Update: These offers for the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express, the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express, the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express and the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express have expired. Learn more about the current offers here.
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Through September 19, 2018, there are increased welcome bonuses on some of the popular Delta Amex co-branded credit cards. These include the following:
- The Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express & Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express are each offering 60,000 bonus miles after you make $3,000 in purchases on your new card within your first 4 months — the cards have $95 annual fees, which are waived for the first year
- The Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express & Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express are each offering 70,000 SkyMiles plus 10,000 Medallion Qualifying Miles after spending $3,000 within three months — the cards have a $195 annual fee
These are among the best offers we’ve ever seen on the cards, and you’re eligible for the bonuses on each of the cards, as they’re all considered separate products.
Personally I value SkyMiles at around 1.2 cents each, based on the ability to redeem for international business class awards. That’s the least I value any of the “big three” mileage currencies.
Many say that SkyMiles are “worthless,” and I think that’s a stretch, and simply not fair. Yes, I absolutely think you can get more value out of American AAdvantage miles and United MileagePlus miles than Delta SkyMiles.
However, the good news is that unlike some other points currencies, SkyMiles have a legitimate “floor” value, thanks to the ability to redeem SkyMiles as cash towards the cost of a Delta ticket.
If you have a Delta co-branded credit card then you can redeem SkyMiles for one cent each towards the cost of a ticket, in increments of 5,000 miles. The Pay With Miles benefit is available exclusively to those with select Delta co-branded credit cards. Even elite members without the credit card don’t have access to this benefit.
This means that if a ticket cost $200, you could choose to pay $150 plus 5,000 miles, $100 plus 10,000 miles, $50 plus 15,000 miles, or just pay 20,000 miles outright. The best part is that for all practical purposes these are still considered “paid” tickets. This means that:
- You’re eligible for complimentary upgrades on these tickets as an elite member
- You’re eligible for Medallion Qualifying Miles and Medallion Qualifying Segments for these tickets
- You earn redeemable miles based only on the portion of the ticket for which you’re paying cash
In other words, the 60,000 bonus miles offered by the Gold Delta SkyMiles Personal Card and Gold Delta SkyMiles Business Card would give you at least $600 worth of travel on Delta, while the 70,000 bonus miles offered by the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Personal Card and Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business Card give you at least $700 worth of travel on Delta.
Even for someone who doesn’t want to go through the effort of redeeming SkyMiles, this is something that’s very much a worthwhile welcome bonus.
Let me just emphasize again that this isn’t personally how I’d choose to redeem SkyMiles. Even though Delta has significantly increased many award costs over the past few years, I still think you can get significantly more than a penny of value per mile for international business class redemptions.
For example, China Airlines probably has my favorite SkyTeam business class product, and award availability on them is wide open.
For example, here’s availability between New York and Taipei nonstop in business class next April, where every date has availability (they only fly 4x per week):
At 85,000 miles one-way that’s a great deal, as I value that at way more than $850.
While SkyMiles aren’t the world’s most valuable mileage currency, there is something to be said for the fact that they have a floor value, because I can see many people redeeming American and United miles for significantly less than a penny of value per point.