Delta Airlines operates flights from eight hubs in the USA: Atlanta, Boston, Cincinnati, Detroit, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Salt Lake City and Seattle-Tacoma.
The loyalty program is Delta SkyMiles. With this program, you can accumulate and book flights on Delta Airlines or SkyTeam partners.
Delta SkyMiles - Upcoming changes
In mid-September 2023, Delta announced major changes to its loyalty program, which clearly didn’t go down well with everyone. After much criticism, Delta’s CEO has made some adjustments, which were announced today. Here’s what’s about to change.
- Expense-based status qualification: Unlike the previous system, status will be based solely on Medallion Qualifying Dollars (MQD) from January 1, 2024. Here’s how the MQDs will be allocated:
|Type of expense||Earnings in MQD|
|Flight marketed by Delta||$ 1 MQD for every US dollar spent|
|Delta SkyMiles Platinum or Platinum Business card(U.S. credit card)||$ 1 MQD for every $20 in purchases|
|Delta SkyMiles Reserve or Reserve Business card (American credit card)||$ 1 MQD for every $10 spent|
|Car rental with Delta||$ 1 MQD for every US dollar spent|
|Hotels booked through Delta||$ 1 MQD for every US dollar spent|
|Delta Vacations vacation packages||$ 1 MQD for every US dollar spent|
Please note that Medallion members with surplus MQMs can convert them into MQDs at a ratio of 10:1, or into SkyMiles at a ratio of 2:1.
- Change of Choice benefits to be selected for Platinum and Diamond members Delta Sky Club membership (in exchange of two privilege selections), MQD accelerator to qualify for the following year’s status (US$1,000 for Platinum and US$2,000 for Diamond), SkyMiles bonus of 30,000 for Platinum members and 35,000 for Diamond members, Delta travel voucher of US$300 for Platinum and US$350 for Diamond, and Wheels Up statement flight credit.
- Status levels and increased threshold requirements: Delta SkyMiles Medallion status requires MQD 5,000 for Silver, MQD 10,000 for Gold, MQD 15,000 for Platinum and MQD 28,000 for Diamond. This will come into force from January 1, 2024, to gain status in 2025. *If you travel a lot with WestJet, it may be better to credit your flights with WestJet Rewards to achieve a higher status than with Delta Sky Miles.
- Sky Club Lounge access: Major changes are also underway for access to Delta Sky Club lounges, particularly for many credit cards issued in the USA. From February 1, 2025, holders of American Express Platinum cards issued in the United States will be limited to 10 visits per year. These same members can enjoy unlimited access if they spend $75,000 or more each year on their card. It remains to be confirmed whether this rule will also apply to the Platinum CardMD from American Express and the Business Platinum CardMD from American Express issued in Canada. Only one visit to a Sky Club per 24 hours is counted, so it is possible to visit several in the same 24-hour period, and this will count as one visit only.
- Additional restrictions on Sky Club access If you are traveling with Delta on a Basic Economy ticket or an equivalent ticket from a partner airline, and you have an American Express card with lounge access, you will not benefit from access to the Delta Sky Club as of January 1, 2024.
How do I create a Delta SkyMiles account?
The link to sign up for the Delta SkyMiles program is here. Creating an account is free of charge. Simply enter your personal information.
What are the Delta SkyMiles elite statuses?
The Delta SkyMiles program has four levels of elite status to reward customer loyalty: Silver Medallion, Gold Medallion, Platinum Medallion and Diamond Medallion.
To obtain Medallion status with Delta SkyMiles in 2023, you must accumulate a certain number of Medallion Qualification Miles (SQM) or flight segments (SQM) and spend a certain amount of Medallion Qualifying Dollars (MQD). This will change on January 1st, 2024 (see below).
So not only does he have to travel, he also has to pay a certain amount of money.
The following table shows the criteria for achieving Medallion status.
If you’re interested in U.S. credit cards, you don’t have to worry about MQDs if you carry more than US$25,000 on a card linked to Delta SkyMiles for Silver, Gold and Platinum status.
For Diamond Medallion status, you’ll need to spend over US$250,000 on an affiliated card to eliminate this qualification criterion.
