Skymile Earning Rate Changes: In Depth Review

On Monday, a number of bloggers and people started ranting about Delta’s new earning rates on partners starting Sept 1, 2013. This was all because Delta sent out a mass email to Skymile members and announced on flyer talk that changes were in the works on how people earned miles on Skyteam and Skymiles partners. Despite this, very few people failed to realized that the majority of this announcement was introduced on the Skymile page back in January and Monday’s announcement was really only confirming the further devaluation of Korean Air and a slight change to the current earning charts.

The announcement was short and to the point, but left out a lot of details.


We're often asked how many miles and Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) will be earned when flying with our airline partners. Or, why different partners offer different mileage amounts. So, we thought we would take this opportunity to clarify benefits across our airline partners. 

In short, we have 25+ partners, and each airline determines its level of participation. This leads to varying levels of customer rewards when flying with our partners. So, we've created a new mileage earning chart — effective for travel on and after September 1, 2013 — that organizes our partner airlines into four groups. Now, you can quickly see an overview of the miles and bonuses you will earn in each group. 

The chart also includes a few modifications to previous mileage earning rates, providing you more miles with some partners and potentially less with others. For example, you will generally earn more base miles on Aeromexico and Virgin Australia flights, but you will no longer earn a class-of-service bonus or MQMs on Korean Air-marketed flights. 

Ways to maximize your mileage credit:

  • Fly Delta flights (flight numbers that begin with DL)
  • Fly any partner airline from "Group 1"
  • Fly Delta-marketed flights on any airline partner (partner flight numbers that begin with DL)

You can visit to see the new chart and for more information about earning miles with partner airlines. 

Thanks for being a SkyMiles member. We look forward to seeing you on board. 


. To see new earning rates, one has to actually go to the new mile-earning chart and search for the changes one by one. I have gone over all of the charts, and really, most of the changes that were implemented earlier this year remain the same. The major difference is the expensive fares (Business and full fare economy) are losing their class of bonus incentive and/or the MQM rates are further being reduced. Yet in a number of instances, partners earning rates in deeply discounted economy are being increased. To save you some time, I have created a guide for my readers to see the changes to the Delta Skymiles program as of September 1st.

Marketing Carrier


Base Miles

Elite Tier Bonus

Business / First


Delta (DL)


100% All






Aeromexico (AM)


100% All



Deeply discounted class V,L,W,P MQM & BM increases from 75% to 100%

Air France (AF)

No changes

Alaska (AS)

No changes

Alitalia (AZ)

No changes

GOL (G3)

Deeply discounted class O MQM & BM increases from 75% to 100%


No changes

Virgin Australia (VA)

Economy Class  E, N, V, Q, T, U, S, M, G MQM & BM increased to 100%, and MBM now offered on ALL fares



Aeroflot (SU)


Up to 100%¹


 Up to 50%¹

Full Fare Economy Y, S no longer offers 50% COSB

Air Europa (UX)

Discounted Economy classes now offer 100% BM, increased from 25%

Czech (OK)

No changes

Kenya Airways (KQ)

No changes

Middle East Airlines (ME)

Business Class, COSB decreases from 100% to 50%, Full fare economy COSB decreased from 50% to 0%

Saudia Airlnes (SV)

First class, COSB decreases from 60% to 50%

Tarom (RO)

Full Fare Economy S no longer offers 50% COSB



Aerolineas Argentinas (AR)




Up to 100%¹



Up to 25%¹

Domestic/Regional: All COSB are removed. Long haul COSB removed for full fare economy, decreased from 50% to 25% for Business

China Airlines (CI)

COSB for First decreased from 30% to 25%

China Eastern (MU)

COSB dropped to 25% for intl' first and Business, was either 50% or 30%

China Southern (CZ)

COSB for first class and Business class dropped from 50% to 25%

Vietnam (VN)

No Change

Xiamen (MF)

first class and Business class COSB dropped from 50% to 25%, COSB for full fare Economy decreased to 0%



Hawaiian (HA)


Up to 100%¹



Business class COSB decreased to 0% from 50% & no longer earn MBM

Korean Air (KE)

100% BM for all fares (increased), But no longer earn MQM or MBM

Malaysia (MH)

First and Business class no longer earn COSB

Olympic (OA)

No longer earn COSB and no longer earn MBM

(BM = Base miles, MQM = Medallion Qualifying Miles, MBM = Medallion Bonus Miles, COSB = Class of Service Bonus)

Overall, I am NOT pleased with Delta’s continual devaluation of the Skymiles program. The changes announced today, built upon the changes that were announced in January, makes it harder than ever to earn Skymiles on Delta’s partners. There are two rational for these changes that I can think of: First, Delta is trying to drive us onto their metal when traveling internationally; after all, they do have one of the world’s largest networks. Second, IF not flying Delta, they want to make sure they are making money from you despite flying a partner, therefore they are only offering a class of service bonus and decent earning rates with partners that they operate a Joint Venture. This would include Air France, KLM, Alitalia transatlantic (expect to see Virgin Atlantic added to group 1 later this year); Virgin Australia Transpacific, or that they have heavily invested in and profit from Aeromexico & Gol. Or in Alaska Airline’s case, they rely heavily for connection traffic in Seattle for Delta’s international flights. In addition, just MAYBE the cash cow Delta is tired of “us” calling the Delta Skymiles program “Skypesos” and are trying to make their miles more valuable. Nevertheless, Skymiles still remain to be the hardest to redeem and the most expensive with some of the highest surcharges (especially when originating from outside the United States) of any US airline. Therefore, unless delta makes some TRUE enhancements to their redemption policies, all of this will have been done in vain and will drive away even more frequent flyers.

Like what you read? You should see my tweets! 



Quite strange that they'll no longer allow for MQMs to be earned on a fellow alliance member. I could see them only allowing for certain fare classes to earn MQMs, such as full Y/C/F, but this makes no sense.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.