20 Best Ways to Earn Delta SkyMiles (March 2023)
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There are many ways to earn Delta SkyMiles in addition to booking flights. While you no longer need to accumulate miles to renew your balance, increasing your balance makes booking a desirable award flight easier.
Here are some of the strategies to get Delta SkyMiles fast.
Use Delta SkyMiles American Express Credit Cards
American Express offers several co-brand Delta SkyMiles credit cards for leisure and business travel. Each card purchase earns up to 3 SkyMiles per $1, including select daily purchases like dining and groceries.
They are possibly the easiest way to maximize your Delta SkyMiles member benefits when you fly.
These rewards credit cards are an excellent option if you fly on Delta several times yearly to save on air travel. Some of the Delta cardholder benefits include free checked bags and in-flight purchase discounts. It can also be easier to earn Medallion elite status.
Since you can only earn the signup bonus for a particular card once, you may time your card application for a limited-time offer. The enhanced welcome bonuses are available several times each year.
The earning potential and featured benefits for each card are below. Each card earns 1 mile per dollar on base purchases but can receive 1.5 to 3 miles on bonus categories.
Tip: You can earn refer-a-friend bonuses by inviting people to sign up for the Delta SkyMiles Credit Cards. For instance, you may earn 5,000 SkyMiles per successful referral.
Consumer Delta Air Lines Credit Cards
Several cards are available for personal travel whether you’re a casual travel or one of the airline’s most loyal customers.
Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card:
The Delta SkyMiles Blue Card has no annual fee (see rates & fees) and earns 2x miles on purchases through Delta and restaurants worldwide (plus delivery and takeout in the United States).
This card also offers 20% in-flight savings (via a statement credit) and no foreign transaction fee. As a tradeoff, you won’t get free checked bag benefits or the opportunity to earn flight credits and status boosts.
Related: Best No-Annual-Fee Credit Cards
Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card:
The Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card – (Learn How to Apply Here) benefits include:
- 2x on Delta purchases
- 2x at U.S. supermarkets and restaurants worldwide (plus delivery and takeout in the United States).
- First checked bag free for you and up to 8 companions
- $100 Delta Flight Credit after $10,000 in annual card purchases
- In-flight savings
- $0 annual fee for the first 12 months and then $99 – (see rates & fees)
Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card:
The Delta SkyMiles Platinum Credit Card is a great starter card for Medallion members:
- 3x on Delta flights and Delta Vacations
- 3x on purchases made directly with hotels
- 2x at restaurants worldwide (plus delivery and takeout in the United States) and U.S. supermarkets
- Discounted Delta Sky Club access ($50 per visit)
- Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate upon renewal
- 10,000 MQMs after $25,000 and $50,000 in annual card purchases
- Free first checked bag
- In-flight savings
This card has a $250 annual fee (see rates & fees) and includes a couple of other travel-related benefits.
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card:
The Delta SkyMiles Reserve Card offers the most extensive benefits but also has a $550 annual fee (see rates & fees):
- 3x on Delta flights and Delta vacations
- Centurion Lounge access when flying on Delta and booking with your Reserve card
- Complimentary Delta Sky Club access
- 2 one-time Delta Sky Club guest passes per year
- Premium annual companion certificate
- 15,000 bonus MQMs after $30,000 in annual spending (up to 4 times per year)
- Free first checked bag
- In-flight savings
Delta SkyMiles Business Cards
There are currently three Delta small business credit cards. Each has an annual fee, Delta benefits similar to the consumer cards, and the opportunity to earn bonus miles on business-related purchases.
Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card:
The Delta SkyMiles Gold Business Credit Card has a $0 intro annual fee for the first 12 months and then renews at $99 (see rates & fees).
You can earn 2x SkyMiles on these categories:
- Purchases made directly with Delta
- Advertising in select media*
*U.S. purchases only
Cardholders also enjoy Main Cabin 1 priority boarding, a free checked bag, and 20% in-flight savings.
Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card:
The mid-level Delta SkyMiles Business Platinum Card awards up to 3x SkyMiles on purchases:
- 3x on purchases made directly to Delta and hotels
- 1.5x on single purchases exceeding $5,000 (up to 50,000 bonus miles per year)
- 10,000 bonus MQMs when spending $25,000 and $50,000 per year
The annual fee is $250 (see rates & fees).
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card:
Frequent business travelers stand to gain the most from Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business Card as it has numerous benefits but has a $550 annual fee (see rates & fees).
