Category Archives: SkyMiles

Why Delta Going One Way on Awards is a Huge Deal

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Right now, you pay the same price for a roundtrip award and a one way award booked with Delta miles. Obviously, under current rules, booking a one way award is foolish.

Starting January 1, 2015, we will be able to book one way Delta awards for half the price of roundtrips. (We lose the ability to book stopovers on Delta awards the same day.)

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To me the ability to book one way awards is especially valuable with Delta miles.

  • Why?

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Comparison of Four Major Airline Credit Cards

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American Airlines, United, Delta, and US Airways all release several co-branded credit cards with various benefits, bonuses, and fees.

I have attempted to summarize the following cards on one table for easy comparison:

I consider these to be the “basic” personal card for each of the four legacy carriers in the United States. Each airline also has a lower-tier cards which earn miles at a lower rate and come with no sign up bonus. And several of the airlines have higher tier cards that come with gigantic annual fees and even better benefits. But these are the four basic cards.

  • Which cards have the best sign up bonus?
  • Which have the best benefits?

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Delta Releases 2015 Award Chart

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Delta had already released its 2015 award chart for travel beginning in the United States (exlcuding Hawaii) and Canada, and now Delta has released SkyMiles Award Charts for 2015 from all other parts of the world.

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The current award chart controls for awards BOOKED in 2014, and the 2015 chart for awards BOOKED in 2015, regardless of when the flights are flown.

In addition to new award charts, we will see two major rule changes on Delta awards for awards booked January 1, 2015 or later:

The award charts reflect only minor changes from the 2014 chart, so don’t expect to find a big devaluation.

I scoured the new charts looking for creative, cheap awards, and I found a few.

  • What are the best deals on the new 2015 SkyMiles charts?

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Anatomy of an Award: Tahiti, New Zealand, Australia with SkyMiles

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I asked longtime award booker and occasional blog contributor JB to write about a very interesting Delta award he just booked.

A lot of people think Delta miles are worthless, but there are no other miles that could book a single convenient award with long stops in Tahiti and Sydney plus an overnight in Auckland.

A client contacted the MileValue Award Booking Service requesting a slightly modified version a MileValue classic: Tahiti, New Zealand & Australia on One Trip Using Delta Skymiles.

delta award ATL-SYD map

She had tried another award booking service that failed to convince Delta to book the award. Despite this ominous sign, I took it on.

Her routing is all one award. It is properly viewed as a round trip to Sydney (SYD) with a stopover in Papeete (PPT). There is an overnight in Auckland (AKL), but the time between flights is less than 24 hours, and on an international award ticket, that is a “layover” not a “stopover.” That means we are following the rule that you get one stopover plus one destination on a Delta award.

I’m sure you educated readers already know that. But, guess who didn’t. That’s right… the Delta agent.

  • How did I search for award space?
  • How did I out-maneuver the agent to get the award ticketed?
  • What is the go-to lie Delta agents are telling to try to shut down your award and how you do you beat it?

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5 Best Products to Book One Way with SkyMiles

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We are less than two months from 2015, and what I’m most looking forward to is being able to book one way awards with Delta SkyMiles. The 2015 award chart is already published and no Saver awards are going up in price.

Here are the roundtrip business class prices next year. One ways will be half the price.

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2015 SkyMiles Business Class Award Chart

I have booked myself only one SkyMiles awards in the last three years, and the big reasons is that one way awards are often most convenient for my travel style. In 2015, I expect to book myself several SkyMiles awards, possibly to South America, Europe, Asia, and New Zealand.

Here are the five partners I am most excited to book one way:

1. Virgin Australia to Australia or New Zealand

50k SkyMiles in economy or 80k miles in flat bed Business Class

Virgin Australia has the best Business Class award space to Australia with connections to New Zealand of any airline. It’s not even close.

  • Qantas hardly releases any premium cabin award space to American Airlines
  • Air New Zealand gives United none
  • United and Air Canada release some premium cabin space bookable with United miles, but far less than Virgin Australia

When I’m flying 16 hours, a flat bed is most welcome, and Virgin Australia Business Class features very comfortable flat beds.

Unfortunately for those who don’t read MileValue, and fortunately for those who do, Delta has stopped displaying Virgin Australia award space on delta.com. Now you can search it like this on virginaustralia.com. This only figures to increase the already widely available award space.

Virgin Australia flies to Brisbane and Sydney from Los Angeles. You can connect in Los Angeles with Alaska Airlines or Delta.

