All Delta Pay With Miles Tickets Will Be Eligible For Mileage Accrual In 2015

Delta has a Pay With Miles redemption option, which is available exclusively for those with Delta’s co-branded American Express Card.

Delta-Pay-With-Miles

Basically the Pay With Miles option lets you redeem miles towards the cost of a revenue ticket at the rate of one cent per mile… at most. Here’s the breakdown:

For fares less than $100:

  • Redeem 25,000 miles to cover the total fare

For fares equal to or greater than $100 and less than $250:

  • Redeem 10,000 miles for $100 off the total fare or
  • Increase the redemption to 25,000 miles and increase from that point in increments of 5,000 miles ($50 off) to cover the total fare

For fares equal to or greater than $250 and total fares less than $1,000:

  • Redeem 10,000 miles for $100 off the total fare or
  • Increase the redemption in increments of 5,000 miles ($50 off) to cover all or part of the total fare (15,000 miles for $150 off, 20,000 miles for $200 off, etc.)

For total fares equal to or greater than $1,000:

  • Redeem 10,000 miles for $100 off the total fare or
  • Increase the redemption in increments of 10,000 miles ($100 off) to cover all or part of the total fare (20,000 miles for $200 off, 30,000 miles for $300 off, etc.)

In other words, you could redeem 50,000 miles for a $500 ticket, 100,000 miles for a $1,000 ticket, etc. Since you’re technically redeeming miles towards the cost of a revenue ticket, under some circumstances you earn miles on these tickets.

Under the current rules, if you book a first or business class ticket using the Pay With Miles option, you’re eligible to accrue both elite qualifying and redeemable miles. However, as of January 1, 2015, all Pay With Miles tickets will be eligible for mileage accrual:

For travel prior to January 1, 2015: Pay with Miles tickets booked in Economy Class are not eligible for mileage accrual and will not earn Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs), Medallion Qualification Segments (MQSs) or Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs). BusinessElite®, First or Business Class tickets purchased through Pay with Miles are eligible for mileage accrual, MQMs and MQSs and will earn MQDs for the portion of the base fare and carrier-imposed surcharges remaining that is paid in currency after miles are applied to the ticket total.

For travel on or after January 1, 2015 (regardless of ticket purchase date): Pay with Miles tickets are eligible for MQMs and MQSs. In addition, Pay with Miles tickets will earn mileage and MQDs for the portion of the base fare and carrier-imposed surcharges remaining that is paid in currency after miles are applied to the ticket total.

So as of January 1, 2015, you’ll earn Medallion Qualifying Miles and Medallion Qualifying Segments for Pay With Miles tickets, plus you’ll earn Medallion Qualifying Dollars and redeemable miles for the portion of the base fare you paid in cash (goodness, are they making this program complicated, or what?).

Bottom line

Even though SkyMiles aren’t the most valuable mileage currency in the world, they’re definitely worth more than a cent a piece. So while they’ve somewhat improved the value proposition of the Pay With Miles option, I still wouldn’t redeem SkyMiles for just a penny each.

As of 2015 I’d much rather redeem them for one-way business class awards on Alitalia, KLM, Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Australia, etc.

Alitalia

That being said, kudos to SkyMiles for a positive change, for once!

(Tip of the hat to Delta Points)

Comments

  1. lucky,

    Please clarify. That’s why I wrote you earlier.

    If I have a $501 roundtrip fare with two segments each way and I redeem 50,000 miles and pay DELTA $1 in cash for the remaining balance I will earn how many redeemable miles, medallion qualifying miles, medallion qualifying dollars and medallion segments?

  2. Also, I should have added a mileage component…say it’s a 2,000 mile roundtrip itinerary (1000 miles each way).

  3. One last comment… now they just need to allow us Diamonds to use our GUC’s on a Pay with Miles ticket!

  4. John, I’m wondering the same thing. Hopefully it’s treated exactly like cash. Unfortunately, if it does, it will likely lead into a further monetization/devaluation of skymiles down the road

  5. @ Lucky — You write that, “As of 2015 [you]’d much rather redeem them for one-way business class awards on Alitalia, KLM, Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Australia, etc.” What about Delta’s own business class, too? It’s arguably better than all of the others you mention.

  6. @Brian @lucky

    My big question is how are the MQM’s calculated? As a Diamond Medallion is only the $1 multiplied by 11 (resulting in 11 MQM’s) or the fare of $501 (resulting in 55,011 MQM’s) ?

