Delta Air Lines deals aren’t just handed to you like they are at Southwest or other low-cost carriers, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get some incredible fares.
We’re going to show you how to use and earn Delta SkyMiles in ways that will create your own airfare sales any time of the year. We’ll also tell you about how to dodge Delta baggage fees, earn Medallion status without spending a fortune, and fly with Fido.
At KCL, we’ve got plenty more travel tips where these came from.
1. Join Delta Air Lines SkyMiles program to get 6.5% cash back.
Delta Air Lines’ SkyMiles loyalty program rewards you not based on how far you travel, but on how much you spend — to the tune of at least 5 miles per $1 spent.
Each SkyMile is worth about 1.3 cents, on average, which means you get 6.5% cash back on your ticket purchases.
You can use SkyMiles to buy an entirely free flight, or you have the option to pay with both miles and cash to cover the flight cost — a make-your-own-sale kind of thing.
2. When Delta has a SkyMiles flash sale, jump on it for super-low international fares.
While Delta hasn’t held any special sitewide sales since 2018, their SkyMiles flash sales are can’t-miss events for SkyMiles members.
Keep tabs on your email and the flash sale page, and be prepared to act quickly when these unpredictable events take place.
Past round-trip deals have included flights from the U.S. to:
- Japan on Delta One: 90,000 SkyMiles (reg. 124,000+)
- Europe in Business Class: 98,000 SkyMiles (reg. 160,000+)
- Paris-Charles de Gaulle: 20,000 SkyMiles (reg. 58,000+)
- London-Heathrow: 14,000 SkyMiles (reg. 38,000+)
- China: 30,000 SkyMiles (reg. 146,000+)
- South America: 12,000 SkyMiles (reg. 30,000+)
These flash sales are deeply, deeply discounted — and not just compared to Delta’s normal rates, but what you’ll pay using other airline miles like American AAdvantage miles or United Mileage Plus.
American would typically charge at least 70,000 AAdvantage miles for a round-trip flight to China. One of these Delta SkyMiles flash sales could get you there and back for less than half the miles.
3. Use the Delta Air Lines deals page as a starting place for finding the cheapest tickets.
When you visit the Current Flight Deals page, you can browse a list of the cheapest round-trip tickets available from your home airport. But here’s the catch: all of the fares on this page are for the Main Cabin, and those tickets typically cost $50 more than Basic Economy tickets.
Our advice? Use the deals page as a starting place. You’ll be able to see which destinations are the cheapest from your home airport, and what dates to fly. Then, put that information into the regular flight search to find cheaper Basic Economy fares.
4. Basic Economy is the cheapest ticket type, but it has the most restrictions.
Basic Economy is $50 cheaper than the next ticket level up, and you’re allowed a free carry-on bag and personal item. Main Cabin is great unless you care about the fact that you can’t:
- Change, cancel, or get a refund
- Pick your seat
- Upgrade your seat or boarding order
- Guarantee that your family will all sit together
- Earn SkyMiles on your flight
While Basic Economy fares no longer earn SkyMiles, you can still earn if you pay with a Delta credit card.
5. Book your flights on Tuesdays around 3 p.m. ET to get better ticket prices.
The best time to check Delta Air Lines flight prices is at 3 p.m. Eastern on Tuesdays. Airlines publish new prices on Monday nights, and everybody adjusts on Tuesday to compete with each other.
When it comes to when you fly, we typically say to avoid flying on Mondays, Fridays and Sundays. But with lots of Delta routes, there’s not much difference in price (if any) between the days. But always check the box for “flexible dates” when you search for tickets to make sure you’re not paying too much.
Wanna learn when other airlines have sales? We did the work for you and found the Best Time to Book Flights by Airline.
6. Earn miles faster and get perks with the Delta SkyMiles American Express credit card.
If you want to earn SkyMiles faster, get one of the Delta SkyMiles American Express credit cards. There are four tiers of card: Delta Blue, Delta Gold, Delta Platinum, and Delta Reserve.
If you can pay it off quickly (to avoid the 15.74% to 24.74% interest rate), it’s a good way to get some good perks like:
- 20% back on in-flight purchases, given as a statement credit
- Bonus miles for hitting spend thresholds in the first 3 months of having your card:
- 10,000 miles after spending $500 with Delta Blue
- 40,000 miles after spending $1,000 with Delta Gold
- 50,000 miles and 5,000 Medallion Qualifying Miles after spending $2,000 with Delta Platinum
- 50,000 miles and 10,000 Medallion Qualifying Miles after spending $3,000 with Delta Reserve
- Free checked bag (Delta Gold, Platinum, & Reserve cards)
- Main Cabin 1 priority boarding (Delta Gold, Platinum, & Reserve cards)
- Earn an extra 2 – 3 SkyMiles per $1 spent (that means a minimum of 7 miles per $1 spent)
- Earn 2 SkyMiles per $1 spent at restaurants
- Earn 1 – 2 SkyMiles per $1 spent at U.S. supermarkets
- Earn 1 – 3 SkyMiles per $1 spent on hotels
- Earn SkyMiles at a rate of 1 per $1 spent on all other purchases
7. Earn and use SkyMiles from partner airlines on your Delta Airlines flights (and vice versa).
Like American Airlines and their One World Alliance, Delta has the SkyTeam Alliance — a group of partner airlines that allow you more ways to earn and spend SkyMiles.
