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Delta Airlines gets a lot of criticism. But this is something important they get absolutely right…
Nearly every major airline will steal your miles away from you unless you add to your balance (or in some cases use the miles) during a certain time period. Oh, but some graciously allow you to buy them back! Were they sitting in a storage facility costing the airlines money? It’s a disgusting money grab from customers like us.
Delta Airlines doesn’t pull this nonsense. Sure, they pull other nonsense. But at least Delta miles never expire. So the Delta miles you earn with the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express are safe. Plus you get free checked bags with the card.
Because most airline miles expire, this is another reason I put more faith in Chase Ultimate Rewards points from cards like
- Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card – earn the huge sign-up bonus worth $1,000 for Delta flights with no blackout dates on the Chase travel site (it’s like Expedia)
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card – I’ve had this terrific card for 5+ years, no annual fee in year one
- Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Chase Ultimate Rewards points don’t expire either as long as your card is open. That’s fair because you can always take your points with you by getting cash back or transferring to an airline program before you close the card.
You earn the sign-up bonus on those cards once you meet the minimum spending requirement. And you can use the points to pay for flights on nearly any airline, including Delta.
Delta Miles Don’t Expire, Here Are Other Airline Mile Policies
Cheers to Delta for being better than other airline programs in this regard. I mean, Spirit Airlines will wipe out your account balance if you go just 3 months without earning miles!
I want to make a little plug for JetBlue. They’re the only major airline to match the Delta policy of not stealing miles. I didn’t put them in the headline because for whatever reason Million Mile Secrets readers don’t seem too interested in them. But I think that will change. I love JetBlue because they have the best coach seat and experience in my opinion. And their domestic Business Class is easily the best.
JetBlue is a relatively new transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards points. So you can transform points from Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve®, and Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card into JetBlue points. This usually isn’t the “most valuable” use of Chase Ultimate Rewards points. But it really depends on the kind of travel YOU want.
Do NOT let the airlines take your miles from you. Be sure to keep your accounts active. Look at these airline mileage expiration policies:
• Air Canada: 12 months without activity
• Alaska Airlines: 24 months without activity
• American Airlines: 18 months without activity (you can earn miles with the no annual fee American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card to keep your account active)
• British Airways: 36 months without activity (you can earn miles with the British Airways Visa Signature® Card to keep your account active)
• Cathay Pacific Asia Miles: 36 months after earning
• Delta Miles: Never Expire
• Hawaiian Airlines: 18 months without activity
• JetBlue: Never expire
• Singapore Airlines: 36 months after earning
• Southwest Airlines: 24 months without earning (transfer in 1,000 Chase points from cards like Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card to reset the clock. Or use a Southwest card like Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card or Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card.)
• United Airlines: 18 months without activity (use a card like United℠ Explorer Card to keep miles active)
Use Delta Airlines Miles for Free Flights
Delta Airlines don’t expire. But there is something annoying — they don’t have an official award chart. So you’ll have to look up your particular flight to see how many Delta miles they’re charging. Here’s a suggestion for getting a good deal with Delta miles…
Delta Flash Award Sales
Delta regularly has flash sales offering discounts on award tickets with miles. A few examples we’ve seen in the past:
- Round-trip to New York City for just 11,000 Delta miles
- Round-trip to Seattle or Portland for only 10,000 Delta miles
- Round-trip to Asia discounted at 60,000 miles. Or fly Premium Economy for 80,000 Delta miles.
Get our free newsletter to be alerted to the next Delta flash sale:
Delta Pay With Miles — No Blackout Dates
To get a great value with Delta miles, you’ll want to wait for award seats to open up. But if you need to travel on certain dates — this is how to do it.
You must have an American Express Delta credit card to do this.
Using the Delta Pay With Miles feature, your Delta miles are worth 1 cent each to partially or completely pay for your ticket.
The Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express has a welcome bonus of 30,000 Delta miles after spending $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months. And you’ll earn a $50 statement credit after making a Delta purchase within the same timeframe.
So the 30,000 Delta miles would be worth $300 off your flight with no blackout dates when you use Delta Pay with Miles.
This Delta card has no annual fee in year one — so it’s no risk to try it out to see how you like it. What’s great about this card is the primary cardholder and up to 8 others traveling on the same reservation each get 1 free checked bag. So if you travel as a family or as baseball team, you’ll save a lot of money.