soon? Check out these guides:
How to Find and Book Cheap Flights
Best Websites for Booking Cheap Flights
Best Days of the Week to Fly
Best Day of the Week to Book Flights
Delta SkyMiles Alliance Partners
It’s possible to earn and redeem your SkyMiles with over 20 partner airlines.
Consider flying these core SkyTeam partners to earn and redeem more rewards:
- Air France
- Virgin Atlantic
- China Eastern
- Korean Air
You can also enjoy limited benefits when flying these partners:
- Aerolineas Argentina
- Cape Air
- China Airlines
- China Southern
- Czech Airlines
- Garuda Indonesia
- Hawaiian Airlines
- ITA Airways
- Kenya Airways
- Middle East Airlines
- Saudia Airlines
- Vietnam Airlines
- Xiamen Airlines
Your potential benefits differ by airline.
Here are some of the ways that you can earn SkyMiles through Delta and its partners.
You will earn 5-11x SkyMiles on most Delta-operated flights and on participating partner airlines. Your earning potential depends on your loyalty status level.
In addition to earning SkyMiles, you will also earn MQMs, MQSs, and MQDs to qualify for Medallion status.
Tip: Find out how to find cheap flights
The airline partners with various travel providers so you can earn Delta SkyMiles on hotel nights, cruises, and rental cars.
Some of your earning opportunities include:
- Airbnb: 1x
- Lyft: 1x
- Mid-tier and luxury hotels: Usually 2x at participating brands including IHG, Marriott, Radisson, and World of Hyatt.
- Rental car agencies: 500 miles per qualifying rental
- SkyMiles Cruises: Up to 10,000 miles per itinerary
You can also earn miles by shopping online and supporting other retail partners:
- Ticketmaster: 1x
- SkyMiles Shopping: Up to 5x miles at most merchants
- SkyMiles Dining: Up to 5x at restaurants
- FTD: 20x on flowers and gifts
- Vinesse Wines: 5,000 miles after your first two shipments and then 5x
- Utility bills: 2x on qualifying natural gas bills
Co-Brand Delta SkyMiles Credit Cards
Paying with a Delta SkyMiles American Express credit card lets you earn up to 3x SkyMiles on purchases, including Delta-operated flights. These cards also provide a host of other airline loyalty benefits such as free checked bags, priority boarding, and Medallion status boosts.
You can buy up to 60,000 SkyMiles per year in 2,000-mile increments. You pay 3.5 cents per mile which is higher than the average redemption value of 1.2 cents.
Transferring Points to Delta SkyMiles
Here are some ways you can transfer points to your SkyMiles account.
Transfer Credit Card Points
Four different credit card providers let you transfer your purchase rewards to your frequent flyer account:
- American Express Membership Rewards
- Banco de Chile
- Diners Club
It can be easiest to get participating American Express credit cards. These cards have the best conversion ratio at 1:1 with a 1,000-point transfer minimum.
Some of the best American Express credit cards include:
- American Express Gold Card: Earn up to 4x on dining and groceries along with $120 in annual Uber Cash. The annual fee is $250.
- Platinum Card from American Express: Earn up to 5x on flights and prepaid hotels. Plenty of travel benefits including Delta Sky Club access and up to $200 in annual airline fee credits. The annual fee is $695.
- Amex EveryDay Credit Card: Earn up to 2x on purchases and receive 20% bonus points when using your card at least 20 times per month. There is no annual fee.
Business travelers may also consider the Platinum Business Card from American Express or the American Express Business Gold. Both cards have similar benefits as the consumer versions but have business-friendly rewards categories and also offer a redemption bonus when redeeming your points for award flights.
Convert Hotel Points
You can convert points from several credit card providers and travel loyalty programs.
Some of the participating networks include:
- Accor Hotels: 4,000 points equal 2,000 miles
- Hilton Honors: 10,000 points equal 1,000 miles
- IHG One Rewards: 10,000 points equal 2,000 miles
- Marriott Bonvoy: 9,000 points equal 3,000 miles
It’s also possible to convert Hertz points to SkyMiles by calling your designated toll-free number.