Each partner has their own rules for earning miles and redeeming award travel/upgrades. The SkyTeam Alliance includes:
- Aerolíneas Argentinas
- Air Europa
- Air France
- China Airlines
- China Eastern Airlines
- Shanghai Airlines
- Czech Airlines
- Garuda Indonesia
- Hawaiian Airlines
- ITA Airways
- Kenya Airways
- Korean Air
- Middle East Airlines
- Vietnam Airlines
Some of Delta’s partners also partner with American Airlines, so you can earn either SkyMiles or AAdvantage miles on those partner flights, but you can’t transfer your SkyMiles to the partner airline and then to an AAdvantage account.
8. Don’t buy SkyMiles unless you need a few more to get a free flight.
If you’re close to having enough miles for a free flight, you can buy SkyMiles to bridge the gap, at a cost of $70 per 2,000 miles.
SkyMiles are typically worth about 1.3 cents each, so 2,000 SkyMiles are typically worth $26. But at Delta.com, every 2,000 SkyMiles you buy costs $70.00.
The only way it makes sense to buy SkyMiles is if you’re close to earning a free flight. Otherwise, it’s a rip-off.
A one-way flight from Atlanta to Chicago-O’Hare costs 4,500 if you pay with SkyMiles. Out of pocket, the same flight costs just $64.00 — less than it costs to buy 2,000 SkyMiles.
You can also gift and transfer SkyMiles between members — but miles that have been purchased or transferred to you don’t count toward your Medallion Status qualification.
9. Delta’s baggage fees start at $30 per checked bag; carry on instead.
Delta Air Lines charges $30 for your first checked bag, and it goes up from there — so if you can fit what you need in a standard-sized carry-on (22x14x9 inches), DO IT.
You also get a free “personal item” like a purse or laptop bag to store under the seat in front of you. Between those two bags, I’m usually able to bring about a week’s worth of necessities without paying any extra or waiting at baggage claim.
If you have to check bags, the fees can stack up pretty quickly. Here’s a breakdown of Delta’s baggage fees:
- 1st bag: $30
- 2nd bag: $40 ($70 total)
- 3rd bag: $150 ($220 total)
- 4+ bags: $200 each ($420+ total)
If your bag is overweight or oversized, you’ll pay an extra $100 – $200 on top of the normal fee for that bag. Yikes.
10. You can cancel your Delta flight for free within 24 hours of booking.
This is true of all fare types. But if you have to cancel after 24 hours, here’s what you can expect:
- Basic Economy: You can’t cancel or change flights; no refund on ticket or baggage fees. You’re gonna eat the cost.
- Non-Refundable Domestic Tickets: After being charged a cancellation fee of up to $500, any remaining funds will be refunded as an electronic travel credit. No baggage fee refunds.
- Refundable Tickets: Fully refundable to your original form of payment and with no cancellation fee, no matter when you cancel.
- Award Flight Tickets: No cancellation fees and your points will be refunded to your account, as long as you cancel up to 10 minutes before departure. If you cancel within 10 minutes of departure — or if you’d booked an award flight for a Basic Economy ticket — your miles and ticket cost are forfeit.
11. You can change your domestic flight for free before the day of travel – unless you bought Basic Economy.
You’ll still have to pay any difference in fare, or if the new ticket is cheaper you’ll receive an e-credit that can be used for future flights.
If you must change the day-of, you’ll pay anywhere from $75 to $150 in change fees plus difference in fares.
You can’t change a Basic Economy ticket, so you’d have to cancel (within 24 hours of booking).
12. If you don’t like Delta’s tiny snack offerings, ask for multiple snacks or bring your own on board.
Delta gives you complimentary snacks and non-alcoholic beverages on all flights, but they’re tiny portions.
If you need more than just one bag of pretzels, ask. You’re likely to get your wish, but when in doubt, pack a snack or buy something at the terminal to save yourself from hunger pangs — especially when traveling with kids.
Wanna make your next trip easier? Our 18 Travel Tips from an Experienced Flight Attendant will give you the insider hacks you need to save time, money, and sanity when you travel with family.
13. Babies in laps fly free on Delta’s domestic flights.
Babies fly free on Delta flights within the U.S. if they’re younger than 2 years old, and if they don’t require their own seat — laps only. If the flight is international, lap-seated children get a 10% discount of an adult fare.
Once you’ve purchased your ticket, you’ll need to add the infant to your reservation.
