Trip Report: A return from Istanbul, Sheraton AMS & missing points & more!

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As we left off from part one, I was forlorn and dejected, with my tail between my legs, sulking away from the KLM Crown Lounge after being summarily dismissed by the desk agent (ok it was not that bad)! I did get an answer back to my tweet complaint to KLM and, apparently, a connection from Istanbul is NOT an international city so it did not count for Skyteam access (who knew)! As to middle seat and getting lied to about my drink request, I was offered 7500 Flying Blue points. OK…. I now really wish I had my LOUNGE CLUB™ card to get access to the SERVISAIR LOUNGE in AMS from my INK card!

I went to the central “hub” and exited security and walked for the most part straight until I found the “tube” connecting the airport to the Sheraton AMS. There were a number of cheaper options but I really wanted to try this location and have the chance to see the new “crossover rewards” at work with Delta. I booked cash and points and the final bill was under $100.

I had been upgraded to a king room with an airport view. Very nice! I also requested, as an SPG gold, access to the club floor/lounge. Rather than STRIKE TWO in one day, they were kind enough to grant me a one time exception (my ego restored thanks to SPG)!


The SPG lounge was open till 11 but I was bushed and ready to call it a day. As a GOLD SPG, I had to pick either 250 SPG points or unlimited Internet (30 min was free either way). I picked the internet. I did not take any room pictures but it was a standard king room.

I did however have a very nice personal welcome card in the room. A very nice touch. The room had a nice size bathroom and it did have a great view of the airport from the 5th floor.

In the morning I did avail myself of the lounge for breakfast. There were hot and cold options. I had eggs, sausage and a croissant.

OJ was fresh squeezed and a nice pleasant surprise. Another nice bit was that they had motorized shoe polishers outside the elevators on each floor. A little touch but nice.

Since I already had my boarding pass from the day before, I went right to passport control and back into the airport. No security scanning as that is done at the gate. This time I was allowed access to the lounge and had some more OJ and a treat.

My return was on an A330-300 and I had one of the best two “coach” seats on the plane. Row 10 B&H. I had power, Economy Comfort extra recline and unlimited leg room (the flight was full but not over again). We made great time and landed at NOON CST 40 min early. Thanks to GOES (global entry) I raced through customs in no time and dashed into the Skyclub.

As a Platinum Medallion, I can SDC (same day change) to another flight if space is open. There was a 1 PM from MSP to MDW and a new boarding pass was produced and I was #1 on the upgrade list. I only have a few minuets before boarding so off to the gate. I checked on the upgrade and was put in 4A. Perfect. I was flying again just about 1 hr after landing from my international flight!

The last bit of info that may help you. There is a great parking lot, midwayparksaver, on the south side of the airport across from the mass transit stop. For two days or more you can get a nice discount. The lot is just a 5 minute walk to check-in. I like this much more that a shuttle bus, but if you have a lot of luggage it may be worth dropping it off first before you park.

The only point issue I had was that my points were missing from the IST-AMS leg as the Turkish rep had put in my Flying Blue Ivory number. Clearly I did not want that and requested he fix it. He typed on his computer and said “It’s OK”. It was not ok. But, two emails to Delta and I got credit for the segment.

So how did this trip break down. Here are the numbers.

  • I earned 12,156 MQM’s
  • I paid $396 for the ticket after a $150 ETV from a bump so my cost was just 3.26 CPM
  • My other incidentals, gas, parking plus the hotel

$46 for gas
$26 to park
$98 for the hotel
$8 for food

  • So, all in real cost $574 or 4.72 CPM+misc
  • Since we are now talking value, as a Platinum medallion I earned 24,312 Skymiles. Worth at least 1 cent each (I value them at 2-4 cents each) it brings my net cost down to $330 or 2.7 CMP-value (just about break even at 2 cents each).

Some other thoughts. Most of the domestic trans-con mileage runs I pick up 5k each turn. I get a bunch of upgrades as a PM vs. very few on International runs and only have to deal with Delta. When things pop up domestic, it is simpler to “tinker” with flights. It was a fun run and a nice way to work toward my DM goal by July 1st this year! Have you ever done a mileage run? Does it seem like fun to you? Let me know! – René

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  1. Rene,

    I wanted to know if you ever get questioned from Immigration when you get back from international runs of just a day. They ever ask what you did for just a day over there? I want to start some international runs but am afraid that they will want to question me about going all that way for just a day? Any thoughts???

  2. @Rick – I LOVE LOVE LOVE that you asked this. Here is why: before you board the INT flight home in AMS, and other places, they quiz you about all the std stuff like did you pack your own stuff, electronics etc. I was hoping they WERE going to ask about why such a quick trip. I was going to say “I am just flying to collect FF points”. If they had pulled me aside, or even detained me, that would have made for a great post. But, they asked almost nothing. I would not worry. There are a bunch of us just flying to IST to get points and they know it!

  3. They were wrong denying you access to the AMS Crown Lounge. And the liquor is indeed normally NOT catered for/in Economy but it is in European Business class.

  4. @TheFlyingDutchboy – yes on the Crown Lounge. Also, not upset about the drink itself. Upset the FA lied and said none on the flight. Could have said, not served in coach! Txs – Rene

  5. Rene,
    I also did a MR to IST and experienced issues getting credit for the IST-AMS leg which was ticketed on DL stock, with the codeshare flight info. A quick tweet to @DeltaAssist got the situation resolved, but interesting that you experience the same problem for the same leg!

    Sorry about your luck at the KLM lounge in AMS – when I was there everyone was pleasant and let me right in as a GM, though I was continuing to the US same day.

    Great report!

  6. As a PM you should have been able to go to the Crown Lounge. I’ve had this issue before, so now I just call Delta in advance to make sure (Delta Amsterdam office) and keep the agents name ready. Usually no problems, but when they make problems I just tell them to call Delta and ask for…. they won’t bother by the way. Flying US is never a problem, intra EU rarely….anyway, sounds like a nice trip

  7. “a connection from Istanbul is NOT an international city”

    I don’t get it. Aren’t AMS and IST in two different countries?

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