Northwest Airlines no longer exists. This carrier, once a major one in the United States, merged with Delta Airlines in late 2008. Today, the Northwest Airlines name has disappeared, and the company’s Web site now automatically routes visitors to the online home of Delta Airlines. This means that Northwest’s WorldPerks frequent-flyer program no longer exists. Delta Airlines, the new home to Northwest, though, does offer its own frequent-flyer program, SkyMiles. And it offers many of the same perks and benefits that the WorldPerks’ program once offered. The Basics: Passengers who have enrolled in SkyMiles can earn free airline miles with Delta or any of its partner airlines in several ways: They’ll earn free miles with every flight they take on Delta Airlines. They can also earn free miles by making purchases with one of several American Express Delta SkyMiles cards, booking hotel stays, renting cars or dining out. Once they earn enough miles, members can redeem them either for free flights or for a host of other rewards. They can even donate their free miles to charity. [include file=/wp-content/themes/customtheme/rec-airlines.php] Enrolling: Enrolling in SkyMiles is a simple task: Consumers log onto the SkyMiles’ enrollment page and enter basic information. The online form will ask for consumers’ names, address and billing information. It also requires members to create and save a PIN that they can use to log onto their SkyMiles accounts. Earning Miles: One of the benefits of the SkyMiles program is that members can earn free air miles in a number of ways. The most obvious? Flying on Delta airlines. Depending on the type of flight that members take, they’ll earn either one or one-and-a-half miles for every mile that they fly. But members can also earn free miles by spending money with Delta’s many SkyMiles partners. This includes American Express, which offers five different credit cards associated with the SkyMiles program: the Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card, Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card, Delta Reserve Credit Card, Delta SkyMiles Credit Card; and Delta SkyMiles Options Credit Card. Basically, members will earn two free miles for every dollar that they charge for Delta purchases and one free mile for every other dollar that they charge with these cards. Of course, each of these American Express credit cards has its own perks and quirks. It’s best for consumers to check the fine print of each card before deciding which, if any, is right for them. Consumers can also earn free miles when they rent cars from participating car-rental companies, book hotel stays in participating hotels, dine out in participating restaurants or purchase merchandise from participating retailers. Redeeming Points: Redeeming points for rewards is easy, too. Those consumers who want to turn their points into free flights, can do so by logging onto the program’s “Award Ticket” online page. Once here, consumers can search for flights by airport or date. Members can also redeem their points for a host of other rewards: They can turn them into newspaper or magazine subscriptions, hotel stays, car rentals, Broadway shows or a membership to the Delta Sky Club. They can also donate their free miles to charities. The Verdict: The SkyMiles program earns points for allowing members to earn rewards points in a wide variety of ways. It also gets a bonus for allowing members to cash in their points for so many different types of rewards. No, it’s not the WorldPerks program anymore. But fliers will be hard-pressed to find many flaws in the SkyMiles program.
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