Delta SkyMiles is one of the most polarizing airline loyalty programs. Delta has often been the first one to make changes that are less than friendly to their consumers. Earning miles based on the price of your ticket? Delta did that first. Doing away with award charts was also Delta’s idea.
Those who have been doing this for a long time are still bitter about Delta’s stand that they can make changes at any time without providing any notice to their members. Since Delta doesn’t publish award charts anymore, that’s not as much as a problem.
Now that American and United have followed in Delta’s footsteps with mileage earning and variable pricing for award tickets, there’s not as much differentiation between airline programs.
Personally, I’ve always been able to find value for my Delta SkyMiles. Most recently, we spent 55,000 each way for tickets on Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy. I’ve also redeemed 80,000 miles for business class on a Virgin Australia flight from LA to Sydney.
I thought the best way to use my SkyMiles was for business class tickets with Delta’s partners, so the miles I earned between those trips just stayed in my account. Turns out there’s another use for SkyMiles that gets a decent value.
The least value I’d redeem SkyMiles for airfare is 1 cent each. If the value is less than that, it will make more sense to use the pay with miles option. In that case, I’d probably just pay cash for the tickets.
What I’ve been finding is that Delta’s shorter flights have been pricing much less than the standard 12,500 miles they used to cost. For example, prices for a flight from New York to New Orleans starts at 7,500 miles plus $5.60.
Paying for the same ticket would cost $118.40.
That works out to a value of 1.5 cents per point.
A seat in Comfort+ gets about the same value per point as a Main Cabin ticket, but First Class seats work out to be a horrible value, only getting 0.92 cents per point.
It’s not a glamorous redemption, but if I can save $225 by spending 15,000 miles, that’s a deal I’m willing to take. I remembered that I had received 10,000 of those miles as compensation for an issue I had with a Delta flight, so the flight only cost me 5,000 miles I earned through flying on Delta, Delta Dining program, and with the Delta Credit Card.
So the next time you need to book a ticket on Delta, be sure to click and see how many miles that ticket costs. You could be pleasantly surprised.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary