Blog fight – Delta Points takes on View From the Wing re: Skymiles

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And I thought this was going to be a quiet Friday afternoon. Well, yesterday I put up a post suggesting that collecting Skymiles from the “Dining for Miles” program would be a good idea for us Delta flyers. But Gary has taken umbrage over this and has responded with a post HERE.

Now I should begin the blog fight with some facts and that this will not be a fair fight.

  • Fact one. I really like and respect Gary.
  • Fact two, I agree with most of what he says, not just in the aforementioned post, but with most things he says.
  • Fact three, when it comes to ALL things miles I am at best a AAA ball player going up against a Cy Young award winner many times over. 🙂

But I am brave (ok silly enough) to give this a shot. Since the above is true, I will “one up” the mighty Gary by enlisting “my minions” of Delta Points followers to defend my honor. So, you tell me (and Gary), why it is a good idea, despite all that has been said, to hoard and collect Skymiles from as many sources as we can find (including Dining for Miles)!

Let the battle begin! – René

 

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25 comments

  1. The question isn’t why earning Skymiles is good. It’s why earning Skymiles would be better than earning the best alternate currency for the same activity. So why is earning Delta miles for dining better than AA, UA, US? And to be clear what my post was saying **when the offer is the same number of miles in an alternative program**. So sure, I credited rental cars to Delta when I was earning 9999 miles for a one-day rental. That was awesome. But that’s not what we’re discussing here.

  2. @Gary – But that assumes that all other points are worth more. To some of us who always fly Delta, and say have status, even a free ticket can get an upgrade. If we save the points on AA and say redeem a coach ticket, we are stuck in coach. It goes back to each person and what points YOU value most. I would say many Delta flyers value Delta points!

  3. The free stopover on an award ticket can give you two cities for the price of one and as far as I know is not a feature of every other frequent flier program.

  4. Here are a few….Delta SkyMiles are better if (1) you have a specific award ticket in mind, i.e. LAX to PPT, (2) You are not in a non-Delta hub and want a direct award flight, i.e. ATL to DXB/NRT/CDG or LAX to CDG.

  5. @Delta Points – you can get a free upgrade on an award ticket at UA too, if you hold their Chase credit card.

    Let’s just say I’m glad I don’t live at a Delta hub.

  6. (3) you’ll have the opportunity for an upgrade if you book an award on Delta as an elite member. I.e. I got upgraded on a flight from ATL to LAX as a Delta Platinum member. Would have had to take a connecting flight if I had credited miles to Alaska, and would not have received an upgrade on a mileage award ticket.

  7. I’m a loyal DL Platinum living in a DL hub city, but I’ve come around to Gary’s point of view, Rene. Skymiles low-level award availability is horrendous relative to AA and UA and the airline has rendered mileage-based upgrading worthless by requiring fares far higher than its competitors. DL’s partners are mostly the dregs of the airline industry, not the class acts.

    I will continue to fly DL and strive for status and the upgrades that come with it, but my non-flight earning in 2013 will go to flexible programs (Amex, Chase) that allow me to steer my miles to whichever program allows me to use them the simplest, with the greatest value per mile.

  8. I have to agree with Gary. I keep wanting to collect skymiles, but just can’t bring myself to do it given the much better programs out there. I also enjoy int’l first class, which, is impossible with Delta.

  9. Completely agree with Gary on this one. Delta points are worth much less than AA and UA, and this is a Diamond saying this. Give me 60K AA or UA miles anyday.

  10. Don’t sell yourself short Rene, Gary may have been around longer but an old [edit] isn’t always right [edit].

    Your blog is geared towards Delta flyers. Obviously your post about the Dining program is of interest to Delta flyers (whatever their reason is for being one). Given Delta flyers reading this, your advice is certainly sound…AA flyers, UA flyers, etc have their own interests and sources for program news and advice. I didn’t think you were urging everyone, everywhere, to credit dining miles to DL without exception.

