Joining frequent flyer rewards' programs makes business trips and traveling more rewarding and affordable in the long run. Delta Air Lines is one of the first airlines in the industry to offer frequent flier loyalty programs and distribute frequent flyer mile cards to regular passengers. SkyMiles, their frequent flyer rewards program, allows travelers to earn miles for flights on Delta Connection flights, Delta flights, or Delta Shuttle, as well as flights on other SkyTeam partners. Besides free miles, the frequent flyer program also has a number of credit card and hotel partners to make travel and shopping easier and more affordable. However, Delta's SkyMiles program also has its downsides.
Signing up. Signing up for Delta's frequent flyer program is easy. You can either go to their website and fill out the sign-up form, or ask the nearest ticketing agent for an application form. Your travel agent might also carry frequent flyer forms.
Earning miles. One of the ways you can accumulate points is by flying Delta or any one of their airline partners. When you fly on Delta, Delta Connection, and Delta Shuttle, you earn a minimum of 500 miles flown. Delta's airline partners include Alaska Airlines, Northwest Airlines, and Continental; all of these will accept your frequent flyer points from your SkyMiles account. This is a very convenient feature as you can easily streamline your reward points.
One other way to earn Delta SkyMiles is through their three credit card partners: Visa, American Express, and Diners Club. Each dollar spent using your credit card usually translates to one SkyMiles point, but this figure may vary depending on the promotion.
Redeeming Points. While it may be fairly easy to earn SkyMiles points, redeeming them isn't as simple. At the start of the program, there used to be a number of seats available for SkyMiles members. Today, however, the numbers have been reduced and seats available for SkyMiles awards are very limited. Not all fights have them available either, so you should be prepared with more than one itinerary.
Rewards start with 25,000 miles for a domestic flight, but most trips will cost 50,000 miles. There are also additional fees when you book using your frequent flyer miles points. Depending on what time you book your flight, you can be charged $150, unless you book 21 days before your departure date. You will also asked to pay for a fuel surcharge - $25 for domestic flights and $50 for international flights.
You can also shop using your SkyMiles points, but this option is only available to Medallion members.
Medallion member benefits. Once you have accumulated enough miles based on your fare class purchased and the distance traveled, you are eligible to become a Medallion member and receive a lot of benefits. These include exclusive security lines, priority boarding, priority baggage retrieval, and complimentary upgrades to business class or first class, depending on availability.
Due to the many reward limitations and the extra costs of the Delta frequent flyer's program, it is rather disappointing to use if you do not fly that often. But if you are a regular Delta user who is eligible for a Medallion membership, Delta's frequent flyer program might work for you.