Maximizing value from Delta Skymiles

Delta Airlines Skymiles are derogatorily called “Skypesos” by those in the miles and points hobby in response to their constant devaluations. Because of these devaluations, if you are looking for luxurious travel in premium cabins, you will usually be better off collecting a different points or miles currency. That being said, there are still a few high value redemptions left with Delta Skymiles; especially if you are looking to stretch your miles in Economy rather than flying First or Business class. It is important to note that Delta doesn’t have fixed prices on their award routes like many airlines do. This means that one day they could charge 30,000 miles on a route and the next day 60,000. The best way to take advantage of this is to be flexible with your travel plans and thus able to depart and return on whichever dates Delta’s award prices are lowest. Delta also imposes higher surcharges on flights departing within 21 days of booking, so you will usually get better value booking further in advance. In the cost section of the redemptions listed below, we note prices that are considered good for each individual redemption.

  • Low season economy travel (especially on Delta metal)

    Most airlines have fixed award costs such as 30,000 miles in Economy to Europe and 40,000 miles in Economy to Southeast Asia. However, since Delta uses a flexible award chart, some dates will be higher than these average prices and other dates will be lower. A great trick with Delta miles is to search around for a date where the award price is lower than the industry standard award rate. You are most likely to find this during off-peak seasons and on flights departing on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. You will usually get even better deals if all legs of your itinerary are on Delta metal because Delta recently started to raise award prices on partner airlines’ flights relative to their own.

    How to book: Search and book using Delta’s 5 week award calendar on Delta.com

    Cost: Discount off of the industry standard award rate

  • Korean Air from the US to Soeul in Business Class

    On many routes, Korean Air operates a Business Class product called Apex Suites. Apex Suites are a very uncommon Business Class layout, but it provides a First Class amount of space for Business Class award prices. If you are lucky enough to fly on a route with Apex Suites, you will want to select a window seat to experience the best that the suites have to offer. Taxes and fees on Korean Air operated flights booked with Delta miles should also be under $100.

    How to book: Search and book on Delta.com

    Cost: 85,000 miles in Business

  • Delta One Business Class from the US to Europe or Asia

    Delta’s own flagship Business Class product, Delta One, is another excellent business class product. Award prices will also usually be slightly cheaper on Delta metal than on one of their partners’ flights. Even better, they won’t pass on any surcharges. This makes Delta One one of the overall best options for flying to Europe or Asia in Business Class.

    How to book: Search and book on Delta.com

    Cost: 70,000 miles in Business Class to Europe, 80,000 miles in Business Class to Asia

  • Air France Business Class from the US to Europe

    Air France is another SkyTeam alliance airline that has a great transatlantic Business Class product. Since Air France flies to 11 cities in the US, it makes access to this product very easy. The award price will usually be a bit higher than on Delta’s own flights and the Business Class product is not quite as good, but availability should be easier to find.

    How to book: Search and book on Delta.com

    Cost: 75,000 miles in Business

  • Virgin Atlantic Upper (Business) Class from the US to Europe

    If you are looking to book an award flight into London, you will usually want to avoid the dreaded hundreds of dollars in “taxes and fees” imposed by British Airways flights; and a great way to do this is to use Delta miles to fly Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class. The taxes on this route will be extremely low, and their Upper Class product is excellent.

    How to book: Search and book on Delta.com

    Cost: 75,000 miles in Business

  • China Airlines Business Class from the US to Asia

    Chinese airlines in general do not have a good reputation when it comes to quality of service and the quality of their premium cabins. Despite what the name may lead you to think though, China Airlines is based in Taiwan and so should not fall under the same category as Chinese Airlines. On the contrary, China airlines offers a great trans-Pacific business class product that can also be booked for very little in the way of taxes and fees.

    How to book: Search and book on Delta.com

    Cost: 85,000 miles in Business