Transfer SkyMiles to Another SkyMiles Account
You can transfer your unused miles to another SkyMiles account. Unfortunately, this transfer may not be worth it as you pay a $30 transfer fee plus $0.01 per mile.
Redeeming Delta SkyMiles
Your SkyMiles are most valuable when you redeem them for award flights but you have several non-flight redemptions too.
You can use your miles for any fare class on Delta-operated flights and SkyTeam partners. The amount of points you need depends on several factors including the cash ticket price, flight demand, and the route distance.
Your points can be worth between 1 and 1.5 cents for most itineraries. However, you can find opportunities where your points can be worth between 2-4 cents each.
Short-haul flights may only require as few as 5,000 miles. Most one-way stretches require at least 10,000 miles for domestic economy fares.
International flights can require at least 30,000 miles for a one-way main cabin seat.
Delta Air Lines Perks
You can also use your points for these Delta-related rewards that can enhance your flight itinerary.
- Delta gift cards
- Seat upgrades
- Sky Club membership
- Vacation packages
You can request annual subscriptions to a variety of physical magazines. Many subscriptions start at 100 miles.
If you’re a SkyMiles American Express cardholder or a Medallion member, you can also redeem your miles for merchandise.
Delta SkyMiles Credit Cards
The airline offers several consumer and business credit cards with different annual fees and benefits. Each card is international-travel friendly as they waive the foreign transaction fee.
Here are the best features of each card.
Delta SkyMiles Blue American Express Card
The Delta SkyMiles Blue American Express Card can be the best option for infrequent travelers or those with a small monthly budget. In addition, this card has no annual fee.
- 2x miles on Delta and dining purchases
- 20% back on in-flight purchases
- Purchase protection
- Extended warranty
- $0 annual fee
Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card
The best overall option can be the Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card as you receive a suite of benefits with a reasonable annual fee ($99 after the first year).
- Up to 2x miles on purchases
- First checked bag is free (basic member and up to 8 companions)
- $100 Delta Flight Credit after $10,000 in annual card purchases
- Main Cabin 1 priority boarding
- Up to $50 off award flights for every 5,000 miles you redeem
- $0 introductory annual fee for the first 12 months (then $99)
Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card
The Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card can be worth it if you want discounted air travel benefits and use the annual companion certificate. The annual fee is $250.
- Earn up to 3x miles
- Annual domestic round-trip main cabin companion certificate
- Free first checked bag
- Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit
- Discounted Delta Sky Club access ($39 per guest)
- Trip delay insurance
Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card
Premium cabin passengers should consider the Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card. Its annual fee is $550.
- Up to 3x miles on purchases
- Annual round-trip companion certificate (domestic first class, Comfort+, or main cabin)
- Complimentary Sky Club access when booking flights with this card
- 2 one-time Delta Sky Club passes each year
- Complimentary upgrades
- Priority upgrades for Medallion members
- First checked bag is free
Delta SkyMiles Gold Business American Express Card
The entry-level small business offering is the Delta SkyMiles Gold Business American Express Card. Its benefits are similar to the consumer version:
- Earn up to 2x on purchases
- 20% in-flight savings
- Main Cabin 1 priority boarding
- First checked bag is free
- $100 flight credit after $10,000 in purchases
- $0 annual fee for the first year (then $199)
Delta SkyMiles Platinum Business American Express Card
The mid-tier Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card has a $250 annual fee along with these benefits:
- 3x on purchases at Delta and hotels
- 1.5x on purchases exceeding $5,000 (up to 50,000 miles per year)
- 10,000 MQMs after spending $25,000 in a calendar year (up to twice per year)
- Domestic main cabin round-trip companion certificate
- Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit
Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business American Express Card
Frequent business travelers can enjoy these perks with the Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business American Express Card:
- Up to 3x miles on purchases
- 15,000 MQMs after spending $40,000 per year (up to four times a year)
- Complimentary Centurion Lounge and Escape Lounge access with Delta flight purchases
- 2 one-time Delta Sky Club passes per year
- Discounted Sky Club access
- Domestic round-trip companion certificate each card renewal (First class, Comfort+, and main cabin).
