Looking to fly to your dream destination for free? With little effort, the Delta SkyMiles Program can take you there. Flying Delta and spending money on your credit cards are still the easiest ways to beef up your SkyMiles balance, but the carrier offers myriad ways to collect free Delta SkyMiles. Here’s the only guide you’ll need in racking up the most points!
Table of Contents
- Before you begin
- 1. Fly Delta
- 2. Apply for co-branded Delta credit cards
- 3. Ride with Lyft
- 4. Apply for the SkyMiles Dining program
- 5. Shop using SkyMiles Shopping
- 6. Book with Airbnb
- 7. Book hotels through Delta’s hotel booking portal
- 8. Rent a car with Delta’s partners
- 9. Purchase tickets from Ticketmaster
- 10. Make the most of the ‘bags on time’ guarantee
- 11. Transfer your Marriot Bonvoy points to get free Delta SkyMiles
- 12. Book a cruise
- 13. Sign up for cashback apps
- 14. Support the Seahawks
Before you begin
This comes without saying, but you actually need to be enrolled in Delta SkyMiles before you start earning. This is as simple as signing up online for a Delta SkyMiles account.
Before you start your mile-collection spree, know that there are two types of miles in the Delta SkyMiles loyalty program: the actual miles and another thing called Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs).
Miles are easily earned by making purchases and redeeming them for rewards. Delta SkyMiles members earn 5 bonus miles for every $1 they spend on flights, but you’ll be able to earn more when using a Delta SkyMiles credit card.
MQMs, on the other hand, are based on your distance traveled. The more MQMs you collect, the higher your elite status becomes (e.g. Silver, Gold, Platinum, Diamond) and the more extra benefits you acquire.
After signing up for the Delta SkyMiles loyalty program, you’ll receive a unique Delta SkyMiles account number that you can use to earn free Delta SkyMiles in a variety of ways.
1. Fly Delta
The Delta SkyMiles program is not distance-based, but revenue-based.
For example, a $500 ticket from interstate travel will net you the same amount of miles compared to a $500 ticket abroad. Provided both base fares are equal, you’ll be rewarded with the same amount of miles.
The higher up the elite chart you are, the more miles per dollar you get to earn, and the more you get to save. This way, those who frequently travel earn more miles on the same ticket compared to those who only fly a few times a year.
Here are Delta’s Medallion status tiers and their respective mileage earnings:
- General SkyMiles Members: 5 miles/$1.
- Silver Medallion Members: 7 miles/$1.
- Gold Medallion Members: 8 miles/$1.
- Platinum Medallion Members: 9 miles/$1.
- Diamond Medallion Members: 11 miles/$1.
See Related: Delta Airlines Review: Is This The Best Airline?
2. Apply for co-branded Delta credit cards
One of the best ways to get free Delta SkyMiles is to sign up for co-branded Delta credit cards through American Express. Once you sign up for a Delta credit card, you instantly get an introductory bonus after meeting the minimum spending requirement within a set amount of time (usually around three months).
Take note that American Express only allows you to acquire the introductory bonus on their cards once per lifetime, but you can earn several introductory bonuses when you sign up for different cards as they are considered separate products.
The expansive suite of SkyMiles credit cards allows you to earn based on your lifestyle, so if you’re looking to make SkyMiles your ultimate mileage program, it’s essential that you have at least one of these in your tool belt.
The following cards allow you to rack up 2 miles for every dollar you spend on Delta purchases and around 1 mile for every dollar you spend on everyday eligible purchases:
- Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card
- Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card
- Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card
If you’re looking for more earning power, the following cards will allow you to rack up 2 miles for every dollar spent on Delta purchases and around 1 mile for every dollar spent on eligible purchases.
- Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card.
- Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card.
- Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card.
- Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card.
See Related: 4 Best Credit Cards For Travel Perks Ranked
3. Ride with Lyft
Every time you ride with Lyft, you can earn 1 mile per every dollar you spend on everyday rides and around 2 miles per dollar spend on airport rides.
If you frequently use lift on your business trips, this is easily one of the best ways to get Delta SkyMiles for you.
Once you’re linked, there’s no need to click through a link to earn your miles – your purchases will be automatically credited to your account.
They can even be stacked with Lyft’s partnership with Hilton Honors!
