SkyMiles is the frequent flyer program of Delta Air Lines, a member of the global SkyTeam Alliance. Of course, Delta is also one of the world’s largest airlines. Beyond booking Delta flights, SkyMiles can be used on a range of partner airlines that aren’t easily accessible through other programs.
While opportunities for Australians to earn SkyMiles can be limited, it’s not an impossible task. This guide looks at how it’s done, and how to make SkyMiles work for you.
How do I join Delta SkyMiles?
Signing up to the SkyMiles loyalty program is free. You can sign up using this link, following these steps:
- Go to the SkyMiles enrolment page.
- Enter your name and other personal details.
- Create your login info including password and security questions.
- Click ‘complete’ to finalise your registration.
Upon joining, you’ll be provided with your unique SkyMiles membership number. You should receive an email with that number, but it’s always best to make a note of it anyway. You may also wish to download and set up the Delta mobile app for Android or iOS, to keep that SkyMiles account at your fingertips.
How do I earn SkyMiles?
Delta SkyMiles can be earned across a wide variety of partners, though most are based in the US. You’ll earn 5-11 miles per US$1 spent on Delta-marketed flights.
Closer to home, you could earn miles by flying on Delta’s many partners. Among them, China Airlines, China Eastern, China Southern, Garuda Indonesia, Hawaiian Airlines, Korean Air, LATAM Airlines, Vietnam Airlines and XiamenAir. Browse Delta’s full list of partner airlines here.
You can also:
- Earn one SkyMile for every US$1 spent on Airbnb stays worldwide (yes, this works in Australia).
- Choose SkyMiles as your reward of choice when staying with hotel chains such as Marriott Bonvoy, IHG One Rewards, World of Hyatt and more.
- Shop online at SkyMiles Shopping with over 100 stores and earn miles for every dollar spent in the US.
- Earn at least one SkyMile per US$1 spent on Lyft rides in the US.
- In connection with Starbucks Rewards, earn one SkyMile per US$1 spent at participating Starbucks stores in the US.
While you can buy SkyMiles, the rates are usually quite expensive and there aren’t too many promotions. SkyMiles don’t expire, which is a strong positive. Not many programs offer that.
How do I use SkyMiles?
Like any other frequent flyer program, SkyMiles usually give you the best return when used on flights. That’s particularly true of premium cabin reward seats on international flights. However, Delta no longer publishes an award chart, even for partner airlines.
This means the number of miles needed for any given flight can change at any time.
Here are some of the indicative rates for flights from Australia to various destinations, but note that prices are dynamic and can change at any time:
|SkyMiles for one-way travel from Sydney
|To UK/Europe (e.g. with Taiwan’s China Airlines)
|To the US (e.g. with Delta)
|to Asia (e.g. with Vietnam Airlines)
As you can see, rates when booking on Delta can be a little more unpredictable. They tend to swing up and down in line with cash fare prices. On the other hand, rates for booking on partner airlines are still dynamic but don’t tend to fluctuate as much.
It’s fair to say that booking partner airlines may often present better value on international flights than by flying with Delta!
That’s especially true if you can nab Business all the way to Europe for just 90,000 SkyMiles. That’s only 8,000 miles more than some of the Sydney-LAX flights we found in Economy Class… But for upwards of 24 hours of Business Class flying.
If Delta does fit with your plans though, US domestic flights can be another great way to spend your SkyMiles. When booking far enough in advance, flights in Economy can start at just 4,500 SkyMiles. That’s for a Basic Economy booking – but even standard Economy can be grabbed for just 6,000 SkyMiles.
Better yet, you only need to pay US$6 on the side with these bookings to cover the taxes and fees.
Of course, don’t forget to check how much it costs to buy the same seat on the same flight, to make sure you’re getting the best value.
How do I earn Delta SkyMiles status?
Delta SkyMiles has four public status levels above the basic membership: Silver, Gold, Platinum and Diamond Medallion.
These tiers are earned with a mix of Medallion Qualifying Dollars (MQD, for US-based members only), along with either Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQM) or Medallion Qualifying Segments (MQS).
SkyTeam Elite benefits apply to the Silver Medallion level, while the better SkyTeam Elite Plus benefits with lounge access kick in with Gold Medallion status and higher.
