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Delta will soon let you redeem miles for bag fees on many more flights

Sept. 17, 2022
3 min read
delta counter airport
Delta will soon let you redeem miles for bag fees on many more flights
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Want to check a bag on your upcoming Delta Air Lines flight? That'll cost you $30. Or, if you go with a new option, it'll cost 3,000 SkyMiles.

While the $30 fee for a checked bag has long been a staple in the industry, Delta this month is rolling out the ability to pay luggage fees with SkyMiles.

Delta first trialed this offering back in late 2019 for flights departing from Columbus, Ohio, and Greensboro, North Carolina; however, it put the program on pause for much of the pandemic. Now, the airline is ready to expand the trial.

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"SkyMiles members with flights originating from most domestic airports can pay for standard checked bags fees with miles instead of paying in cash during check-in on Delta.com, the Fly Delta app and at a kiosk at the airport," according to the carrier's newly updated website.

ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

This option will soon be available on bookings with up to nine passengers. It's set to roll out in the coming days and weeks for flights departing from most domestic airports, according to carrier spokesperson Drake Castaneda.

Earlier this month, Delta launched this alternative payment method for flights departing from seven key airports, though the airline declined to specify which airports.

That said, if you don't see the option to pay with SkyMiles during check-in, you're likely not alone. It'll take some time for the carrier to deploy the technology nationwide, and Delta expects to communicate more information about this option early next month.

The last domestic airports that'll receive this functionality will be hubs, such as John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), due to the complex nature of the bag operations there.

At the outset, SkyMiles can only be used to cover standard checked bag fees. Flyers can't use miles to pay excess and overweight baggage fees.

Expect to pay 3,000 SkyMiles for the first bag. Compared to the cash cost of $30, it's likely not worth redeeming your miles well below the 1.41 cent per point TPG valuation. It wasn't immediately clear how much Delta would charge for a second checked bag, which usually retails for $40.

Of course, if you have just a few miles in your account with no particular use in mind, then it might make sense to redeem them for bags.

Delta Medallions, SkyTeam elite members and premium-cabin customers who are entitled to complimentary checked bags will continue to receive those benefits without any interruption.

ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

Alternatively, if you hold a Delta co-branded credit card, you can get the first checked bag free for you and up to eight additional traveling companions.

Of all the U.S. airlines, Delta has been perhaps the most aggressive about blurring the lines between cash and miles. The airline has rolled out the ability to purchase upgrades and many other ancillaries with miles.

In fact, you can even purchase a bottle of Dom Perignon Champagne in the Sky Club using miles. At 13,000 miles for a $195 bottle, it's actually one of the best deals out there.

Featured image by (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

1 - 3X points
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases

Intro offer

Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points60,000 points
For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

Annual Fee

$95

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent, Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

    Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points
    60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent, Good

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases