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Delta Pay With Miles: Save Hundreds Off Flights With No Blackout Dates!

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Delta Pay With Miles: Save Hundreds Off Flights With No Blackout Dates!

Jason StaufferDelta Pay With Miles: Save Hundreds Off Flights With No Blackout Dates!Million Mile Secrets Team

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INSIDER SECRET: Some Delta credit cards can help take the sting out of Delta’s Basic Economy with perks like priority boarding and free checked bags for you and up to 8 travel companions.

For some folks, the best travel deals don’t require learning complicated airline award charts or searching for available award seats.

That’s why the welcome bonuses on AMEX Delta cards like the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express, Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express, and Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express  are a great deal!

With these cards, you can book paid Delta flights using a feature called “Pay With Miles” to redeem your miles for 1 cent each in value. So by earning a single AMEX Delta welcome bonus, you’ll have hundreds of dollars in guaranteed Delta flights. With no blackout dates and no scrounging for available award seats.

Here’s a quick tutorial for how to use Delta Pay With Miles.

Your next trip to the Cayman Islands is closer than you think and if you use the Delta Pay With Miles feature you won’t have to worry about blackout dates. (Photo by @photographypatch/Twenty20)

Pay With Miles won’t always get you the most value.  But it’s an easy way to redeem miles for free or discounted flights!

Who Should Use Delta Pay With Miles?

Folks who worry about (or simply hate) hunting for award seats will love Pay With Miles. No award seat searching necessary!

When your schedule isn’t flexible, Pay With Miles is a perfect solution. There are no blackout dates when you redeem your miles with this method.

If you want to be prepared for last-minute travel, Pay With Miles is your best friend. As long as a seat is open on an eligible Delta flight, you can book it with Pay With Miles.

This is an especially good deal if you usually book cheap coach fares, or if you like jumping on Delta’s flight sales. Plus, if you don’t have enough Delta miles for an award flight yet, Pay With Miles will let you redeem miles for a portion of the ticket price.

If you don’t fall into any of these categories, you must own a private jet. 😉

So What Is Pay With Miles Exactly?

Certain American Express Delta SkyMiles cardholders have this exclusive perk that allows you to redeem miles at a rate of 1 cent per mile for paid (not award) Delta flights. Eligible cards include:

As you can see, you’re guaranteed to save hundreds and hundreds on Delta flights with these welcome bonuses when you redeem your miles through Pay With Miles for 1 cent each. It’s an easy way to get lots of free travel with just one card bonus.

How Does Pay With Miles Work?

To use Pay With Miles, you must book on the Delta website. Only Delta and Delta Connection-operated flights are eligible (not partner flights).

Your AMEX Delta card must be linked to your frequent flyer number for Pay With Miles to appear as a booking option. And you can only redeem in 5,000 mile ($50) increments.

You can use Pay With Miles to fully or partially pay for the ticket. And because these are paid (not award) tickets, you’ll earn elite Medallion® Qualifying Miles and Medallion® Qualifying Dollars for your flight.

Step 1. Log-In to Your Delta Account

First, sign-in to your account on Delta.com.

Step 2. Search for Paid (not Award) Flights

Search for your flight as you would any paid flight. Be sure to select “Show Price in Money” because you’re not searching for an award ticket.

Step 3. Choose “Pay With Miles” Eligible Flights

Select the flight you want from the list of options. Pick flights that have “Pay With Miles Eligible” written under the price.

Step 4. Choose the Number of Miles You Want to Use

On the payment page, you’ll see a pull-down menu with options for the number of miles to redeem. You can use miles to partially or completely cover the cost of the ticket.

Delta Pay With Miles

Remember, you must redeem in 5,000 mile ($50) increments.  So, for example, if your ticket costs $309, it makes the most sense to only redeem 30,000 Delta miles ($300) and pay the rest in cash. Because otherwise you’d have to redeem 35,000 Delta miles ($350) to cover the whole ticket, and you’d waste 4,100 Delta miles.

Step 5. Complete Booking

Continue booking like normal. You’ll see the discount applied at the final payment screen. When you finish the booking, the Delta miles will be deducted from your account.