Delta SkyMiles Silver Medallion
Silver Medallion status is the first rung up the ladder. The one and only advantage of this status is :
- upgrade to Comfort+ and first class on domestic and short-haul flights to Canada, the Caribbean and Central America (confirmed 24 hours before departure)
Delta SkyMiles Gold Medallion
Next, here are the benefits of Gold Medallion status:
- first-class upgrade on domestic and international short-haul flights (confirmed 3 days before departure)
- Comfort+ upgrade on all flights
- same-day hold fees waived
- baggage fees waived
Delta SkyMiles Platinum Medallion
In addition to the benefits of Gold Medallion status, you will receive :
- upgrades (confirmed 5 days before departure)
- fee waiver for premium ticket reservations
- a choice of privileges: four regional flight upgrade certificates, a US$100 Global Entry credit, 20,000 SkyMiles, a travel credit or a US$200 gift card, or offer Silver Medallion status to another person
Delta SkyMiles Diamond Medallion
In addition to the benefits of Platinum Medallion status, you will have :
- three privilege choices between: a Delta Sky Club membership, upgrade certificates, two US$100 Global Entry credits, 25,000 SkyMiles, a travel credit or a US$200 gift card or offer Gold Medallion status to another person
- CLEAR subscription
This level of status is obtained only by invitation from Delta Airlines. The company bases its decisions primarily on the amount of money spent with them, although this is not the only criteria.
Delta 360° members have access to a direct line with an agent who responds almost instantaneously. What’s more, they get free membership and unlimited access to the Delta Sky Club, which they can visit with up to 2 guests.
How do I collect Delta SkyMiles?
Earn SkyMiles on Delta Airlines flights
When you travel on Delta Airlines or its SkyTeam partners, you can earn Delta SkyMiles.
The number of Delta SkyMiles accumulated with its flights will depend on the base fare and your status. So the more expensive your ticket, the more Delta SkyMiles you’ll earn on that flight.
Here’s how many Delta SkyMiles you can earn for every dollar you spend with Delta Airlines:
|Member without status||5X|
Earn SkyMiles on partner flights
Delta Airlines’ SkyTeam partners are :
- Aerolineas Argentinas
- Air Europa
- Air France
- KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
- Cape Air
- China Airlines
- China Southern
- Czech Airlines
- Garuda Indonesia
- Kenya Airways
- ITA Airways
- Korean Air
- Middle East Airlines
- Vietnam Airlines
Delta Airlines also has “other” partners:
- Hawaiian Airlines
- Virgin Atlantic
- Virgin Australia
Since these airlines are partners of Delta Airlines, you can collect Delta SkyMiles with its flights. However, the way in which the reservation is made will determine how the rewards are calculated and how many Delta SkyMiles are awarded. Accumulation details for each partner can be found here.
If you book an Air France flight with Delta Airlines, the number of SkyMiles accumulated will be similar to that for a flight operated by Delta Airlines. However, if you make a reservation on the Air France website for the same flight and enter your SkyMiles loyalty number, the total SkyMiles received will be based on the distance flown.
Collect SkyMiles with a credit card
In Canada, it is not possible to collect SkyMiles directly with a credit card. You will have to go through a points transfer partner.
To earn SkyMiles with a credit card, you’ll have to turn to American credit cards. Delta SkyMiles affiliated cards are American Express cards; if you have a history with American Express Canada, it will be easier to make a Global Transfer.
- Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card
- Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card
- Delta SkyMiles® Prestige American Express Card
- American Express Delta SkyMiles® Gold Corporate Card
- American Express Delta SkyMiles® Corporate Platinum Card
- American Express Delta SkyMiles® Prestige Corporate Card
Earn SkyMiles with points transfers
In Canada, there are two ways to earn Delta SkyMiles through transfer partners.
When you transfer Marriott Bonvoy points to the Delta SkyMiles program, you’ll receive a 5,000 mile bonus. So, in this situation, a redemption of 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points is equivalent to 25,000 Delta SkyMiles.
How can I use Delta SkyMiles?
