By becoming a SkyMiles member, you'll earn a base rate of 5 frequent flyer miles for every dollar you spend on a flight with Delta, Delta Connection or Delta Shuttle; you will also earn miles for travel on Delta's partner airlines, though the amount you'll earn varies by carrier. These miles can be used to cover the cost of future air travel on Delta or any affiliated carriers.
As a Delta SkyMiles program member, you will earn miles for every Delta-marketed flight; Delta-marketed flights are identified by a "DL" in the flight number. For every dollar spent on a Delta-marketed flight, you will accrue 5 frequent flyer miles with Delta. If you hold Medallion status, you can earn additional miles on flights purchased, depending on your elite status tier. You can also earn various miles for travel on partner airlines, such as KLM, Air France and Virgin Atlantic, among others. Rewards can also be accrued by using your Delta SkyMiles American Express credit card to pay for travel and everyday purchases. And because of Delta's partnerships with numerous hotel, car rental and dining programs, plus Airbnb and Lyft, you can earn miles for hotel stays, car rentals, cruises, home rentals and ride-hailing services. In addition to standard miles, you'll also be earning what Delta calls Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs), which help you achieve Medallion status and grant additional benefits like complimentary upgrades and free checked bags. What's more, you'll collect Medallion Qualification Segments (MQSs), which are based on how many flights you take, and Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs), which is determined by how much you spend with Delta and its partners annually.
Delta Air Lines' reach spans across six continents, with Delta or Delta-affiliated carriers servicing more than 300 destinations in 50-plus countries. Delta SkyMiles never expire and can be applied to future air travel on Delta or any of its partner airlines, including Air France and Virgin Atlantic. In order to use Delta SkyMiles, you must book your flight through the Delta Air Lines website or with a Delta ticket agent. The number of miles needed depends on the airline, route and availability. Below, you'll find the minimum number of miles needed (as of July 2018) to cover a round-trip flight on six of Delta's most popular domestic routes:
|Route||Lowest calculated round-trip cost (in points)|
|Charlotte, North Carolina - Atlanta||26,000|
|Savannah, Georgia - Atlanta||33,000|
|Las Vegas - New York
|Los Angeles - Orlando, Florida||15,000|
|Minneapolis - Las Vegas||22,000|
|Minneapolis - Phoenix||18,500|
The calculated costs shown above are based on booking searches conducted by U.S. News in July 2018. We analyzed 12 of each airline's highly trafficked routes within three round-trip mileage categories: short domestic, medium domestic and long for three different round-trip dates between July and September.
You can also use your miles on upgrades or to purchase more tangible items: The Delta SkyMiles program allows you to use miles while shopping online in the SkyMiles Marketplace, which features clothing, electronics and travel accessories. You can also book hotels with miles via the SkyMiles Marketplace. Additionally, members can use miles for magazine subscriptions, to purchase a Delta Sky Club membership or to redeem miles for exclusive experiences, such as front-row seats at a sporting event or concert, upscale culinary events and more.
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The United MileagePlus program is best for travelers based in major American cities and those who travel to destinations in Europe, the Middle East, Australia, Latin America and Asia. When you become a MileagePlus member, you can earn and use miles on United and its 35-plus airline partners like Singapore Airlines, ANA and Copa Airlines, many of which are part of the Star Alliance network. As a MileagePlus member, you'll accrue Premier Qualifying Miles (PQMs), Premier Qualifying Segments (PQSs) and Premier Qualifying Dollars (PQDs) each time you fly. Earn enough PQDs and PQMs or PQSs and you'll reach Premier status – MileagePlus membership levels for which you'll receive extra benefits. Additionally, you can earn miles on qualifying cruise vacations, car rentals and train fares, as well as on shopping, dining and other services. You can also earn miles for gas purchases at participating BP locations in the U.S. And since United partners with major hotel brands, including Marriott, Hyatt and IHG, you can earn rewards when you stay at properties worldwide. You may also redeem miles for flights, hotel stays, cruises, magazine subscriptions, destination experiences (think: sporting events and theater performances) and more. Choose to use one of four United MileagePlus credit cards from Chase Visa and you'll earn miles on flights and everyday purchases.
Marriott Bonvoy ...
The Marriott Bonvoy program accommodates both business and leisure travelers who visit major cities in the United States, Canada, Asia and Europe. As a program member, you will earn rewards points when you stay with one of 29 affiliated brands, including The Ritz-Carlton Hotels & Resorts, St. Regis Hotels & Resorts, Courtyard by Marriott, Westin Hotels & Resorts, Renaissance Hotels and more. You can earn additional points by making purchases with one of American Express' Marriott-affiliated credit cards or the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless credit card from Chase Visa. In addition to hotel stays and room upgrades, you can redeem points for retail gift cards, cruise vacations, rental cars and unique experiences, such as concerts and sporting events. Plus, Marriott Bonvoy points can be used to pay for TSA Precheck applications, airport lounge access and flights through more than 40 airline rewards programs like United MileagePlus and Delta SkyMiles.
The American Airlines AAdvantage program benefits travelers based in cities throughout the United States, such as New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago and Dallas, who fly to destinations around the world. As an AAdvantage member, you'll earn miles and Elite Qualifying Dollars (EQDs) for every American Airlines, American Eagle and codeshare flight operated by other airlines. You'll also earn award miles and EQDs for flights on Alaska Airlines and affiliated partner carriers through American Airlines' extensive oneworld frequent flyer network, which includes Qantas Airways, British Airways and Qatar Airways. Additionally, members will accrue Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) and Elite Qualifying Segments (EQSs) to apply toward achieving elite status. What's more, you can collect miles for everyday purchases if you use any of the Citi / AAdvantage credit cards or AAdvantage Aviator MasterCards. And thanks to American Airlines' relationship with numerous car rental companies, hotel brands and cruise lines, you can also earn AAdvantage miles on a variety of travel expenses.