    If it’s the latter… then it’s on!!

  7. @john delta: you are doing the math wrong. What is going to happemn is that you will get 11x the base fare (not including taxes and fees) as RDMs. So on a $501 ticket, you are looking at 5,511 RDMs. To get the 55,110 you wrote of, your ticket would have to cost $5,510, which means you would have needed to redeem 551,000 Skymiles.

  8. @Aaexplat

    I see that now…

    But your post mentioned RDM’s and I am still trying to figure out how they will calculate MQM’s…

  9. Just looking at the NEW terms and conditions on Pay With Miles tickets… at least one piece of good news:

    “Medallion Complimentary Upgrades on Pay with Miles tickets are limited to Diamond, Platinum and Gold Medallion members, are subject to availability, and may not be eligible on all flights.”

  10. I don’t think either of you have it correct.

    If it’s a $501 ticket and you use 50,000 miles plus $1, you will earn the following:

    2,000 MQM (and however many segments)

    $1×11=11 redeemable miles if you are diamond (actually I’m guessing it’s zero since it says for the remaining part of the tickets that is used towards the fare and/or airline surcharge will earn miles. It does not say anything about taxes, so I’m guessing the $1 would be applied towards taxes and you earn zero miles).

  11. So as someone who’s abandoned DL for AS, does this mean I can use my skymiles to PWM, then prior to the flight, change the program number to AS and earn EQM on it?

  12. I don’t think either of you are correct in calculating the miles.

    It says you will earn miles only on the part of the ticket that is paid for in cash (in your example that would be $1×11 (if diamond)=11 skymiles. (*one potential caveat, it says this will be earned if it is applied to airfare or airline surcharges. I don’t know if they distinguish separately from taxes but I would imagine they do. In which case, I’d guess the $1 would be applied to tax and not earn you any actual miles – a silly caveat when it is $1 but slightly less so when it is more).

    You would earn 2,000 MQM is the distance is 2,000 (or four segments of less than 500 each, for another example).

  13. @ Mark S. — Decent product as well no doubt, and I’d like to try their 747 or A330 product. But I’m not a fan of their 767 product.

  14. @Economiler

    For the sake of clarity, my $501 example is BASE FARE

    So, now with my example, I believe these are the correct answers:

    Based on a $501 [BASE] roundtrip fare with two segments each way and a total 2,000 mile roundtrip itinerary (1000 miles each way) and a Delta Diamond Medallion redeems 50,000 miles and pays DELTA $1 in cash for the remaining balance The following will be the corresponding earnings:

    Redeemable miles – 11, (based on 11 X $1 cash)
    Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQM’s) – 2,000 (based on miles flown, or at least 500/segment)
    Medallion Qualifying Dollars – $1 (for the $1 cash paid)
    Medallion Segments – 4

  15. So, I have more information now…

    Was booking a roundtrip which is as follows: (Total miles flown = 5232, Total Base Fare $236.28)

    PRICE PER PASSENGER:$236.28(USD)
    TAXES, FEES AND CHARGES:$62.92(USD)
    TRIP EXTRAS$. (USD)
    TOTAL PER PASSENGER: $299.20 (USD)

    So, I choose Pay With Miles and Pay 20,000 miles per passenger, my amount due is $99.20/passenger and I can see that I will earn
    [Redeemable Miles earned]* = 185
    Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) earned = 5232
    Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs) earned = $37 (details)

    If I choose Pay With Miles and Pay 25,000 miles per passenger, my amount due is $49.20/passenger
    and I can see that I will earn
    [Redeemable Miles earned]* = 0
    Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) earned = 0
    Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs) earned = $0 (details)

    So, bottom line is if Delta Airlines does not get at least $1 from you on the BASE Fare, you get nothing!

  16. @Brian:

    Per Delta: “Tickets purchased with full or partial Pay with Miles redemptions are not eligible for mileage upgrades, Systemwide Upgrades, Global Upgrades or Regional Upgrades.”

    This is the same for the current and 2015 Pay with Miles programs…

  17. Does anyone know how this works on international flights? I’m in Canada for work and then skipping over to Asia for a vacation when I do the pay w/miles option it says 0 MQM’s, however if I try to book from ATL (my home) it shows the MQM’s….and a $3k higher price!

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