The Unofficial Delta SkyMiles Award Chart for Flights from the U.S. The Unofficial Delta SkyMiles Award Chart for Flights from the U.S.

The Unofficial Delta SkyMiles Award Chart for Flights from the U.S.

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The Delta SkyMiles loyalty program can be frustrating at times. The absence of a defined award chart, sometimes astronomical award pricing, and all too frequent devaluations are cringe-worthy — such as the massive change to the program earlier this month. Knowing which awards present great (or even fair) value is a challenge — even for those who regularly pay attention to the program.

To alleviate some of the award price unclarity, we've tracked tens of thousands of Delta award prices since the beginning of 2023. Below, you'll find the cheapest and average prices that we've seen this year.

Here's a look into the new unofficial Delta award chart and an overview of the state of the SkyMiles program.

Why Delta Removed Its Award Charts

Airlines like Delta Air Lines have done away with award charts to move toward dynamic award pricing models. Rather than defining how many miles it costs to fly from city A to city B, most airlines now adjust the price of awards based on a ticket's demand. Without an award chart, award rates are unpredictable — as is often the case with Delta.

Generally speaking, eliminating an award chart is better for the airline than the consumer. Airlines can more effectively capture revenue by altering award prices to meet demand instead of fixing them to a chart. With sky-high demand for air travel and travelers with tons of miles to use, it's unsurprising that dynamic pricing models are becoming an industry-wide trend.

Getting outsized value out of points like SkyMiles is more challenging when pricing is dynamic instead of fixed. And that's part of the goal for airlines.

Dynamic pricing doesn't mean the end of points and miles but encourages us to help keep the airline transparent. The unofficial award chart will show the minimum number of SkyMiles required to book flights sold and operated by Delta. These saver-level awards do not show partner awards, whose pricing is more or less at parity with Delta's own flights.

Delta SkyMiles Award Chart for Flights From the U.S.

Here's the minimum number of SkyMiles you can expect to pay for Delta award flights originating from the United States.

From U.S. Lower 48 toBasic
Main CabinPremium
FirstDelta One
U.S. Lower 483,0005,500N/A9,50063,000
Central America6,00014,000N/A33,000N/A
Northern South America5,00025,000N/A37,00038,000
Southern South America19,00035,00046,000N/A135,000
(Iceland only)
South Korea56,00054,00094,000N/A145,000
New Zealand56,00080,000N/AN/A400,000
French Polynesia35,00025,00050,000N/A92,000
South Africa72,00078,000125,000N/A270,000

Finding the bare minimum award can be challenging at times. So, as a better point of reference, we've also included the average SkyMiles award price for the same destinations. Here's the average number of SkyMiles you can expect to pay for Delta award flights from the United States:

From U.S. Lower 48 toBasic
Main CabinPremium
FirstDelta One
U.S. Lower 4816,43638,198N/A53,45999,282
Central America32,73069,419N/A105,120N/A
Northern South America39,97378,357N/A107,440181,619
Southern South America76,913145,091155,069N/A348,062
(Iceland only)
South Korea96,058120,115173,663N/A370,198
New Zealand87,362154,217N/AN/A425,367
French Polynesia59,80775,474138,667N/A340,905
South Africa82,473144,600257,367N/A468,648

From what we've seen, the maximum SkyMiles award pricing is generally 495,000 SkyMiles each way. In some cases, this extraordinarily high rate is even charged for one-way economy awards.

Delta SkyMiles Award Price Updates

We've done our best to track Delta's award pricing updates over the years. Unfortunately, many changes may have gone unnoticed as saver-level award prices were slightly increased.

Below, you can see the significant changes we've caught when they were adjusted. Thankfully, Delta hasn't made any large-scale devaluations in quite some time, instead focusing on making gradual tweaks to partner award pricing.

Best Credit Cards to Earn Delta SkyMiles

Even though they can be somewhat of a challenge to redeem for true value, Delta still makes it incredibly easy to earn SkyMiles. This is due in large part to its expansive co-branded credit card lineup.