See Related: Do You Need a Car in Chicago? 7 Things to Know
4. Apply for the SkyMiles Dining program
If you’re a foodie, you can earn free Delta SkyMiles by simply dining at any participating restaurant and using your registered debit card or credit card.
SkyMiles Dining is Delta Airlines’ premier dining rewards program. The number of miles you earn varies based on the restaurant of choice, the type of promotions available, and the day of the week, as some establishments don’t offer rewards during the weekend.
Qualifying as a VIP member allows you to earn up to 5 miles for every dollar you spend. Joining is simple is straightforward.
- Access the Delta Rewards Dining website and create an account.
- Register all your credit and debit cards that you most likely use at bars, clubs, or restaurants.
- After this, you can instantly start earning free Delta SkyMiles when making purchases at participating restaurants. Your frequent flier miles will be credited within six to eight weeks from dining.
PRO TIP: There are a number of things you can do to maximize your earnings from the Delta SkyMiles Dining program. Those who opt-in to receive emails from the program will receive 3 miles for every dollar spent, as opposed to those who don’t who only get 1 mile per $2 dollars spent.
Those who opt in to receive emails while completing 11 or more qualified transactions in a calendar year will receive 5 miles per $1.
New members can also take advantage of the sign-up bonus and earn up to 3,000 SkyMiles bonus miles in their first 30 days!
See Related: Miles App Review
5. Shop using SkyMiles Shopping
To join, access the portal and register using your SkyMiles number. This allows your bonus miles to be credited to your frequent flyer account.
Shopping is as easy as using the search box to find your favorite brands or products. The website also allows you to compare mileage rates and prices. Keeping your eyes peeled for featured deals, bonus miles, and special bonus offers is the best way to maximize your earning potential.
Select a merchant, click on a product, and you’ll instantly be taken to that store’s website to shop and check out.
The store then alerts the portal once you’ve made a purchase and records the miles you earned. Miles are typically posted within three to five days.
The number of miles you’ll earn depends on the retailer, and their rates fluctuate frequently, especially when you’re shopping around the holidays. For good measure, check the portal frequently for merchant and spending bonuses.
For an easier mile-earning experience, you can even download a browser extension that regularly informs you of mile-earning opportunities when you’re busy shopping online!
See Related: 23 Best Travel Gifts [Gift & Present Ideas]
6. Book with Airbnb
Thanks to the partnership between Delta and Airbnb, you can earn free Delta SkyMiles each time you book an Airbnb!
There is no minimum spend for guests to earn, so even if you’re planning to book the cheapest lodging option, you’ll rack up miles for your next reward ticket.
Guests who book their Airbnb via DeltaAirbnb.com will earn 1 mile for every $1 spent on qualifying Airbnb stays, excluding fees and taxes. Remember that the SkyMiles account holder must be the same as the Airbnb account holder.
You’ll also have to enter your SkyMiles number each time you book an Airbnb to qualify for the offer.
7. Book hotels through Delta’s hotel booking portal
If room sharing with Airbnb isn’t your thing, one of the best ways to earn free Delta SkyMiles is to book a hotel with Delta’s hotel booking portal.
Guests will earn around one mile per dollar they spend on booking hotels, with frequent booking promotions.
While the prices you see on the Delta hotel booking portal should match the prices when booking directly, it’s better to double-check for good measure!
PRO TIP: When booking hotels through Delta’s booking portal, know that you won’t be able to earn hotel points or use your elite status benefits. These benefits are usually reserved when booking directly with your hotel company.
As such, do your own research if earning free Delta SkyMiles is more beneficial than racking up hotel points for your specific hotel stay.
Apart from booking through Delta’s hotel booking portal, you can also earn free Delta SkyMiles by booking directly with Delta’s hotel partners. Your earning potential depends on the hotel group you’re booking with.
For example, you can earn 500 miles per stay when you book a hotel from the Shangri-La Gold Circle group and up to 2 miles per dollar spent with the IHG Rewards Club.
8. Rent a car with Delta’s partners
Looking for a car to rent? You may be able to earn free Delta SkyMiles from booking a vehicle too! Apart from earning credits from a car rental company, you may choose to credit your rentals to your Delta SkyMiles account instead. For each qualifying rental at particular locations, you can earn 500 miles.
Delta has a plethora of partnerships with several car rental companies including Thrifty Car Rental, Hertz, Dollar Car Rental, National, Enterprise, Alamo, ExecuCar, Sixt, Europcar, Carmel, and Super Shuttle.
