Rookie Wednesday: How I will earn Skymiles next year (since flying Delta under #Skymiles2015 is the worst choice)!

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel 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. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

RenesPoints Rookie

Welcome to a weekly feature on the Renés Points blog. Each week this series covers in a “rookie” way either a Delta or travel related theme and attempts to break down to a basic level each topic. You can read up on all the previous posts HERE. Now on to this week’s feature.

By now we all should clearly know that, for 98% of us, flying Delta will be the absolute worst possible way to earn Skymiles under the crushing Skymiles2015 that is now just one week away. Delta has shown ZERO willingness to back down on anything we have asked for and this despite American & Alaska’s bold move to not go down the UN-Rewarding UN-Loyalty road like Delta has chosen to stick with (at least for now).

my cards to earn skymiles next year

So, that begs the question, what will be the best way to earn Skymiles in 2015 for those of us who WANT to earn them that is. The top way, as it has been for years and years even before Skymiles2015, is point cards and different kinds of spend. For me I can earn a ton via:


  • Delta AMEX Reserve cards. As last year, there are SO many ways to earn points via spend. Once I have run my $60,000 for the year I will get 30,000 bonus points. 90,000 Skymiles is the better part of a business class round trip low level award for me to Sweden. Simple. While the Premier Rewards Gold card does give 3x points for buying tickets I may forego the extra points as I want to spend as little as I can on Delta tickets next year. My goal is under $2000 all-in!
  • Non-Delta AMEX Platinum cards. As I talked about in this post, this is such a great card to hold and earn points on (as I will touch on later). I have the flexibly to send all I want to Delta and the transfer is just about instant when I need them.

Skymiles Shopping

Skymiles Shopping is one I have largely ignored in years gone by as there are so many times I can get a better return from other portals or deals. However, now that flying is out as a way to earn I have to look at other options and getting points for buying stuff I want / need anyway is going to be nice. Plus I pay for them with one of the cards above and end up with a double dip. #Winning and simple step to earn Skymiles.

crossover rewards

Crossover Rewards is the next one that is great for me as I do stay at SPG hotels and it is another one of those just register and forget about it programs. I love those. For each dollar I spend for my SPG stays I end up getting a Skymile. I think you are seeing the trend here – not flying is good! If you are someone who stays a bunch at hotels these points can really grow over a year for an award.


This one again is UBER simple 😉 (yes that was an attempt to be funny). All I have to do is one time enter my membership rewards card, in my case my non-Delta AMEX Platinum card, and I am earning 2x points that I can send to Delta should I want to. If you are someone who often uses UBER you can earn a nice chunk of points this way.

thanks again

I love programs like Thanks Again where I don’t have to think about them. I just register my card and them I am DONE and just earn whenever a merchant happens to be part of the program. For me, SBN parking and other vendors take part. There are a TON at the ATL airport as well as so many other places. Not only are you earning on say your Delta AMEX but then earning bonus points as well. (Edit – as readers and MJ on Travel points out – GONE as of 15JAN15 🙁Thanks AGAIN” Delta for driving yet one more partner away! #TIP at least Alaska Air is a earnings partner 😉 )

skymiles dining

For many Skymiles Dining is a real winner too. For me, locally, I have few choices. But out and about in 2015 this can be a way to earn a nice 5x bonus points on dining. For some who dine out often or have business lunches / dinners to pay for this could be a VERY nice addition to your Skymiles earnings for the year.

The last ones to look at now and then are SkyMiles Cruises, other hotels, car & transfer bonus deals when they come along. These are not every day ones but good to think about if needing to top off for an award. Just keep a watch on these types.

So that is my plan. I should say, personally, I have amassed well over 1 million Skymiles and plan to BURN a bunch in 2015 and test just how honest Delta was all this year in promising us more low level awards (and call them out if they do not live up to that promise). At least, by following the above choices, I will have a steady flow of points that are not dependent on buying Delta tickets! And as I have mentioned before, when I do buy 1st class tickets that could have netted me a bunch of Skymiles, I will pick another airline as Delta has not EARNED my loyalty dollars with Skymiles2015 – René
Editorial Note: This content is not provided by American Express. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by American Express.

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel 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. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

René de Lambert is a contributing writer and the founder of RenesPoints. He is an avid Delta and SkyTeam flyer who has held Delta’s top Diamond Medallion status for many years and flown millions of miles.


  1. John DELTA Reply


    Although I feel like I am paying twice for the same ticket (and less miles that I would have gotten under SkyMiles 2014) there is also the possibility to purchase MilesBooster (for .02 per mile) whenever you book a flight. So a flight with six segments that would net you say 1,500 RDM’s now can be worth 19,500 miles for an additional $360.

    [Not my first choice, but at least Delta didn’t devalue those to revenue ticket status value to a mile, as in $60 mileage booster would only get you 300 miles]

    But again, I do realize, a person purchasing Mileage Boosters is simply paying Delta for what was free in SkyMiles 2014….buying back the same miles and adding “gravy” to the Delta equation.

  2. John DELTA Reply


    You state that you want to BURN SkyMiles this year and that you plan to be only $2,000 All-In with your Delta spend this year.

    What is your strategy to re-qualify as a Diamond Medallion? I am sure everyone wants to know the answer to this question! And I think it would a SUPER GREAT IMPORTANT WELL-FOLLOWED thread if you would post strategy(ies) for this and keep an update going throughout the year exactly for strategies on achieving/maintaining a specific Medallion status.

