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


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.



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