Pros & Cons
Limited seating available for award travel
You must fly and spend a lot to reach elite status
Ease of Earning Free Flight3.5
Award Flight Availability4.0
No. of Daily Flights> 2,000
Delta SkyMiles is ranked No. 2 in the Best Airline Rewards Programs. U.S. News evaluated 9 frequent flyer programs offered by airlines based in the United States across several indicators of excellence. Read more about how we rank rewards.
Delta SkyMiles is ranked as:
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.
Can Earn Points On:
Can Use Points On:
The Delta SkyMiles program is divided into two categories: general SkyMiles membership and Medallion elite membership. The Medallion program is then split into four classes: Silver, Gold, Platinum and Diamond.See details about how membership works
The Fine Print
- Earning rates vary depending on which airline you fly. Delta SkyMiles partners do not necessarily offer the same number of miles as Delta.
- You must have a minimum balance of 5,000 miles in order to use miles to cover flight costs.
- You cannot use miles to cover any additional taxes or fees for award travel tickets.
- Members can transfer miles to another member's account in increments of 1,000 miles for 1 cent per mile plus a transaction fee of $30. A maximum of 150,000 miles can be transferred out of a SkyMiles account in a calendar year; no more than 30,000 miles can be transferred per transaction.
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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.
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.