    I know for myself, I am starting the year off with rollover miles (and I’m thankful that Delta missed that as one of their potential cuts to SkyMiles 2015), plus AmEx Reserve Card bonuses….but ultimately, you have to FLY and have your BUTT in the SEAT and earn the MQM’s !!

    No way around that, and it costs $ MONEY $ !!

  3. John DELTA Reply

    One last thought (for the immediate moment.)

    I think the discussion on how to re-qualify for Diamond Medallion Status SHOULD be a topic of our MSP dinner event on April 22nd!

    What do you think?

  4. John DELTA Reply


    So what’s your strategy for re-qualifying for Diamond Medallion status?

    After all, it will require butt in the seat miles plus paying money!

    I think this should be a thread for your blog and absolutely a topic for discussion at our MSP dinner event.

    • @John Delta – not really hard. I will get 30k MQM from Delta Reserve spend and then $2000 at flights / mileage runs under 4CPM = 50,000 Miles/MQMs. So up to 80,000 leaving just 45k remaining. I have rollover DM for 2016 and this plus 30k in 2016 gives me DM for 2017. Keep in mind Mileage Running next year earns just the same MQMs as this year. I already have almost 12k booked at 4.5CPM including positing costs (thanks to the amazing EAT run)! And the biggest bulk of that paid with bump vouchers.

  5. Just got an email from Thanks Again saying Delta’s eliminated them as an earning partner…

  6. Thanks for this post Rene. Do you still think there is value in putting in a lot of effort for Delta Platinum status? As my previous post inquired, with not too much actual BIS in 2015, only way for me to keep any type of mid tier elite status is to switch from AA to Delta in both flying and in cc spending.

    I know you are(were) a big fan of Delta product, not so much the company or skymiles. Is Delta Gold or Platinum status worth the effort?


    • @Juno – I will keep my DM or drop at some point to PM for at least the next 5 years. The product is great with Delta. The people are great. The service is great. They break all their dumb rules for PM & DM (especially DMs) all the time. I want to fly them, just not give them any money ;-)! PM is well worth it. GM, well, a bit less. It all depends on how much you fly and how many award tickets you plan to use. PM is amazing level to be for flexible awards.

    • @AndyTLe – strange I did not get the email and still shows as a partner on all the pages! 🙁

  7. I got email from thanks again yesterday saying delta is no longer a partner. Have the following to choose from.
    AeroMexico® Club Premier®
    Alaska MileagePlan™
    American AAdvantage®
    Frontier EarlyReturns®
    Hilton HHonors®
    JetBlue TrueBlue®
    Thanks Again Points™
    Southwest Rapid Rewards®
    United MileagePlus®
    VOILÀ Hotel Rewards®
    If you do not e-mail us with your choice by 1/1/15, we will automatically switch you to Thanks Again Points.

    • @JT – yep updated post and linked to MJs post about the changes. Grrr.. at least Alaska Air is a choice 😉

  8. OK frustration…. I need to travel with my son to PDX 1/16 to 1/19. My ticket will be paid, his will be miles…
    MIA-LAX-PDX RT $457 or 25,000 miles. the miles puts him on AS flights the LAX-PDX and PDX-LAX. These flights depart 5 minutes before the DL flights I will pay for. if I change him to the same DL metal that I will be on, it jumps to 40,000 miles. spoke to DL and she could not even book me a revenue seat on the AS flights. So now either I have to spend 15,000 miles for my son to be on the same metal or talk my wife into allowing him to take that segment on his own (he is 16). btw DL rep agreed with me when I made comment for getting 11k miles in December for FLLPDX and now it will be 3k as my being ripped off since they are NOT lowering the price of miles for a ticket.

  9. Steve Case Reply

    The beautiful part about living in America is that you can vote with your wallet. As the McDonald’s commercial says, “I’m lovin’ it”! I love the new AS mileage earning chart flying on DL. I will be flying PDX-SLC-JFK-UVF in P/P/I/I/P/P classes for $1254.00 r/t. I will get 15,716 AS EQMs and 24,583 miles total in the bank. I ran this same trip through the DL skymiles 2015 calculator as if I was a DL GM and I would only get 10,800 total.

  10. Delta Segment Flyer Reply

    For this segment flyer, who can do last minute flights(in particular when AA cancels my flight) and usually under 3 weeks from a small airport I will do 50% better along with most (not all) business flyers. Because of this I will actually move some of my CC spend to other cards to buy top loyalty at other Hotel brands. That will allow me to be top Tier at 4 chains plus Gold at SPG. Skymiles 2015 I love you!!!

    What is really the thing that hurts it that once again there will be about 10% less seats to get that coveted upgrade.

    Thus anyone that wants to switch to another airline for the better rebate please do as I would prefer a better chance at sitting up front!

    • I have been thinking about jumping ship.

      Options are moving to UA who has butchered their plan just like DL. the only advantage I have there is that I am Plat with Marriott.

      Move to AA/US I always like AA in the past, but was mid tier with US when I left DL after the 1/2 MQMs on discounted fairs was put into place. At the time it seemed that US had the least amount seats in the front. But I had horrible customer service on US and as soon as DL reversed the 1/2 MQM I went back to them.

      Just for the heck it, I looked at Alaska and the air fare from South Florida are higher than the other airlines.

  11. Momma's Boy Reply

    @Gregg G: 16 is plenty old enough to take one segment alone. If he can’t handle one segment apart then you guys have done him a disservice. Delta does have a service available where they can escort unaccompanied minors at airports as when I was transiting ATL alone at age 12.

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