Don’t be Fooled, Delta & Skymiles is a Bottom Tier Program

This week, something very interesting came across my twitter timeline. There was an award given to Delta for having the best airline loyalty program and Delta Skymiles being a top point currency. I’m not sure if they’ve been living under a rock for the last year, but Delta’s award pricing is the worst among U.S. Based loyalty programs. The program itself offers little to infrequent travelers and redeeming points for any flight can cost you an irrational fortune of points. Here’s my full rant on why “Delta Airlines and Delta Skymiles Should not Even be in the Conversation for Top Tier Loyalty Program in the United States”.

a passenger plane flying in the sky
Photo by Jeffry Surianto on

Delta Awards Charts are Insanely Priced

Delta was the first airline to fully dive into dynamic pricing. Since then, Delta’s award chart provides almost 0 value. While the airline may occasionally have business class flights under 100,000 points(key emphasis on occasionally), premium cabin award flights are often in the 250,000 – 300,000 point range. Economy fares are no better with rates commonly above 70,000 points per flight for long haul routes.

Delta Award Flights from London to Europe

In contrast, I booked American Airline flights from San Francisco to London Heathrow for only 62,500 points. This represents savings of almost 200,000 points for a similar flight.

Delta Co-Branded Credit Cards are not Noteworthy

With awards commonly priced at such mind blowing rates, one would think that Delta Skymiles would be easier to earn. Nope! Delta’s Co-branded credit cards with American Express offer earnings rate that mirror the rest of the airline industry.

In addition, Delta Skymiles Credit Cards don’t offer any resounding perks. The one caveat is the ability to earn elite qualifying miles, but unless you are truly inclined to chase Delta Elite Status, the perks are similar to what is offered with almost every other co-branded credit card.

Delta Elite Status is NOT WORTH CHASING

I think mileage runs are STUPID unless you are putting the finishing touches on top tier status. Secondly, unless you frequently fly, I don’t see why you should restrict yourself and only fly with one airline

My Thoughts

I think airline loyalty programs have continued to be devalued in recent years, but Delta Skymiles is on the far extreme side of the spectrum. From unfathomably expensive award redemptions to the lack of increased credit card earning rates, this program has almost no opportunity to earn outside value. While United Airlines has shifted to a dynamic award chart, you’ll commonly see awards in the 150,000 points range and not 275,000 plus. It blows my mind that some still think Delta Skymiles should be top tier.

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