Welcome to a weekly feature on the Delta Points blog. Each week this series covers in a “rookie” way either a Delta or travel related theme and attempts to break down to a basic level each topic. You can read up on all the previous posts HERE. Now on to this week’s feature.
In this week’s Rookie Wednesday we cover the topic of collecting Skymiles. There are truly an overwhelming number of ways to amass Delta points if you pay attention and get used to a moderate change in lifestyle and thinking.
First some caveats. Delta points blog, and especially Rookie Wednesdays, is focused on Delta. There may be “better” or more lucrative ways to get other points, but this is all about Skymiles. There are always choices about what points you value most or, more importantly, need most for an award.
Let’s start with the obvious. You can look back at THIS post where I review the different Delta credit cards from American Express. Having one of these is a must to get maximum Skymiles each year.
Next, here is a long list that I will break down.
- Shopping portals & toolbar
- Hotel and cars
- Bonus deals
- Transfers, Buying points & Award builder
- Segments & distance with Delta
- Skybonus for business
- Retention bonus
This is a basic list. If you are an online shopper, and who isn’t, starting at Delta’s shopping portal to buy “stuff” is the place to start Skymilesshopping. They have a plug-in tool bar that will direct you and help you earn max points. I do not use the latter and advise against it as for me there are times I want other points and don’t want to fight this tool bar. In addition to this shopping site, there is also SkyMall (this was the old NWA site and is very good) that gives you 5x Skymiles for each dollar spent (6x when you pay with your Delta AMEX). They will price match most major stores if you can find a lower price so they are worth checking out.
The next one, partners, is really a huge topic so I will not go over it point by point, but you should now and then check to see what deals they have with partners. From Fedex shipping, to cruise ship bonus booking points, to Delta’s travel agency ( Delta Vacations ), to investments and on and on!
Now hotels and cars. So many of these options you have to be careful with. You can select with most hotels and car rentals to earn Skymiles as the default setting. This does take the thinking out of the equation, but there are many times where you can double dip both kinds of points. So try to make the time to check for bonus deals. Another warning, especially when it comes to car rentals, there can be surcharges to earn Skymiles that may make it not worth the cost.
Now we look at bonus deals. SkyMall etc. You need to keep on the lookout for deals. Last year, Skymall had the great spend $500 and get a whooping 25,000 bonus Skymiles. There have been other ones like the pet store bonus and others that come along. Sometimes these are long lasting, but most times they go quick so just keep an eye out and you can naturally expect that I will put up any ones I find on the blog!
Next we have a tri-fecta of points from Delta with Transfers, Buying points & Award builder. Please understand, value wise, most or all of the time, these are very poor value ideas. There are often deals where Delta will give you 50-100% bonus points for these transactions and then the price becomes tolerable if you need a few more points for a trip. You can “pay” for extra Skymiles for each flight you take, but again there, check the value/cost. You can maybe get your employer to give out Skymiles as a bonus perk for good work with the Skymiles Incentives program and getting your boss to pay for your Skymiles is great for you anyway!
There are two major survey sites that give you Skymiles for your time and both are free to join. They are E-Rewards and E-miles. If you have the time to fill out surveys you can get a nice amount of points each year with them. There is also Audience rewards, but you are only looking at a few points per year. Too much effort for me.
On to segments with Delta. This is one of the most missed ways to get extra points with Delta. When you go to book a flight, and you have say for the same fare class, a choice of connecting via one hub or the other, look at what route gives you the most MQM’s & RDM’s! Also, following that same advice, maybe a triple connect can score you a bunch more points over a double connect. You can use CWSI.net‘s SkyCalc to check what route gives you the best deal.
Skybonus. You need to have a business. If you do, you can earn yet another kind of points from Delta that can be redeemed for free tickets or Skyclub day passes or many other perks. This is a revenue based earning program so the more you spend the more points you get. It is a simple thing, once you setup your account, to enter your Skybonus number into your Skymiles account and then earning is just about automatic. The other kool part about this program is that your employees, when they fly, will help YOU earn more Skybonus points and it will not affect their ability to earn their own Skymiles!
Complaints. Never underestimate the power of both commending those who work for the airline and also complaining about something that has gone wrong for points. You can, if you fly even moderately, and things do not go well, complain your way to tens of thousands of points each year!
The last one is almost too easy and goes back to yet one more reason to have the Delta branded card and to USE it. If you do, you can call AMEX’s retention department each year and be given thousands of points to remain with them!
So there you are. This is by no means a 100% complete list but I hope this shows you that you can, with just a little work and maybe a bit of a mindset change, earn free tickets each and every year. Skymiles may be the hardest to redeem but they sure are the simplest to collect! – René
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