Signing-up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.
Update: One or more card offers in this post are no longer available. Check our Hot Deals for the latest offers.
Some of the most compelling miles & points offers right now are the AMEX Delta increased welcome bonuses. They have never been higher, and each bonus is worth at least $600 or $700 toward Delta flights.
That’s because if you have these AMEX Delta cards, you can use Delta’s Pay With Miles to redeem your Delta miles toward paid flights for 1 cent each.
There are situations where you should absolutely use this great option. And definite times NOT to use it. Understanding this tool could save you hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars on your next vacation!
I’ll remind you how to use Pay With Miles. And give you a few examples of when you should and should NOT use it!
What Is Pay With Miles?
Link: Delta Pay With Miles
- Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express
- Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express
- Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express
- Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express
- Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express
- Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card
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 miles and elite qualifying dollars for your flight!
When It Makes Sense to Pay With Miles
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
For example, a round-trip coach award flight from New York to Paris on Delta costs 60,000 Delta miles + ~$88 in taxes & fees.
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.
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.
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.
When It Does NOT Make Sense to Pay With Miles
Booking award flights are often a better value for your Delta miles. When you book an award flight, you can use your miles for Delta’s airline partners, like Air France, China Eastern, and WestJet! So you can reach just about every corner of the Earth.
And depending on when and where you fly, you can get much better value than just 1 cent per mile. Team member Joseph booked a flight from Sao Paulo to Detroit and received a value of ~26 cents per mile! A value that high is rare, but it’s possible.
For example, a flight from Atlanta to Minneapolis costs $226 one-way.
But you can book the exact same flight for just 10,000 Delta miles! It’s more than 50% cheaper to book an award flight in this situation.
Or, if you’re heading to Hawaii, you can book a coach flight from Chicago for ~$910 round-trip. Because Delta miles are worth 1 cent when you use Pay With Miles, you would spend 90,000+ miles for your flight.
But if you booked an award flight, you would pay just 60,000 Delta miles round-trip. That’s a savings of 30,000+ Delta miles!
Easily Earn Thousands of Dollars in Delta Miles
No matter how you use your Delta miles, now is the best time to earn them! Because through April 11, 2018, 4 AMEX Delta credit cards have huge increased welcome bonuses.
You’ll earn up to 60,000 Delta miles when you open the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express or Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express after meeting tiered spending requirements.
And you’ll earn 70,000 Delta miles when you open the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express or Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express and meet minimum spending requirements.
That means you’ll earn $600 to $700 in Delta flights from opening a single card and using the Pay With Miles option! And potentially a lot more if you book award flights.
Pay With Miles is a super handy way to redeem Delta miles. It’s not always the best deal, but it can save you lots of cash and miles in certain scenarios!
If you don’t like the hassle of searching for available award seats, or if your travel dates aren’t flexible, you’ll appreciate Pay With Miles. It’s also helpful for folks who find cheap Delta coach tickets and sale fares where paying with miles would cost less than an award ticket.
Now is an excellent time to earn Delta miles, because through April 11, 2018, 4 AMEX Delta credit cards have gigantic increased intro bonuses.
I don’t usually use Pay With Miles, but I love that Delta gives us the choice!
Have you saved money using Delta Pay With Miles?