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Delta Vacations has just become more valuable


There’s big news from Delta Vacations, Delta Air Lines’ all-in-one vacation booking platform that allows SkyMiles members to earn and redeem miles for vacation packages.

Delta Vacations has launched several customer-friendly changes for reservations as of July 10. From more valuable redemptions to new ways to earn Delta’s Medallion elite status, here’s what you need to know about the new Delta Vacations.

A better use of SkyMiles

ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

Your SkyMiles are now worth at least 15% more when you redeem them for Delta Vacations purchases.

Previously, members could redeem SkyMiles through Delta Vacations at a fixed 1 cent per mile. In other words, 10,000 SkyMiles provided $100 off a Delta Vacations purchase. Now, your SkyMiles are worth at least 1.15 cents if you redeem them for a package. However, for select destinations, you may find even more value.

This is a notable enhancement from the previous matrix, where Delta pegged the value of miles at 1 cent apiece. While the redemption rate for vacation packages will now vary, Delta Vacations has confirmed you’ll get at least 1.15 cents per mile. You can see the exact cost in cash and miles for your trip in the Delta Vacations portal.

As a reminder, TPG values Delta SkyMiles at 1.41 cents, so aim to redeem your miles in line with that redemption rate.

Earn more miles (and MQDs) on paid bookings

ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

In addition to the redemption changes, Delta has also increased bonus mileage accruals on some paid Delta Vacations packages:

  • 1,000 SkyMiles per person on bookings of up to $4,999
  • 5,000 SkyMiles (previously 2,000 miles) per person on bookings of $5,000 to $9,999
  • 10,000 SkyMiles (previously 5,000 miles) per person on bookings of $10,000+

Additionally, if your Delta Vacations package includes a flight, the platform is changing how you’ll earn miles for your flight.

Under the previous program, the flight portion of your Delta Vacations purchase would post to your SkyMiles account as an exception fare, thus awarding mileage based on the distance flown and the ticket’s fare class. Now, the platform will compare that exception fare accrual rate to the miles you would’ve earned by booking the flight directly through Delta.

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You’ll then earn the higher of those amounts.

This also has implications for earning Delta Medallion status — specifically regarding Medallion Qualifying Dollars.

Previously, while the exception fare model could be appealing for travelers booking discounted, long-haul flights, it left customers with high fares and/or short flights earning fewer MQDs than if they purchased their flights directly from Delta.

Now, you’ll earn MQDs and miles the same way a paid Delta ticket would (the base cost of your airfare) or using the previous exception fare model — Delta Vacations will credit whichever earning model earns more.

Here are two examples of how this works in practice:

Round-trip Comfort+ W fare

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) to Cancun International Airport (CUN) with a $500 base fare

Standard accruals:

  • General member: 2,500 SkyMiles and $500 MQDs
  • Silver Medallion: 3,500 SkyMiles and $500 MQDs
  • Gold Medallion: 4,000 SkyMiles and $500 MQDs
  • Platinum Medallion: 4,500 SkyMiles and $500 MQDs
  • Diamond Medallion: 5,500 SkyMiles and $500 MQDs

Exception fare accruals:

  • General member: 1,761 SkyMiles and $352 MQDs
  • Silver Medallion: 2,465 SkyMiles and $352 MQDs
  • Gold Medallion: 2,818 SkyMiles and $352 MQDs
  • Platinum Medallion: 3,170 SkyMiles and $352 MQDs
  • Diamond Medallion: 3,874 SkyMiles and $352 MQDs

Verdict: Standard accruals are better.

Round-trip Delta One Z fare

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to Sydney Airport (SYD) with a $3,000 base fare

Standard accruals:

  • General member: 15,000 SkyMiles and $3,000 MQDs
  • Silver Medallion: 21,000 SkyMiles and $3,000 MQDs
  • Gold Medallion: 24,000 SkyMiles and $3,000 MQDs
  • Platinum Medallion: 27,000 SkyMiles and $3,000 MQDs
  • Diamond Medallion: 33,000 SkyMiles and $3,000 MQDs

Exception fare accruals:

  • General member: 22,464 SkyMiles and $4,493 MQDs
  • Silver Medallion: 31,450 SkyMiles and $4,493 MQDs
  • Gold Medallion: 35,942 SkyMiles and $4,493 MQDs
  • Platinum Medallion: 40,435 SkyMiles and $4,493 MQDs
  • Diamond Medallion: 49,420 SkyMiles and $4,493 MQDs

Verdict: Exception fare accruals are better.

As you can see, there are times when the exception fare model still earns more. Luckily, Delta Vacations will automatically credit whichever earns more for the traveler.

For now, you can still only earn MQDs on Delta Vacations flight activity.

Related: How to earn Medallion Qualification Dollars inexpensively by booking Delta partner tickets

Finally, you can also use an eligible cobranded Delta American Express card to earn bonus miles with Delta Vacations:

Related: Best Delta credit cards

Bottom line

With its latest mileage and elite status enhancements, booking a Delta Vacations package is now more lucrative for SkyMiles members.

As a reminder, since Delta Vacations operates as an online travel agency, you generally won’t earn hotel points or car rental rewards for these parts of your vacation packages. However, with preferred pricing and the opportunity to earn or redeem miles for your getaways, these improvements make Delta Vacations a solid choice for your next trip.

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