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Today many airlines offer their loyalty programs. That means that you can fly on a specific airline and earn rewards, which you can use to pay for a ticket. Delta also have frequent flyer program named Delta SkyMiles that is revenue-based, meaning that the number of miles earned depends on the price of the ticket, but not on the number of miles flown.
If you're a Delta frequent flyer, the easiest way to earn rewards is to apply for one of the Delta credit cards. Delta has its own SkyMiles credit cards that are issued by AmEx. However, airline co-branded credit cards have a lot of disadvantages that can prevent you from maximizing your rewards and make redemption process more complicated.
- Delta is a member of SkyTeam, so your airfare redemption options are limited to Delta Air Lines and SkyTeam members only. You'll have a hard time redeeming your frequent flyer miles because airlines often impose restrictions on award tickets. You should be really flexible with the dates if you want to grab a good deal and save maximum on your flight. When you travel with your family or friends, it will be even more difficult to find available award tickets. Plus, you will have to pay additional fees and taxes for your award ticket.
- Delta have flight in any direction. Some flights may be operated by Delta's partners. But what if you want to travel to country that is not operated by Delta or its partners? You won't be able to use miles you've earned with Delta's flights. So, you should be flexible not only with dates, but also you always should adapt your plans to Delta's destinations. Instead you can use travel rewards credit cards, which you can use to pay for a ticket of any airline.
- CPM (Cost Per Mile) for economy fare is low if you pay with airline miles. CPM shows the value of miles that you've earned. The higher CPM is, the less miles you need to pay for a ticket. The CPM is calculated as the difference between price and taxes divided by the number of miles. For example, a round-trip ticket from Los Angeles to Pekin, China costs $751,05 including taxes $93,05. The same ticket will cost you 75,000 miles on average, plus fees. CPM for this flight is equal to 0.8 cents. If you use a travel rewards card like the Discover it® Miles, the CPM will be equal to 1 cent.
- Co-branded credit cards usually have high interest rates and fees. Most Delta credit cards come with very high annual fees and no 0% introductory APR on purchases or balance transfers. Regular credit cards often come with 0% intro APRs and low-to-no annual fees.
As an alternative to Delta SkyMiles credit cards we recommend you consider travel rewards credit cards with low rates and no annual fees. Their rewards programs are more flexible in the ways you earn rewards and redeem them. You can redeem miles on travel expenses regardless of what airlines you prefer or plan to use. There are no restrictions on seat availability or blackout dates. You can receive rewards on all purchases including Delta tickets. For example, the Discover it® Miles allows to earn 1.5 miles on all purchases, travel included. Miles are worth $0.01 and are extremely easy to use. This card offers a 15 months 0% Intro APR on purchases (when the introductory interest rate is over, the ongoing APR of 16.74% - 27.74% Variable APR will apply), no annual fee, and no foreign transaction fees - a great perk for travelers. Also, Discover offers an unusual sign-up bonus. All the miles you've earned are matched at the end of your first usage year (provided you are a new cardmember).