A few years ago, the AMEX Gold Delta SkyMiles credit card ran a promotion where new card members could earn 60k bonus miles after spending $1,000 USD. After meeting the minimum spend, I had enough points for a free round-trip flight to New Zealand! Two years later, I’m still working on that trip, however, I’m still a loyal Delta SkyMiles credit card member. I’ve even upgraded to the Platinum Delta SkyMiles credit card. Although some call Delta SkyMiles, “Sky Pesos”, there’s value in redeeming (and earning) SkyMiles, especially if you’re taking advantage of Delta SkyMiles Flash Sales.
The Delta SkyMiles frequent flyer program is complex. Not only are there lots of restrictions but there is no standard award chart – Delta got rid of it back in 2015. This makes it harder for members to know a good deal when they see one. Also with frequent (sometimes unannounced) reward devaluations, you have to earn more miles to redeem free flights. Despite these issues, Delta SkyMiles Flash Sales are a solid workaround to get more value out of your SkyMiles.
Delta SkyMiles Flash Sales
How To Save SkyMiles & Maximize Award Flights
What are Delta SkyMiles Flash Sales?
Delta SkyMiles Fash Sales offer discounts on award flights. Essentially this means that you redeem fewer SkyMiles towards free flights. But here’s the catch (among many), sales last 48 hours, so act fast!
I’ve seen Flash Sales to cities in the U.S., Japan, the Caribbean, Mexico, and Canada.
Recent Delta SkyMiles Flash Sales:
- 12k SkyMiles for round-trip economy flights to Mexico instead 35k SkyMiles + taxes and fees
- 20k SkyMiles for round-trip economy flights to the Caribbean instead 35k SkyMiles + taxes and fees
- 20k SkyMiles for round-trip economy flights to Alaska instead of 25k SkyMiles + taxes and fees
- 35k SkyMiles for round-trip economy flights to Hawaii instead of 45k SkyMiles + taxes and fees
- 50k miles for round-trip economy flights to Japan instead of 70k SkyMiles + taxes and fees
- 50k SkyMiles for round-trip economy flights to Europe instead of 60k SkyMiles + taxes and fees
- 110k SkyMiles for round-trip Delta One (business class) flights instead of 140k SkyMiles + taxes and fees
Things to know about Delta SkyMiles Flash Sales
- Delta Flash Sales are available from most cities in the U.S. where Delta services
- Dates are only available for a few months (example: August to October)
- Have to book award flights within 48 hours
- Must book on delta.com
- Limited award seats, sell out fast
- There’s often only one award seat available per flight but other times as many as ten
- Economy Comfort and Delta One seats are sometimes available
- Usually, have to book round-trip tickets to get the deal. However, sometimes discounted one-way tickets are an option
- If you’ve already booked an award flight, call Delta for a refund of the difference
Taxes and fees
Keep in mind that when booking an award flight, you’re responsible for paying the taxes and fees.
When booking my award flight to Rome, I jumped on the opportunity to pay $75 USD total in taxes and fees – what a bargain!
On the other hand, I chose not to spend $75 USD in taxes and fees for a weekend trip to Toronto. This was on top of wiping out 20k SkyMiles. Here’s my reasoning: since I recently booked round-trip tickets to Toronto for $195 USD with WestJet, in this case, it made more sense to spend the money instead of redeeming miles.
So the lesson here? Do your analysis!
Don’t be afraid to walk away from “deals” that don’t serve you. There will be better options down the road, trust.
Where to find Delta SkyMiles Flash Sales
SkyMiles members get monthly notifications through Delta “Flash Sales & Last Minute Deals” emails. But honestly, I’ve never gotten these emails. Not sure if they get lost or what, but I have an awesome resource to share with you below.
Anyway, here’s how to sign up for Delta emails:
- Log in at delta.com.
- Go to “My Profile”
- Select “Email Preferences” and choose the email offers you want
- “Fare Sales & Last-Minute Deals” will keep you up to date with the latest Delta SkyMiles Fare Sales as well as weekend getaway specials and Delta vacation packages
An alternative, sign up for Thrifty Traveler’s free daily newsletter. In addition to sharing lots of valuable information and tips about booking cheap flights, they’ll also alert you when Delta has a sale. Seriously, I never miss a beat with these guys. Just look out for their daily afternoon emails.
Thrifty Traveler even shares those unadvertised Delta SkyMiles flash sales and they’ll let you know the months with the best availability.
Booking a discounted award flight to Rome
So how did I book a $75 USD flight from New York City to Rome?
Well, a round-trip economy Delta Air Lines award flight to Europe normally starts at 60k Delta SkyMiles. However, back in March, when Delta had a 48-Hour Flash Sale, they offered the same flights for 50k SkyMiles. That’s a saving of 10k SkyMiles which is a big deal for frequent flyers.
However while searching the calendar view, I couldn’t find any more 50k SkyMiles award flights to Rome for dates in August. I did, however, find round-trip flights for 55k SkyMiles.
Happy with my 5k SkyMiles discount, I booked the last award seat on a round-trip flight to Rome.
Have you been to Rome?
Rome’s rooftop views are absolutely breathtaking! I took these photos from the top of the Spanish Steps.
Why was Rome a good deal?
You can’t beat $75 USD round-trip flights to Italy. More importantly, with a 1:1 earning ratio on my Delta SkyMiles Platinum credit card, I would have had to spend $5,000 USD on everyday purchases to earn the 5k Delta SkyMiles savings. Or I would have had to spend $2,500 USD on Delta purchases at a 2:1 earning ratio to earn enough SkyMiles. Taking into consideration the opportunity costs is critical here.
Overall earning SkyMiles is a slow and arduous process so ditch all the aggravation by taking advantage of redeeming miles during Delta SkyMiles Flash Sales, if you can.
Set a goal for your Delta SkyMiles. Goals keep you focused and motivated. Next, try to only book award flights during flash sales. This guarantees you’ll use your miles towards the best redemption offers.
If your goal destination happens to go on sale then absolutely jump on it. However, if something else comes up, weigh the options and if it’s a good deal, go for it. For example, although New Zealand is my goal, Rome was convenient and irresistible last summer.
If you don’t have enough miles and need a Delta SkyMiles boost, AMEX Delta Platinum is offering 50k bonus miles when you spend $1,000 USD within the first three months of opening a new credit card. That’s enough for domestic flights across the U.S. or round-trip flights to the Caribbean!
Update August 2018: I booked a round-trip flight to London from New York City for 38,000 SkyMiles and spent $183.51 USD on taxes and fees.
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Danielle is a travel finance strategist, author, speaker and podcaster. She paid off $63,000 of student loan debt in 4 years, bought a house at 27 and has traveled to 27 countries and 4 continents. She refuses to let her financial responsibilities hold her back from living life on her own terms.