Redeeming Delta SkyMiles for Maximum Value

Delta does not publish an award chart, so they price awards fairly close to the cash price of the flight. Therefore, check on Delta.com to see how much an award costs. At the bottom of this page is the starting price of Delta awards. Partner awards are fairly stable values, but Delta can charge multiple prices for the similar flights on the same exact day. 

I typically use Delta points for economy tickets within the U.S. or to Mexico or the Caribbean, since they are usually very reasonably priced. Delta also conducts published and unpublished flash sales that we will send emails to anyone subscribed to our “Quick Points” list. 

SkyTeam Airlines: Aeroflot, Aerolineas Argentinas, Aeromexico, Air Europa*, Air France, China Airlines, China Eastern, China Southern, Czech Airlines*, Delta, Garuda Indonesia, Kenya Airways*, KLM, Korean Air, MEA, Saudia, Tarom, Vietnam, and Xiamen Airlines. (*= cannot book via Delta.com)

Other Partners: Air Tahiti Nui (call to book), Hawaiian, Mandarin Airlines, WestJet, GOL, Jet Airways, Shanghai Airlines, and Virgin Australia. 

Fuel Surcharges: Delta charges fuel surcharges on Aeroflot, Aerolineas Argentinas (to/from Europe only), Air Europa, Air Tahiti Nui (less than $150), China Airlines, China Eastern, China Southern, Czech, Middle Eastern, and TAROM. 

Awards starting in Europe: Delta charges about $350 when booking an award ticket from Europe on the following airlines: Air France, Alitalia, Delta, Garuda Indonesia, Korean Air, Vietnam Airlines, and Virgin Atlantic. 

One-Ways: Allowed. There is no discount for a round-trip award, so searching one-ways will be the quickest way to find the best award. (Exception: trips to Europe should be booked as roundtrips to avoid fees)

Search Tip: Delta will not always show the cheapest flight for points at the very top of the search results. Be sure to scroll down and see every available flight. Additionally, for international flights, check awards from international gateway cities as well if you don’t see any good results. 

Flash Sale– Delta typically does a once per month award flash sale, but sometimes it is more frequent. We will send out flash sales via to our “Quick Deals” email list. 

Weekly Deals: Delta now has a page for weekly travel deals using SkyMiles. 

Award Fees: $150 for redeposit/reissue (waived for Platinum and Diamond). Changes are allowed within 72 hours of departure. Booking with Delta or U.S. call center are free. 

Last Minute Awards: Delta generally prices awards within 21 days fairly high. The best deals using Delta are when you book well in advance.

Stopovers: Not allowed.

Flight Segments: You are limited to 3 flight segments for a domestic flight and 4 flight segments for an international flight. 

Pay With Miles: You can also cash out SkyMiles at 1 cent each via Delta’s Pay With Miles program. The one advantage to that program is the fact that you still earn elite credits, but if you’re not close to earning elite status, I would stick with a regular award. 

Blackout Dates: There are no blackout dates on Delta flights, but there are on Korean Air. (hit CTRL + F and type Blackout Dates to save time)

Auctions: You could also use your points for a Delta Auction instead of for flights. Examples of auctions are concert or sporting event tickets, a VIP NASCAR experience, or Dinner and Kitchen Tour at the French Laundry (one of the top restaurants in the world).

Delta Award Chart

Below is the starting price for a one-way Delta award departing the U.S. These prices change constantly, so it’s always best to check Delta’s website. Delta also prices their premium routes at very high rates (e.g. Atlanta to South Africa is almost always 425,000 points one-way for Delta One; the U.S. to Sydney on Delta in business class has a lot of dates in the 375,000 point range)

Occasionally, Delta will conduct an unpublished flash sale when the cash price of the flights are very low. This frequently occurs on trips between the U.S. and Mexico or the Caribbean. 

Good Value Awards- The best value from the Delta points program comes from (1) flash sales (mostly on domestic routes or Caribeean/Mexico/Central America), (2) domestic economy tickets on Delta, (3) partner awards (less variability in the prices), and (4) Delta One Suites at the lowest rates (routes; be sure to book well in advance)

  • Partner Awards– Europe to Australia on China Airlines for around 90,000 in one-way business class; North America to North Asia for 80-85,000 points for one-way business class; North Asia to Guam or Saipan; Asia to Africa for 80,000 points for one-way business; North America to Europe for 75,000 points in one-way business class; and North America to the Middle East for 85,000 for one-way business class.

DestinationEconomy (Delta)Economy (Partner)Business/First (Delta)Business (Partner)
Within U.S.5,000-12,500N/A25,000N/A
Hawaii22,500N/A40,000N/A
Mexico17,50017,50030,00030,000
Caribbean17,500N/A30,000N/A
Central America22,000N/A35,000N/A
Northern South America17,50025,00030,00045,000
Southern South America30,00035,00075,000100,000
North Asia35,00035,00080,00085,000
Southeast Asia40,00045,00080,00095,000
Japan35,00040,00080,00095,000
Europe30,00032,50082,00075,000
Middle East35,00042,50084,00085,000
North Africa30,00035,00070,00085,000
South Africa40,00050,000375,000115,000
India40,00050,00094,000115,000
Australia/New Zealand45,00055,000175,000115,000

Region Definitions (unofficial)

North America= USA, Mexico, and Canada

CaribbeanAnguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Bonaire, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Cuba, Curacao, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Montserrat, Puerto Rico, Saba, Saint Eustatius, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Maarten, Saint Vincent and The Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, and US Virgin Islands. Central America-Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama.

Northern South America= Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Peru, Suriname, and Venezuela.

Southern South America= Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay.

Europe= Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Faroe Islands, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania; Russia, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Svalbard and Jan Mayen Island, Sweden, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and Vatican City.

Middle East= Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, and Yemen.

Africa= Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Libya, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mayotte, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Reunion, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Indian Subcontinent= Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, British Indian Ocean Territory, India, Nepal, Maldives, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.

North Asia= China, Hong Kong SAR, Japan, South Korea, Micronesia, Philippines, Taiwan, Russia (East of the Ural Mountains), Guam, and Saipan.

Southeast Asia= Brunei, Cambodia, East Timor, Indonesia, Laos, Macau SAR, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkmenistan, and Vietnam.

Southwest Pacific= American Samoa, Australia, Christmas Islands, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Cook Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia, Kiribati, Nauru, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Norfolk Island, Pitcairn, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tongo, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Wallis, and Futuna Islands.

Other Delta Pages: OverviewEarning Points, and Elite Status