The travel industry is still reeling from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, and while passenger numbers are rebounding compared to 2020, traveling — especially by air — is far from a priority for many right now.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t start thinking about your next trip, whenever that may be.
That’s because you can earn points and miles for future travel without ever leaving your home. By the time traveling for leisure will be an everyday thing again, you may have accumulated enough for a free trip, or be well on your way to one.
One way to do that is to use airline shopping portals for your purchases. Through those portals, airlines partner with top retailers. When you click through to a retailer via one of the portals instead of going directly to a merchant’s site, you earn miles for that airline.
Many major airlines have these shopping portals, but today we’re going to focus on Delta SkyMiles Shopping. If you plan to fly Delta or one of its partner airlines after the pandemic subsides and are looking for a way to raise your SkyMiles balance, this is a good trick up your sleeve.
How to Access Delta SkyMiles Shopping
It’s free to join the Delta SkyMiles Shopping program. All you need to do is sign up for an account with your name, e-mail, zip code, SkyMiles number from your Delta frequent flyer account, and create a password. (It’s also free to sign up for Delta’s frequent flyer program, which you need to have an account with first.)
To use the program, either head to the Delta SkyMiles Shopping portal directly in your web browser, or install a Chrome extension that will remind you that you can earn miles when shopping at eligible retail partners and help you find deals.
How to Earn SkyMiles With the Delta Shopping Portal
Once logged into your account, you’ll be able to access the Delta SkyMiles shopping portal. You can browse different retailers through the search bar at the top, or click through some of the featured top stores.
Earning rates can fluctuate quite a bit, and you can set an email alert for elevated earning rates from your desired retailers. This is a good idea especially if you’re considering making a large purchase and want to earn as many Delta miles as possible. Normally you will earn one Delta mile per dollar spent, but there often are offers for as many as 10 miles per dollar.
Once you find the retailer you want to purchase items from, click on the name, and then click the red button that says “Shop Now.” This will redirect you to the retailer’s site. After you make a purchase, the corresponding SkyMiles will be deposited into your account automatically, which can take up to a few days.
Check the “deals” section within the portal for even more discounts.
Cash back portals such as Rakuten or RebatesMe can help you save even more money on your online shopping purchases, but you cannot use both a cash back and an airline shopping portal simultaneously. You will have to choose whether you want to earn cash back or airline miles on a given purchase. There’s no fixed answer here — it simply depends on your preference and goals.
Depending on which card you use for the purchase, you can also earn credit card points or cash back when purchasing items through the shopping portal, as well. This makes it a great opportunity to “double dip” and earn both SkyMiles and credit card points at the same time.
How Much Are Delta SkyMiles Worth?
Airline miles, like credit card points and hotel points, are a currency; they can be exchanged for goods and services. Unlike currencies such as the dollar, though, they don’t have a commonly understood value. Delta’s SkyMiles can be exchanged mostly for flights on Delta or its partners, so essentially their value corresponds to the price of a given flight in dollars, divided by the miles the airline charges for the same flight.
Using that metric, we have determined that Delta SkyMiles are worth 1.2 cents each — but keep in mind that the value of any airline miles is subjective, since it depends also on how much travel is worth to you.
How to Earn Additional Discounts With Delta SkyMiles Shopping
You should not overlook the deals section of the Delta SkyMiles Shopping portal. Here, you’ll find additional virtual coupons and discounts you can use on your purchases, in addition to the SkyMiles you can earn.
For example, see the image below for a deal at makeup retailer Sephora. You can choose one of three Vitamin C trial sizes using a code at checkout, as well as earn two SkyMiles per dollar on your purchase.
The Delta SkyMiles Shopping portal is a quick and effective way to earn miles for future travel, especially while spending more time at home. If you’re doing quite a bit of online shopping, creating an account with the portal is a good idea to maximize rewards for your spending.