See Related: Miles App Review: Is It Worth It?
9. Purchase tickets from Ticketmaster
Those planning to make a purchase from Ticketmaster have opportunities to rack up free Delta SkyMiles. With this deal, all SkyMiles members may earn 1 mile for every dollar they spend on tickets for games, concerts, and theater events in Canada and the US.
All members have to do is to visit DeltaTicketmaster.com, enter their Delta SkyMiles number, and then shop for their tickets.
PRO TIP: The process of ordering works very much like Delta’s partnership with Airbnb, which includes visiting a special URL before purchasing your tickets.
Since this method requires you to pass through one additional hoop, it may not be the best option if you’re scurrying to get an on-demand ticket and you’re pressed for time. You may want to consider permanently linking your SkyMiles number with your Ticketmaster account.
Unlike other deals, SkyMiles members don’t receive early access to tickets through the Delta-Ticketmaster partnership. Only certain credit cards will give you this privilege.
See Related: GetYourGuide vs Viator: What is Better?
10. Make the most of the ‘bags on time’ guarantee
While this isn’t exactly something you can voluntarily do to earn free Delta SkyMiles, the airline’s ‘bags on time’ guarantee is something to watch out for if you’re aiming to earn as many miles as possible.
Delta’s commitment to providing reliable and on-time baggage comes with a guarantee: if your checked bag doesn’t make its way to the carousel in 20 minutes or less after your domestic flight, you’ll instantly be eligible for 2,500 bonus miles.
All you need to do is to complete the form available on the Delta website no later than three days after your flight’s arrival. Only requests made after flights are entertained.
PRO TIP: You must already be a SkyMiles member at the time of your travel to be able to claim the guarantee. You’ll have to wait at least two weeks after submitting your request for the bonus miles to appear in your account.
11. Transfer your Marriot Bonvoy points to get free Delta SkyMiles
While you can transfer a variety of hotel points from several programs to your Delta SkyMiles account, one of the best transfers is from Marriot Bonvoy. These points can transfer to your Delta SkyMiles account at a ratio of 3:1, but Marriot awards those who transfer larger amounts with extra miles.
For example, you’ll get a total of 5,000-miles for every 60,000 Marriot points that you transfer from Marriot to Delta SkyMiles. This means that you’ll get a total of 25,000 airline miles for every 60,000 points you transfer.
You’ll find several Marriot cobranded credit cards available, issued by both American Express and Chase!
12. Book a cruise
With SkyMilesCruises.com, you can earn free airline miles when booking a cruise, thanks to the airline’s partnership with CruisesOnly.
Available offers include cruises to the Caribbean, Alaska, and Europe, among others, on many of the major cruise lines. The amount of free Delta SkyMiles you earn depends on the number of nights in your package.
13. Sign up for cashback apps
Did you know that you can get free Delta Airlines gift cards when using cashback apps or free online rewards membership programs? Here’s what you need to know about them.
This online rewards membership program is one of the best ways to get Delta gift cards. All you need to do is to sign up for Swagbucks and earn SB points by searching the web, using coupons, answering surveys, watching videos, and shopping online, among others.
Once you’ve racked up enough SB points, you can exchange them for free Delta gift cards!
MyPoints is another online rewards program that allows you to earn points through shopping online, dining out, taking surveys, or discovering content.
You can sign up for MyPoints and rack up just enough points to get free Delta SkyMiles. For example, you can exchange 15,880 points for a $100 Delta gift card!
See Related: Free Printable Travel Planner
14. Support the Seahawks
Delta’s growing presence in Seattle is accompanied by their efforts to appeal to Seattleites, and they’ve been trying to take advantage of the city’s football success. The Delta 12Status program is indicative of this.
If you’re a legal resident of Washington state, joining the program gives you access to a number of exclusive perks.
Each member gets one mile for each passing yard at home and away games during the entire season.
They also get priority boarding when departing out of the SeaTac Airport when riding Delta during the football season.
Delta Airlines has given away over 275 million miles through this promotion,
PRO TIP: Know that the Seahawks typically make 4,000 passing yards each year, which could earn you around 4,000 free Delta SkyMiles if the results for the year are similar. Keep your eyes peeled for more details on the current promotion via Delta’s news site.