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Delta SkyMiles Value: How Much Are Your Miles Worth?

DaveAlan / Getty Images
DaveAlan / Getty Images

As one of the leading global airlines, Delta has always provided a plethora of affordable flights and a generous frequent flyer program, too. However, significant changes to the program, set to be rolled out next year, have fans up in arms. The uproar prompted Delta CEO Ed Bastian to tell the announced at a Rotary Club of Atlanta meeting that he “probably went too far” with changes to the program. He said he would announce modifications “sometime over the next few weeks.”

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The changes primarily relate to how you can achieve enhanced award status by accruing Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs). You can use MQDs for various perks on the airlines. When you earn at a higher status, your earnings go further, as well.

Under the new program, Delta will deliver MQDs for co-branded credit card spending, Delta Vacation packages, and hotel and rental car bookings along with flights. However, you will earn MQDs based on the amount spent — not the miles flown. That means if you snag a great deal with a partner airline on an international flight, you won’t earn qualifying MQMs (Miles), but only MQDs based on the price you paid.

To make it worse, Delta’s new plan would dramatically increase the number of MQDs required to reach each tier, with $6,000 MQDs required for Silver Medallion Status, $12,000 for Gold, $18,000 for Platinum, and $35,000 for Diamond. Of course, based on Bastian’s statement, it’s possible these requirements will change before Delta rolls out the program in 2024.

As we wait for the final word on those changes, let’s dive into the basics of how to earn Delta Miles and how you can use them.

How To Earn Delta Miles

Miles for most airlines are essentially equivalent to a point system. Members of the free Delta SkyMiles program earn non-expiring points whenever they fly Delta Air Lines. You can earn five miles for every dollar you spend on Delta flights, excluding taxes and fees. Members can also work towards different tier levels to earn up to 11 miles for every $1 spent.

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Enter your SkyMiles number when booking a flight.

  • You can earn five miles for each $1 spent on your ticket for Main Cabin or higher — 11 miles for every $1 if you have Medallion Status.

  • Miles are earned by the member who is flying and whose name and SkyMiles number are listed on the ticket.

  • You can also earn more points and rewards if you purchase the ticket with the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express card.

Redeeming Your Delta Miles

Not only can you use your miles to purchase tickets for future trips, but you can also use your rewards to enhance your travel experience. Other benefits and rewards may include the following:

  • Seat upgrades

  • Delta Sky Club membership

  • SkyMiles Marketplace purchases

  • Delta gift cards

  • Hotel stays

  • Car rentals

  • Donations to a cause through the SkyWish program

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What Is the Value of a Delta Mile?

When broken down into brass tax, a Delta SkyMiles is worth approximately between 1.12 and 1.2 cents, on average. Though this may seem small, it is competitive with many other airline point valuations. Most travel experts agree that the flight experience on Delta Airlines soars miles above budget airlines and even some other competitors.

In order to best comprehend the value of your accumulated miles or points, here are some sample estimations.

Number of Miles

Estimated Value


$112 to $120


$224 to $240


$336 to $360


$448 to $480


$560 to $600


$672 to $720


$784 to $840


$896 to $960


$1,008 to $1,080


$1,112 to $1,200

These estimations are based on real-world value to help you see how much money you would have in points to spend on your next ticket. Be aware that many terms and restrictions exist when using your miles. The following are examples of some restrictions that may affect your ability to use your miles for your next trip.

  • Blackout dates

  • Changes in airline policy

  • Applicable destinations

  • Capacity control

  • Booking seats valued higher than Economy Plus

Delta Airlines vs. Other Airlines

The value of Delta’s miles holds up when compared to other leading airlines. Below are some approximations for other airlines’ miles values.


Estimated Mile Value

American Airlines

1.5 cents

Frontier Airlines

1.1 cents

Southwest Airlines

1.5 cents

United Airlines

1.2 cents

Final Take

Loyalty programs always go a long way to building a satisfied customer base. If you fly often, or even just a few times a year, it could be worth looking into a Delta SkyMiles membership. Many airlines offer similar reward programs so make sure you live in an area that the airline has a hub in, or otherwise widely serves, when choosing which mileage program to be a part of.

Caitlin Moorehead contributed to the writing of this article.

Information is accurate as of Oct. 2, 2023. 

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by any entity covered in this article. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, ratings or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any entity named in this article.

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This article originally appeared on Delta SkyMiles Value: How Much Are Your Miles Worth?