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15 ways to earn more Delta SkyMiles

You can earn a free flight on Delta in just a few months with some of these tactics

Summary

There are many ways to score a free ticket on Delta, including credit card bonuses, referring a friend, using the Delta shopping portal and more.

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 #Whether you want to explore the Great Wall of China, sip coffee in a sidewalk cafe in Paris or relax on a tropical beach on the Caribbean, Delta SkyMiles can make your travel dreams come true. This frequent flyer program works for destinations all over the globe and flights may require fewer miles than you think.

Still, racking up additional miles can help you travel further or bring a friend. Read on to find out the best ways to earn more Delta SkyMiles.

1. Sign up for co-branded Delta credit cards

While you can earn Delta SkyMiles when you fly with Delta Air Lines, the best  – and fastest  – way to earn miles is by signing up for a co-branded Delta credit card through American Express. All Delta credit cards offer an introductory bonus for meeting a minimum spending requirement within a short span of time  – usually three months.

It’s important to note that American Express limits introductory bonuses on their cards to once per lifetime. However, you can earn the introductory bonus on each of these cards since they are all considered separate products.

Fortunately, there are many Delta SkyMiles credit cards you can try out and earn bonus miles with over time:

Delta SkyMiles introductory bonuses

SkyMiles earnedEstimated value
Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card
  • 35,000 miles if you spend $1,000 in first 3 months (Terms apply)
$560
Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card
  • 10,000 miles if you spend $500 in first 3 months (Terms apply)
$160
Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card
  • 40,000 miles and 5,000 MQMs if you spend $2,000 in first 3 months (Terms apply)
$640
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card
  • 40,000 miles and 10,000 MQMs if you spend $3,000 in first 3 months (Terms apply)
$640
Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card
  • 40,000 miles if you spend $2,000 in first 3 months (Terms apply)
$640
Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card
  • 45,000 miles and 5,000 MQMs if you spend $3,000 in first 3 months (Terms apply)
$720
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card
  • 45,000 miles and 10,000 MQMs if you spend $4,000 in first 3 months (Terms apply)
$720

 

Your gateway to Delta perks

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card
Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

Why should you get it?

Since its annual fee is waived in the first year (then $99 annually), the Gold Delta SkyMiles card is the most affordable option for scoring a large introductory bonus and perks with Delta Air Lines.

Learn more

More things to know:

  • Earn 35,000 bonus miles if you spend $1,000 in first 3 months
  • 2 miles per dollar on eligible Delta purchases, at restaurants worldwide and at U.S. supermarkets
  • 1 mile per dollar on other purchases
  • First checked bag free for you and up to 8 companions
  • Priority boarding privileges
  • $0 annual fee in the first year ($99 thereafter)
  • Terms apply

2. Add authorized users to your account

Occasionally, American Express may offer bonus miles for adding an authorized user to a Delta SkyMiles card. You can check for special offers under the Amex Offers portion of your account once you sign into your online account management page at American Express. While there’s no guarantee you’ll receive a special offer, we’ve seen offers for 2,500 bonus miles after adding an authorized user who spends $500 on their card within the first three months.

3. Get your spouse or partner in the game

While American Express has a strict “once per lifetime” rule on their introductory bonuses, there’s no restriction against family members applying for the same card as you. Even if your spouse or partner resides at the same address as you, they can sign up for Delta SkyMiles cards that you already own to earn an additional introductory bonus. If you have a trip on the horizon, you and your partner should try applying for the same Delta card to double your bonus miles.

4. Purchase airfare with Delta

Aside from credit card bonuses, your best bet for racking up SkyMiles is flying with Delta Air Lines as often as possible. You can get 5 miles per $1 on Delta flights just by enrolling in the SkyMiles program. If you climb the status rungs, you can potentially earn up to 11 miles per $1.

SkyMiles earning tiers

Basic members5 miles/$1
Silver Medallion7 miles/$1
Gold Medallion8 miles/$1
Platinum Medallion9 miles/$1
Diamond Medallion11 miles/$1

5. Book a Delta Vacations package

Booking a package with Delta Vacations can not only help you shave money off your trip and earn SkyMiles on your flight – you can potentially score between 500 and 7,500 bonus miles, depending on your package.

6. Book with Delta’s hotel partners

Your next hotel stay could be an opportunity to collect SkyMiles. You can opt to earn SkyMiles instead of hotel points with any of Delta’s hotel partners.

7. Earn miles with Airbnb

You can earn SkyMiles on an Airbnb stay when you book your stay through Delta’s Airbnb portal. You’ll earn 1 SkyMile on every dollar spent.

8. Rent a car with one of Delta’s car rental partners

If you rent a car from one of Delta’s car rental partners, you can potentially earn 2 miles on every dollar you spend on your rental (or 500 miles per rental, depending on the partner).