Delta is currently offering a status match to its Silver, Gold and Platinum tiers. Travellers with similar status in Qantas Frequent Flyer, Velocity Frequent Flyer and more are welcome to apply.
Delta Silver Medallion
Achieve/Maintain: $3,000 MQDs (US residents) + 25,000 MQMs or 30 MQSs
SkyTeam equivalent: SkyTeam Elite
Delta Silver Medallion gets you started on the journey to some elite benefits:
- Waived baggage fees for you and up to eight travel companions on your reservation.
- Complimentary preferred seat selection.
- Earn seven SkyMiles per US$1 spent on Delta fares.
- Complimentary upgrades to First Class, Delta One or Delta Comfort+ on U.S. 50 flights, beginning 24 hours prior to departure. Includes a companion.
- Priority check-in and boarding.
Delta Gold Medallion
Achieve/Maintain: $6,000 MQDs (US residents) + 50,000 MQMs or 60 MQSs
SkyTeam equivalent: SkyTeam Elite Plus
In addition to Silver benefits, Gold Medallion members get:
- SkyTeam Elite Plus for international lounge access and priority perks on SkyTeam international partner flights.
- Priority security screening and baggage delivery.
- Earn eight SkyMiles per US$1 spent on Delta fares.
- Complimentary upgrades to First Class, Delta One or Delta Comfort+ on U.S. 50 flights, beginning 72 hours prior to departure. Includes a companion.
- Waived fees on same day confirmed flight changes.
- Hertz Gold Plus Rewards Five Star status.
Delta Platinum Medallion
Achieve/Maintain: $9,000 MQDs (US residents) + 75,000 MQMs or 100 MQSs
SkyTeam equivalent: SkyTeam Elite Plus
Perks provided over Silver and Gold Medallion include:
- Earn nine SkyMiles per US$1 spent on Delta fares.
- Complimentary upgrades to First Class or Delta One on U.S. 50 flights, beginning 120 hours prior to departure. Complimentary upgrade to Delta Comfort+ shortly after ticketing. Includes a companion.
- Waived award redeposit/reissue fees.
- Hertz Gold Plus Rewards President’s Circle status.
- One credit to use on the following ‘Choice Benefits’:
- 4x Regional Upgrade Certificates.
- 20,000 bonus SkyMiles.
- Silver Medallion status for a recipient of your choice.
- Gift card.
Delta Diamond Medallion
Achieve/Maintain: $15,000 MQDs (US residents) + 125,000 MQMs or 140 MQSs
SkyTeam equivalent: SkyTeam Elite Plus
As the top public tier, here’s what’s in store for Diamond Medallions:
- Earn 11 SkyMiles per US$1 spent on Delta fares.
- Complimentary upgrades to First Class or Delta One on U.S. 50 flights, beginning 120 hours prior to departure with a higher priority. Complimentary upgrade to Delta Comfort+ shortly after ticketing. Includes a companion.
- VIP customer service line.
- Three credits to use on the following ‘Choice Benefits’:
- Delta Sky Club Individual Membership [1 credit].
- Delta Sky Club Executive Membership [2 credits without existing Sky Club membership, 1 credit with an existing membership].
- Delta Sky Club Guest Pass for those with credit card access.
- 4x Global or 8x Regional or 2x Global AND 4x Regional Upgrade Certificates.
- 25,000 bonus SkyMiles.
- Gift Medallion Gold status.
How do I contact Delta SkyMiles?
To get in touch with Delta SkyMiles about a membership enquiry or flight redemption, try:
- Calling 800-323-2323 from the US or 1800 144 917 from Australia (charges may apply).
- Sending them a direct message on Twitter or Facebook.
While the call centre might be the quickest way to resolve your issue, try the social media channels if the line is busy or you cannot easily call overseas numbers.
Delta SkyMiles is a massive frequent flyer program with a similarly sizeable home airline attached. The ability to earn and spend points across SkyTeam and beyond makes it a drawcard for savvy travellers.
When it comes to using SkyMiles, there are some tremendously good-value redemptions such as Australia to Europe for 90,000 miles in Business Class. On the flip side, Delta’s own flights are subject to dynamic pricing, which can really blow the numbers out of the water.
Additional reporting by Chris Chamberlin.
Stay up to date with the latest news, reviews and guides by subscribing to Point Hacks’ email newsletter.