Through December 31 Delta is offering those with their co-branded American Express credit card a 100% bonus on purchased miles. Miles usually cost 3.5 cents each plus 7.5% tax, so through this promotion you’re paying 1.75 cents per mile plus 7.5% tax, for a total of ~1.88 cents per mile.
There’s a cap of 60,000 SkyMiles that can be purchased per account per year, meaning the most miles that can be had per account through this promotion is 120,000.
This definitely isn’t an offer through which you should hoard SkyMiles, though if you have a specific redemption in mind this can be a really good deal. For example Air France has excellent business class award availability to Europe, so ~$2,000 for a business class ticket to Europe (~$1,880 for the miles and ~$120 in taxes) is a pretty good deal, especially if originating on the west coast.
Otherwise 120,000 miles is enough for business class to India/Asia/Middle East, so ~$2,300 for a business class ticket to Asia is also amazing.
There are definitely better deals out there, though, if you can wait. Just a couple of months ago Delta had a promotion through which you could generate SkyMiles for about 1.1 cents each thanks to a 100% bonus on transferred miles.
What puzzles me more than anything else is that Delta hasn’t had an American Express Membership Rewards transfer bonus in over a month now, which must be some sort of a new record. Prior to that I don’t remember the last time there wasn’t a transfer bonus of some sort. So as of late Membership Rewards is looking pretty dry between the lack of transfer bonuses to Delta, British Airways devaluation on the horizon, and relationship with Continental having ended on September 30.
If you don’t have a Delta American Express card yet and want to take advantage of the promotion, American Express is offering a 30,000 mile sign-up bonus on the Gold Delta SkyMiles credit card, which was recently raised from 20,000 miles. There’s no annual fee the first year and you get the miles after spending $500 within three months, so it’s certainly an “easy” sign-up. That being said while I’ve never seen a mega sign-up bonus on the card, I suspect there will eventually be a better sign-up bonus (though who knows when). And for full disclosure, I earn a referral bonus on the above card.
(Tip of the hat to Gary)