It’s possible to earn up to 3x SkyMiles on purchases but there are relatively few bonus categories:
- 3x on purchases made through Delta
- 1.5x on all remaining purchases after spending $150,000 per year
- 1x on all non-bonus purchases before $150,000 in annual card purchases
- 15,000 bonus MQMs after $30,000 in annual purchases (up to 4 times per year)
Related: Best Airline Credit Cards
Fly on Delta Air Lines
Flying on Delta-marketed flights in the Main Cabin or a higher fare class lets you earn at least 5 miles per $1 with the entry-level Member status tier. Sadly, Basic Economy fares and award flights are ineligible.
Medallion members earn up to 11 miles per $1 on qualifying flights:
- Silver: 7x
- Gold: 8x
- Platinum: 9x
- Diamond: 11x
These qualifying flights also earn Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) to qualify for Medallion status.
Additionally, you will earn either 2 or 3 miles per dollar if you pay for the flight with your SkyMiles credit card regardless of your SkyMiles status level.
Fly with a Delta Partner Airline
Booking a flight with a SkyTeam partner or another global partner lets you earn miles and Medallion qualification metrics. Your earning potential differs by airline and fare class but is usually a percentage of the distance flown.
Participating airline partners include:
- Aerolíneas Argentina
- Air France
- Cape Air
- China Airlines
- China Eastern
- China Southern Airlines
- Czech Airlines
- Garuda Indonesia
- Hawaiian Airlines
- ITA Airways
- Kenya Airways
- Korean Air
- LATAM Airlines
- Middle East Airlines
- Saudia Airlines
- Vietnam Airlines
- Virgin Atlantic
- Xiamen Airlines
You can review the current earning policies here.
Delta Bags on Time Guarantee
Excessive baggage claim delays are frustrating as you pay a tidy sum to check your bags. Delta’s Bags on Time Guarantee provides 2,500 bonus miles when it takes longer than 20 minutes to receive your bags on the carousel.
If this happens to you on a domestic flight, submit an online claim here. You must submit the claim form within three days of arrival and it can take two weeks to receive compensation.
Learn More: Delta Air Lines Baggage Fees, Allowance, and Policy
Transfer American Express Membership Rewards
It’s possible to transfer American Express Membership Rewards to your SkyMiles account at a 1:1 transfer ratio. For example, 1,000 Membership Rewards are worth 1,000 SkyMiles.
It’s possible to transfer from 1,000 points to 999,000 points in a single transaction in 1,000-mile increments.
Here are two American Express rewards cards as they offer the most cardholder benefits.
The Platinum Card® from American Express
You will find the most travel and lifestyle benefits with The Platinum Card® from American Express. However, it has a $695 annual fee (see rates & fees) and is ideal for frequent travelers and those who can use the luxury travel perks.
Its air travel benefits include:
- $200 airline fee credit via statement credits each calendar year (incidental fees at one select qualifying airline)
- Airport lounge access (includes Delta Sky Clubs on Delta-operated itineraries)
- Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit (up to $100 every 5 years)
- Annual Up to $189 CLEAR® credit
- Earn up to 5x Membership Rewards on flight purchases (on up to $500,000 per calendar year booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel)
There are many additional benefits that you can learn about in our American Express Platinum Card review.
American Express® Gold Card
The American Express® Gold Card is a better option for capitalizing on restaurant, food delivery, and supermarket purchases. However, you can also earn bonus points on flight purchases and the annual fee is $250 (see rates & fees).
Card benefits include:
- 4x Membership Rewards at restaurants (plus takeout and delivery in the United States)
- 4x at U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 per year and then 1x)
- 3x on flights booked directly from airlines or on AmexTravel.com
- Annual $120 dining credit at participating brands (up to $10 monthly statement credits, enrollment required)
- Up to $120 in Uber Cash per year for rides in the United States and eats
Our American Express Gold Card review analyzes the various cardholder perks.
Convert Marriott Bonvoy Points
One sweet perk of the Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program is converting Bonvoy points into Delta SkyMiles and receiving a transfer bonus. You can transfer up to 240,000 Bonvoy points per day to 38 participating airlines.
The conversion ratio is 3:1 meaning 3,000 Bonvoy points become 1,000 SkyMiles. To sweeten the deal, you receive 5,000 bonus miles for every 60,000 transferred hotel points in a single transaction.
A co-brand Marriott Bonvoy credit card can help you earn rewards points to transfer more frequently, unless you use them for free night awards. Additionally, you can enjoy automatic Bonvoy elite status among other benefits.
