Redeeming Delta Miles to Alaska (& How to Earn Them Fast)

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In light of the fact that the Delta co-branded American Express cards (both Gold and Platinum) have enhanced sign up offers ending soon (on July 5), a little over a week ago you saw me dive into the reasons why I think SkyMiles are worth collecting.

One of the points I mentioned was for redemption on market standard/cheap economy awards. If you look at this chart of economy award prices for the three biggest carriers in the United States, you’ll see that Delta has the cheapest prices to Alaska, Africa, and the Middle East.

Comparison of United, Delta, & American Airlines Latest 2017 Award Charts
Comparison of United, Delta, & American Airlines Latest 2017 Award Charts

Today I want to look at using Delta miles to fly to Alaska specifically, as that is the most likely destination you’d want to fly economy to (versus the Middle East or Africa which are much longer flights). Delta has very competitive award pricing to Alaska compared to United, American Airlines, and even Alaska Airlines in most cases.

Alaska’s award chart for flying Alaska Airlines within or between the contiguous 48 states and Alaska.

Remember that Delta (unfortunately) doesn’t have an award chart, so prices quoted below are the lowest level seen on delta.com.

12.5 SkyMiles or Less to Alaska

Prices to fly to Alaska will vary depending on the distance, anywhere from 7,500 to 12,500 SkyMiles at the Saver (lowest) level. No matter how far you are from Alaska, it would cost 15,000 American Airlines miles to get there or 17.5k United miles to get there. Let’s look at some examples with award space.

Seattle > Anchorage

Here’s the award space calendar for four travelers between Seattle and Anchorage (direct) for next year, mid April through mid May:

I can’t show you into July and onwards for 2018 as the calendar isn’t open to book yet, but I’d expect it to be just as wide open. Here’s August of this summer’s calendar, just around the corner, for two travelers…

An Alaska Airlines flight from Anchorage to Seattle just barely falls into the pricing category of flight distances between 1,401 and 2,100 miles and costs 10,000 Alaska miles at the lowest level price.

Seattle to Juneau

While Delta only flies to Juneau seasonally, if you plan on flying over the summer, I’d use Delta miles. It should be the same price in Alaska miles as it would in Delta miles, 7,500, but I’d rather use Delta miles on the flight as I value them much less than Alaska miles.

Here’s a calendar for four travelers, non-stop, between Seattle and Juneau for second half of August this year.

I actually didn’t even see any 7.5k award space to Juneau from Seattle on alaskair.com.

Minneapolis to Fairbanks

Here’s a calendar for four travelers flying direct from Minneapolis to Fairbanks, Alaska in mid September to mid October of this year.

It costs 12,500 Delta miles, and would require more connections and/or more miles if booking with Alaska miles.

Chicago > Anchorage

Here’s a calendar for four travelers departing later this summer, between Chicago and Anchorage. The flight would not be direct but only require one connection in Seattle.

In many cases this flight will cost more Alaska miles than Delta (20k), and in the instance that it costs the same (12.5k), like I said I above, I’d rather redeem 12.5k Delta miles which are less valuable.

I Don’t Live in a Delta Gateway City

You don’t have to live in a Delta hub to get to Alaska with Delta miles, as I’ve shown above with the Chicago example. The price may increase some to add a flight from your hometown on Delta to a gateway cities listed, or it may not… it’s impossible to tell without an award chart to follow. Check for yourself!

Delta Amex Card Offers

  • Sign Up Bonus: Platinum: 70k miles, 10k MQMs, and $100 statement credit after spending $4,000 in the first four months. Gold: 60k miles and $50 statement credit after spending $3,000 in the first three months
  • Category Bonuses: 2 miles per dollar on Delta purchases
  • Value of Delta Miles: Worth 1.3 cents each to me
  • Free Checked Bag for you plus up to three others on same Delta reservation
  • Priority Boarding
  • No Foreign Transaction Fee
  • Annual Fee:
    Platinum: $195, not waived (so a net of -$95 after statement credit)
    Gold: $95, waived for first year (so a net of +$50 after statement credit)
  • Eligibility: You can only get the bonus once per lifetime on public Amex offers. For example, if you’ve opened just a Gold card in the past, you are ineligible to get the bonus on the Gold again, but you can get the bonus on the Platinum.

Credit card links have been removed from posts and added to the menu bar at the top of every page of MileValue under the heading Top Travel Credit Cards.

Bottom Line

You’ve got four more days including today to apply for the Delta Gold and Platinum cards if you want their increased sign up bonuses. If Alaska is on the agenda (and especially if you live in the western half of the US), these cards’ bonuses could be extremely helpful. Want more inspiration on how to use your SkyMiles? Read Why SkyMiles & Why Now.


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4 COMMENTS

  1. When I took my family to Alaska, we used Delta Sky miles. Delta was a great choice, as I needed less miles than with American, United, or Alaska

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