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What Does the New SkyMiles Card Welcome Bonus Get You?

Oct. 2, 2019
Reward Optimization, Travel, Travel Credit Cards
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American Express recently announced some changes coming to their Delta SkyMiles credit cards. In addition to new card benefits rolling out on Jan. 30, 2020, the welcome bonuses on the Delta SkyMiles credit cards have increased through Oct. 30, 2019. Terms apply. These bonuses range from 60,000 to 80,000 miles, and I know what you’re thinking: What does that get you in terms of travel?

Before diving into it, it’s important to note that Delta no longer publishes an award chart and instead employs a dynamic award pricing tool. That can make award space and redemption rates unpredictable. That being said, if you book in advance and are flexible, you should be able to re-create some of the itineraries we’ll outline below.

U.S. to Tokyo starting at 34,000 miles round-trip

If you live on the West Coast, you can book a round-trip flight between Seattle and Tokyo for as few as 34,000 SkyMiles and $56. If you’re East Coast-based, you won’t need that much more. A flight to Tokyo out of New York City can set you back just 40,000 miles and $61. Depending on which Delta SkyMiles credit card you get, that means you can cover airfare for up to two people … with just one welcome bonus.

West Coast to London for 22,000 miles round-trip

Around October and November, Delta has award availability between San Francisco and London for an absurdly low amount: 22,000 miles and $182 round-trip. That means for less than what United and American charge for one-way economy class awards to Europe, you can book a round-trip ticket. Imagine meeting the spending requirement on the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express and then booking flights for a family of three using those miles plus just under $550 cash.

» Learn more: Gold Delta SkyMiles Business review

Fly between coasts for 12,000 miles round-trip

Delta’s transcontinental flights between Los Angeles and New York can be as cheap as 12,000 miles and $11 round-trip in basic economy. Want to pick your own seat? Then you can upgrade to Main Cabin (i.e., regular economy class) for an extra 7,000 SkyMiles per trip.

With the sign-up bonus from the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express, you could take five of these transcontinental flights.

» Learn more: Gold Delta SkyMiles Card review: Loyalty gets rewarded

Short-haul flights for 9,000+ miles round-trip

Speaking of cheap domestic flights, Delta has very reasonable redemption rates for short-haul domestic flights. Since there’s no award chart, you have to just search and hopefully find a low rate. For example, we found flights between Los Angeles and Sacramento priced at 10,000 miles and $11 round-trip per person.

Basic economy fares between Boston and Chicago are as low as 11,000 miles round-trip plus just $11. That’s a great deal for a roughly 3-hour flight that costs $163 when booked in advance.

The bottom line

These increased welcome bonuses from the Delta SkyMiles credit cards are pretty solid offers. While 60,000 to 80,000 miles may not seem like a lot in the context of Delta’s dynamic award pricing tool, it can go quite a long way if you book in advance and maintain some flexibility in your travel dates.

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 2019, including those best for:

Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice:
Find the best travel credit card for you
Which Delta Air Lines credit card should you get?
Delta Air Lines SkyMiles program: The complete guide

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