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You might have noticed that the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve® get recommended a lot in the points and miles community. There’s a good reason for that.

Rewards earned with these cards can be transferred to a number of airline and hotel loyalty programs, making it possible to book all kinds of travel for free (or almost free).

If you’re a Delta Air Lines flyer, you might think the cards offer little value to you because Chase doesn’t partner with Delta SkyMiles. However, don’t dismiss the Sapphire-branded cards so quickly. There are multiple ways to book Delta flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

Chase partners with a couple of SkyTeam member airlines and one non-alliance Delta partner whose loyalty programs can help you fly on Delta-operated flights. Here’s a rundown on what those programs are and how you can book a Delta flight with Ultimate Rewards points.

Air France-KLM Flying Blue

European airlines Air France and KLM run a joint frequent-flyer program called Flying Blue. The airlines are SkyTeam members, which makes it easy to book Delta flights using their miles.

Flying Blue implements dynamic pricing to its awards, but the redemption rates on partner airlines more or less stay the same. It’s worth noting that you’ll find higher redemption rates for longer routes, but again, mileage costs aren’t always consistent and this might not be true in all cases.

The best way to find out how many miles your award will require is by consulting with the Miles Price Estimator. Simply enter your city pair and click on “Estimate” to locate the lowest redemption rate. This is the rate you should be aiming for when searching for award availability.

Miles Price Estimator

With Flying Blue, you can book round-trip awards and one-way flights at half the rate. You have to be logged in to search for availability.

In the screenshot above, we see that a one-way flight between Salt Lake City (SLC) and Seattle (SEA) requires (or at least should require) 11,500 Flying Blue miles. We plug in the cities and find it at the exact same redemption rate below.

One way flight from Salt Lake City to Seattle with Delta

As long as Delta makes award seats on a flight available to partners, you should be able to book them using Flying Blue miles.

Ultimate Rewards points transfer to Flying Blue at a ratio of 1:1.

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

Virgin Atlantic isn’t a SkyTeam member, but it’s a non-alliance partner of Delta. In fact, Delta owns 49% of Virgin Atlantic’s shares, which means the partnership is strong and you can redeem Flying Club miles for travel on Delta.

To most travelers’ dismay, Virgin Atlantic recently updated its award chart for Delta flights. The new rates are distance-based, which means that shorter flights cost fewer miles and longer flights cost more miles.

The chart below is for one-way, nonstop Delta flights booked using Virgin Atlantic miles. The rates apply to routes that aren’t between Europe and the United States—there’s a separate chart for those.

Delta Flight DistanceEconomyBusiness
1 – 500 miles7,50017,500
501 – 1,000 miles8,50027,500
1,001 – 1,500 miles11,50040,000
1,501 – 2,000 miles12,50045,000
2,001 – 3,000 miles15,00052,500
3,001 – 4,000 miles22,50080,000
4,001 – 5,000 miles27,500105,000
5,001 – 6,000 miles35,000130,000
6,001+ miles45,000165,000

Let’s use the same Salt Lake City-Seattle flight as an example to keep it consistent and compare apples to apples.

Salt Lake City and Seattle are about 700 miles apart. Because Flying Club’s rates are based on how far you fly, you end up in a better position redeeming 8,500 miles for this one-way flight—the same flight Flying Blue wants you to redeem 11,500 miles. Use this knowledge to your advantage and book an identical itinerary for fewer miles.

Flight plan

This strategy might not work on longer flights or flights with connections, so always compare your options before transferring the points to one program or another.

You don’t have to be logged in to search for award flights, but you have to have an account to book them. One-way and round-trip redemptions are possible. Keep in mind that Delta flights with multiple segments require more Flying Club miles.

Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club at a ratio of 1:1.

Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal

Another no-shame way to book Delta flights with Ultimate Rewards points is via the Chase Travel Portal.

Depending on the card you have, your points are worth a flat 1.25 to 1.5 cents apiece: 1.25 cents when using the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and 1.5 cents when using the Chase Sapphire Reserve®.

If the flight is cheap enough, you might want to spend cash. And if you have a lot of credit-card rewards, you might opt for redeeming some Ultimate Rewards points at the rates above, as long as you’re not saving up the points for an aspirational booking in business or first class.

Again, let’s search for the exact same route for consistency’s sake. At just 6,560 Ultimate Rewards points in conjunction with the Chase Sapphire Reserve® credit card, this option is actually the best one.

award search from Salt Lake City to Seattle with Delta

If you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, the same flight will cost you 7,872 points, which is still better than either option the transfer partners presented. Plus, you earn redeemable Delta SkyMiles with this option (or wherever you choose to credit your Delta flights).

Which Method of Booking Delta Flights Using Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Should You Use?

As you can see in the three examples above, the answer depends on your itinerary and travel dates.

If the flight is cheaper via the Chase Travel Portal than it is with either partner program, skip the points transfer altogether. Whether you use Ultimate Rewards to book via the portal or cash to book directly with an airline, that’s up to you, but don’t transfer more rewards to a loyalty program if you can do better elsewhere.

If the flight is expensive when paid with cash, use one of the programs that provides the best value. It’s that simple.

The main point is, make sure to check all your redemption options before settling on the program to use. Clearly, region-based and distance-based programs have their advantages and disadvantages, so go with what works best on your particular route.

Final Thoughts

Before you decide to open a Delta SkyMiles co-branded card because you “live in a Delta hub” or “prefer to fly Delta for business,” consider opening a Chase Sapphire-branded credit card. 

Although Chase Ultimate Rewards don’t transfer to Delta SkyMiles directly, there are still plenty of options for booking Delta flights for all you SkyMiles enthusiasts.

It’s important to read up on how airline partnerships work, how their award charts are set up and how to use them to your advantage. You might be surprised how easy it is to book Delta award flights without using Delta SkyMiles.