So. Decided to join Delta Skymiles and see if they are better than Aadvantage. Here's how that went...I got 100,000 miles for the credit cards I opened, my husband got 30,000 for his. Their website says a o/w low mileage to Europe from the U.S. is 30,000 each way. I checked every date for next summer and every city combination and even though their advertised mileage calendar says that low miles = 30,000, and when I go to put in a certain date, that date is also advertised/listed as 'low miles', it is NEVER 30,000. Not even close. And, their online booking tool doesn't allow o/w anyway! I called four Delta/Skymiles reps, none of them could find a low miles city/date combo either. One even told me, "To be honest, that mileage chart is just a guide"! Also, until 2 days ago, they listed a mileage buy promo to receive 50% more in miles you buy, until Sept. 30. Now, promo has disappeared and none of their reps seem to know anything about it! I used their pricey 'Pay with Miles' to get two r/t from ORD-MXP and home from MAD-ORD for over $1700 and 100,000 Skymiles COACH, and not from my home airport. So sorry, American, I'll never leave you again. Any suggestions, anyone?
I recently had no trouble using up most of my miles to "help" pay for my trip to Spain. I used 80,000 and got $800 off my total. 1900$-800=paying $1100 for 2 round trip tickets. All I did was sign on to the delta website, picked my flight, and used the pay wiht miles drop down to get the miles applied to the bill. If I used the "use skymiles reward" icon on the home page, then it would tell me that I would not have enough miles to book the skymiles reward, which I think you are talking about. I guess there are 2 ways to go about it. But I just sign in, enter my cities, make sure on the flight listing I see a "pay wiht miles" icon, get to the end screen, access the drop down box, and I got to pay less for the total.
Not sure if this helped. SOmetimes it takes a month or so for the credit card miles to be applied to the delta website.
Using FF miles on any airline I'm familiar with is best when used prior to or after peak seasons. Summer is ALWAYS the peak travel season. Same with hotel rates. We always travel in April-May or October-November and find 20,000-30,000 miles for each leg. We've used both Delta and AA and now prefer AA, only because they have better options traveling from the Dallas hub to Europe for us.
I think the best idea is to use up your Delta miles (which it sounds like you did) and never fly them again. We also had trouble with our Delta miles a couple of years ago. As soon as booking became available almost a year in advance, I looked for any Delta FF roundtrip tickets to/from Athens in September or October 2011 for 60,000 miles. There was not ever one seat. We finally booked the tickets at 90,000 miles apiece, or 180,000 miles total. As a comparison, with American, we are flying to/from Milan in October for 100,000 miles total, for two of us. And in September of 2013, the two of us will fly business class (just for fun) on United from Denver/Istanbul for 200,000 miles total. So 180,000 miles in Economy on Delta vs. 200,000 miles in Business class on United for essentially the same trip ... makes no sense. I see no reason to ever use Delta again. By the way, right now there's an offer for a Chase United Explorer card, on the home page of the United website, with 40,000 miles and no annual fee first year. United has lots of options to Europe at 30,000 miles each way; American, between October and (?) April, even has some for 20,000 miles. And both airlines make award booking easy and allow one ways.
Interesting replies. Thanks for posting them. One of us is flying to Europe to meet the ones flying on Delta. This one is using American Aadvantage points and it is r/t 60,000 flying from our little town airport - peak travel. Which, I think anyway, summer may not be peak travel in Europe? I don't know. The ones flying on Delta have to go all the way to ORD - 3 hours away. I got a reply from Delta. They sent a link to look for flights.....all of which I already looked at.
Checking miles on the route we take, I see the miles needed have gone up 25+% since last month. You are right. It's no longer 60,000 but 77,500. We've used the lowest amount of miles many times previously.
Google "Skypesos". In all honesty, Delta is known for having massively devalued miles. In years past, I would recommend United (which I am burning my miles in), but the recent merger has been a nightmare. It's gone from an airline that valued loyalty to one where cash is the only thing they care about. On the other hand, I am flying to Rio on Thursday for $141 and 60,000 miles. In the future, I'm going to be looking into Lufthansa, but you may also consider Alaska Airlines. They partner with both AA and DL and you can redeem on either one. I've had better luck with them than DL, but I am based on the west coast where they fly the most.
