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Rundown of Delta Air Lines’ SkyMiles for Canadians (updated January 8, 2020)

It has been almost 2 years since I last wrote about Delta Air Lines (Delta). The main reason is because there are no major updates that would affect the Canadian members of its frequent flyer program, SkyMiles. There are some minor changes (especially to its hotel partners) though, so I thought I’d give this post a proper update.

Expiry Policy

SkyMiles does not have an expiry policy, so once you earn miles, they stay in a member’s account for as long as they want without worrying about activity.

Its expiry policy is why SkyMiles is my primary SkyTeam preference for my portfolio. I like to have at least one primary frequent flyer account for each airline alliance, so that regardless of which airline I fly with, I have a main account to bank my miles with.

Earning Miles

There are different ways to earn miles as a general member (which I will mention below), but this post focuses on methods that applies more directly to Canadians.

Airline Alliance 

First of all, as mentioned above, Delta is a SkyTeam partner, so any time you fly with their member airlines, you can earn and redeem miles. Below is a list of its current airline alliance members:

  • Aeroflot
  • Aerolíneas Argentinas
  • Aeroméxico
  • Air Europa
  • Air France
  • Alitalia
  • China Airlines
  • China Eastern Airlines
  • Czech Airlines
  • Garuda Indonesia
  • Kenya Airways
  • KLM
  • Korean Air
  • Middle East Airlines
  • Saudia Airlines
  • TAROM
  • Vietnam Airlines
  • Xiamen Airlines

Non-Alliance Airline Partners

Aside from airline alliance members, Delta also partners up with other airlines that you can earn miles:

  • China Southern Airlines
  • Gol Transportes Aéreos
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • Virgin Atlantic
  • Virgin Australia
  • WestJet

The most notable one for Canadians is WestJet, though it is a not an optimized reciprocal partnership, there is definitely room for improvement.

Car Partners

You can earn SkyMiles with its car partners, instead of earning points with those companies (especially car rental). This is especially useful for people who do not use car services frequently, they would have SkyMiles as an alternative rewards program to earn with.

The dollars below are quoted in USD.

  • Alamo Rent A Car (earn 500 miles per rental in Canada or the U.S.)
  • Carmel Car and Limousine Service (earn 100 miles base miles; earn 1 mile per dollar on the first $100 and 2 miles per dollar above $100)
  • Dollar car rental (earn 500 miles for each rental)
  • Enterprise (earn 500 miles per rental in Canada or the U.S.)
  • Europcar (earn 60 miles per day)
  • ExecuCar (earn 150 miles per direction)
  • Hertz (earn between 500 and 1,250 base miles per rental, depending on SkyMiles elite status)
  • Lyft (earn 1 mile for every $1 spent, and earn 2 miles per $1 spent on airport rides; for U.S. rides only)
  • National Car Rental (earn 500 miles per rental in Canada or the U.S.)
  • Sixt rent a car (earn 500 miles per rental and earn 1,000 miles per chauffeur service)
  • SuperShuttle (earn 50 miles per direction)
  • Thrifty (earn 500 miles per rental)

Remember to always watch for bonus offers, where you can earn more miles than the base amount for the same service.

Hotels, Airbnb, Vacations, Cruises

The major updates (compared to last time) to this post are found in this section as there is a shakeup to its hotel partners. Unless otherwise specified, the currency below is listed in USD.

  • Accor Hotels (earn 2.5 to 12.5 miles for every 10 euros spent, depending on the brand)
  • Airbnb (earn 1 mile for every $1 spent)
  • Delta.com/hotels (earn 1 mile for every $1 spent)
  • Delta Cruises (earn between 1,500 and 10,000 miles per cruise, depending on duration)
  • Delta Vacations (earn between 250 and 7,500 per vacation booking)
  • Hyatt Hotels & Resorts (earn 500 miles per stay)
  • InterContinental Hotel Group (earn 1 or 2 miles for every $1 spent depending on the hotel brand)
  • Langham Hospitality Group (earn up to 250 to 500 miles per night, to a maximum of 750-1500 miles per stay, depending on the brand)
  • Marriott Hotels and Resorts (earn 1 or 2 miles for every $1 spent depending on the hotel brand)
  • Radisson Rewards (ability to convert hotel points to Delta miles)
  • Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts (earn 500 miles per stay)
  • Worldhotels (earn 500 miles per stay)

