I receive compensation for many links on this blog. You don’t have to use these links, but I am grateful to you if you do. American Express, Citibank, Chase, Capital One and other banks are advertising partners of this site. Any opinions expressed in this post are my own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by my advertising partners. I do not write about all credit cards that are available -- instead focusing on miles, points, and cash back (and currencies that can be converted into the same).
Scott B. asks,
For several years, given the deterioration of the Sky Miles program and Delta’s failure to give even accurate descriptions of program changes to Sky Miles members, much less advance notice, I’ve placed all miles earned flying Delta in Alaska’s Mileage Plan.
That now no longer looks like a great idea. I’d love to know — and I’m confident there are a lot of others of your readers who also would like to know — where you think it makes most sense to put Delta miles.
Crediting to Alaska still makes sense through end of April (after which the Delta-Alaska partnership ends) at least for many fares.
It’s always a good idea to do the math and compare how many points you’ll earn under each program and what those points are worth.
Delta awards points for travel on their own flights based on the price of the ticket (base fare and surcharges where applicable, but not taxes). A non-elite member earns 5 points per dollar spent.
Partners award points based on a percentage of distance traveled — sometimes more than 100% for premium cabin fares, and less than 100% for discount fares.
Alaska Airlines has been a great deal for cheap Delta first class domestic fares (my recent Delta flight in first class cost $50 more than a comparable American Airlines connecting itinerary in coach). It earned very little in Delta’s revenue-based program would have been bonused by Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan.
Here’s Alaska Airlines mileage-earning for travel on Delta:
I still credited my flight to Delta SkyMiles because I had never earned with Starwood’s Crossover Rewards and simply wanted to see how seamless the process was for earning Starwood points based on Delta spend.
But with the Alaska partnership ending, where to next?
Korean Air doesn’t earn anything on the lowest Delta fares and doesn’t bonus Delta premium cabins so that’s not a great option.
Here’s Air France KLM Flying Blue’s mileage earning for travel on Delta:
If you’re going to credit points to Flying Blue here are 17 important things to know.
I actually wouldn’t credit to other SkyTeam airline programs personally since:
- I think it’s important to be able to earn miles for things other than flying. You can transfer points earned with a Chase Sapphire Preferred Card to Korean and Flying Blue. You can transfer American Express and Citi points to Flying Blue also.
- While Aeromexico is an American Express transfer partner, the phone reps are so terrible I don’t want to deal with them.
- While Alitalia is an American Express transfer partner, airline partner redemptions recently doubled in price and of course the reps are terrible (though Alitalia metal redemptions remain a good value)
- Garuda is a Citi transfer partner, it’s one of the places you can move points from a Citi Prestige Card. But only Garuda metal redemptions are available online and it’s tough to get agents to book partner flights by phone (this is a new feature of the program, most agents still think you have to go to a ticket office to issue reservations you place on hold by phone)
Of course if you’re avoiding Delta, one thing to consider about SkyMiles is their miles don’t expire (a promise Delta made and broke in the past of course). Non-expiring miles is good for very occasional customers. In contrast Flying Blue expires miles unless you credit a flight to your account every 20 months.