Hi Mike, I think that you might have it backwards. While 1 cent per mile is a good, conservative valuation for the worth of a mile, the value of a mile depends on the replacement cost of the ticket in question. There are few situations when you should willing pay more than 1 cent per mile for the exclusive purpose of gaining a mile (such as the "mileage accelerators" that are offered at the kiosks or any offer to purchase miles). Many programs have a direct relationship between the price of a ticket and the number of miles you have to use, usually at the rate of 1 cent per mile. In these cases, a ticket that costs $150 will be 15,000 miles and one that is $1,500 will be 150,000 miles. However, with fixed award tickets, it is different. A ticket to LA or New York is 25,000 (if you can get is on saver), plus tax (about $30-50). The value of those miles depends on how much you can buy a ticket for right then. Suppose that there are tickets on sale to LA for $200 and to NYC for $500. If you use it for the LA ticket, you are redeeming at $0.008, but if you redeem for NYC, you are redeeming your miles at $0.02. Larger awards, for international trips generally have higher redemption values (for example, I used 80,000 miles for a ticket that would have otherwise cost $5,000 dollars, which means that each mile was worth $0.063). What this affects is how much you are willing to spend to get a mile. If you know you will be redeeming miles at $0.01 (which again, is a conservative and safe estimate), you know that spending a dollar to earn anything less than 100 miles is a losing bet. That also means that it isn't worth it to, say, spend $25 more for a ticket to fly on your preferred airline for flight where each leg is less than 1250 miles in length ((1249*2)/100 = real value < $25).
You live in Illinois, so you should use American because they have a hub in Chicago. They will offer more flights, more options, and probably better deals than Delta, which is based in Atlanta. If you really want to become an expert at the frequent flier game, you need to use flyertalk.com, that is where the experts hang out. The key is to understand the value of your frequent flier miles BEFORE you try to use them. If you have your heart set on specific dates and specific routes, you'll probably end up using too many miles. A decent rule of thumb is that a $300 flight will set you back 30k miles, so that means a mile is worth 1 cent. That's actually the best case scenario, more realistically it could be $300 flight for 40k miles. So do that math, and make sure you are not "overpaying" with too many miles. If it is too many miles, don't do the deal, save the miles for a different flight at a different time. Or convert the miles into something else. Many programs let you convert miles into something else, like gift cards for purchases.
A lot of buzz on Flyertalk on the Delta forum about the lack of availability on not only Delta, but also the partner airlines. It seems the Delta domestic availability has been extremely limited for a long time not only for us but also for partner airline FFers, so Air France, KLM, and other partners aren't allowing availability for Delta FFers. This is making the Delta miles practically worthless. Some posters, long-time high-status Sky Team members who travel extensively, are talking about finally changing alliances. A long term problem has been getting the connecting domestic seats to the airport for the international flight.
The value of a mile cannot be expressed in dollars or cents. It depends on whether you can actually get seats with those miles.
If you use AA miles be wary of excessive fuel surcharges on any British Airways leg of your trip to Europe. If you scroll down you can find flights that use AA only. When BA flies one or more legs of your trip, they charge $100's in fuel surcharges.
Sasha, you absolutely can calculate the value of a mile. Even on Delta, seats ARE available on just about every flight. The difference is that the super saver award seats are fewer and further in between on Delta, which is why you can say that the program isn't as good as some of the other carriers.
Very true about being wary of flying on codeshare, BA, on an AA flight. BA offers great credit card Avios point promotions but each US-EU flight takes MANY points and last summer, using over 200,000 Avios points, it still cost each of us $770 in taxes, fees and fuel charge. There is a bubble you can click while looking for AA flights that will just search AA and American Eagle flights - this will eliminate BA from the search. Am tired, tired of Delta giving expensive points in their offers. I won't fall for that again. And yes, FlyerTalk is wonderful to get up to date on the best point offers and other travel information as well. I had a son stuck a few summers ago in Southern France during a flood. I couldn't find any information and no one could communicate out of the village they were in. FlyerTalkers were able to find out that he was okay and to let me know. If you have Delta points to burn, you can use their codeshare partners (AirFrance, KLM) and fly using Delta points! You have to join their 'Flying Blue' loyalty club (it's free) Many less points required on the codeshare but were some taxes, surcharges involved with them. Also Delta has other codeshare partners this will work with on the West Coast. I couldn't figure out how to do it myself online so had to call the agent -a $25 charge but I ended up just booking Delta. Last time, I assure you...Thanks for all your comments.