Extended: Amazing SkyMiles Deal With Delta Vacations

Filed Under: Award Sweet Spots, Delta

Update: This is a heads up that this promotion has been extended for another week, through Friday, September 6, 2019, but be sure to use this link.

Of the “big three” US airline mileage currencies, I find Delta SkyMiles to be the least valuable. Delta seems to do just about everything they can to peg the value of a mile right at around a cent, with fewer and fewer opportunities to redeem them for outsized value.

Well, there’s a great promotion at the moment that can get you two cents of value per Delta mile towards a vacation package.

Delta Vacations lets you book flights, car rentals, and hotels together. In addition to being able to pay cash for these packages, you can also ordinarily redeem SkyMiles for one cent each towards these packages (just as you can redeem SkyMiles for a cent each towards all kinds of purchases).

At the moment the value proposition of this is better than usual, though.

Through Friday, September 6, 2019, you can redeem Delta SkyMiles for two cents each towards vacation packages. Initially this promotion was only supposed to be valid through August 30, but they extended it for a week. In order to take advantage of this you need to book a hotel stay of at least two nights as part of this package.

So with this you could redeem 50,000 SkyMiles for $1,000 towards a trip, 100,000 SkyMiles for $2,000 towards a trip, etc. You don’t have to redeem miles for the entire cost of the trip, as you can mix miles and cash to pay.

That’s an incredible value, assuming this matches the type of trip you’re looking to book.

If your goal is to just get the best value on flights, ideally you’d just book a package that includes a flight and the cheapest hotel possible (which you can always throw away). One of the benefits of booking through Delta Vacations is that these are normal revenue tickets, so you’ll earn SkyMiles for your ticket, so these flights can even help you qualify for status.

However, do note that if you book a hotel through Delta Vacations, you typically won’t earn points or receive elite benefits if you belong to the hotel’s loyalty program.

See this post for more on the best credit cards for earning Delta SkyMiles.

Bottom line

Being able to redeem SkyMiles for two cents each towards a vacation package is an excellent deal. This is especially useful if you find yourself in a situation where you actually want to book a flight and hotel together, or if it’s a situation where you want to book an expensive flight along with a fairly cheap hotel.

Anyone plan to take advantage of this amazing SkyMiles promotion for Delta Vacations?

  1. Does anyone know if you can use these to book premium economy fares? The search engine only seems to show economy and business, but PE might be where the experience sweet spot is.

  2. I would have thought that United miles would be the least valuable for you, since you don’t really seem to ever use them. Delta miles aren’t exactly known for high value, though.

  3. I took advantage today.

    Got the Delta Platinum AMEX for business last week when they had the 50k miles plus 50% credit up to $500 sign on bonus. I’m a platinum Medallion.

    Taking my wife to London for our anniversary in January, for a quick long weekend.

    Flights from Rochester, NY to LHR and back, with 3 nights at the Waldorf Hilton were $2,100 total for both of us ($1062/person). I used 50k miles (with the sale, $1000 off the price), then the $500 credit on the platinum Amex, thereby making my trip a grand total of $624 out of pocket.

    Pretty good deal if you ask me. No miles out of pocket (because they’ll come back from my Amex sign on bonus ), And since it was a vacation package, the miles spent count as cash, and I will get full MQM’s as well towards what is looking to be a very good 2020

  4. Can anyone advise as to whether there is any restrictions to actually taking the flights……?

    I am UK based and given the poor exchange rate for us 2 cents per mile is incredible value and having done the maths, it still works out much cheaper to book a SFO-LAX flights and a 3 night stay in LA than paying all cash with the poor £ to $ exchange.

    Only other question is whether there are any Delta routes to LAX that are consistently cheap? (SFO seemed the cheapest from my limted search…)

    Thanks in advance,

  5. I took advantage of this offer last night – booking was a hassle but worth it. I recommend you complete your research online, write down your flight and hotel preferences, have your Skymiles account number ready, and then call them to book. (After lengthy spinning “processing” messages, the website errored on me twice when attempting to make the final points / cash payment.)

    After I booked I was able to select flight seats, and you have the option to upgrade for whatever fees they’ll charge based on their status. FWIW, I only have Tinfoil Medallion status but I was able to select the dark blue preferred seats AFTER I first selected and saved main white seats.

