Easy points: Lyft rides now earn Delta SkyMiles

by John Harper

Effective today, Delta SkyMiles members can earn miles on every dollar they spend with ride-sharing app Lyft.

The Delta-Lyft partnership is the first such agreement between a ride sharing company and an airline. The only similar existing partnership is between Uber and hotel partners including Hilton, IHG and Starwood Preferred Guest.

Unlike the bonus agreement involving American Airlines and MasterCard, through which cardholders earn double AAdvantage miles for Uber purchases, Lyft riders do not need to hold a Delta branded credit card to earn. Instead, SkyMiles accounts can be linked directly with the Lyft app. Delta pioneered a similar arrangement last year with vacation rental application Airbnb.

Making this deal more attractive is triple-mile earning for rides to and from any aiport Lyft officially serves. Lyft users who pay with a travel credit card, like the Chase Sapphire Reserve card (three points per dollar spent on travel, including Lyft) could earn the equivalent of up to six miles/points per dollar on Lyft airport rides. AAdvantage Aviator MasterCard holders can even double down, charging the ride to their AAdvantage card while still earning Delta miles through the app.

Currently, the only other way to earn transferrable airline miles through ride sharing services is through third party apps like Thanks Again, which offers 25 points for each Uber ride, transferrable to airline partners including Alaska, American, JetBlue, Southwest and United at a 2:1 ratio. That might be a decent value for short trips, but not a great earning rate on longer, more expensive runs.

Activating SkyMiles earning through Lyft is quite easy. Delta and Lyft launched a partner webpage where you can link your accounts. For those who don’t already have Lyft, the ride service is  offering $20 in free ride credits to new users who download the app through the partner page.

To connect the two accounts, users are first promted enter their name and SkyMiles number.

After your SkyMiles account is verified, you are connected to a page where you can connect your Lyft account using whichever phone number you have associated with the Lyft app.

After a couple of approval prompts, the site confirms the two accounts are linked. Earning takes place automatically, and is unlimited as long as the partnership lasts.

While SkyMiles aren’t the most valuable mileage currency, triple-miles on airport runs is the best rate we’ve seen between an airline and a mobile ride sharing service. The sign up process is relatively painless, and I don’t see any downside in signing up to earn a few extra miles.


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