My Journey from Economy to Delta First Class: Unveiling the Delta SkyMiles Secret

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Donna Lawson

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Flying luxury without breaking the bank is a dream for all travelers. I stumbled upon this fantastic opportunity recently with a game-changing hack! This is a hack that helped me get a Delta First Class ticket, for a minimum charge, and got me access to the exclusive Delta Sky Club.

This is definitely one of the best and the easiest cheap flight hacks that I’ve come across for Delta upgrade to first class; the one that works!

Before I share my story, there are 3 important things you need to know about me -

  1. I am a loyal Delta Airlines traveler. I really like their pricing options, their seat selection options, their baggage policies, and the overall quality they deliver.
  2. I enjoy luxury, but only when it makes financial sense to me
  3. I love amenities!

Here’s what Delta is doing

Delta is among the few popular airlines in the U.S. that lets you earn flying benefits through your credit card. They have tied-up with American Express and launched a series of Delta SkyMiles American Express credit cards - Delta SkyMiles Blue American Express card, Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express card, Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express card, and Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express card.

I collected 40,000 Delta miles in less than 6 months - Here’s how!

Collect Delta Skymiles

I signed up for the Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card last year as I am a decently frequent traveler and was intrigued by the benefits these cards offered, especially the chance for Delta upgrade to first class.

  • As soon as I got my Delta SkyMiles credit card and made the first purchase using the card, I earned an instant 25,000 miles. It turns out this is one of the many benefits of using these credit cards, irrespective of the value of your first purchase.
  • Across the next couple of months, I made sure to use my credit card for all my restaurants and supermarket billings. These transactions earned me 2x miles.
  • Before the end of 6 months of using the credit card I had a whopping 40,000 miles on my card, which I ended up using to make partial payment towards my Delta First Class ticket using the “Pay with Miles” option.
  • I also availed amazing benefits on my Delta First Class ticket like first checked baggage for free and access to the very exclusive Delta SkyClub. Apparently, this club is not even open for first-class travelers on Delta. It's exclusively for Delta SkyMiles American Express card users.

Delta SkyMiles American Express Cards & Benefits

 Delta SkyMiles Blue American Express CardDelta SkyMiles Gold American Express CardDelta SkyMiles Platinum American Express CardDelta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card
Material OptionsSustainableSustainableClassic metal or SustainableClassic metal or Sustainable
Annual Fee$0$0 in Year 1, $99 from Year 2$250$550 annual fee
Miles Earned2x miles on restaurant spending (takeout + delivery)
1x miles on all other eligible purchases
2x miles at restaurants & US supermarkets
1x miles on all other eligible purchases
3x miles on hotel reservations made directly with hotels
2x miles at restaurants & US supermarkets
1x miles on all other eligible purchases
1x miles on all other spending
Miles Earned on Delta Purchases2x miles on airlines tickets purchased directly with Delta2x miles on airline tickets purchased directly with Delta3x miles on purchases made directly with Delta3x miles on purchases made directly with Delta
Cashbacks/ Benefits Earned on Delta Purchases20% cashback in the form of statement credit for eligible Delta in-flight purchases20% off in the form of statement credit on eligible Delta in-flight purchases.15% off when booking Award Travel on Delta flight through miles on delta web/app20% off eligible Delta in-flight purchases.
15% off when you book Award Travel on Delta flight through miles on delta web/app
20% savings on in-flight purchases.
15% off on booking Award Travel with miles on Delta web/app
Delta Flight BenefitsTake up to $50 off the flight cost for every 5000 miles when booking on Delta’s websiteUse Pay with Miles.
Check 1st bag on Delta flight for free
Use Pay with Miles.
Check 1st bag on Delta flight for free
Use Pay with Miles.
Check 1st bag on Delta flight for free
Who’s it for?Infrequent travelersTravel a bit more oftenFrequent travelersLuxury travelers
Maximize Your Benefits!`Accumulate miles for that ONE BIG TRIP!Earn miles faster! If you put $10,000 or more on purchases in one calendar year, you will earn $100 flight creditAccess to Delta SkyClub for $50 per person for your additional 2 guests.

1 complimentary round-trip companion certificate for domestic travel every year.
Access to Delta SkyClub and The Centurion Lounge when flying Delta Airlines.
1 complimentary round-trip domestic 1st class, Comfort+ or Main Cabin companion certificate each year.

This is how you can get started on your journey towards Delta First Class!

get started on your journey towards Delta

The first step for you would be to recognize which Delta SkyMiles American Express card will work the best for you. Some cards are better suited for the casual traveler in terms of annual fees and miles-earning categories, and others offer more exclusivity, luxury, and amenities benefits for frequent fliers.

Understand your travel habits, your spending habits, and other aspects of your finances to choose the one card that will get you the most benefits.

Bonus Tips: Cheap Flight Hacks To Maximize Your Card Benefits!

Now that we have already covered how you can maximize your benefits and pay minimum for your Delta purchases using the Delta SkyMiles card, let’s take a quick look at three of my favorite cheap flight hacks that have never failed me! 

Pick a flight that is less popular or during an off-season

If you can be flexible with your travel plans, choose flights or flight times that are less popular or choose dates that are off-season and are not too busy. This will improve your odds to find cheap flights with favorable air fares. For instance, very early morning flights or very late night flights are usually relatively cheaper. Also, midweek flight rates are usually better than weekend flight rates.

Bonus Tip: Look up airfares on a full month calendar view to find the best possible prices.

Benefit from the exchange rates

When purchasing an international Delta flight ticket, check the fares on the official website of your destination country. There are chances you may score a cheaper deal on account of currency difference. Check the flight fare on the origin and destination websites and compare the prices using a simple online currency converter.

Go incognito!

Airlines and travel websites usually use cookies to track your online airfare searches. This basically means that the longer you search for airfare, there is a strong chance that the airfares you have been looking for will keep going higher. I have observed this with multiple travel booking sites and even hotel reservation websites!

This is somewhat of a marketing gimmick where travel and hotel websites try to create a pressure on you by increasing the prices, creating a sense of urgency to purchase in your mind.

There is a very easy trick to avoid falling into this trap! Use the incognito mode or the private browsing mode on your web browser.

  • If you’re using Google Chrome, go to ‘File’ and select ‘New Incognito Window’
  • If you’re using Safari, go to ‘File’ and select ‘New Private Window’


In conclusion, if you see yourself as the kind of traveler who values luxury while keeping costs in check, the Delta SkyMiles American Express cards will be a game-changer for you. With all the hacks and strategies in place, you will be able to amplify your flying experience without breaking the bank. Enjoy the luxuries and amenities Delta has to offer, all while staying true to your financial sensibilities. Happy travels!

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