You can earn SkyMiles via any of Delta's seven co-branded American Express cards:

Given how frustrating the Delta SkyMiles program can be, you might find more value in earning transferable points with your credit card swipes instead of SkyMiles. For example, Membership Rewards points transfer to Delta at a 1:1 ratio. You can transfer points to Delta if you find a Delta flight you want to book. Otherwise, American Express has a long list of other Amex transfer partners where you can maximize your Membership Rewards.

Cards that earn Membership Rewards include:

The TakeOff15 Benefit

In early 2023, Delta added a perk to its American Express co-branded credit card lineup, letting cardholders save 15% on select SkyMiles awards tickets booked through Delta. Depending on the route, this perk could provide decent value, such as on short-haul economy awards and saver business awards — should you find one.

For example, you could snag a flight between Raleigh-Durham (RDU) and Orlando (MCO) for as little as 3,800 SkyMiles plus $6 — if you were a Delta SkyMiles American Express cardholder.

Fly domestically on Delta for as little as 3,800 SkyMiles.
Credit: Delta

Delta's award price hikes could quickly negate the benefit offered by this perk, so booking an award ticket at or around the minimum saver-level price would provide the most value.

Unfortunately, the Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card doesn't qualify for the benefit.

Eligible Delta co-branded credit card holders can save 15% on select Delta-operated award flights.
Credit: Delta

Delta SkyMiles Partner Award Pricing

Like award flights on its metal, Delta doesn't publish an award chart for partner airlines. The absence of partner award charts is also frustrating, given that partner awards used to be a sweet spot for SkyMiles usage — as we noted when we first drafted an unofficial Delta award chart two short years ago.

When comparing partner award prices to Delta award prices nowadays, you'll likely notice that the fares are similar — a function of dynamic pricing.

Delta calendar showing prices. Fly one-way between Atlanta and Amsterdam in November starting at 96,000 SkyMiles.
Credit: Delta

Here's an example of a one-way flight between Atlanta (ATL) and Amsterdam (AMS) later this year. For illustrative purposes, we looked at November 13, 2023 — one of the “cheapest” days of the month to fly between the two airports using SkyMiles.

Images comparing Delta and Air France pricing in economy between Atlanta and Amsterdam. Both prices are almost equal at 96,000 SkyMiles.
Credit: Delta

Air France and Delta economy class fares are almost identical — separated by only a couple thousand SkyMiles.

These award prices are (comparatively) extremely high.

When looking at another SkyTeam loyalty program, such as Flying Blue, there's value to be found by flying Delta (or a SkyTeam partner) to Amsterdam on November 13, but not when booked with SkyMiles.

Use Flying Blue to fly between Atlanta and Amsterdam for as little as 22,500 Miles.
Credit: Flying Blue

Unfortunately, booking partner flights with Delta isn't the value haven it used to be.

SkyMiles Partner Awards More on Flights Less Than 60 Days Away

Travelers should note that the price of partner awards increases closer to the departure date. For those seeking greater flexibility — and to extract greater value from their SkyMiles — booking awards more than 60 days out is critical.

For example, if you were trying to book a flight on Virgin Atlantic between Los Angeles (LAX) and London (LHR), you'll find greater value in booking for later in the year than next week. A few months apart, here's a price comparison on the same route.

For September 6, 2023:

Fly on Virgin Atlantic to London for 155,000 miles on close-in dates.
Credit: Delta

And for December 6, 2023:

Fly on Virgin Atlantic to London for 74,000 miles later this year.
Credit: Delta

If you plan on booking a partner award flight, you'll want to ensure it's far enough out that you're paying a reasonable amount for the ticket. It could mean the difference between paying 109% more for the same award.

