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You want to fly to Orlando for a last-minute convention trip. Or maybe you need to hit Atlanta for an emergency visit to a far-flung relative.
Problem is, you don't have enough miles to pay for your entire round-trip ticket.
If you're flying on Delta Air Lines, you have have a way around this: You can use the airline's frequent-flier program's Pay With Miles option to pay for a portion of your airfare with the miles that you have accumulated.
The program provides a bit of flexibility in Delta's often cumbersome SkyMiles frequent-flier program. And it just might make it easier for you to get to that wedding in Michigan or that college reunion in Los Angeles.
How Delta Pay With Miles Works
The Pay With Miles program allows you to use your existing SkyMiles to pay for all or part of a flight. If you need to purchase a ticket that costs less than $100, you can redeem 10,000 of your existing SkyMiles to cover the entire fare.
You can start earning SkyMiles with the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express - currently offering a great signup bonus for new accounts.
It gets more interesting as ticket prices get higher, though. For instance, for base fares equal to or greater than $100 and less than $250, you can redeem 10,000 miles for $100 off the total fare or increase the number of miles you redeem to cover the total fare, starting at 25,000 miles and going up in increments of 5,000 miles ($50 off) to cover the total fare.
For base fares equal to or greater than $250 and total fares less than $1,000, redeem 10,000 miles for $100 off the total fare or increase the redemption in increments of 5,000 miles ($50 off) to cover all or part of the total fare (15,000 miles for $150 off, 20,000 miles for $200 off, etc.).
And for total fares equal to or greater than $1,000, redeem 10,000 miles for $100 off the total fare or increase the redemption in increments of 10,000 miles ($100 off) to cover all or part of the total fare (20,000 miles for $200 off, 30,000 miles for $300 off, etc.).
There are some catches with the program, though. First, the program is only open to members of the SkyMiles frequent-flier program who own the Gold, Platinum or Reserve Delta SkyMiles credit cards from American Express.
Secondly, when you search for flights at Delta.com, you'll have to make sure that you only reserve ones marked as "Pay With Miles Eligible."
To book a flight with the Pay With Miles option, first log onto Delta.com. Input your SkyMiles account number and PIN. Search for flights, keeping a lookout for those marked as "Pay With Miles Eligible."
Choose from the list of Pay with Miles options on Delta's Trip Summary page. This page allows you to pay for tickets in miles, money or the combination of both. After you make this selection, you can then continue on with booking your ticket in the normal manner.
The Pay With Miles option doesn't eliminate the very real problems with Delta Air Lines' SkyMiles program or its online award redemption calendar, both of which can be incredibly frustrating to use. However, the program does add some much-needed flexibility to SkyMiles. And that, at least, is a bonus for which to be thankful.