Delta Pay With Miles Can Help You Save Money On Flights Without Fussing With Award Charts Or Blackout Dates — Here's How To Use It

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Ask any award travel enthusiast, and they’ll tell you that there’s an art to spending frequent flyer miles. And for those who aren’t very experienced with these programs, redeeming your miles can be very frustrating.

Fortunately, in addition to standard award tickets, Delta Air Lines offers another redemption option called Pay with Miles. This program is available to American Express Delta credit card holders, and allows you to redeem your miles at a fixed rate toward paid tickets without having to worry about award charts, blackout dates, or availability.

What is Delta Pay With Miles?

Pay with Miles is a benefit offered to American Express Delta SkyMiles cardmembers to give them more flexibility in applying their miles to pay for their ticket. Miles are worth 1 cent each toward paid airfare, and you can redeem them in increments of 5,000.

Read more: The best credit cards for Delta flyers

So 5,000 miles will give you a $50 credit towards a flight purchase, 10,000 miles will offer you a $100 credit, and so on. You can even pay for the entire ticket cost by using miles up to the next highest $50 increment. So if you have a $178 ticket, you can redeem 20,000 points to cover the entire cost.

Which credit cards do you need to use Pay With Miles?

Annual Fee

$0 intro for the first year, then $99

Regular APR

15.74% – 24.74% variable

Annual Fee

$0 intro for the first year, then $99

Regular APR

15.74% – 24.74% variable


  • Earns bonus miles at restaurants and US supermarkets
  • Intro annual fee is $0 for the first year (then $99)
  • You get a free checked bag and Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding on Delta flights


  • Doesn’t go above and beyond in terms of benefits beyond Delta perks
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  • Earn 70,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Earn 2X Miles on Delta purchases, at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery in the U.S. and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases.
  • $100 Delta Flight Credit: After you spend $10,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, receive a Credit to use toward future travel.
  • Enjoy a $0 introductory Annual Fee for the first year, then $99.
  • Terms Apply.

To use Pay With Miles, you’ll need one of Amex’s eligible Delta credit cards. 

Personal SkyMiles Amex cards:

Amex SkyMiles cards for small business owners:

Each of these cards comes with other perks that can make your travel more comfortable and save you money. For example, all of these cards (except the Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card) offer priority boarding and a free first checked bag for the cardholder and up to eight companions on the same reservation on Delta flights.

Read more: Having a Delta credit card gets you a free checked bag every time you fly the airline — here’s how to use the perk

How to pay with Delta miles

To redeem SkyMiles using Pay With Miles, you can use Delta’s regular website and search for flights as you normally would. You can use Pay With Miles on Delta and Delta Connection flights, but not for partner flights.

When you search, you’ll need to have at least 5,000 miles in your Delta account (the minimum redemption amount) for Pay With Miles to appear as an option. Flights that qualify for Pay With Miles are listed as “Pay With Miles eligible” in your search results.

Start your flight search on Delta’s website to use Pay With Miles.

Eligible cardholders will see the option to Pay With Miles after selecting a flight.

Delta Pay with Miles benefits and drawbacks

There are several advantages to using Pay with Miles when purchasing a Delta ticket, on top of reducing or eliminating your out-of-pocket cost for the flight. Even though each mile you redeem is only worth 1 cent, this can sometimes be a greater value than is offered when redeeming Delta SkyMiles directly for award tickets. 

Another advantage is that you can use Pay with Miles to cover not just the base cost of the airfare, but also any taxes or fees you might incur. Domestically, these taxes and fees are typically only $5.60 per person, each way. But when you fly internationally, many destinations will impose much larger taxes and fees that must be paid for in cash when booking a standard award ticket.

Read more: How to earn, redeem, and maximize Delta SkyMiles

But with Pay with Miles, you always have the option to cover the entire cost of the ticket with your miles, including all taxes, fees, and surcharges collected at the time of purchase. 

Also, tickets purchased in whole or in part with Pay with Miles count as revenue (paid) tickets. That means you’ll earn Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs), and Medallion Qualification Segments (MQS) which will help you earn and retain elite status in the SkyMiles program.

You can also earn redeemable SkyMiles and Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs) from your trip, but only on the portion of the fare that you pay in cash, after miles are applied to the ticket. For top-tier Diamond Medallion members, that will mean that you’ll receive 11 miles for every dollar of the cash portion of the ticket price. When you book award tickets the usual way, you won’t earn any miles. 

Read more: 2 of Delta’s credit cards offer bonus Medallion Qualification Miles — the key to getting elite status

The disadvantage of Pay with Miles is that you’ll only get a value of 1 cent per mile redeemed, which is usually considered to be a lower rate compared to using miles to book traditional award tickets. 

Regular APR

15.74% to 24.74% variable

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent

Regular APR

15.74% to 24.74% variable

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent

More Information

  • Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs up to two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery in the U.S. and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.

Delta Pay With Miles — Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How do you Pay With Miles and cash on Delta?

If you’re an Amex Delta SkyMiles cardholder and have at least 5,000 miles in your Delta account, you should see the Pay With Miles option on the payment screen as long as the flight you’ve chosen is eligible.

You can choose to use miles in 5,000-mile increments ($50) with no limit to the number of miles you can redeem. If you don’t want to use miles to cover the entire ticket, or don’t have enough to do so, you can pay the remainder in cash.

Why don’t I see the option to Pay With Miles when I book a Delta flight?

There are a few reasons why you might not see the Pay With Miles option when you’re searching for a flight:

  • You’re not a Delta SkyMiles credit card holder
  • You’re not logged in to your Delta account (doing so will identify you as an eligible cardholder)
  • You’ve chosen a flight that isn’t Pay With Miles eligible — for example, a partner itinerary
  • You don’t have at least 5,000 miles in your account

What if I don’t have at least 5,000 Delta miles?

If you’re short the minimum amount (5,000 miles) to use Pay With Miles, but have Amex Membership Rewards points from cards like The Platinum Card® from American Express or American Express® Gold Card , you can transfer points to Delta at a 1:1 ratio to top-off your account. 

This is a good strategy in general if you’re short on miles or points for an award. Amex partners with 21 airline and hotel loyalty programs, including Delta, Air Canada Aeroplan, JetBlue, Marriott, and Hilton.

Who is eligible to use Delta Pay With Miles?

If you have a US-issued Amex Delta credit card (personal or small business) and you sign in to Delta with the SkyMiles frequent flyer number attached to your credit card, you should see the option to use Pay With Miles.

Can non-US cardholders use Delta Pay With Miles?

If you’re an international Delta SkyMiles credit cardholder with a point of sale address in Germany, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, Guam, Canada, Brazil, Germany, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, El Salvador, or Mexico, you can also use Pay With Miles.

Is there a limit to the number of times I can use Pay With Miles?

You can redeem through Delta Pay With Miles as many times as you want.

Can I use Pay With Miles to book a ticket for someone else or for a group?

You can book another person’s ticket using Pay With Miles. Or, if you’re booking more than one traveler, you can redeem miles for the entire group, as long as you have at least 5,000 miles per person in your account and they’re all on the same reservation.

Jason Steele is a journalist who has specialized in covering credit cards, award travel, and other areas of personal finance since 2008. As one of the nation’s leading experts in the credit card industry, Jason is a Senior Points and Miles contributor to The Points Guy and writes for several other top outlets. Jason also produces CardCon, The Conference for Credit and Credit Card Media. Jason lives in Denver, Colorado, with his wife and three kids.

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