If you’re traveling with kids under 2, you can request early boarding at the gate.
14. You can check strollers and car seats for free.
Children’s strollers and child safety seats don’t count against you when it comes to checking baggage. They’re free, and can be checked at the curbside, ticket counter, or gate.
In related news, you can bring a booster seat or other infant seat on the plane, and it won’t count as your carry-on.
15. Active U.S. military and dependents get up to 5 free checked bags per ticket on domestic and international flights.
Active U.S. military with an ID can check 2 – 3 bags for free on Delta if they’re traveling for personal reasons, depending on their ticket.
Active military and/or their families with ID traveling on orders receive 5 free checked bags per ticket. Normally, it would cost $220 for someone to check 3 bags, and $620 to check 5 bags.
While there’s not an advertised military rate for Delta flights, there’s plenty of info out there to suggest that Delta offers discounted tickets to personnel who call the Delta Military and Government desk at 1-800-325-1771.
16. Fly a lot of Delta? Get tons of perks when you earn Medallion status.
Medallion Status is the VIP club for SkyMiles members. You get special perks and earn SkyMiles faster. To get Medallion Status, you’ve gotta qualify by hitting a few benchmarks:
- MQMs (Medallion Qualification Miles): based on distance flown and fare class (not the same as SkyMiles)
- MQSs (Medallion Qualification Segments): based on the number of flights you’ve taken
- MQDs (Medallion Qualification Dollars): based on annual spending with Delta and partner airlines (minus taxes and fees)
There are four Medallion tiers, and they all get you priority check-in and boarding, unlimited complimentary upgrades to First Class and Delta Comfort+, and first checked bag free for you and up to 8 companions.
You have from Jan. 1 until Dec. 31 to earn Medallion status, and once you do, it’s good through the end of the following calendar year.
Here’s what it takes to earn each tier, and what the perks are:
Qualifications: $3,000 MQDs and either 25,000 MQMs or 30 MQSs
Perks: Earn 7 SkyMiles for every $1 spent,
Qualifications: $6,000 MQDs and either 50,000 MQMs or 60 MQSs
Perks: Earn 8 SkyMiles for every $1 spent
Qualifications: $9,000 MQDs and either 75,000 MQMs or 100 MQSs
Perks: Earn 9 SkyMiles for every $1 spent, yearly choice benefit (like a SkyClub membership, upgrade certificate, bonus miles, and travel vouchers).
Qualifications: $15,000 MQDs and either 125,000 MQMs or 140 MQSs
Perks: Earn 11 SkyMiles for every $1 spent, yearly choice benefit
17. You can earn Medallion status just by using the Delta credit card.
Technically, you don’t even have to fly all that much to earn Medallion status — just use your Delta Amex. Here’s how:
You can dodge the MQD requirement for Silver, Gold, and Platinum status by spending $25,000 with your card. (I pay most of my bills with my Delta Amex, so it’s totally doable!)
And you can earn MQM from everyday spending with the credit card. That same $25,000 you’d spend to waive the MQD requirement would also earn you 12,500 MQM if you’re a Platinum cardholder — and you can do that two times per year. Then, just earn 2,500 MQM and you’ve hit Silver Medallion status.
New Delta Platinum cardholders get 50,000 SkyMiles and 5,000 MQMs after spending $2,000 within the first 3 months of owning the card. New Reserve cardholders get 50,000 miles and 10,000 MQMs after spending $3,000.
18. Laptops and smartphones have free access to in-flight entertainment & messaging.
Although Delta has in-flight internet packages — skip ’em, unless you’re desperate — you don’t have to buy one to access their library of movies, TV shows, and audio programming.
Everybody with a smartphone or laptop can stay connected during the flight with free messaging through iMessage, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger (sorry, no SMS texting).
Unlike some other airlines, you don’t have to have the Delta app to access the in-flight entertainment; all you have to have is a wifi-enabled computer, tablet, or smartphone. And in many cases, the offerings are available on screens in the headrests.
19. Save 5% on a Delta gift card when you buy it with your Target RedCard.
Target RedCard gives you 5% off everything Target sells — including Delta gift cards. It’s a quick and easy way to get a quick discount on your next flight.
We like to keep an eye on discount gift card sites like Raise.com, but that site only offers 1.3% off. The RedCard debit card is the way to go.
20. The cost for pets to fly on Delta starts at $125 one way.
If you have a fully trained service dog, Delta lets it fly in the cabin for free if they meet the requirements. (They have to sit on the floor in front of the passenger’s seat.)
Otherwise, you’re going to pay to bring your animal in a small, ventilated pet carrier that has to fit under the seat in front of you.
Each pet in their kennel costs $125 — and, depending on the flight, you can bring up to 4 animals on the flight.
If your animal is bigger than that, you’ll book their travel in the cargo hold via Delta Cargo. Although prices vary based on the flight and kennel size, expect to pay more than $250 each way to check your pet.