I’m eager to fly one way to Australia, so that I can hop around New Zealand and Southeast Asia before coming home. Soon I can get to Australia for 80k Delta miles one way.

  • What are the rest of the top five partners I’m most excited to fly one way?
  • Flights to Asia, Europe, and South America

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Delta.com No Longer Displaying Alaska and Virgin Australia Award Space

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Update 11/6/14: Delta.com is again displaying Alaska Airlines and Virgin Australia award space. The disappearance must have been a glitch. Bookmark this post in case the glitch recurs!

Delta.com is no longer displaying award space on Alaska Airlines or Virgin Australia. You can search for award space on both airlines on other websites and book it by phone with Delta.

Virgin Australia Business Class

Delta.com is pretty terrible. It shows very few Delta partners, requiring me to search for award space for clients of the MileValue Award Booking Service on airfrance.us, Expert Flyer, or by phone.

Even the partners Delta.com does show usually don’t show up on the calendar of results, so it looks like the month only has Standard and Peak award space when partner space exists that always prices at the Saver level. (What am I talking about? Read this post, and thank me later.)

In the last few days, Delta.com has stopped displaying Virgin Australia and Alaska Airlines award space. This is a big blow for the average member of SkyMiles.

  • Virgin Australia has the best award space of any airline to Australia in Business Class. It is bookable for 160,000 Delta miles roundtrip.
  • Alaska Airlines has solid award space to Hawaii and Mexico (not great uses of SkyMiles) and to West Coast gateway cities for international award flights.

The silver lining of making award space harder to search is that it becomes more plentiful for those of us who know where to search for it. You can join that group right now.

  • Where can you search Alaska Airlines award space?
  • Where can you search Virgin Australia award space?
  • How do you book the award space you find?

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China Airlines 777-300ER Business Class Improvement

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China Airlines has just taken delivery of its 777-300ERs. The new plane looks beautiful with a top-of-the-line flat bed business class, a quality premium economy, and economy that offers the chance to combine three seats into one family “couch.”

Note that China Airlines is based in Taiwan and is a member of SkyTeam. Don’t confuse it with Air China, based in Beijing, and a member of Star Alliance.

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China Airlines 777-300ER

The new 777-300ERs will be flying between the United States and Taipei starting in December 2014. The first route will be Los Angeles to Taiwan, followed by San Francisco and New York to Taiwan in 2015.

China Airlines flights are bookable with Delta SkyMiles, and convenient connections are available from Taipei throughout Asia.

  • What does Business Class look like?
  • What does Premium Economy look like?
  • What does Economy look like?
  • How can you book the family couches, billed as an affordable alternative to Business Class?
  • Where can you search and book award space on China Airlines flights?

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The Best Current Offer for The Gold Delta SkyMiles Card

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Update 11/12/13: The current best deal is this offer for the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express:

  • Earn 30K bonus miles after you make $1K in purchases on your new Card within your first 3 months and a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months.
  • Earn As You Spend: Get 2X miles on Delta purchases and 1X miles for all other eligible dollars spent.
  • Check your first bag free on every Delta flight – that’s a savings of up to $200 per round trip for a family of four.
  • Premium Travel Perks: Settle in sooner with Priority Boarding.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Terms and Restrictions Apply.

Application Link: Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

 

Delta to Fly Los Angeles to Cancun Daily with Surprisingly Good Award Space

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Delta miles are the worst. I would rather have United, US Airways, American, and in most cases British Airways Avios. But that doesn’t mean Delta miles are useless. When a good use pops up, I like to spotlight it, so that people with a stash of Delta miles can see the valuable possibilities. See:

Another such good use is to fly Delta’s new daily service from Los Angeles to Cancun roundtrip for only 35,000 SkyMiles + $72 in taxes or fly it in business class for 60,000 SkyMiles + $72.

Image from gcmap.com

How can you book yourself a trip to Cancun? What’s the award space picture?

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Amazing Deal: Delta Business Card with 55k Bonus Miles & 20k MQM

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Hot on the heels of yesterday’s Top Nine Credit Card Offers That Are About to Disappear, American Express has increased the sign up bonus on the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business Credit Card to 55k SkyMiles and 20k Medallion Qualifying Miles after spending $5k in the first three months of cardmembership.

That means most people can get over 100k SkyMiles from only two cards, enough for a roundtrip business class award to Europe.

How can you get the deal? What are Medallion Qualifying Miles? Where can you find award space with Delta?

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