How to Save on Delta Flights

You don't need to be a Delta loyalist to save. Some strategic booking could do the trick.
Anya Kartashova
By Anya Kartashova 
Updated
Edited by Meg Lee

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Taking a vacation comes with all sorts of excitement: seeing the sights of an enticing city, visiting old friends or having new experiences. But unfortunately, it also comes with a price tag. Nevertheless, ways to save on airfare exist, and a trip doesn't have to be too costly.

Take Delta Air Lines, for example. Delta passengers can fly to about 300 destinations in more than 50 countries and still find ways to save on airfare.

Here are six tips and tricks to book cheaper Delta Air Lines flights.

6 ways to save money on Delta flights

1. Take advantage of Delta's change and cancellation policy

Delta no longer charges change or cancellation fees on most reservations (except basic economy fares). So, if you booked a Delta flight directly with the airline and it has dropped in price, you can make a change for free. Even if you pick a new departure time, you can rebook and keep the price difference in the form of an eCredit.

You won't get refunded to your original form of payment. Instead, the eCredit will be issued and it can be applied toward a new reservation. This method allows you to save money on a future flight.

If you notice that the price of a flight has dropped within 24 hours of booking it, feel free to cancel it and book a new trip instead. In this case, a risk-free cancellation policy applies, and the money goes back to the original payment method.

Earn up to 100,000 bonus miles with our favorite Delta cards
Check out our nerdy picks for the best Delta credit cards and find the right card for you.

2. Open a co-branded Delta credit card

American Express issues co-branded Delta SkyMiles credit cards. If you qualify for a line of credit with AmEx, you can open a Delta card and earn frequent flyer miles called SkyMiles.

SkyMiles lets you book award flights with miles, so you can pay little out-of-pocket to fly Delta or one of its partners. Of course, taxes still apply to award tickets. Nevertheless, you can save quite a bit of cash by redeeming SkyMiles for flights and, depending on which card you have, you could get 15% off the points price of award travel booked with Delta.

On average, Delta SkyMiles are worth 1.2 cents apiece, according to NerdWallet’s valuation. If you’re booking an expensive flight, expect to redeem more miles, since Delta's award prices are dynamic. Aim to get a value of at least 1.2 cents when you divide the price in cash (minus taxes and fees) by the number of miles required.

Some Delta credit cards include other benefits, such as free checked bags for you and up to eight companions traveling on the same reservation.

Delta co-branded cards
Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card
Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card
NerdWallet Rating
Apply now

on American Express' website

Rates & Fees
Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card
Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card
NerdWallet Rating
Apply now

on American Express' website

Rates & Fees
Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card
Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card
NerdWallet Rating
Apply now

on American Express' website

Rates & Fees
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card
NerdWallet Rating
Apply now

on American Express' website

Rates & Fees
Annual fee

$0.

$0 intro for the first year, then $150.

$350.

$650.

Earning rates

• 2 miles per $1 on purchases made directly with Delta and at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery in the U.S.

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

Terms apply.

• 2 miles per $1 on purchases made directly with Delta and at U.S. supermarkets and restaurants (including takeout and delivery in the U.S.).

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

Terms apply.

• 3 miles per $1 on eligible purchases made directly with Delta and on hotel purchases.

• 2 miles per $1 at U.S. supermarkets and restaurants (including takeout and delivery in the U.S.).

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

Terms apply.

• 3 miles per $1 on eligible purchases made directly with Delta.

• 1 mile per $1 on other eligible purchases.

Terms apply.

Other benefits

• No foreign transaction fees.

Terms apply.

• First checked bag free.

• Priority boarding.

• No foreign transaction fees.

Terms apply.

• Companion certificate (main cabin).

• First checked bag free.

• Priority boarding.

• No foreign transaction fees.

Terms apply.

• Airport lounge access.

• Companion certificate ((first class, Delta Comfort+ or main cabin).

• Credit for application fee for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry

• First checked bag free.

• Priority boarding.

• No foreign transaction fees.

Terms apply.

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3. Watch for Delta flash sales

Does Delta ever have sales? The answer is yes and you can often find them on this Delta sales page, including deals for flights booked with miles. If you're flexible with travel dates and perhaps your destination, you can score some incredible redemption rates.

We've seen some lucrative deals on flights to Hawaii, Alaska, Central America, and even Australia in the past.

4. For award travel to Europe, book round-trip flights instead of one way

Delta doesn't impose surcharges on travel originating in the United States when redeeming SkyMiles for award flights. However, you'll likely see carrier-imposed surcharges on travel originating in European cities, such as Amsterdam, London and Paris.

For this reason, if you plan a trip to the European continent with Delta miles, it's best to book a round-trip itinerary originating in the U.S. instead of booking two separate one-way flights. You'll eliminate the international surcharge and keep more money in your pocket.

5. Travel during shoulder season

When we plan a trip, we often use a starry-eyed approach. Everything has to be perfect: length of trip, hotel location, weather. However, having a little flexibility with multiple trip components can help you save (and pad your budget for food or activities at your destination).

If you don't mind less-than-ideal weather, boarding a flight during the shoulder season can save you a lot of money. For example, taking a trip to Europe between January and April, or flying to Australia between June and August, can improve the likelihood of finding inexpensive airfare.

It might rain during your vacation, but a pair of waterproof boots and an umbrella can keep you dry and ready to explore a new city. The sights are still going to be there no matter the season. And who knows, you might get lucky with the weather and still enjoy a less expensive trip.

6. Depart mid-week, avoid Mondays and weekends

In addition to being flexible with the season, we recommend being fluid with your departure days. For example, although it's appealing to plan a trip around weekends to maximize your paid time off at work, departing in the middle of the week is typically cheaper than traveling Friday to Sunday.

Monday is another day to stay away from flying because it's popular with business travelers hitting the road early in the week.

Whether traveling internationally or domestically or paying with cash or SkyMiles, you can save money on Delta flights by choosing to depart Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday on the outbound and return flights.

Keep in mind that this booking method isn't exclusive to Delta. Other carriers price their flights similarly, with mid-week days being the most affordable.

If you want to score discounted Delta flights

It doesn't matter if you're a frequent flyer or not. If you're as flexible as you are creative, you can save money on Delta flights.

Stick to mid-week travel days, go during the off-season and use Delta's flexible change and cancellation policy to your advantage. Don't forget to redeem SkyMiles. Watch out for award flight sales to boost your savings and stretch your miles. Finally, if you're traveling to Europe, book a round-trip itinerary originating in the U.S. Keeping these tips in mind will have you locating affordable Delta tickets like a pro.

Photo courtesy of Delta Air Lines.

To view rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card, see this page.
To view rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, see this page.
To view rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card, see this page.
To view rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, see this page.

How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are some of the best travel credit cards of 2024:

Cards for Delta from our Partners
Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card

on Chase's website

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
5.0
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate

1x-5x

5x on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries, 2x on all other travel purchases, 1x on all other purchases.

Points

Intro offer

75,000

Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's over $900 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.

Points
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

on Capital One's website

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
4.7
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate

2x-5x

Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day. Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options.

Miles

Intro offer

75,000

Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel.

Miles
See more cards for delta
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