The Bottom Line

Maximizing Delta SkyMiles has become more difficult since the airline eliminated its award chart in 2015. Frequent program devaluations over the past few have complicated matters even more. To alleviate some of the unclarity with Delta's award pricing, we've revamped our unofficial award chart for Delta flights from the United States.

Knowing the minimum and average number of SkyMiles required to book a Delta-operated flight sets a helpful baseline as you book your next award.

Delta's consistent devaluation of the SkyMiles program is also a reminder to consider taking advantage of flexible rewards programs like Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards, and Marriott Bonvoy. Transferable point programs take the stress out of managing expectations with a program such as Delta SkyMiles. Instead, you can move points to partner airlines to book award flights that provide the best value for your points.

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  • Does anyone smart know why Delta flight awards are not available to Nairobi from some cities in the U.S. like AUS or MCO? Maybe due to SkyTeam partners flying direct to Europe from those cities?

  • Donald Worlledge says:

    I need to up-date my address and phone number in order to use my awards.

    I tried on the web but it would not allow me to change.

  • Can I use miles for flights from the same alliance? Have the chart for South American flights?

  • Thanks! We earned a bunch of Delta miles a while back (flying China Airlines) as Delta had the most generous expiration policy. However, being Delta newbies, I wasn’t able to figure out what we could do with the miles we earned. Very helpful article!

  • I hope that the partner availability will be the same for quite a long time.

  • This is a great resource and the hard work is appreciated, but this chart isn’t even remotely accurate for US-Japan Award Tickets. Delta Economy awards are consistently between 100,000-150000 miles depending on the airport and Delta One is something ridiculous like 600000. This is a route I fly very often so monitor it closely. I don’t waste my time with Delta when it comes to award redemptions on that route.

  • Geraldine Gagnon says:

    It used to be fun to keep up with all these changes, but now it’s becoming an anxiety filled full-time job!

  • Thank you very much for this! I had no idea the default miles cost was higher for flying a partner, or that it made a difference if the first international leg was delta or a partner. I’m now wishing I’d paid closer attention to this on my last award flight :/

  • It makes me sad that this is a necessity of life with Delta. They have such Great service otherwise =/

  • This is super helpful. Many thanks for your tireless research.

  • Thanks for the info. Feels like getting harder to use delta mileages though.

  • seems like skypesos are better utilized on partner awards.

  • Interesting to note that the Partner awards from US to Europe and Africa require less points than Delta awards. And the amount in business class to South Africa is 320,000 points less!

  • Thanks for this helpful information. Great for planning purposes.

  • Luciano Stinchi says:

    Is there a chart for AA e UA?

  • Incredibly helpful. As someone who travels with kids, the variability in pricing is that much worse because I’m often looking for 4 tickets — so a 5-10K difference multiplied times 4 can be hard to plan for.

    • Hey Leslie, one quick tip: If you travel with two adults, you might try booking two separate reservation to save on miles.

      For example, if you search for 2 passengers, you might find 25k for a round trip. Then if you search for 2 more, the price may be 35k for a round trip. So you could end up with 120K total. But if you just search for 4 travelers, you’ll pay 35K x 4 or 140K total.

      If for some reason you can’t book the second set of tickets, you can always cancel within 24 hours.

  • thanks for the comprehensive guide!!!

  • Stacy Y Liu says:

    This chart is fantastic and super convenient! Thank you for this post!

  • Thanks for this. We’ve got some Delta miles to use!

  • Heather Armstrong says:

    This is helpful to understand their award pricing. I sometimes struggle to find good award pricing on the website, but have also found that Delta has some really great promotions. If you can book your flight as soon as the promotion is announced, you can get some great deals!

  • Steven William Van Meter says:

    I found this chart to be very helpful. I wish it would remain static.

  • Great guide though as we have seen with Delta this may change at literally any second.

  • This is a great planning guide for Delta miles. I hope AA doesnt follow suite.

  • Sorry I have become skeptical of all point schemes since the race to the bottom started…..

