Top 5 Reasons to Buy Delta Miles for 1.1 Cents Each


Delta is currently running a special promotion in which they’ll double miles transferred to another person. Is it worth it?

Until December16th, Delta is running a promotion where they will double miles transferred from one person’s account to another. You will be charged 1 cent per mile to transfer those miles plus a $30 transaction fee. You can transfer up to 30,000 miles to a person in each transaction. Since it is possible to transfer miles back and forth between people, you can essentially buy Delta miles for 1.1 cents each with this technique. It is possible to reduce this amount very slightly by bundling transfers to multiple people in a single transaction, but to make this easy to think about, let’s just assume that the cost to buy miles is exactly 1.1 cents.

Is it a good idea to buy Delta miles? The answer depends on your situation. If you’re unlikely to use the miles, then the answer is no. If you would want to redeem the miles for gift cards, hotel stays, etc., then the answer is still no (since the value of such redemptions will typically be 1 cent per mile or less). So, when is it a good idea? Here are my top 5 reasons to buy miles before the promotion ends:

Reason #1: International Travel

If you are planning international travel, but don’t have enough frequent flyer miles for the trip, this could be a great opportunity. Suppose, for example, you are planning a trip from the US to Europe. With Delta, if you’re able to find low-level award availability, you would need 60,000 miles for coach travel or 100,000 miles for business class. To buy the miles would cost $660 or $1100, respectively. Often, the price for a flight to Europe, in coach, is more than the $1100 to buy miles for a business class ticket. In that case, and If you can find low-award availability on Delta for the times you would like to travel, buy the miles and either save a bunch of money by going in coach or live the good life in business class.

Even if you’re not planning an international trip right away, but you know that you will go on a number of such trips in the future, it is probably worth it to buy miles speculatively in the hopes that it will work out. This is a bit risky, though, since you might find no low level award availability on the dates you want to travel.

Reason #2: Holiday Travel

Suppose you failed to plan ahead and you are just now looking for flights to visit family and friends for the holidays. You are likely to see astronomical fares for the flights you want. I took a look recently at some sample fares and the corresponding Delta award availability for the same flights. While you won’t be able to get your round trip tickets for 25,000 miles (low level award), there are plenty of medium and high level awards available that can still save you hundreds of dollars per ticket. For example, suppose you have 30,000 miles to work with and all you can find are high level awards (60,000 miles within the continental US). Transfer all 30,000 miles to a friend for $330 and have them book the ticket for you. Since many such flights are running $800 or more, this can be a pretty good value for you.

Reason #3: Gift Miles

Want to give someone an incredible gift? How about transferring your miles to their account with a card saying something like “Use these miles for the trip to Paris you’ve been dreaming of”. Of course, like a gift card, they would be able to use the miles for any trips they want.

Reason #4: Last Minute Travel

Every now and then something may come up in which you need to travel right away. Two interesting things happen when you are within a day or two of travel: flight prices skyrocket and award availability opens up wide. That means that you might have the option to pay something like $1,200 for a last minute flight or use 25,000 miles for that same flight. Since 25,000 miles would only cost you $275 with this promotion, I’d highly recommend banking some miles now for that just in case situation in the future.

Reason #5: Combine Miles

Many families face the situation of having small amounts of miles in multiple accounts. Separate, the miles are fairly useless since you need a minimum of 25,000 miles to book award travel. Use this promotion to move miles all to one account and not only will your total family miles double, but you’ll also have them together where they are now usable! If anyone in the family has elite status with Delta, then make sure to have the miles end up in that person’s account because they will have better award redemption options than people without status.

I took advantage of this promotion when it ran previously in September and I’m thinking of buying a few more miles again in preparation for future travel to Australia or Asia. How about you, are you going to go for this promotion? Let us know why or why not.

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