Through September 30, Delta is offering a 100% bonus on purchased, gifted, and transferred miles.
Only accounts that have been open for at least 10 days and have earned at least a mile are eligible to receive miles this way. They want to avoid folks opening accounts just to take advantage of the offer, for instance as a conduit to ‘buying’ discounted business class award seats such as on Air France when folks aren’t otherwise ‘real’ members of the Skymiles program.
With the buy miles option, you’re purchasing miles at 1.75 cents apiece plus 7.5% tax (so about 1.9 cents apiece). That’s more expensive than miles purchased from US Airways under their similar 100% purchase offer.
The mileage transfer option is better, it’s 1 cent per mile transferred and that means at a 100% bonus you’re buying miles at 1 cent apiece (plus $30 transaction fee). The transfer option is limited to 150,000 miles out of each account, and no account can receive more than 300,000 transferred miles in a year.
So is it worth it? Depends. If you’re topping off towards a specific award level, probably. Just to buy the miles speculatively, to use later on? My guess is that for most people it won’t be. I’m not taking advantage of this offer. First, Delta brings around similar offers with some regularity, I don’t expect this is your last change to take advantage of something like this. Second, you’re giving up real dollars now for future benefits later. And you’re limiting yourself to those seats that are available as awards, of course. Delta is generally the toughest program to use to get premium cabin international awards through.
Now, if you live in DC (as I do) you have access to really good business class award space on Air France to Paris (and beyond). So $1030 to transfer 100,000 miles from one account in order to receive 200,000 miles, that gets you two business class awards to Europe and as I say availability on that route is currently pretty good (though it’s not guaranteed that it will remain so, of course). That’s a good value.
But it’s going to depend on how you plan to use the miles, buying them for their own sake to use at some point later I’m skeptical of but topping off for an award or booking an award during the offer period may make good sense.
See, I would definitely jump on the US Airways offer before the Delta one even though the US Airways offer doesn’t apply to transfers and thus is actually more expensive per mile. US Airways will let you put an award on hold without having the miles in your account, Delta only does award holds on their website and then only for 24 hours. The Delta award booking site is really quite broken and doesn’t support many partners. US Airways award holds give you access to all partners, and to better award availability generally for most routes such as Europe and Asia. [I generally say that Delta miles are actually best for Australia given their partnership with V Australia and also French Polynesia since they partner with both Air France and Air Tahiti Nui which fly from Los Angeles.]
But if you’re close to an award with Skymiles, this is probably a good opportunity to top off.