June 20, 2024

How To Get Cheap Delta Flights

How To Get Cheap Delta Flights

Delta Air Lines is one of the largest airlines in the world, with flights to over 280 destinations across six continents. Despite some major changes coming to how travelers can earn elite status and get into its airport lounges, Delta continues to be a popular choice thanks to perks like free Wi-Fi on most domestic flights and seat-back entertainment screens on most aircraft.

Understanding how to get the best deal on Delta flights can go a long way to getting you to your next vacation destination while staying within your budget. Below, CNBC Select shares four tips and tricks that can help you save cash and miles on your next Delta flight.

How to save on Delta flights

Book in advance

Delta has a generous change policy as long as you’re ticket isn’t in Basic Economy. There are no change or cancellation fees for cash or award tickets in Main Cabin or above when originating from the U.S., Canada, Europe, Africa, India and the Caribbean. Meanwhile, Basic Economy cash and award tickets are non-changeable and non-refundable in most cases — certain Basic Economy tickets originating from a few international markets may be changeable for a fee.

Airfare costs (both cash and mile prices) frequently change. By booking your flight as far in advance as possible, you have a longer time to monitor prices and have a better chance to lock in a price drop.

According to Expedia’s 2024 Air Travel Hacks Report, which analyzed billions of data points through collaboration with the Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC) and OAG, domestic economy flights should be booked at least a month before to save 24% on average compared to booking at the last minute. Meanwhile, the ideal booking window for international flights is around 60 days out, and no earlier than four months in advance, for optimal availability, selection and savings.

Several major online travel agencies (OTAs), including Expedia, Capital One Travel and Google Flights, now offer price drop protections on certain bookings, where you may receive a refund or travel credit if the price of your flight drops after booking.

Don’t miss: 5 expert travel tips that can help you save money and minimize flight disruptions

Be flexible

Use credit cards to save on Delta flights

The Platinum Card® from American Express

On the American Express secure site

  • Rewards

    Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year, 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel, 1X points on all other eligible purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $8,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Apply and select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum Card®, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu.

  • Annual fee

  • Intro APR

  • Regular APR

  • Balance transfer fee

  • Foreign transaction fee

  • Credit Needed

TakeOff 15 Perk

Certain Delta credit cards provide an automatic 15% discount when you use miles to book Delta flights through Delta.com and the Fly Delta app (the discount isn’t applicable for partner-operated flights or for taxes and fees). To take advantage of this perk, you don’t need to do anything other than have one of the following Delta co-branded credit cards:

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

On the American Express secure site

  • Rewards

    Earn 2X Miles on Delta purchases, at U.S. Supermarkets and at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and 1X Mile per dollar on all other eligible purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 70,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months.

  • Annual fee

    $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $150

  • Intro APR

  • Regular APR

  • Balance transfer fee

  • Foreign transaction fees

  • Credit needed

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

On the American Express secure site

  • Rewards

    Earn 3X miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels; 2X miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets; 1X mile on all other eligible purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months.

  • Annual fee

  • Intro APR

  • Regular APR

  • Balance transfer fee

  • Foreign transaction fees

  • Credit needed

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card

On the American Express secure site

  • Rewards

    Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases.

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 100,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $6,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months.

  • Annual fee

  • Intro APR

  • Regular APR

  • Balance transfer fee

  • Foreign transaction fees

  • Credit needed

The nice thing about this benefit is it’s a discount, not a rebate, this allows you to book an award with fewer miles. The discount is automatically applied when signed into your SkyMiles account.

Just note that no annual fee (see rates and fees) Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card does not have access to the TakeOff 15 perk.

Free checked bags

Delta charges $30 each way for the first checked bag on domestic itineraries with a Basic Economy, Main Cabin or Comfort+ ticket. However, you can get the first checked bag free for yourself and up to 8 companions with these Delta cards:

These cards all have annual fees, but in certain cases, the free checked bag benefit can make the card worth it. For example, the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card has a $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $150 (see rates and fees). So if you check a bag for two or more roundtrip Delta flights a year, the free checked bag perk alone makes the annual fee worth it.

Delta flash sales

Bottom line

Delta has an extensive flight network and operates hubs in many major cities such as Atlanta, Minneapolis and Salt Lake City. If you live in or frequently travel to areas Delta serves, it pays to know how to find the cheapest possible Delta flights. To find the best deals, be flexible with when you travel, take advantage of Delta credit card benefits and pay attention to Delta’s sales.

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For rates and fees for the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, click here.

For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card card, click here.  

For rates and fees for the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card, click here.

For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card card, click here.  

For rates and fees of the The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.  

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.