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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! :)

Delta speeds up its boarding process, adds new routes to Japan

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Delta speeds up its boarding process, adds new routes to Japan

Jason StaufferDelta speeds up its boarding process, adds new routes to JapanMillion Mile Secrets Team

Signing up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

INSIDER SECRET: You can take the sting out of Delta’s Basic Economy restrictions with a Delta credit card, like the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express. It comes with priority boarding (Main Cabin 1), plus the first checked bag is free for the cardholder and up to eight traveling companions.

If you love the idea of using any and all forms of technology to simplify your life, then you’ll be happy to know that Delta is enhancing its boarding process by expanding its use of facial recognition technology at four new airports. Delta has been testing facial recognition boarding for over three years, and last year started using it in Atlanta. Since then, the process has been introduced at these Delta hub cities:

  • Detroit
  • Los Angeles
  • Minneapolis
  • Salt Lake City

The technology can shave two seconds off the boarding time per passenger. That doesn’t sound like much, but for a fully loaded wide-body plane it ends up cutting nine minutes off the boarding time. When you multiply that small time savings by the hundreds of million of passengers Delta transports each year, you can see why Delta is making the move to this new boarding process.

Delta adds flights to Japan

Ahead of the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Delta is adding routes to Japan and now will fly there from five new U.S. cities beginning on Mar. 28, 2020:

  • Atlanta
  • Detroit
  • Honolulu
  • Portland, Oregon
  • Seattle

Delta already flies to Tokyo from Los Angeles and Minneapolis. All of these flights serve Haneda airport, which is much closer to Tokyo than Narita. The cheapest award flights on these routes are 60,000-64,000 miles round-trip in economy, but you can find better prices with the weekly Delta SkyMiles deals. I’ve seen round-trip flights to Japan for as little as 40,000 miles in economy and 70,000 miles in premium economy.

To be notified when these deals (and others, like 20,000 mile round-trip flights to Europe) are available, sign-up for our email newsletter.

If you need more Delta miles you could open an Amex Delta credit card, but right now the welcome offers aren’t great. Because Amex only lets you earn an intro bonus on a specific card once per lifetime, you’ll want to apply when the bonuses are bigger. Again, join our newsletter and we’ll let you know when the increased Delta credit card offers are back.

You can also book Delta flights with Virgin Atlantic miles; one-way, nonstop flights from the U.S. to Japan are only 60,000 Virgin Atlantic miles in business class. Delta normally charges (at least) 100,000 SkyMiles for the exact same flight. Right now, the Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard® has an increased bonus offer of up to 60,000 miles after you spend $2,000 in the first 90 days of account opening. You can also earn an additional 20,000 miles in the first year by meeting certain spending requirements and adding authorized users. This article has more information on the Virgin Atlantic credit card offer if you’re interested.

The one downside of using Virgin Atlantic miles is that you’ll pay per segment, so if you need a connecting flight the price will increase.

You can also transfer Amex Membership Rewards points to Delta and Virgin Atlantic at a 1:1 ratio. Right now, The Business Platinum® Card from American Express has an increased up to 100,000-point bonus offer, which you can earn after meeting the card’s tiered minimum spending requirement. To learn more about the offer and the card’s many benefits, read our full Amex Business Platinum review.

You can also earn American Express points with these cards:

Card Welcome Bonus & Minimum Spending Requirements
The Business Platinum® Card from American Express


Ends December 4, 2019: Limited Time Offer - Up to 100,000 Amex Membership Rewards® points

50,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $10,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of opening your account, plus earn an extra 50,000 Amex Membership Rewards points after spending an additional $15,000 on qualifying purchases within the first 3 months of opening your account. Terms Apply.
The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American ExpressNo welcome bonus
The Platinum Card® from American Express


60,000 Amex Membership Rewards® points after spending $5,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening your account. Terms Apply.
American Express® Gold Card35,000 Amex Membership Rewards® points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months of account opening. Terms Apply.
American Express® Business Gold Card
Ends November 06 2019: Limited Time Offer- Earn up to $500 in statement credits by purchasing qualifying services with FedEx within the first 3 months of account opening. Terms Apply.
Business Green Rewards Card from American ExpressEnds November 06 2019: Limited Time Offer- Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on your combined eligible purchases on the Card, up to the first $50,000, at U.S. restaurants, on hotel stays booked directly with hotels, and on airfare purchased directly from airlines in the first 3 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.
Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express
Card Image Not Available
15,000 Amex Membership Rewards® points after spending $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening your account. Terms Apply.
Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American ExpressCard Image Not Available
10,000 Amex Membership Rewards® points after spending $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening your account. Terms Apply.
The information for the Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card and Amex EveryDay Credit Card has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

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

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

  • Earn 30,000 Bonus Miles after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in purchases within your first 3 months and a $50 Statement Credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months.
  • Earn 2 miles for every dollar spent on eligible purchases made directly with Delta. Earn one mile for every eligible dollar you spend on other purchases.
  • Check your first bag free on Delta flights – that’s a savings of up to $240 per round trip for a family of four.
  • Settle into your seat sooner with Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding.
  • Enjoy a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Terms Apply | Rates & Fees

More Info

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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This is great unless, like myself, you booked a Delta flight from MSP to Narita for May 2020, using Virgin Atlantic miles transferred from Chase, and now Delta’s cancelled that route and the only option Delta gave VA to Haneda was one flight/routing. I called Delta to see why I couldn’t select another flight same day different time, same layover city(SEA), and they said I had to call VA. Called VA and they said that one flight was all that Delta made available to them!!! So much for giving my son the perfect college grad gift (trip to Japan).