Only high level award seats open! Use gift cards?

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One of the reasons “everyone else” tags us with the label “travel hackers” is because we think about all the ways to make something work. We don’t just think I have no other choice. Let me give you a hypothetical example to look at. Also this is for demonstration purposes ONLY to show the concept.

Let’s say you live in NYC but want to end the year in LAX. You look and find only HIGH level award seats.

Oh no! 50,000 points to get the seats I want. I guess I could look at just paying for the tickets then, how much would that cost me.

$530 each is a lot of money when I have all these Skymiles saved up. But if I do pay for the ticket, as a GM or higher, I would earn 4950 MQM’s and 9900 Skymiles for the trip that I would NOT get using Skymiles for an award ticket. I could use “pay with miles” and it would almost be the same price as the award ticket but I would not earn any MQM’s once I spend a single Skymile with “pay with miles” under Delta’s rules.

Is there anything else I can do? YES! If you have any Delta branded AMEX card and can get access to the Skymiles Marketplace. Once there, you do this:

You can, for 104,000 Skymiles, buy 8  Bloomingdales $100 gift cards. Then, you can take them, once you get them in the mail that is, and sell them for 85% of the face value as you can see here:

You would net $680 and would only have to spend $380 more buying your tickets and would earn MQM’s and RDM’s for the trip! Now again, not saying this a good or smart thing to do. I would never do this. I value my Skymiles at a much higher level than 6/10th of a cent each and use them for 100k business class low level awards to Europe and I know how to get them!

So today’s post is just to make you think. To help you understand that you do not have to accept what is offered. – René

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PS – Later today I will do the drawing for today’s qualifier to win the new NOOK 7″ Tablet so be sure to sign up for the once a day e-Mail for a chance to win it this Sunday!


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  1. Rene. Very interesting article. You said you value your SkyMiles to much to buy the cards and use them as you suggested in your example. In that vein,I note the ticket cost was 50k points. Is that the new Delta norm? I wanted a ticket from Mpls to Billings, RT for my granddaughter in July and it was 50k points. I want to go from DUL to SNA in a month and nothing shows below 50k miles. Looks to me as though Delta is watering down the value of those points.

  2. Delta miles really do have limited value. In recent domestic award travel searches a ticket on United or AA was 25K RT in coach but 40K+ on Delta…Not much value for your miles if you ask me!

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