Delta Pay With Miles

When to Use Pay With Miles

Again, Pay With Miles is a terrific option for folks who:

  • Don’t want to fuss with searching for available award tickets
  • Are not flexible with travel dates, or traveling at peak times when award flights are harder to find
  • Are looking for cheap coach tickets
  • Find a sale fare where paying with miles would cost less than an award ticket

I’ll show you what I mean!

1.   Cheap Cash Fares

It’s not uncommon to see great Delta sale fares pop up to fun destinations!  If you see a good sale, it could totally be worth using Pay With Miles instead of booking an award flight.

For example, a round-trip coach award flight from New York to Paris on Delta costs 60,000 Delta miles + ~$88 in taxes & fees.

Your Guide To When And When NOT To Use Delta Pay With Miles
60,000 Miles Is a Pretty Standard Price for a Round-Trip Flight to Europe

But you can buy a coach flight to Paris for just $565 round-trip, including taxes & fees.

Because you’ll get 1 cent per Delta mile when you use Pay With Miles, you’ll only spend ~55,000 Delta miles and a few bucks.  So you’ll save 5,000 Delta miles, and a bunch of money on taxes & fees.  You’ll even earn miles for your flight.

Your Guide To When And When NOT To Use Delta Pay With Miles
$565 Is a Great Price for a Flight to Europe

2.   Firm Travel Dates

If you don’t have any flexibility, Pay With Miles can really save you!

For example, award flights to Havana cost as low as 9,000 Delta miles.  But if you must travel on certain dates, you may end up paying much more.

If you need to travel to Havana on Monday, but the award prices are outrageous, you can use Pay With Miles for the cash price of the seat.

Your Guide To When And When NOT To Use Delta Pay With Miles
It’s Heartbreaking to Know You’d Save Thousands of Miles If Your Schedule Was a Little More Flexible!

The cash price of the ticket costs ~$150.  So you’ll spend 15,000 Delta miles for the ticket.  That’s still significantly higher than 9,000 Delta miles.  But it’s also cheaper than an award seat for 17,500 Delta miles.

Your Guide To When And When NOT To Use Delta Pay With Miles
Delta Miles Are Worth 1 Cent Each When You Use the “Pay With Miles” Option. So You’ll Pay 15,000 Delta Miles Instead of 17,500 Delta Miles + Taxes & Fees

While the biggest draw of Pay With Miles is how easy it makes to book free travel, there are situations where Pay With Miles does not make sense.

When NOT to Use Pay With Miles

While the biggest draw of Pay With Miles is how easy it makes to book free travel, there are situations where Pay With Miles does not make sense.

For example, expensive first or business-class flights that would cost thousands of dollars will set you back hundreds of thousands of miles using Pay With Miles. It’s usually a much better deal if you book as an award ticket.

For example, this one-way business-class award flight between Minneapolis and Paris costs $8,000. Using Pay With Miles, you’d have to redeem ~800,000 Delta miles to cover the cost of the ticket (~$8,000 cash price / 1 cent per mile).  That’s not a good deal, since even an expensive business-class award flights on the same route would generally cost fewer miles.

You’ll get a much better deal if you book inexpensive tickets using Pay With Miles.

Note: If you use miles to fully or partially pay for your ticket, you will not get the miles back if you cancel your trip except if you cancel your trip by midnight the day after you booked it.

If you otherwise receive a refund, the dollar value of the Pay With Miles portion will be credited to your account.

Bottom Line

By earning the welcome bonus from any of the AMEX Delta Gold, Platinum, or Reserve cards, you can earn hundreds and hundreds of dollars in Delta flights:

As you can see, you’re guaranteed to save hundreds and hundreds on Delta flights with these welcome bonuses when you redeem your miles through Pay With Miles.

If you’ve had one of these cards before, you can not earn the welcome bonus on that particular card again. But you can earn the bonus on all the cards you’ve never had.

Delta’s Pay With Miles is a flexible and super easy way to redeem Delta miles for paid Delta flights. You’ll earn miles for your ticket. And there are no blackout dates. Only certain American Express Delta credit card holders are eligible. Using Pay With Miles, your Delta miles are worth 1 cent each to partially or completely pay for your ticket.

While you won’t always get the most value from your miles this way, it’s a worry-free option for folks who are not flexible with their travel dates. Or don’t want to fuss with searching for award flights.

For the latest tips and tricks on traveling big without spending a fortune, please subscribe to the Million Mile Secrets daily email newsletter.

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Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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