Airfare is so expensive for a variety of reasons right now, including the cost of jet fuel. That means deals may be harder to find: the travel booking platform Hopper says trips in February, March, and April will cost 13% more than last year.
But if you think there aren’t still flight deals out there, think again! Even for travelers planning last-minute spring break trips, there are some solid deals out there. If you want to save money and you live on the East Coast, there’s a little-known hack to find the best Delta SkyMiles deals for some last-minute tickets.
Delta’s SkyMiles program is both loved and hated by travelers – with a lot of people claiming reward travel on Delta is hard to book and overvalued compared to other airlines. But one of the best ways to use SkyMiles is for round-trip tickets to the Caribbean from the East Coast. These short flights, often under 4 hours, can be booked with an impressively low mile cost.
(Looking for another great way to save money on flights year-round without Delta SkyMiles? Sign up for Going.com (use our code VIA20 for 20% off!) and you’ll get the best flight deals straight to your inbox.)
Let’s take a look at some of the best SkyMiles deals out there from Delta’s East Coast hubs for dates in early March:
New York-JFK to Nassau, Bahamas:
14,000 SkyMiles round-trip and $117 in taxes
Cash tickets for this same flight can cost as much as $320 right now, so finding a deal for an international flight for just 14,000 SkyMiles (or 7,000 miles one-way) is a steal for Spring Break, one of the priciest times to travel. The Bahamas is one of our favorite destinations, and this is also a nonstop flight, making it a great choice.
Sample dates: Tuesday, March 7 – Tuesday, March 14
Miami to Providenciales, Turks and Caicos:
From 16,000 SkyMiles round-trip and $99 in taxes
While this isn’t a nonstop flight like the JFK-NAS route above, 16,000 SkyMiles to Turks and Caicos is a pretty good deal. You should be able to find availability throughout the month of March and even in April.
Sample dates: Tuesday, March 7 – Tuesday, March 14
Boston to Montego Bay, Jamaica:
From 18,000 SkyMiles round-trip and $149 in taxes
Travelers looking to escape the Boston cold can book this ticket to Jamaica‘s Montego Bay for just 18,000 SkyMiles, a pretty good deal if you’re looking for a last-minute getaway.
Sample dates: Sunday, March 5 – Sunday, March 14
Washington, D.C. to Nassau, Bahamas:
From 18,000 SkyMiles round-trip and $123 in taxes
Similar to the JFK-NAS deal above, flights to Nassau from D.C. can hover around $400 round-trip for peak Spring Break dates. To avoid paying that, you can use just 18,000 SkyMiles (plus $123 in taxes) to spend your spring break in the Bahamas.
Sample dates: Monday, March 6 – Monday, March 13
Atlanta to Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
From 50,000 SkyMiles round-trip and $91 in taxes
Grand Cayman is one of the most expensive destinations in the Caribbean to fly to, and last-minute tickets can easily cost more than $1,000 round-trip. If you have 50,000 SkyMiles (more about how to earn them below), a trip to the Cayman Islands should be a no-brainer.
Sample dates: Tuesday, March 7 – Monday, March 13
How To Find The Best Skymiles Deals
You can find more of the best Delta SkyMiles deals on the airline’s deal finder page. Just put in your home airport and leave the “to” field blank, and you’ll find plenty of options starting lower than you’d imagine. You can even filter by region and type of vacation to tailor the results to your liking.
How To Book Delta Award Flights
To book any of these fares, you’ll need some miles in your account. Luckily, if you’ve ever flown Delta in the past, you probably have at least a few SkyMiles in your account. If you’ve flown on a Delta-marked flight in Main Cabin or above (and entered your SkyMiles number), you’ll earn at least 5 miles for each $1 spent on your ticket.
And with how low these tickets are, you may have enough to cover the cost of your trip.
If you don’t, you can earn SkyMiles in several other ways.
The easiest way to earn Delta SkyMiles, aside from flying, is to open a Delta credit card. These travel credit cards earn sign-up bonuses (often 50,000 SkyMiles or more) once you meet a minimum spending requirement on the card. You’ll also get elevated bonuses when you spend in certain categories, like travel.
How To Earn Delta Miles Other Than By Flying or Credit Cards
But if you don’t want to open a travel credit card, there are several ways to earn SkyMiles — and some may be options you haven’t considered. Here are a few of the best ways to earn miles without a credit card:
- Starbucks: If you’re a coffee lover, you’re in luck. You can earn 1 mile per $1 spent at participating Starbucks stores
- Rideshare: Link your SkyMiles and Lyft accounts to earn 1 mile per $1 on Lyft rides in the United States
- Purchases through SkyMiles Shopping: Earn miles by shopping online at 1,000+ stores. Some retailers offer up to 6 SkyMiles for every dollar spent
- SkyMiles Dining: Members earn 1 mile per $2 spent if you elect not to receive email communication from SkyMiles Dining (more if you elect to receive email communications). SkyMiles dining often has welcome bonuses, too.
Once you have the miles in your account, you’ll simply input your dates (start by using the sample dates above) and then book your ticket.
Before booking, you should take note of which fare class you’re in. The cheapest tickets are most likely to be in basic economy. These tickets come with several restrictions, such as:
- No seats will be assigned until after check-in, not together. Instead, your seat will be assigned after check-in (within 24 hours of departure). Seat selection, when available, can be purchased 7 days to 24 hours prior to departure
- No changes allowed. You will not be able to change or refund your ticket after the 24-hour cancellation period
- Last to board and not eligible for upgrades to a better cabin
- No miles earned; no credit toward SkyMiles Medallion Status
If you don’t want to have that many restrictions or think your travel plans might change, you should consider booking a ticket in Main Cabin, which has far fewer restrictions.
Regardless of which cabin you pick, these are great last-minute deals if you’re on a budget and want more cash in your pocket for other activities!