Is Delta’s new SkyMiles Select worth the $59 price tag?

Oct 17, 2019

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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here – Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American ExpressPlatinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American ExpressDelta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express

Delta unveiled a new travel benefits program on Oct. 16 called SkyMiles Select and it — as the kids say —  “ain’t it.” The $59-a-year program gives members Main Cabin 1 boarding, eight drink vouchers (worth up to $9 each) and what the airline’s calling a “limited-edition bag tag.” Delta values all of these perks at $100.

The program isn’t super impressive, especially considering that some of these perks come courtesy of cobranded credit cards or elite status. For instance, if you’re an elite Delta Gold or Platinum Medallion you get Sky Priority, which boards before Main Cabin 1. If you’re Delta Silver Medallion (which we value at $775) you’ll board with Main Cabin 1 anyway. And if you hold a cobranded Delta credit card (more on that later), some offer priority boarding.

While Delta Medallion elite members don’t get free drinks as a stated benefit, elites who are upgraded to Delta Comfort+ can score a free drink. If you hold a Delta American Express card, however, you’ll receive 20% off eligible inflight purchases (which includes drinks) when you travel with Delta. If you fly Delta regularly, you’d get more value from inflight purchases holding a cobranded card than through SkyMiles select.

(Photo by Darren Murph/The Points Guy.)

Delta’s not the first U.S. airline to try a subscription service. United offers an Economy Plus subscription, which includes extra legroom in an Economy Plus seat located at the front of the economy cabin. It starts at a hefty $599, but some people (even those without United status) have been targeted for free subscriptions.

If you’re not impressed by this new program but still want some of the perks like priority boarding, you may want to consider a cobranded credit card. Even better, some are currently offering elevated welcome bonuses. Here are the offers currently available:

  • Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express ($450 annual fee; $550 if application is received on or after 1/30/2020; See Rates & Fees): Earn 75,000 miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles after you spend $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months of account opening. Offer ends 10/30/19.
  • Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express ($195 annual fee, $250 if application is received on or after 1/30/2020; See Rates & Fees): Earn 75,000 Bonus Miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases in your first 3 months. Plus, earn a $100 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months.Offer Expires 10/30/2019.
  • Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express ($95 annual fee; See Rates & Fees): Earn 60,000 bonus miles after you use your new card to make $2,000 in purchases within your first three months and a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months. Offer expires 10/30/2019.

With any of these cards you’ll also get a free checked bag (for yourself and up to eight companions on the same reservation), worth $60 per person round-trip.

Bottom line

If you’re a frequent Delta traveler, spend a lot of money with the airline or have a cobranded Amex Delta card, you won’t have much need for this program. However, if you fly Delta occasionally (especially in Basic Economy, where you’d otherwise board dead last) and want some perks to make your journey more comfortable (who doesn’t like free alcohol?) then you may find some value in the program.

Featured photo courtesy of Delta.

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