Two of the cards to consider:
- Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card: $0 annual fee, Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite status, up to 14x on purchases
- Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card – (Learn How to Apply Here): $650 annual fee (see rates & fees), 1 Free Night Award each renewal (85,000 points or less), and other premium benefits
Convert Travel Loyalty Points
Marriott Bonvoy has the best point conversion offer for travel loyalty programs but it’s possible to convert rewards from these hotel and car rental clubs:
- Accor Hotels: 4,000 LeClub Accorhotels points equal 2,000 miles
- Hertz: Call 1-888-999-4900 for a personalized quote
- Hilton Hotels: 10,000 Hilton points equal 1,000 miles
- IHG: 10,000 IHG points equal 2,000 miles
- Radisson Rewards: 10 Radisson points equal 1 mile (i.e., 2,000 points=200 miles)
You may also be able to convert points from various travel programs through Points.com. This platform works with award travelers to trade unwanted credit card points and travel loyalty program currencies.
Over 60 programs participate including:
- Alaska Air
- Amtrak Guest Rewards
- Chase Ultimate Rewards
- Choice Privileges
- Speedy Rewards
- Wyndham Rewards
Delta Vacations Packages
It’s possible to earn up to 5,000 bonus flight miles per person by purchasing travel packages through Delta Vacations. You can reserve flights, hotels, and rental cars. The portal also offers wedding and honeymoon packages.
As a side note, these bonus miles don’t count toward Medallion or Million Miler status.
Hotel and Airbnb Bookings
If you only need to book a hotel reservation, you can find a room through the SkyMiles Partners and Offers section. You can use the airline’s hotel search engine at delta.com/hotels and earn at least 1 mile per $1.
Suppose you don’t wish to earn hotel points. In that case, you can switch your earning preference to Delta SkyMiles instead of the hotel points currency with these participating hotels:
- IHG One Rewards
- Marriott Bonvoy
- Radisson Rewards
- Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts
- World Hotels Collection
- World of Hyatt
Most hotels award up to 2 miles per $1 on eligible books. Other loyalty programs may offer a fixed amount per stay, such as 500 miles per qualifying World of Hyatt stay.
Some programs may offer limited-time promotions to earn miles and hotel points on your reservations if you have a qualifying elite status.
Related: Using one of the best hotel credit cards lets you earn bonus hotel points and enjoy other loyalty status benefits.
Rental Cars and Lyft
You can book car rentals through Delta Car Rentals and typically earn 5x miles on bookings. Some car rental agencies may award at least 500 miles per reservation.
The Delta Air Lines car rental partners include:
- Carmel Car & Limousine Service
For Lyft rides, you will need to switch your earning preference to SkyMiles within your rideshare app account. Next, you can start earning 1 mile per $1 plus new Lyft users can receive a $20 ride credit.
Related: Best Credit Cards for Rental Cars and Best Credit Cards for Rental Car Insurance
Book a SkyMiles Cruise
You can anticipate earning up to 10,000 miles when you book an excursion through SkyMiles Cruises. Your earning potential depends on the cruise length.
Here is an example of how much you can earn based on a current promotion:
- 1-5 nights: 1,500 miles
- 6-8 nights: 3,000 miles
- 9-12 nights: 5,000 miles
- 13+ nights: 10,000 miles
You may be able to earn more miles from limited-time promotions and by purchasing luxury packages.
It’s possible to book cruises from the standard cruise lines and luxury cruise lines, including Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Silversea.
The platform is also one of the best places to book cruises as you can also enjoy these benefits:
- Up to 75% savings off of the brochure price
- 110% best price guarantee
- Free gratuities (on select itineraries)
Pay Home Utilities
Select utility companies across the United States award SkyMiles members 2 miles per $1. Medallion members earn 3x miles on eligible bills.
Explore this option if you live in these states:
Enrolling in SkyMiles Dining and linking a credit card or debit card lets you earn up to 5x SkyMiles at participating restaurants, bars, and clubs.
Your earn amount depends on your dining club loyalty status which isn’t connected to your SkyMiles frequent flyer tier. Below are the SkyMiles dining status levels and qualification requirements.
|Status Level||Miles Earned||How to Qualify|
|Member||1 mile per $2||Elect not to receive SkyMiles Dining email communications|
|Select Member||3 miles per $1||Receive SkyMiles Dining email communications|
|VIP Member||5 miles per $1||Receive email communications and complete 11 transactions in a calendar year|
New members can earn up to 1,000 bonus miles during the first 30 days after making qualifying purchases. To start, signup by entering your SkyMiles-linked email address.
