Points Panda has partnered with a variety of financial companies including CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Points Panda and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. For more information please read our full Advertiser Disclosure.
Delta Skymiles members typically earn miles in two ways: flying on Delta-operated flights or using a Delta co-branded credit card. However, there’s a third option that you should know about and that is through Delta partners.
Delta has partnered with more than 20 airlines which are composed of both alliance and non-alliance partners. Whenever you fly with any of these partners, you’ll earn Skymiles and also have the flexibility to plan your trips since you’re not restricted to Delta flights only.
Let’s dive into detail on who these different partners are.
Read More: Delta Improving Its Food and IFE
Delta Skymiles Alliance Partners
Airlines form “Airline Alliances” with each other so they can share resources, extend their routes, and also allow frequent flyers to earn or redeem miles from each other’s loyalty programs. Alliances benefit both the airlines and the flyers.
Now, Delta Airlines belongs to the SkyTeam Alliance which currently consists of 19 members and serves more than 1,000 destinations around the world. Here are its members:
- Aerolíneas Argentinas
- Air Europa
- Air France
- China Airlines
- China Eastern
- China Southern
- Czech Airlines
- Garuda Indonesia
- Kenya Airways
- KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
- Korean Air
- Middle East Airlines
- Vietnam Airlines
Let’s say you’re planning a trip to Asia, you can fly via China Eastern Airlines from New York (JFK) to Shanghai Pudong (PVG) and still earn Delta Skymiles since both airlines belong to the SkyTeam Alliance.
Tip: Sign-Up To SkyTeam For More Travel Benefits
This is a great way to double-dip when you fly on Delta-operated flights because as you earn Delta Skymiles (award miles) and Medallion status miles, you’ll also earn status miles towards SkyTeam status.
(Note: Status miles are qualifying metrics that determine elite status in a loyalty program while award miles (eg: Delta Skymiles, United MileagePlus miles, and British Airways Avios) are used to redeem award flights, stays, and other products.)
Here are the two tiers (and benefits) in the SkyTeam loyalty program:
- Extra baggage allowance
- Priority check-in
- Priority baggage drop-off
- Priority seating
- Priority boarding
- Priority airport standby
SkyTeam Elite Plus (includes all the benefits of SkyTeam Elite plus these additional benefits):
- Lounge Access
- Guaranteed reservations on sold-out flights
- SkyPriority recognition
- Priority at transfer desks
- Priority at immigration and security lanes
- Priority baggage handling
Delta Skymiles Non-alliance Partners
There are some Delta partners that don’t belong to the SkyTeam alliance and this gives you more ways to earn Delta Skymiles even if you aren’t flying with Delta or a SkyTeam alliance member.
Some examples of non-alliance partners are:
- Air Tahiti Nui
- Hawaiian Airlines
- Mandarin Airlines
- Shanghai Airlines
- Virgin Atlantic
- Virgin Australia
Read More: Is The Delta SkyMiles Gold Worth It?
How Many Skymiles Can You Earn Through Delta Partners?
The amount of miles you earn on partner airlines depends on how you purchased your flight ticket, whether it’s a Delta-marketed flight or a carrier-marketed flight.
A Delta-marketed flight is any flight from a partner airline that was purchased on Delta.com, yet still operated by the said partner airline. A key indicator would be the number “006” at the beginning of its ticket.
Delta-marketed flights are considered regular Delta flights which means that they will earn the same number of miles based on their Medallion status. However, partner airlines traveling to or from Cuba will not be eligible to earn miles but other than that, any destination will earn the following rates below:
- No status – 5 Skymiles per $1 spent on flights
- Silver – 7 Skymiles per $1 spent on flights
- Gold – 8 Skymiles per $1 spent on flights
- Platinum – 9 Skymiles per $1 spent on flights
- Diamond – 11 Skymiles per $1 spent on flights
For example, if a Diamond status holder buys a $500 Aeromexico ticket on Delta.com and flew on an Aeromexico plane, he will still earn a total of 5,500 Delta Skymiles. If he doesn’t have a status, he will only earn 2,500 Skymiles.
Partner-marketed flights are flights marketed and operated by Delta partners. Its tickets would not contain the numbers “006” at the beginning but a different number that is unique to that airline partner (E.g. “932” for Virgin Atlantic flight tickets).
For example, even if you bought a ticket on Aeromexico.com, you will still earn Delta Skymiles as long as you type in your Delta Skymiles number on the checkout page.
However, the rate of miles you’ll earn on partner-marketed flights will not be the same as regular Delta flights but will depend on the rules of each airline partner. You can check the complete list of airline rules here.
Delta Airline Partners Vs Delta Transfer Partners
Delta Airline partners give Skymiles members the ability to earn Skymiles even when you’re flying with other airlines. Meanwhile, a transfer partner allows you to transfer points from another loyalty program into the Delta SkyMiles loyalty program.
The rates vary per loyalty program. For example, American Express Membership Rewards transfers at a 1:1 ratio to Delta Skymiles which means that transferring 1,000 Amex points will get you 1,000 Skymiles. Delta is also a transfer partner with the Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program (3:1 transfer ratio) and Hilton Honors loyalty program (10:1 transfer ratio).
Here are some recommended cards that come with big welcome bonuses:
- The Platinum Card® from American Express – Earn 100,000 bonus Membership Rewards® points after spending $6,000 on purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership. That’s equivalent to 100,000 Skymiles when transferred to Delta (terms apply).
- American Express® Gold Card – Earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 with your new Card within the first 6 months. That’s 60,000 Skymiles when transferred to Delta (terms apply).
- Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card – Earn 3 Free Nights (each night valued up to 50,000 points) after spending $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening (terms apply).
- Hilton Honors American Express Card – Earn 100,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the Card in the first 3 months of Card Membership. Plus, you can earn up to $100 in Statement Credits on eligible purchases made on the Card at any of the Hilton family hotels in the first 12 months of Membership (Terms Apply).
The advantage of these transfer partners is that you don’t need to fly with Delta or any of its Delta partners to earn Skymiles. Just get a credit card, sign-up for its loyalty program, start earning points on it, and transfer those points when you need to.
Credit card loyalty programs are usually the most valuable programs since they are transfer partners with multiple airlines and hotel loyalty programs (E.g. Amex has about 18 transfer partners).
Skymile partners make it easy for loyalty members to earn and accumulate miles which they can use for award redemptions. It’s even easier if you’re a Medallion status holder.
Delta Skymiles has a lot of low-priced awards flights on partner airlines, especially when you’re flying from North American to any South American or Central American destinations.
PointsPanda Deal of the Week!
Looking for the best flight deals? Each week we'll send you updates with the best deals on flights and hotels both using points and cash.