  • Difficult to know how many Delta Miles to save when the dynamic pricing is involved. Cash is so much more versatile.

  • There is no such thing as a “best” card to earn Skypesos. They are all crap, befitting a crappy program

  • weak chart to asia from US, there are better redemptions out there

  • Steven William Van Meter says:

    Well it seems after reading this that the best strategy is to redeem Delta SkyMiles early and as often as possible, because they will likely be worth far less in the future. .

  • It is funny how most DL awards are chart based but DL does not admit it.

  • I wish they kept things simple like before with an award chart. They are decent airlines though.

  • To me it is quite interesting that Delta charges less Skypesos to travel on a partner airline than on Delta itself! But then numerous foreign carriers require you to pay to reserve a seat. Any thoughts on the Skypesos differential?

  • Thanks! This is helpful. I wish it wasn’t necessary.

  • Thanks for posting this. As mentioned, sometimes you do just need to get lucky, but it is good to know what to expect.

  • We should have periodic updates on the unofficial award charts.

  • Thanks a lot. As a cheepskate (or seeker of the best value, to be specific, finding the lowest mile redemption is exactly what I am looking for. This is useful in comparing how many miles a destination will take with other mileage plans also.

  • The future of miles. Gradually worth less and less…

  • I think the easiest way to avoid partner award pricing is to credit the miles to those partners from the get-go. I credit Delta miles to Virgin Atlantic or Korean Skypass, American Airlines to Etihad and United to Avianca or Turkish and I don’t have those issues. The only domestic airline I credit to and maintain status with is Alaska.

    I used to maintain status on the other ones as well and was a Global at United but found the value of that having become too diluted.

    I remember once looking for a mileage ticket with Delta from DCA to LGA and they quoted 68,000 miles. Hahahaha.

    It frightens me when I think that people involved in the administration of these programs could run for public office and start devaluating the pension trust fund, our currency or treasuries the way they manage their own programs. That would be an unparalleled national disaster.

  • “out of touch”….yeah a bit =/

  • Flying to hawaii using korean miles is a nice option but can be challenging to execute at times.

  • The good part about SkyMiles is that they never expire.
    The bad part about SkyMiles is everything else, pretty much.

  • It seems extraordinary that Delta still won’t provide accurate details to it’s loyalty members… Very telling as to their appreciation of their loyal customers.

  • Great post! Looks much better that the click-bait articles from bloggers about DL “charging 135k to Europe”, like that was now the new minimum redemption threshold.

  • Thanks for putting this together! I live in a Delta hub, so I’ve been looking to get another Delta card and take advantage of some of these routes.

  • I wonder why it’s cheaper for economy to Europe on partners (25 k) instead of on Delta metal (30 k). At least according to the award chart above.

  • Delta skymiles are good, but definitely need to know how to use them. At least there is no expiration date, so i dont feel so bad leaving them dormant between redemptions!

    • Yes, kudos to having no expiration date. However, and it’s a big however, you’ll see from many comments here that you’re still not safe from devaluations. That’s why many of us try to earn and redeem points as soon as possible to protect ourselves as best we can.

  • I’ve a lot of Delta miles ad I think i’s time to burn them. 10 years ago I was much happier with rewards programs

  • This is nice information, it helped me in analyzing

  • says:

    very handy stuff. Can we see a similar chart for domestic/Delta, and maybe UAL?

  • skypesos at work. With AA and United copying delta with “dynamic” pricing, i guess its only a matter of time before their award charts tries to beat this one

  • Thank you. This will be very handy.

  • The Arts Traveler says:

    This is very helpful on understanding the current reality of Delta Skymiles. In November I am flying from Boston to London on Delta in Delta One. I used Flying Blue miles.

  • I’m currently waiting for a Delta flight right now. The article is a great reminder that I need to find a good redemption to enjoy my Delta points before they devalue again.

  • Thanks for the effort with this!

  • This is great – even unofficially, this is a really helpful planning resource.