Your Guide to Earning Delta Air Lines SkyMiles

Dan MillerFebruary 20, 2020
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Founded in 1928, Delta Air Lines is the world’s second largest airline. There are enough ways to earn Delta SkyMiles that it's tough to remember them all. Here's a breakdown of where and how you can earn miles.

Fly with Delta

The original, and potentially easiest, way to earn miles is by flying on Delta-operated flights. You no longer earn SkyMiles based on the amount of your flight's flown miles. Instead, you earn SkyMiles based on the fare you purchased. The exact amount that you earn is also based on your status level with Delta.

Status

Rewards earned

Basic SkyMiles membership

5 SkyMiles per $1 spent

Silver Medallion

7 SkyMiles per $1 spent

Gold Medallion

8 SkyMiles per $1 spent

Platinum Medallion

9 SkyMiles per $1 spent

Diamond Medallion

11 SkyMiles per $1 spent

One important note is that you only earn SkyMiles based on the base fare and any carrier-imposed surcharges. You don’t earn SkyMiles on government-imposed taxes and fees. You can earn extra SkyMiles on your Delta flights if you pay for your flight with one of Delta’s co-branded cards (more details on that below).

Fly with Delta’s partner airlines

Delta is a part of the SkyTeam alliance, and flights on the other 18 SkyTeam partners can be credited to Delta by providing your SkyMiles number during booking. In addition to its SkyTeam partners, Delta also partners with Hawaiian Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Australia and WestJet, to name a few.

Earning rates vary by partner and fare class. Visit Delta’s list of airline partners, choose your partner and look up the earned miles based on your fare class.

Here’s an example showing the earning rates for Delta SkyMiles on Virgin Atlantic:

Spend on the various Delta Airlines credit cards

Another good way to earn Delta Air Lines miles is through spending on Delta’s co-branded credit cards. There are four Delta personal cards and three business cards. They have the following earning rates.

  • 2x miles at restaurants.

  • 2x miles on direct Delta purchases.

  • 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases.

Terms apply.

  • 2x miles at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets.

  • 2x miles on direct Delta purchases.

  • 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases.

Terms apply.

  • 3x miles on Delta flights and Delta Vacations.

  • 2x miles at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets.

  • 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases.

Terms apply.

  • 3x miles on Delta flights and Delta vacations.

  • 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases.

Terms apply.

There are also business versions of the Gold, Platinum and Reserve card:

  • 2x miles on purchases made directly with Delta.

  • 2x miles on U.S. purchases for advertising in select media.

  • 2x miles on U.S. shipping purchases.

  • 2x miles on dining at restaurants.

  • 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases.

Terms apply.

  • 3x miles on purchases made directly with Delta.

  • 3x miles on purchases made directly with hotels.

  • 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases.

Terms apply.

  • 3x miles on purchases made directly with Delta.

  • 1.5x miles per $1 spent on purchases after the first $150,000.

  • 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases.

Terms apply.

Transfer from other rewards programs

Delta is also a transfer partner of a couple of other reward programs. You can transfer American Express Membership Rewards points 1:1 to Delta.

Marriott Bonvoy points transfer to Delta at a 3:1 ratio, with a 5,000-mile bonus if you transfer in increments of 60,000 Bonvoy points.

Make purchases through Delta’s partners

Delta has a variety of partners that can help you earn SkyMiles. Here are a few of the most common and/or lucrative:

How to Maximize Your Rewards

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