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Delta have just launched a bonus Sky Miles promotion that enables new members to earn up to 35,000 additional Sky Miles through a variety of activities. I only recently joined Delta’s “frequent flyer” programme (sarcastically quoted as I have never actually flown with Delta) to take advantage of Delta Crossover Rewards, as a result of my status matching Marriott Platinum to Starwood Preferred Guest Platinum. Although I have no immediate plans to fly Delta, it’s always best to have these things available in your travel arsenal, just in case.
There are four ways to earn bonus miles;
- Flying with Delta
- Joining Sky Club (lounge membership scheme)
- Make a redemption
- Earn through partners
You need to register for the promotion, which may well be targeted as it does not appear to be listed when browsing Delta’s site. If you have the email, follow the link in there, otherwise it would be worth trying this direct link. No guarantees that you will be able to join, but worth a go.
Earning through flights
Rather obviously, Delta want to incentivize you to board one of their planes, so are offering bonus miles for doing so with 5,000 bonus miles up for grabs on the first round trip flown on Delta planes and 2,500 for a further four round trips.
Flight Activity: Earn 5,000 bonus miles for first roundtrip flight purchased and flown after enrollment on any Delta operated- and marketed- qualifying flight. Earn an additional 2,500 bonus miles for each of the next 4 roundtrip qualifying flights purchased and flown. A qualifying flight means a roundtrip Delta or Delta Connection flight flown on a published-fare ticket issued with a Delta (006) ticket number. Codeshare flights operated by carriers other than Delta or the Delta Connection carriers are excluded from this offer. The following fare types are excluded: Award, Miles + Cash, free, barter, and pass travel. All travel must be completed within 12 months of registration for the promotion. A maximum of 15,000 bonus miles may be awarded for qualifying flight activity.
Earning through Sky Club
By purchasing Sky Club membership, you can gain access to Delta airport lounges no matter who you are flying with. There are two options;
- Individual Membership – Unlimited solo visits – $450 or 70,000 miles
- Executive Memberhip – Unlimited visits with up to 2 guest – $695 or 110,000 miles
Either option will get you 5,000 bonus Sky Miles. There are monthly payment plan options for Sky Club, but these do not qualify for the promotion, neither do individual visits.
Delta Sky Club: Earn 5,000 bonus miles when you purchase a Delta Sky Club membership within 12 months of registration for the promotion. Offer applies to both: Executive Membership and Individual Membership. Offer does not apply to Single visit purchase, payment plan or mileage redemption. Delta Sky Club memberships are non-transferable and non-refundable. Membership is effective from the date of purchase and continues for the duration of the membership type purchased. Delta Sky Club facilities may be used only in conjunction with same-day ticketed air travel on any airline. Individuals must be at least 18 years of age for Club membership. Members must be at least 21 years of age to enter Clubs with a self-service bar. Amenities may vary among Club locations. All Delta Sky Club rules apply to Club membership and use. To review the rules, please visit delta.com/skyclub. Offers and rules subject to change.
Earning through redeeming
This is a common offer in IHG’s Accelerate promotion, spend some miles/points to earn some. Obviously it makes no sense to make a redemption purely to earn the miles, the maths doesn’t stack up, but if you had a redemption planned anyway, it’s a nice bonus. It’s reasonably flexible as outlined in the T’s and C’s;
Mileage Redemption: 5,000 bonus miles will be awarded after the first SkyMiles mileage redemption of a cumulative total of 25,000 miles or greater. Award travel, mileage upgrade, SkyMiles Experiences and SkyMiles Marketplace are eligible for this promotion. Following activities are excluded: purchase of Sky Club memberships with miles, buy, gift or transfer miles. Transfer miles for charities and other mileage transfers are not eligible.
Earning through partners
Looks like they took some inspiration from BA on this one, but improved on it;
Unique Partner Activity: Earn 1000 bonus miles for each unique partner activity, up to 10 partners, for a total of up to 10,000 bonus miles. A partner activity is defined as an activity, which earns 1 or more miles from the partner within 12 months after registration. A Delta Buy Miles purchase and a partner points to miles conversion transaction are considered eligible unique activities. Delta Buy, Gift or Transfer Miles transactions are considered one unique activity. Converting hotel partner points to miles and a stay/activity with the same hotel partner do not count as two activities.
Obvious opportunities to pick up through schemes often covered on InsideFlyerUK;
- American Express Membership Rewards points (1:1 in multiples of 1,000)
- Starwood Starpoints (1:1 with 5,000 bonus for every 20,000 transferred)
- Hilton HHonors (10:1)
- IHG Rewards Club (10,000 points = 2,000 Sky Miles)
You can of course directly credit hotel stays to Delta instead of collecting hotel points and transferring, but you won’t get double bonus if you do both.
There are plenty more, the full list is at http://www.delta.com/content/www/en_US/skymiles/earn-miles/earn-miles-with-partners.html. The difference between this and the BA offer is that you can collect with multiple partners and receive multiple 1,000 mile bonuses; the BA offer was only for a new partner.
All of the above are bonus miles, in addition to actual miles earned from the flight, hotel stay, etc.
Spending your SkyMiles
When it comes to spending the miles, looking at a popular comparison route, LHR-JFK this will cost you 60,000 miles return per person in Economy
This compares with BA at 40,000 return
Taxes/fees/surcharges are within a few pounds as you can see above.
Of course, where we all want to be is in Business Class, and again Delta is slightly more miles (140,000 vs. 120,000) and almost identical taxes/fees/surcharges
Choosing a random 2 week period during next summer’s school holiday period, shows both airlines have redemption seats available in Economy and Business class.
If you are planning a trip to the US, obviously this is the focus of Delta’s network, and might offer you an alternative to BA, maybe you want to fly from Manchester from where you can reach New York, Boston, Orlando, San Francisco and Las Vegas (some via Virgin Atlantic partnership)? There are many more US destinations from London, but the way BA are introducing new routes, they’ll probably have them all covered soon!
If you are new to Delta and already have some SkyMiles collected, this is a nice way to add to them, with minimal effort, particularly if you already have some flights planned. Otherwise, a minimal top-up from hotel and American Express Membership Rewards points is probably worthwhile to take advantage of the bonuses on offer. Even if you have no immediate plans to redeem, Delta Sky Miles never expire.