Do Delta miles expire? Here’s what you need to know

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Airline frequent flyer program rules can be confusing – especially so if you collect a number of different types of miles & points. So you might be wondering: Do Delta miles expire?

The answer is no. That’s a huge bonus if you’ve been collecting miles from top Delta credit cards like the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card or Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card. Even if you don’t have immediate travel plans, you can rest easy knowing your miles won’t vanish if you don’t use them right away.

Here’s why that sets Delta apart from other airlines.

Do Delta Miles Expire? The Answer Is, No! (I Wish More Airlines Were Like This) (Photo by emperorcosar/Shutterstock)

Delta miles do not expire

To appreciate the fact that Delta miles don’t expire, we’ve got to look at competing frequent flyer programs. Losing travel rewards simply because they expired is the worst, so don’t let it happen to you.

Here’s a look at airline mileage expiration policies:

  • Air Canada: 12 months without activity
  • Alaska Airlines: 24 months without activity
  • American Airlines: 18 months without activity
  • British Airways: 36 months without activity
  • Cathay Pacific Asia Miles: 36 months after earning
  • Delta Miles: Never expire
  • Hawaiian Airlines: 18 months without activity
  • JetBlue: Never expire
  • Singapore Airlines: 36 months after earning
  • Southwest Airlines: Never expire
  • Spirit Airlines: three months without earning
  • United Airlines: Never expire

Use Delta miles for free flights

The downside of Delta’s program is that there’s no official Delta award chart. That means you’ll have to look up your particular flight to see how many miles it’ll cost. The good news is that Delta has frequent flash sales, and if you have certain Delta credit cards, you can use Delta’s Pay With Miles feature. With this option, your Delta miles are worth 1 cent each towards the cost of your ticket.

Check out our Hot Deals page for the latest and greatest Delta credit card offers. But just remember, you’ll want to apply for these cards when their welcome offers are at their highest because you can only earn the bonus on a particular Amex card once per lifetime. Delta miles value can be significant, especially if you jump on one of their many dirt-cheap Delta SkyMiles deals.

As an alternative, you could earn Amex Membership Rewards points which transfer to Delta at a 1:1 ratio with these cards:

Bottom line

Delta miles do not expire, regardless of whether or not there is any activity in your Delta frequent flyer account. That’s a unique benefit of Delta’s frequent flyer program, as a majority of other types of airline miles will expire if you don’t meet certain criteria. If you don’t know how to use Delta miles, check out our post on the best ways to use Delta miles for some ideas.

For the latest tips and tricks on traveling big without spending a fortune, please subscribe to the Million Mile Secrets daily email newsletter.

Meghan Hunter is an editor for Million Mile Secrets. She covers points, miles, credit cards, airlines, hotels and general travel. Her work has also appeared in The Points Guy.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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