Delta Airlines and partner airlines
Delta Airlines is a member of the SkyTeam alliance. SkyMiles can therefore be used on flights operated by Delta Airlines as well as a large number of partners such as Air France, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Kenya Airways, Aeromexico, etc.
Canadians will be pleased to know that WestJet is also a partner of Delta Airlines, even though WestJet is not a member of SkyTeam.
Book a flight with SkyMiles
Delta Airlines is one of the first airlines to switch to dynamic pricing of award tickets. So you’ll need to research Delta’s website to determine the number of SkyMiles required for your project, as Delta Airlines does not publish a fare list.
Fortunately, the Delta SkyMiles search engine is easy to use and displays the various prices on a calendar to help you visualize your options.
Using SkyMiles for an upgrade
SkyMiles can also be used to upgrade to Comfort+ or Delta One class.
On the other hand, the process is not as transparent as we’d like; availability and the number of Delta SkyMiles required are not easy to find.
There are several types of upgrades at Delta Airlines
- Free upgrade: on most domestic flights, for Medallion elite members
- Global upgrade certificate: on all Delta Airlines flights and selected partners, for Diamond Medallion members
- Regional upgrade certificate: on Delta Airlines domestic flights, for Platinum and Diamond Medallion members
- Upgrade with SkyMiles: on Delta Airlines domestic flights at the time of booking and on selected international flights in fare classes Y, B, M, H, Q or K.
- Companion upgrade: for passengers travelling on the same reservation as a Medallion elite member
- Standby upgrade: available for all passages at a cost and subject to availability.
Diversifying your points portfolio
Since Membership Rewards points are easily accumulated, we can easily study all our options before booking a flight.
The points value calculation is often used to determine whether you should pay in points or in cash.
What’s more, when I pay cash for a ticket, I’m always collecting points somewhere, because I’m a member of Aeroplan (Star Alliance), Avios (OneWorld) and SkyMiles (SkyTeam). So I don’t have to limit myself in terms of program and can simply choose the flight that suits me or the least expensive flight.
However, I also have accounts with several other programs such as Asia Miles, Flying Blue, JAL Mileage Bank, Krisflyer, etc. where I transfer points in order to book a specific ticket. I exploit the sweetspots of all the programs.
Delta SkyMiles sweetspots
Delta Airlines' Flash sales
Delta Airlines frequently offers flash sales on award tickets in North America and to certain international destinations in the Caribbean, Europe and Asia!
In the past, I was able to book a Montreal-Atlanta-Sacramento round trip for just 13,000 SkyMiles, whereas the cost of a Star Alliance flight was 25,000 Aeroplan points under the old program. Likewise, I’ve already snagged a Montreal-Atlanta-Tokyo round trip for 48,000 SkyMiles.
These were situations where it was more advantageous to transfer my privilege points to SkyMiles than to Aeroplan.
Flights in North America
Since WestJet is a Delta SkyMiles partner, we have one more option when it comes to choosing our North American award tickets!
For example, for a trip to Western Canada, the cost of award tickets with Aeroplan can be much more expensive than with SkyMiles. So don’t neglect this program, especially if you have vacation dates in a busy, inflexible period.
Flights in South America
Since May 1, 2020, LATAM has left Oneworld for a partnership with Delta Airlines, and Aerolíneas Argentinas is a member of SkyTeam. As a result, bargains to and within South America are a regular occurrence!
One-way flights to South America can be found for as little as 25,000 SkyMiles on LATAM, compared with 40,000 Aeroplan points.
What’s more, LATAM is the only airline serving Easter Island. Although it’s difficult to find availability on this Delta SkyMiles partner flight, it is possible. The flight from Santiago to Hanga Roa can be very expensive, so SkyMiles could help you save money on this trip.
Let me remind you that LATAM is a partner of Delta Airlines, not of the Air France/KLM group. So Flying Blue miles won’t get you to the island.
There are as many frequent flyer programs as there are airlines, so the more you know about how to use your points, the more you’ll be able to optimize them.
We don’t always think of Delta SkyMiles, but this program can save you money if you exploit sweetspots.