You may also choose to buy your meals with one of the best travel rewards credit cards that can earn bonus points on dining.
The SkyMiles Shopping portal lets you earn miles from over 1,000 online shopping partners. This service is free to use and an alternative to apps like Rakuten or Honey.
Instead of shopping directly through your favorite retailer, you first initiate a shopping session through the SkyMiles Shopping website or Chrome browser extension.
Most retailers award from 1 to 3 SkyMiles per $1 on the purchase amount (excluding taxes and shipping). Offers for unique orders like flower deliveries, wine subscription clubs, and switching cell phone carriers can earn a flat amount of miles from 300 to 5,000 miles.
In addition to earning miles, the miles-earning shopping portal lists discount codes that can help you save on your purchase.
Starbucks lovers can now enjoy a delicious coffee while also earning Delta SkyMiles. To get started, go to deltastarbucks.com to link your Starbucks and Delta SkyMiles account. Here are the important details:
- Earn 1 SkyMile per dollar spent at Starbucks
- Earn double stars on days when you are flying with Delta Air Lines
- Earn 500 miles and 150 stars when linking your Starbucks and Delta account by December 31, 2022.
I recommend using your Amex Gold Card on Starbucks purchases since it earns 4x points per dollar spent at restaurants worldwide. And remember, American Express Membership Rewards points can be transferred to Delta.
Instacart launched a unique partnership with Delta in early 2022 to offer complimentary Instacart+ membership for up to 12 months and the opportunity to earn SkyMiles on deliveries.
All SkyMiles members can earn up 1.5 miles per $1 after linking their loyalty account:
- 1.5x miles as an Instacart+ member
- 1x miles as a regular Instacart member
Like other shopping promotions, taxes, tips, and fees won’t earn miles.
In addition to earning 50% more miles as an Instacart+ subscriber, you also enjoy these benefits:
- $0 delivery fee on orders above $35 (excludes taxes, fees, and tips)
- Lower service fees
- 5% credit back on eligible pickup orders
If you don’t have a premium Instacart membership for free yet, your SkyMiles membership automatically provides 3 months of premium access. Diamond and Platinum Medallion members receive 12 months.
Tip: Chase is also offering complimentary Instacart membership and statement credits when you enroll before July 31, 2024. Two offers for the Chase Sapphire travel credit cards are:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve®: 12 months of Instacart+ membership and up to $15 in monthly statement credits. (Learn How to Apply Here)
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: 6 months of complimentary membership and up to $15 in quarterly statement credits. (Learn How to Apply Here)
Purchasing event tickets to concerts, shows, sporting events and other activities within the United States and Canada through Ticketmaster earn 1 mile per $1.
You can earn up to 2,500 miles per month from Ticketmaster purchases.
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
Medallion members can receive periodic invitations for surveys and earn miles as payment.
Unfortunately, Delta no longer partners with survey sites to let members attempt short studies and receive mileage rewards.
Transfer SkyMiles from Another Account
The airline also enables you to transfer SkyMiles from one account to another…for a fee. It’s possible for the sender to transfer miles to up to four accounts in one transaction.
Each transfer incurs a $30 transaction fee plus $0.01 per mile. There is a 1,000-mile transfer minimum meaning it costs $130 to transfer 1,000 miles, $230 for 2,000 miles, and so on.
Buy Delta SkyMiles
When you need SkyMiles quickly, you always have the option of buying up to 60,000 miles per year.
Each purchased SkyMile costs $0.035 which can be more expensive than the average redemption value of 1.2 cents in most situations. However, it can be a necessary expense to fill a mileage gap to redeem a larger balance.
You will need to purchase at least 2,000 miles per transaction meaning you will spend at least $70 per order. If you decide to buy the entire 60,000 at once, set aside $2,100. Sales tax can also apply.
The Vacationer’s Final Thoughts
There are multiple ways to earn Delta SkyMiles by traveling or within your daily routine. Using a co-brand SkyMiles credit card or an American Express Membership Rewards credit card is the best overall option to earn at least 1 SkyMile on every purchase.
Showing your loyalty through purchasing Delta-marketed flights and other non-flight travel itineraries is another quick way to rack up the miles if you’re flying soon.
As you can’t spend all your time away from home, the retail, dining, and home utility partners are also worth pursuing when you go shopping.
Further Reading: Delta SkyMiles Loyalty Program and Delta Baggage Allowance
We also recommend reading our Best Ways to Earn United MileagePlus Miles guide if you are considering other airlines.
Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.
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