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The Delta SkyMiles credit cards are scheduled for a substantial revamp in January 2020, with a host of new benefits. Among them are perks like access to the Centurion Lounges, Global Entry or TSA Precheck credits, SkyClub passes and more.

These benefits vary by card, but combined with a limited-time welcome bonus increase, they make a pretty compelling case for applying for a Delta SkyMiles credit card.

But are all these positive changes worth the headache of redeeming Delta SkyMiles? Let’s take a look at the current welcome bonuses and evaluate.

Current welcome bonuses

We’ve already covered what’s new with the Delta SkyMiles credit cards, so we won’t rehash that here. But it’s worth noting that for a limited time, the welcome bonuses on these cards will nearly double (or more in some cases).

  • Earn 60,000 Bonus Miles after you use your new Card to make $2,000 in purchases within your first 3 months and a $50 Statement Credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months. Offer expires 10/30/2019. Terms Apply.

  • Earn 75,000 Bonus Miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer Expires 10/30/2019. In addition, earn a $100 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months. Terms Apply.

  • Earn 75,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $5,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer Expires 10/30/2019. Terms Apply.

  • Earn 30,000 bonus miles after you make $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Additionally, earn a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months. Terms Apply.

  • Earn 75,000 Bonus Miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer Expires 10/30/2019. In addition, earn a $100 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months. Terms Apply.

  • Earn 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) and 35,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Plus, earn a $100 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months. Terms Apply.

  • Earn 40,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. With Miles Boost®, you can earn 15,000 bonus miles and 15,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $30,000 or more in eligible purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Earn an additional 15,000 bonus miles and 15,000 MQMs after you spend $60,000 in eligible purchases on your Card in a calendar year for a total of 30,000 bonus miles and 30,000 MQMs. Starting January 30, 2020, you will no longer earn bonus miles with this benefit. Terms Apply.

Tips for dealing with Delta’s unpredictable award pricing structure

SkyMiles can be difficult to redeem due to Delta’s dynamic award pricing structure, which ties award costs to demand. Is that reason enough to skip out on these credit cards or the SkyMiles program in general? No. There are plenty of ways to deal with Delta’s unpredictable award pricing tool.

The key is to be flexible and have a back-up plan. Delta SkyMiles can actually present tremendous value, with incredible deals like 34,000-mile award tickets between the West Coast and Japan or transcontinental flights for half the miles that competitors charge.

Deals like these make it absolutely worth getting a Delta SkyMiles card and risking the unpredictability of award space. Have a back-up points currency at hand in case you can’t find reasonable redemption rates on Delta. But if you come across significant deals like these, you’ll be glad to have had some SkyMiles in your pocket.

Another way to circumvent the lack of award chart is to check Delta’s SkyMiles Deals page. This is where Delta publishes some of their best award redemption rates. You’ll see a list of routes that are on sale and the number of miles required, along with available dates. This gives you a little more guidance in planning your travel and saves you from having to blindly search for good award redemption deals.

While this doesn’t replace the convenience of an actual award chart, it is something worth being aware of if you’re concerned about taking a complete shot in the dark when it comes to searching for award space.

The bottom line

Redeeming Delta SkyMiles doesn’t have to be a hassle, and it certainly shouldn’t discourage anyone from applying for one of these cards. The improvements and limited-time welcome bonuses are pretty substantial, and Delta offers some good redemption deals (even if you have to work to find them).

While 60,000 to 80,000 miles doesn’t seem like a huge number, take into account that Delta’s dynamic pricing tool means your miles could go a lot farther than with another frequent flyer program.

Is the hassle of redeeming these miles worth applying for a SkyMiles credit card? It depends on your travel goals, but the answer could very well be “yes.” If you’re flexible and use the Delta SkyMiles Deals page, you could end up booking more travel with a single Delta SkyMiles credit card than you would with a competing airline.

How to Maximize Your Rewards

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