How to Use Delta SkyMiles

These Delta SkyMiles tips can help make your next redemption a smart money move.
Jon Nickel-D'Andrea
By Jon Nickel-D'Andrea 
Edited by Mary M. Flory

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.

MORE LIKE THISAirline Credit Cards

You’ve been accumulating your SkyMiles for months, maybe even years. You’re ready to head off on that dream vacation, but you’re having trouble using the miles. Sound familiar? That’s probably because airlines make it intentionally nebulous and confusing.

Let us remove some of that fog and give you some solid tips for redeeming your Delta SkyMiles.

Best ways to use Delta SkyMiles

1. Flying domestic with fare sales

With some advance planning, you can snag some great deals on Delta flights. Coastal flights (think Seattle to San Diego or New York to Raleigh) can be had for as low as 2,500 SkyMiles during the off season.

And during a fare sale, you can find transcontinental flights like San Francisco to New York for only 6,500 SkyMiles each way.

2. Be flexible with dates

Since Delta no longer publishes an award chart, it has become more difficult to know what’s a good deal and what is not. Delta also changes the number of miles needed based on demand, so if you’re trying to fly during Spring Break or the Friday before Labor Day, be prepared to fork over more miles.

» Learn more:

Very often, if you can leave a day earlier or later instead of on a peak travel day, you can save significantly.

3. Be flexible with departure cities

If you have other airports relatively close, checking out those options is a great tip to save on flights. For example, we live in Seattle but often look at Vancouver, Spokane, Portland and even San Francisco for the best deals. If we happen to snag a great deal from any of these cities, we can always buy a cheap paid ticket to that city first.

For example, we recently found a flight from Seattle to Paris for 150,000 miles, but Los Angeles to Paris was only 75,000 miles. We bought a ticket for $59 from Seattle to Los Angeles and saved over 75,000 miles.

If you’re in a major metropolitan market, there’s a very good chance that a city relatively close to you will have a flight if your home airport does not.

4. Search segment-by-segment

On that same note, how you search for flights also matters. If you want to get to Paris, try searching for the flight segment-by-segment. In other words, if you live in Indianapolis, don’t search for flights from Indianapolis to Paris. Try using one of Delta’s major hubs like Detroit, Minneapolis or Atlanta. Then piece together the itinerary with a flight from Indianapolis to the hub city.

5. Check out SkyMiles Experiences

In addition to flying, you can use your SkyMiles to bid on certain experiences that would normally not be attainable to the general public. Want to head to the Academy of Country Music Awards? Snag club level tickets to the Seahawks Playoff game? What about attend private fashion shows during New York Fashion Week? All of these experiences can be yours for the right bid.

Using SkyMiles Experiences, you can bid on your favorite experiences in an auction-like environment. The offers change constantly, so check back often to see if your favorite event or item is up for grabs.

6. Consider vacation packages

Delta offers special deals when you book your flight and hotel package together on When you check out after choosing your options, you can use your SkyMiles to pay for the vacation. Depending on the number of SkyMiles you have, this could present a way for you to save some money by redeeming SkyMiles instead.

7. Redeem miles earned from credit cards

Select Delta SkyMiles cardholders can use miles at 1 cent each to reduce the cost of travel. When you redeem this way, you'll at least have simple award math: 5,000 miles is worth $50, 10,000 miles is worth $100, etc. If you have at least 5,000 miles in your account, you’re eligible to use this benefit. The following Delta cards qualify:

What's more, the cards listed above (with the exception of the Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card) will get you 15% off award bookings with Delta through the TakeOff 15 perk. Terms apply.

If you are unable to find a deal using miles or you don’t have enough to buy the award ticket outright, this lets you offset some of the cost with your miles.

Final thoughts on Delta award booking tips

There's always a way to use your SkyMiles. Whether it’s on a Delta plane, a partner flight, or at the Academy of Country Music Awards, have fun using your miles and go somewhere exciting.

Frequently asked questions

One-way award flights start at 10,000 SkyMiles, but this cost can be highly variable depending on the cash price of the ticket.

You can convert Delta SkyMiles into gift cards through the Delta Marketplace. The conversion works out to 0.9 cent per mile for digital gift cards — not a bad deal given our valuation of Delta SkyMiles.

20,000 SkyMiles are worth about $180, based on our analysis.

The value of Delta SkyMiles usually fluctuates close to 1 cent per point, meaning 100 SkyMiles is worth about $1.

No, Delta members can no longer use SkyMiles for Amazon purchases.

How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2023, including those best for:

Get more smart money moves – straight to your inbox
Sign up and we’ll send you Nerdy articles about the money topics that matter most to you along with other ways to help you get more from your money.