    My trip: Richmond to Orlando in May 2020 for two with seven nights at the Disney Swan for 107000 points. If I’d paid in cash for Delta Vacations it would have come to about $2200. Booking the rooms alone on the Marriott site for the same dates (no flights) totals $3500.

  6. What isn’t the amazing deal here getting a CC with 2% back and using the proceeds to buy whatever one wants?

    If the world has some to the point where loyalty currencies provide less than 2% back, I am getting out of the game altogether, save, perhaps, sign up bonuses.

  7. jfhscott – the major difference is that you can earn SkyMiles without any personal credit card spending (i.e. taking paid flights for work). You can’t earn cash back in a similar fashion. So to figure out the value of your Skymiles (or any currency), you have to blend how you acquired them (sign up bonuses, regular credit card spending, points earned for travel, etc) and act accordingly.

  8. For example, this year, based on booked flights, I will earn

    50,000 Skymiles for “free” (work travel)
    70,000 Skymiles for $5,000 in spend due to a sign up bonus – cost of 0.2 cents per mile (assuming I could have used a cash back card)
    35,000 Skymiles for $25,000 in spend (Delta Platinum Miles boost) cost of 1.4 cents per mile

    Note I am excluding personal paid travel

    Total cost of 0.4 cents per mile. Let’s say I found a package for $2,000 during this promotion. Redeeming 100,000 miles at 2 cents per mile for that cost is pretty good.

  9. jfhscott,

    You’re definitely right, but I don’t think people earn SkyMiles like you think they earn them. It’s not that people are seeking a $0.02 return on every dollar they spent, but rather every SkyMile they’ve earned. There are a lot ways to earn SkyMiles. Many of us end up with SkyMiles without much effort and need ways to burn them.

    1) Welcome bonuses from Delta Amex cards. Some get these cards for the welcome bonus, some hold the card for the benefits, and some hit spending thresholds to help earn status. Without one of these specific goals, you are right. It’s not rational to earn SkyMiles. Regardless, people still end up with SkyMiles.

    2) Some prefer to fly Delta regardless of their loyalty program. They may like Delta’s product or their network / schedule. The top two elite tiers will earn at least 81,000 and 165,000 SkyMiles annually. Even with low redemption value, this can easily amount to a >10% return on spend. It would be foolish to not take advantage of this.

    3) Delta has partners. Delta partners with airlines, auto rentals (Hertz), and restaurants (Rewards Network). They used to partner with hotels (SPG). It’s pretty easy to end up SkyMiles just by linking your accounts.

    It’s entirely possible to have six/seven figure SkyMile balances without directing any spend on a Delta Amex card. While the optimal strategy is to earn a higher value loyalty currency or use a Citi Doublecash, people still need a way to redeem SkyMiles.

  10. What happens if you skip the return flight/hotel? Can you use this as a base loophole for cheaper airfare?

  11. Jeff and others who have provided thoughtful comments,

    Indeed, sign up bonuses are a one time, low cost, bonanza for which 2 cents per affinity point is always quite nice. Those points have to be spent somewhere, and a 2 cent per affinity point is nice.

    Miles earned on Delta and even partner metal are indeed another story. For many folks, earning Skymiles may be the highest and best affinity point to earn on flights, especially if one has status. (Being in WAS, which is effectively a hub for AA and UA no doubt biases me against DL earn). And folks who would otherwise burn for coach class might like the opportunity to get 2 cpm for DL/ST earned miles in this dreadful revenue based redemption regime. As for me, my only DL redemption was a couple of IAD-ICN-SYD C tix where I effectively got well more than 2 cpm using just about any valuation for international C.

    Just about every program has partners. And partners do not necessarily offer cash equivalents at all, much less an alternative of 2 cents for every SM one might otherwise earn. Anyone who earns Skymiles through partners foregoes opportunities to earn on other affinity programs, such as AS or VA, both of which I view as considerably more desirable currencies. Some SM loyalists might reasonably feel the bonuses are better directed to their fatter SM accounts rather than creating orphan miles in programs they do not use much, but I rather suspect they will be redeeming for C fares when favorable redemptions are available. Generally, however, I suggest that one has to have particularly compelling circumstances (e.g., saving to a premium award worth more than 2 cpm) to elect SM car rental/dining/mileage portal earn over alternatives.

