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Through April 11, 2018, there are increased sign-up bonuses on some of the popular Delta Amex co-branded credit cards.
These are among the best offers we’ve ever seen on the cards, and you’re eligible for the bonuses on each of the cards, as they’re all considered separate products (see my previous post about how many Delta Amex cards you can apply for).
A couple of days ago I wrote a post valuing the sign-up bonuses on all four of the cards with increased bonuses. As I explained in the post, I value SkyMiles at 1.2 cents each, so my valuation was based on that.
Once you factor in the sign-up bonuses and annual fees:
- I value the bonuses on the Gold Delta SkyMiles Personal Card & Gold Delta SkyMiles Business Card at ~$770 each
- I value the bonuses on the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Personal Card & Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business Card at ~$745 each, though with those two cards that doesn’t factor in the 10,000 MQMs you earn as part of the sign-up bonus, which will be hugely valuable to many
While I think that’s a realistic valuation of SkyMiles, many people tell me that redeeming SkyMiles is too difficult, and therefore it’s not worth taking advantage of the bonus. The good news is that unlike some other points currencies, SkyMiles have a legitimate “floor” value, thanks to the ability to redeem SkyMiles as cash towards the cost of a ticket.
If you have a Delta co-branded credit card then you can redeem SkyMiles for one cent each towards the cost of a ticket, in increments of 5,000 miles. The Pay With Miles benefit is available exclusively to those with select Delta co-branded credit cards, and even elite members without the credit card don’t have access to this benefit.
You should use Pay With Miles for a Delta One ticket
In other words, if a ticket cost $200, you could choose to pay $150 plus 5,000 miles, $100 plus 10,000 miles, $50 plus 15,000 miles, or just pay 20,000 miles outright. The best part is that for all practical purposes these are still considered “paid” tickets. This means that:
- You’re eligible for complimentary upgrades on these tickets as an elite member
- You’re eligible for Medallion Qualifying Miles and Medallion Qualifying Segments for these tickets
- You earn redeemable miles based only on the portion of the ticket for which you’re paying cash
In other words, the 60,000 bonus miles offered by the Gold Delta SkyMiles Personal Card and Gold Delta SkyMiles Business Card would give you at least $600 worth of travel on Delta, while the 70,000 bonus miles offered by the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Personal Card and Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business Card give you at least $700 worth of travel on Delta.
On top of that, the Gold versions of the card come with a $50 statement credit after making a Delta purchase, and the Platinum versions of the card come with a $100 statement credit after making a Delta purchase. If you were to just buy a Delta gift card for that amount, that means the Gold version of the card gets you $650 worth of travel on Delta, while the Platinum version of the card gets you $800 worth of travel on Delta.
Even for someone who doesn’t want to go through the effort of redeeming SkyMiles, this is something that’s very much a worthwhile sign-up bonus.
Let me just emphasize again that this isn’t personally how I’d choose to redeem SkyMiles. Even though Delta has significantly increased many award costs over the past few years, I still think you can get more value through premium cabin redemptions. However, there is something to be said for there being a floor value for miles, because I can see many people redeeming American and United miles for significantly less than a penny of value per point. For example, I value a one-way China Airlines business class ticket from Los Angeles to Taipei at more than $950.