Delta isn’t really known for having an amazing mileage programme, SkyMiles, especially after all of the changes made in the recent years which basically screwed over most members. There is however one, single, thing I LOVE about Delta SkyMiles (I never thought I would actually ever say that..), and that is Delta’s 5k mile, one-way, awards.
Delta’s 5k mile awards aren’t just available on single-segment itineraries (for example, Seattle – Los Angeles), but are also available on routes like Seattle – Los Angeles – San Diego… which is, well, incredible.. and I think this completely blows away British Airways’ distance-based award chart for flights in North America (especially after they eliminated 4.5k Avios awards).
Let’s take a look at a recent family trip I booked from Seattle to Anchorage, by booking with Delta, I was able to save 50% of the miles needed. British Airways charges 10k Avios from Seattle to Anchorage in Alaska Airlines Economy. 20k round trip. However, this isn’t a good value. Why? Because Delta operates flights between Seattle and Anchorage and that same route can be flown with Delta for just 5k Delta miles, one-way, or 10k round trip… Booking through Delta saves 50% of the miles. The normal cost for the same flight was $170 USD.
Delta’s 5k awards represent a great value to myself and those in my family. I don’t mind flying in Economy on flights shorter than 3 hours and therefore since I live in Seattle half of the year, I can book flights around the west coast for just 10k miles round trip.. that’s incredible.
How good is availability? Actually, it’s better than most expect:
I’ve been successful in booking this award on routes from Seattle to Anchorage, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Salt Lake City, and Phoenix. 5k awards seem to be available on flights ~3.5 hours and shorter. For example, Seattle to Chicago, New York, etc. are longer flights and 5k awards aren’t available on those routes.
Nevertheless, Delta’s 5k mile, one-way, awards are great and they’ve replaced BA Avios tickets for me when travelling on short routes within North America. What’s even better is that BA charges per segment, so for example, SEA-LAX-SAN would cost you 15k Avios (7.5k * 2 flights), while Delta charges just 5k miles since they take into consideration the origin and destination and not the number of flights.. short-haul awards don’t get better than this!
There is, after all, some value in Delta SkyMiles.