    Besides, the dining programs are nice to do but are comparatively chump change, unless one dines out an awful lot. In which case someone may be interested in a FF program where miles can be redeemed for liposuction 🙂

  11. Here is a couple bullets for the gun :P.

    With the AMEX, Sky Miles hold a $0.01 per mile value on a cash per point basis for buying tickets. Thus, a $350 costs $35,000, which isn’t horrible. Especially since this is in line with other programs (awards to Tallahassee and out of/in to PDX, ain’t as sweet).

    Also, Delta’s shopping portal is selling a year subscription to The Economist, print & digital edition, for 3,200 Sky Miles. Since this usually goes for $127 and Sky Miles are generally thought to be worth less than other FF programs, dining credits to the program hold more value here than from other programs (a $95 value at the 0.01 per mile number, or $0.4 per mile value if the actual costs is divided by miles).

    Although the point gurus hate magazine purchases with miles, this one is actually worth it.

  12. While I do love my skymiles (ATL based), it’s not always my first choice.
    I usually cycle through the rewards network programs to get the various sporadic bonuses (next is 1000 USair miles after first $30 purchase).
    and if there aren’t any bonuses, I usually go idine and take the cash option. Best case scenario with delta skymiles rewards network (or any miles rewards network) is 5 miles/dollar. Best return with idine is 15 cents/dollar (worst case it’s 5 cents per dollar).
    Can I get better than 3 cents per skymile? Sure, but for the amount of miles I earn from rewards network (not much), I’d prefer the cash.

  13. I only fly delta because it just happened
    In only 1/4 away from reaching my mm status
    I’m not a business traveler but LOVE my GM elite plus status and would scrub floors if need be
    To maintain status and perquisites
    Rene is wonderful
    As are ALL if the people I have thus far encountered behind the glass curtain
    blog on all you wonderful
    Travel related
    Cognoscenti
    Namaste

  14. Overall I do agree with Gary: given the choice it makes way more sense to collect the most valueable miles and thet USUALLY(almost always) means: not Skymiles. Of course in the end it’s personal what works best for you. However you really have to think up a scenario where it’s better to get Delta points over, say Alaska miles. Come to think of it…no scenario there, except when you ONLY fly Delta and never ever any other airline. Not very realistic imo….

  15. DeltaPoints: I have a separate question. I’m trying to hit the 30K mark on my Delta Reserve card. Could I technically buy a refundable ticket for next year, earn the EQM, and then refund the ticket several months later, before the flight departure?

  16. @Steve – you could but they may pull them back. What you could do is spend the money on fully refundable, then ask for not credit back to your card but an ETV they could can then spend over time with Delta. Keep in mind the ETV HAS RULES. Rules like ONLY YOU can spend it on you or those with you. But sure, this way you could basically “pre-pay” for some Delta flights and meet spend. OK? – Rene

  17. @DeltaPoints Thanks. Love your blog! Are there better ways to hit the spend? I figured that they only charge the annual fee 1x every 12 months BUT you can get the max EQM every calendar year, so if I hit by end of year, I could do the same next year, all for 1 annual fee. Hope that makes sense. I still need to apply for the card.

  18. @Steve yes you could do that. But, keep in mind you get a free buy-one-get-one-free cert each year your fee hits. That is worth $200-$500 IMO. One of you who fly will get MQM & RDM’s. I think it is worth it. But, you could do that and then switch to BIZ Reserve card, do what you said, then switch back. Then repeat. Your call. I will have a post soon on spend ideas btw. Thanks so much for reading the blog – Rene

  19. @DeltaPoints Thanks for the clarification. When you say switch back between cards, would you suggest closing one card then opening another at the end of the term? Also on that note, I signed up for the Gold Amex 75K + Chase Sapphire promo. I’ve already hit both spends. Should I close the cards right before the 12 month mark?

  20. In Steve’s example, what if he needed those EQM to get the next level in Medallion status? If he purchased the ticket this Dec for a flight next Dec and cancelled then, even if they clawed the EQM back, he’d have been able to enjoy the status for most of the year anyways?

  21. Gary is right. I only earn Delta miles for status — this includes credit card spend, but only so much to get me an MQM threshold. AA and UA have much better programs, and there’s no need for status when I’m redeeming for international business or first. If I REALLY need miles for an award (which I shouldn’t because I have 300K+ and don’t book more than 2 tix at a time), I have MR points but that’s just as a backup.

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