Hot Take: SkyMiles Are Valuable

Note: I’ll be on a mostly disconnected vacation this week, and while I’m still planning on posting M-F, expect slower than normal responses from me. If you do write a note though I will get back to you.

You’ll find a litany of negative commentary about Delta SkyMiles from just about every blogger (including me) and in every travel forum out there (and with good cause):

  • You’ll pay nearly twice as much for a business class seat to Europe or Asia using SkyMiles as you might with other major US and international currencies
  • One-way international trips booked within three months have punitive up-charges
  • The cost for international premium-cabin redemptions goes up twice a year or so just because they can

That said, SkyMiles are a valuable currency and are part of a wholistic travel strategy. They pair very well with AA miles, Alaska miles, United miles, and Southwest points as part of a complete travel hacking breakfast toolkit. While I wouldn’t recommend that you hoard them, I would recommend keeping some nearby because:

  • They’ve got a floor value of around a penny per point via pay with miles, which isn’t the case with the other major legacy airlines
  • Delta regularly has 5,000 mile fares for domestic short-haul
  • Delta runs decent award sales, sometimes to Mexico or the Caribbean for 11,000 miles round-trip
  • Delta’s award cancelation policies are great for non-basic economy fares
  • If you’re taking a positioning flight as part of a bigger trip, on average Delta will get you there without delays more often than any other carrier
  • In 2022 you’ll earn MQD and MQM for elite status on award tickets too

Happy weekend!

Delta is part of a complete travel-hacking breakfast toolkit.

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