    How bad things have become when 2 cents per mile for travel packages is an “amazing” way to redeem.

  12. Any idea if there would be any consequences if you booked flight & hotel and never actually checked into the hotel..?

  13. Jfhscott

    They are called Skypesos for a reason
    nobody is arguing otherwise

    However, it is an amazing deal when you get double the typical value of anything.

    As you say, you’re biased against Delta given your locale

    I’m based in MSP, a fortress hub.

    I no longer go out of my way to fly Delta. But they’re often far more convenient and the planes are nice

    Only competition is Suncountry which serves a fair number of airports, mostly leisure though.

    Unless going to a United/AA hub:
    I’m certainly not going to fly United and connect through Ohare or Denver
    American Airlines sucks, and connecting through DFW makes little sense.

    I can fly JetBlue to Boston only
    Alaska to Seattle only
    Southwest to like 5 airports.

    International is dominated by KLM and Air France. You guessed it, Delta partners.

    Otherwise, Delta is all that’s left

    So I’m going to get SkyMiles

    Might as well get double the value.

  14. I get this:
    Our first ever Dream It ✈ Live It Event has now ended. We hope you were able to snag a great deal this week and look forward to seeing you on board soon.

  15. I booked flight and an all inclusive resort in Cancun. All three cabins in the plane were available. Great promo.

  16. I had about 260k skymiles in my account. All earned via flying activity back in 2014 and 2015
    (boxing day sale in 2013 that I booked 11 trips east coast – Alaska/SFO for <900 USD)
    and then in 2015 from the bump vouchers that I collected in 2014. (diamond + platinum for 2 years).

    did some booking for my parents with Virgin HKG LHR round trip for 2 in J and some HKG LAX via MU in J etc for my parents. still have miles leftover that I only use for short haul in Y/J 5-8k skymiles.

    so. I did use it to book a trip for 33k delta skymiles in Y class to visit a place I have never visited. not great, maybe. but not everyone earn their skymiles via credit card (which I didnt)

  17. I booked a vacation with this deal for travel this summer. It now looks like at least some of my flights have been canceled by the carrier(KLM in this instance). Does anyone know how refunds are handled? I know getting my miles redeposited is not likely. I really don’t want a voucher though.

  18. Ahhh…the magic of the internet. I received a notification in my email regarding your question, which I can answer as I’ve already called them about my similar situation. The bad news is that you will not get your miles redeposited (and they made that quite clear). The good news is that I received a dollar equivalent credit worth the 2x value we received during the promotion, not 1x value. They informed me that I had a year to use it, so I didn’t re-book immediately. Unfortunately, I didn’t think to ask if I needed to actually go on the trip within a year or simply re-book within a year.

    On a technical side, they told me that I’d be mailed a physical credit (I think a gift card) within 4-6 weeks, but that if I wanted to book sooner I could simply call them and they’d have it on file. They also told me to disregard the cancellation fees mentioned in the cancellation email I would receive, as it was auto-generated and could not be edited. (This was three weeks ago, so I hope that’s fixed by now).

    FWIW, I was anticipating a long hold time and an inexperienced / exasperated agent, but to my delight and surprise the whole thing took less than 10 minutes, and the agent was exceptionally empathetic, friendly, and knowledgeable. (I called at 8 AM E.S.T on a Monday morning.)

    Here’s the payment portion from the cancellation email:
    Payment Summary:
    8/26/19 $2140.00 (107,000 SkyMiles)
    8/26/19 American Express $125.56
    Payment Total $2,265.56

    My trip was for Disney World (staying at the Swan for six nights, plus airfare from Richmond, VA). I’ve looked into next fall and winter, and have found packages available for around the same dollar amount as the credit listed above (give or take a little).

    Hope this helps – good luck!

  19. Not only is this a very prompt response, it also appears to be a local one.(I live in Richmond)

    I suppose I will have to settle for a voucher. My worry is that I used the miles for 2 business class tickets to Europe and I don’t know if I will be able to use that large of a travel voucher in the next year, especially with all that’s going on.

    Thanks again for the detailed information!

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