9. Take advantage of Amex Offers

Amex Offers is a discount program that connects to all American Express credit cards, including Delta SkyMiles cards. While many of the promotions are cash back offers, you may occasionally see a bonus offer for Delta SkyMiles. Make sure to check Amex Offers frequently so you can take advantage of these offers when they come up.

10. Refer friends

If you have friends who also want to earn miles for free flights, you can refer them via the Amex refer-a-friend page to earn a referral bonus if they are approved for a card. You will typically earn 5,000 bonus miles per referral for a total bonus of up to 55,000 miles per year.

11. Maximize bonus categories

Depending on the Delta SkyMiles credit card, you can earn bonus miles on purchases in certain categories of spending. For example, the Delta SkyMiles Blue American Express Card offers 2 miles per dollar at restaurants worldwide. Also, you earn double or even triple miles on direct purchases with Delta with a Delta SkyMiles card. For that reason, you’ll want to make sure to use your Delta credit card when you pay for airfare with Delta Air Lines.

Delta SkyMiles Gold 2x miles on eligible Delta purchases and at restaurants worldwide and U.S. supermarkets
Delta SkyMiles Blue 2x miles on eligible Delta purchases and at restaurants worldwide
Delta SkyMiles Reserve3x miles on eligible Delta purchases
Delta SkyMiles Gold Business 2x miles on eligible Delta purchases, U.S. purchases for advertising in select media, U.S. shipping purchases and at restaurants
Delta SkyMiles Platinum Business3x miles on eligible Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels
Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business3x miles on eligible Delta purchases

12. Use the Delta SkyMiles shopping portal

The Delta SkyMiles shopping portal offers another way to rack up Delta SkyMiles over time. Like other shopping portals, you can earn bonus miles on your purchases when you visit a retailer’s site through the Delta SkyMiles shopping portal.

While options change all the time, the list of participating stores currently includes Lord & Taylor, Home Depot, Sephora and eBags.com. Since you may earn up to 6 miles per dollar through the portal in addition to your regular credit card rewards, it’s always worth checking whether a retailer is on the list before you buy anything online.

13. Sign up for Amex credit cards that earn Membership Rewards

Since American Express Membership Rewards transfer to the Delta SkyMiles program, signing up for an American Express card to earn an introductory bonus and then transferring your bonus points is another great way to rack up SkyMiles.

The transfer ratio for Membership Rewards is 1:1, so 1,000 Membership Rewards is equal to 1,000 SkyMiles.

American Express credit cards to consider include:

Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express10,000 points if you spend $1,000 in first 3 months (Terms apply)
Amex EveryDay® Preferred card15,000 points if you spend $1,000 in first 3 months (Terms apply)
American Express® Gold Card 35,000 points if you spend $4,000 in first 3 months (Terms apply)
The Platinum Card® from American Express 60,000 points if you spend $5,000 in first 3 months (Terms apply)
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express75,000 points if you spend $15,000 in the first 3 months (Terms Apply)
American Express Platinum Card® for Schwab60,000 points if you spend $5,000 in first 3 months (Terms apply)

14. Sign up for the Delta SkyMiles dining program

The Delta SkyMiles dining program lets you earn bonus miles when you sign up for an account and dine at participating restaurants in your area.

With the program’s current introductory offer, you can earn up to 3,000 bonus miles in your first 30 days — 500 bonus miles after you spend your first $30 through the program, 1,000 more miles when you spend at least $30 at a second restaurant and 1,500 more miles when you spend $30 at a third restaurant — in addition to up to 5 miles per dollar spent at participating restaurants.

15. Link your Lyft account to your Delta SkyMiles account

Last but not least, you can earn Delta miles on rides with Lyft. After you link your Delta SkyMiles account with your Lyft account, you’ll earn 1 mile for each dollar you spend on ridesharing through the program. You may also earn a special introductory bonus if you’re a new Lyft user, although promotions vary. You can earn miles at the following rate:

  • 2 miles per $1 on airport rides
  • 1 mile per $1 on other rides within the U.S.

Final thoughts

Delta SkyMiles can help you see the world without overpaying for airfare, but you need a lot of miles to book the trip of your dreams. Once you sign up for a Delta SkyMiles credit card, your best bet is maximizing all the little ways you can earn more miles. Over time, your efforts can add up in a big way.

See Related: What are Delta SkyMiles worth?, Which Delta SkyMiles card is best for you?, Best ways to redeem Delta SkyMiles, Delta SkyMiles partners, Delta elite status benefits, Delta Sky Club lounges, How to book a flight with Delta SkyMiles, Delta Skymiles Shopping guide

Editorial Disclaimer

The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. It has not been provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.

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Delta SkyMiles partners

See the full list of Delta SkyMiles partners for redeeming miles and using your elite benefits, as well as partners that allow you to earn bonus SkyMiles.

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