SkyMiles Elite Status

I did not include this in my last post, but I find this very useful to mention, members earn more bonus miles depending on their elite status tier. Below are the earning multiplier bonuses:

  • Member – earn 7 miles for every $1 spent
  • Silver – earn 7 miles for every $1 spent
  • Gold – earn 8 miles for every $1 spent
  • Platinum – earn 9 miles for every $1 spent
  • Diamond – earn 11 miles for every $1 spent

Shopping

Online hopping portals are a great way to accumulate miles, and Delta has SkyMiles Shopping. What’s missing in Canada compared to Canada are direct retailers (e.g. Biscoff Store, FTD, Vinesse Wine Clubs, Energy Plus, Georgia Natural Gas, Ohio Natural Gas) and the dining program.

American Express Membership Rewards

Unfortunately, there are no current co-branded credit cards that earn SkyMiles directly. But they are a transfer partner of the valuable American Express Membership Rewards program. There is a 1,000 Membership Rewards (MR) points minimum requirement (thereafter increments of 100 points). The current transfer ratio is 4:3, which means 1,000 MR points will get you 750 Delta SkyMiles.

The U.S. MR program has a more generous 1:1 transfer ratio. Unfortunately, I have never seen a transfer bonus promotion with the Canadian one.

Direct Destinations Departing from Canadian Airports

Delta has a fair presence across Canadian airports, but I would personally like to see more direct flights departing from Canadian airports. Below is an updated list compared to last time with recent changes are in brackets or struck-through. You may notice a lot of changes, but many of them are simply switching between the Delta Air Lines and Delta Connection brand, while the destinations remain the same.

Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ)

  • Delta Air Lines: Atlanta, Salt Lake City
  • Delta Air Lines (seasonal): Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul
  • Delta Connection: Atlanta, Cincinnati, Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York-JFK

Vancouver International Airport (YVR)

  • Delta Air Lines: Atlanta (added), Minneapolis/St Paul (added), New York-JFK (begins April 2, 2020)
  • Delta Air Lines (seasonal): Atlanta, Detroit, Minneapolis/St Paul, New York-JFK, Salt Lake City, Seattle/Tacoma (added)
  • Delta Connection: Los Angeles, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Detroit (added), Salt Lake City, Seattle/Tacoma

Montréal–Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport (YUL)

  • Delta Air Lines (seasonal): Atlanta (added)
  • Delta Connection: Atlanta, Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York-JFK, New York-LaGuardia

Calgary International Airport (YYC)

  • Delta Air Lines: Minneapolis/St. Paul (added)
  • Delta Air Lines (seasonal): Minneapolis/St. Paul, Salt Lake City, Seattle/Tacoma
  • Delta Connection: Minneapolis/St. Paul (added), Salt Lake City (added), Seattle/Tacoma (added)

Edmonton International Airport (YEG)

  • Delta Air Lines: Minneapolis/St. Paul, Seattle/Tacoma
  • Delta Connection: Minneapolis/St. Paul (added)

Ottawa Macdonald–Cartier International Airport (YOW)

  • Delta Air Lines: Detroit, New York–LaGuardia
  • Delta Connection: Detroit (added), New York–LaGuardia (added)

Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport (YWG)

  • Delta Air Lines: Minneapolis/St. Paul
  • Delta Connection: Minneapolis/St. Paul

Halifax Stanfield International Airport (YHZ)

  • Delta Air Lines (seasonal): New York-LaGuardia

Victoria International Airport (YYJ)

  • Delta Air Lines: Seattle/Tacoma

Saskatoon John G. Diefenbaker International Airport (YXE)

  • Delta Air Lines (seasonal): Minneapolis/St. Paul
  • Delta Connection: Minneapolis/St. Paul

Going Forward

I feel like there is so much potential for Delta in Canada, since they already have a strong airport presence. Of course I would like to see more destinations added, especially more flights to the Delta hubs like Altanta and Los Angeles. Also notice that there are no flights to Boston.

It may be too much to ask American Express Membership Rewards to increase their transfer ratio to 1:1, but at the very least, I would like to see some limited time transfer bonus offers.

But if I had to choose one thing, I would like to see a new co-branded credit card offered in Canada, especially with the market is wide open since Capital One discontinued its two co-branded cards.

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Pointshogger aims to provide analysis and updates on earning loyalty reward points and maximizing the value of your points. We hope to inspire our readers to experience the joy of travel and make the most out of what they've already got!

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