The annual card fee is $550.
Learn more: Discover other excellent travel credit cards for exciting rewards.
Yes, it’s free to join Delta SkyMiles and you will be an entry-level General Member.
The Delta fare classes include Basic Economy, Main Cabin, Delta Comfort+, First Class, Premium Select, and Delta One.
You will earn between 5 and 11 SkyMiles per $1 on qualifying fares. These itineraries can also help you qualify for Medallion status.
No, the Basic Economy fare class no longer earns SkyMiles or counts toward the Medallion status requirements. You cannot redeem miles for Basic Economy award seats either.
SkyMiles are usually worth 1.2 cents for domestic and international award flights. However, the airline uses a variable pricing model and you will need to calculate your value for your desired flights to estimate your potential redemption value.
No, SkyMiles don’t expire unless you close your account.
Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) are based on your flight distance and fare class. Unfortunately, Basic Economy seats don’t earn MQMs.
You receive 100% bonus MQMs on First and Business Class ticks (F and J fares) and 50% more on these fare classes (P, A, G, C, D, I, Z, Y, and B fares):
-Delta Premium Select
-Premium Main Cabin
You can also earn MQM status boosts by meeting annual spending challenges with participating SkyMiles American Express credit cards.
The airline may offer additional Medallion status accelerators too.
Your excess MQMs roll over into next year so you have a head start with renewing your status. Typically, your entire balance doesn’t qualify but the airline is rolling over the entire balance from 2021 into 2022.
Medallion Qualification Segments (MQSs) are the number of flights you take. Sadly, Basic Economy flights don’t qualify.
Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs) reflect your amount of annual spending at Delta Air Lines and most Delta SkyTeam partners.
The Medallion status tiers are Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond. Non-Medallion flyers are General Members.
Platinum and Diamond Medallion members receive a select number of Choice Benefits each year. You can redeem these credits for upgrades, Delta Sky Club access, bonus miles, travel vouchers, and gifting Medallion status.
Delta gift cards are redeemable for your flight fare, fees, and takes. Delta Vacations including airfare are another redemption option.
You can redeem eCerts for these expenses:
– Discounts on cash fares and award fares
– A travel certificate where you only pay fees and taxes
– Complimentary upgrades to First or Business Class
– Companion certificates for domestic round-trip itineraries
You may receive a Delta eCredit for these instances:
– Unused or partially used eTickets
– Delta Travel Vouchers when exchanging eTickets
– Delta Dollars for oversold flights
– Transportation Credit Vouchers for service issues
– eGift certificates
All SkyMiles members are eligible for discounted CLEAR membership. The most elite members may get complimentary credentials.
SkyMiles American Express cardholders can receive a $50 flight discount for every 5,000 miles they redeem. Unfortunately, this redemption bonus isn’t available to non-cardholders.
The Vacationer’s Final Thoughts
Delta SkyMiles is one of the better domestic frequent flyer loyalty programs as you have several ways to earn rewards and the mile redemption value is competitive. Not worrying about expiring miles is also a nice touch if it takes you an extended period to bank up enough for an award flight.
Like other loyalty programs, a co-brand credit card is worth using so you can enjoy special perks like free checked bags, the Pay with Miles redemption bonus, and qualify for accelerated Medallion status.
If you live near a Delta Air Lines hub, SkyMiles can help you see the world at a discount. If you do plan on flying Delta, see our Delta Air Lines Baggage Fees guide, our guide on the Best Ways to Earn Delta SkyMiles, and our guide on How to Cancel or Change a Delta Air Lines Flight.
For other airlines, see our American Airlines AAdvantage Loyalty Program guide.
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