Delta SkyMiles Sweetspot: Save Up to 80% Miles When Departing from Mexico

Delta Air Lines Boeing 767-400ER N828MH approaching London Heathrow Airport (LHR).

SkyTeam member Delta Air LinesSkyMiles is an interesting frequent flyer programme. As it has an attractive status match challenge, many travellers outside of the USA use it as their SkyTeam programme. And even inside the US, it’s quite popular. This means that many travellers gained miles that they want to spend.

However, award trips that start/end in the US or Canada can be quite pricey and therefore really unattractive. But before you start burying your miles, let us show you a sweet spot. Luckily, you can save quite a lot of miles when departing from the US’s southern neighbour, Mexico.

For example, you can fly from Tijuana to Sydney (via Mexico City and Los Angeles) in Delta One for 95,000 miles and US$82 (~€75) in fees and taxes while the same flight from Los Angeles (or with a transfer from San Diego) would cost a whopping 410,000 miles and US$27 (~€25) in taxes and fees. That’s a saving of almost 77%!

But you can get the same flight without a stop in Mexico City if you depart from Monterrey or Cancún – also for 95,000 miles. You can get savings of 80% for example to South Africa or Europe.

Info

If you aren’t a SkyMiles member yet, you can enrol and get 1,000 miles.

You can search for availabilities with the help of our Go2 flight search form which will redirect you to Delta’s SkyMiles award search:

DL SM SAVINGS

Departure Airports

While going to Mexico City just to embark on a long-haul trip may not always worth it, luckily there are origin airports which could be easier.

Tijuana Airport

Just across the US border wall, there is an airport from where you can find these cheap fares. While you could do the same thing as me and go through one of the World’s busiest borders, there is a much easier way: through the Cross-Border Express. You can pass through a dedicated pedestrian bridge over the border between the airport terminal and the CBX terminal for US$20 (~€18) – US$27 (~€25) depending on the date. Then you will clear a border checkpoint dedicated to CBX passengers, saving quite some time and clearing the hassle from conventional crossings.

From Tijuana, the issue is that you would need to fly to Mexico City first and then onto your preferred Delta hub. Therefore, this will be good mostly for people departing from California.

Puerto Vallarta & San José del Cabo

While not as popular as Cancún, Cabo and Puerto Vallarta are quite popular among Americans. Therefore these two airports have good connections to the US, even with Delta, who flies to seven of its core airports from Cabo and six from Puerto Vallarta. So once you get there, you have plenty of options to continue on Delta without flying to Mexico City first. And to get there, your best option is to travel there with one of the many US airlines that serve these places.

Mexico City

While Mexico City may not be the cheapest place to get to from the US or Europe, it’s the country’s most populous city and the best connected by SkyTeam members. Naturally, you’ll have the most options from Mexico City with both Aeromexico and Delta.

Monterrey, Laredo, Matamoros & Reynosa

If your trip would start in Texas, then these four airports may also be of interest. Monterrey is the biggest city of these four and offers the most flights, including Delta to Atlanta and Aeromexico to LA and Detroit. On the other hand, (Nuevo) Laredo, Matamoros and Reynosa are right on the border with an adjacent US city to each. One interesting place could be Brownsville (near Matamoros) where the new US low-cost airline Avelo flies from. With them, you can reach a few cities cheaply.

Cancún

Cancún is easily accessible from the US and Europe as there are low-cost flights from many American cities and quite many Transatlantic flights. Accordingly, it’s an ideal place to start your SkyMiles award journey from thanks to Delta’s service to eight cities in addition to Aeromexico’s Mexico City flight.

Outside of the United States

While this deal puts a great emphasise on Mexico, that’s based on the assumption that the vast majority of Delta SkyMiles users are based in the US and that this deal shows the savings from US flights. Of course, there are plenty of other interesting opportunities from Europe that would deserve their own deal. We will introduce some below under the possible destinations part, but our focus this time will be Mexico.

Possible Destinations

After picking your destination airport, it’s time to select where to fly. There are several opportunities and we’ll show you some.

Even though it can be tempting and immigration/luggage forwarding rules make it easier, we do not suggest skipping the last leg of your journey when your final destination is Mexico. While we couldn’t find exact and recent cases, you could get in trouble for that. It’s theoretically possible that you’ll get invoiced for your actual journey or in the worst case that your account may get frozen/suspended.

Mexico – US – Australia

Above, we already teased the possibility to travel to Sydney at 95,000 miles instead of the 410,000 originally asked. That price is available from all of the Mexican airports we listed above.

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Mexico – US – Asia

Unfortunately, the availabilities to Asia are not as broad as to the other destinations. Yet, it’s almost as far from LA as Australia, so there are some interesting options, especially when considering the high demand for this market segment. For example from Mexico City, you can reach Bangkok for 90,000 miles, while the same itinerary is not available from Los Angeles and the cheapest one would be 280,000 miles.

DL SM MEX BKK

Mexico – US – South Africa

You can travel from Monterrey to Johannesburg for 95,000 miles and US$104 (~€96). From Atlanta, the same flight would cost 495,000 miles. That’s also 80% savings.

dl sm jnb savings

Mexico – US – Europe

For Europe-bound flights, your savings can also reach 80%. For example, flying from Monterrey to Paris will cost 75,000 miles compared to 375,000 from nearby Houston.

dl sm mty cdg

Outside North America (incl. Europe – Australia)

As we mentioned above, this deal focuses on the US and the savings you can get on US award travel. However, there are well-priced opportunities for example from Europe to Australia. 90,000 points from Paris to Sydney and €155 in fees is definitely eye-catching

dl sm cdg syd

But even so, there are endless opportunities for trips not touching the US. For example, business class within Asia at 15,000 is possible with Korean Air. If you have some SkyMiles to spare, we recommend checking Delta’s website, even if the route has nothing to do with the US.

How to Look for Availabilities

You can use our Go2 search form above to search for award space on Delta’s website. There, follow these steps to find availabilities and to check whether they are worth it:

Time needed: 2 minutes

Follow these steps to see how to book cheaper Delta SkyMiles award trips:

  1. Fill out the search form

    Add your preferred departure and destination airports and select a random date around your preferred departure time. Select “Shop with Miles” and “My dates are flexible”. Selecting “Include Nearby Airports” can cause complications, so it’s better to select city codes or search again for the nearby airport.dl search

  2. Select the Price Calendar

    On the next step, select the “Price Calendar.dl price calendar

  3. Select the date you like

    On the calendar view, you can see availabilities for the whole month, the surcharges and how many transfers you’d need to take. Here, the surcharge for 1 transfer only is quite steep, and the itinerary would two stops is actually faster.dl price calendar selection

  4. Select your flight

    Select the flight that suits you the best.dl flight selection

  5. Do a price check

    Check how much it would cost you to travel from your original departure city. For this example, my original departure city would be Houston. We can see that while I’d stop only once, I’d need to spend 375,000 points, getting me a saving of 80%.dl sm iah cdg

Bottom Line

Overall, we can say that Delta is a good program for users outside the US and Canada. And with the help of this deal, Americans can also benefit from Delta’s nice award prices, but with a stop in Mexico.

Source: Frequent Miler

Cover Picture: © Miklós Budai 2022

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Comments (2)

  1. Ryan says:

    It seems Delta has wised up to this, as I don’t see any availability at 95k anywhere in the next 12 months

  2. Saul Sotelo says:

    Hello
    this is a very helpful information. I live in Tijuana though. However I have aeromexico rewards (recently changed from club premier). any sweetspot of this program?

    thank you
    Saul

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