Reader Q&A answered ☺ part two

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I thought I would hit on a few more reader questions today; I really appreciate all the input from the OPEN Monday a few weeks back. I will try to touch on as many of these as I can and if you have more, the comment section of that post is still open so feel free.

Let’s get stated with one that tends to make flyers the most upset (yours truly included). I have a long one from Gregg:

On this past Monday, I got stuck with the bad weather in ATL. We left FLL at 4:15 (on time) and when we were 20 minutes outside of ATL, the pilot came on the PA and said that ATL was closed due to bad weather. He went on to say that our 757 only had 45 minutes of fuel left and that we would have to divert, most likely to JAX. five minutes later he came back on and said we were going to divert to Savannah to get some fuel and then wait out the storm so we can continue on to ATL. we landed in Savannah at 6:30 and were told that there were 14 other Delta planes on the ground here and that there was no place for us at the gate. at 9:25 they pulled us into a United gate and allowed us to deplane, if we chose to, while the plane got some fuel. At this time, the flight crew said they were now illegal as they had been in the cockpit for 16 hours and that a new crew would be sent from ATL. Now we all know that Delta would not send another plane to Savannah, an airport with only 10 delta flights to Atlanta a day, yet another plane just to move a flight crew and one hour later they told us that the flight would leave the next day. The gate agent said that since this was a weather issue, Delta would not be giving out hotel or food vouchers. hearing that, one of the other people on the plane and I rented a car and drove to ATL, where I then got a hotel so I could take a connection to BHM in the morning. One of the people sitting behind me on the flight to BHM said that Delta ended up giving out vouchers for a holiday in until they ran out. My question after all that is, that since a weather issue caused us to be diverted, but ultimately it was the lack of a crew that canceled us, do I have any recourse? I feel that I should get my hotel and car rental costs back, since they had eventually gave out some hotel vouchers to those who stayed in Savannah. Thanks – Gregg

Wow that is a story AND a question. The bottom line, that just irks me, is the airlines can almost always say it is weather and get away with it. Look at my example in my post HERE. Delta 100% stands by the fact that it was weather, even tough my CJR had a broken part. So on to your question. You are officially entitled to ZERO ZIP NADA NOTHING! The weather caused all of this chain of events. Now when you landed, had the plane say blown a tire and could not fly, then maybe. But my guess would be, Delta would say weather, as they would not have landed in Savannah without the weather first causing them to go there and blow out the tire there instead of Atlanta. See! Maddening is it not. But thanks for the question.

Next we have one about award booking from Jim. He wants to know just what you can do over time. Take a look:

OK, I have a question. Booking low miles tickets to Europe (or wherever), can you book the hard part one week and then a few weeks later book the not hard parts and then get an agent to combine them? I booked JFK-CDG over Thanksgiving a few weeks ago in Business, and now I want to book the SFO – JFK in business too… all at the lowest level. can I do that, or do I have to do it all on one day? Thanks! – Jim

I like the way your mind works Jim and you are thinking in the strange, convoluted and round about way we must all think to find and score low level seats on Delta. So now to your question. You can do what you are asking about, but with a bunch of caveats and for anyone NOT either Platinum or Diamond Medallion DO NOT DO THIS please. You need to keep in mind that too many legs each way or total can bump this from one ticket into two tickets. Also, layover times can break this from one into two. Next, say you find what you are talking about round trip, then hold the next part one way, then call and ask to put them into one, you are now holding the seats. You must get a rep good enough to re-price or re-book them (sometimes releasing the seats you have to free up inventory) and then get the international re-issue desk to do what you want. I have had success with “price as booked” from the help desk, but this is one of those that “should” work and you must get a phone rep good enough to get that.

Now here is a wide open question that kinda fits with the last one from Jim. Jeff wants to know:

I have 180,000 delta points. I would like to fly 2 people from Northeastern US to somewhere (anywhere) outside of the US this summer in first or business class. What would be best place I could go.

OK let me stop you right here Jeff. You need 20,000 more Skymiles. If you have never had the GOLD Delta Business card, with just $500 spend you will be up to 210,000 and that, with a lot of work (see the E7 posts in the Essentials tab) will get you two low level business class seats to Europe. With really a lot of work, you could say fly into Paris, stop over for say a week, then continue on to Rome or Sweden or England. Then, on the way back, you could do the same some place else. Bottom line, the world is wide open, and since you have no place you MUST or are set on going, it will be much simpler to find low level seats as you just want to go someplace and enjoy!

It seems everyone is asking about Europe. And that is fine. Kae has a big family and wants to find out:

Hi, We would like to see Europe the summer of 2015 using Delta miles. Any suggestions on what to do to get enough miles from Atlanta to cover a family of four by that time? Thanks for your time! Kae

First let me applaud you Kae for thinking long term. You don’t want to go in two months and want to all fly 1st class NOW. So on to my answer. To me, clearly, business is the way to go. It takes 60,000 Skymiles to go in coach and 100,000 in business. Now I get that we are talking 240,000 Skymiles vs a HUGE 400,000 for four. That is a big number. Can you get that many by 2015? Sure. You will want to keep your eye on large Membership Reward card deals that come up as they can be sent almost instantly to Delta. You can churn a few Skymiles cards each as well. After you get 240k or 400k it will be hard work to get the low level seats and with children, depending on their ages, strange multi-hop flights may not be much fun. So, the other option is to just buy tickets with Ultimate Rewards points. Let’s say you can find coach seats for $1000 each / $4000 for the trip. To pay for the full ticket price with UR points would take 320,000. If both you and your husband EACH get a Chase  INK BOLD  and  INK PLUS  card, each spend $5,000 on each, and you BOTH got a Chase Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, and spend $3000 on that, all in, grand total after spend, you would be at 306,000. Pick up a Chase Freedom card or two and you are there. Then, you can pick any airline you want, like Delta, earn Skymiles for the trip, and pick the exact flights you want.

Now we have one about the many perks of the Platinum Membership Rewards cards (NOT to be confused with the DELTA Platinum Skymiles card that is a TOTALLY different product – clear)! Jackie wants to know:

René. My question is: I have chosen delta as my airline w amex plat card $200 credit this year & already gotten $50 checked bag fees reimbursed from jan/feb flights. I am not elite on delta but I am an spg platinum member. So now that as of march 1st I get those great crossover benefits, how can I best use my remaining $150 annual credit on delta? Please help! I don’t want to waste it but I can’t change my airline mid year. Thanks!

Wow what a nice problem to have (Plat with SPG)! Yes Crossover rewards does give you a nice perk now and your bag does ride free plus you will earn points with both programs. You are 100% correct that you can ONLY pick one airline per calendar year. You are stuck with Delta until 01JAN2014. So what can you spend the perk on? You could buy a Skyclub 1 year pass. Or, 3 one day passes. As talked about yesterday, there are often discount codes, like “SJN10” that can reduce it by 10%. I know you get in free already with your AMEX MR Platinum card so the other option is on board drinks and eats. That is about it for now (stay tuned for other options on the way soon).

Thanks again for all the input everyone. I have a fun Rookie post on the way tomorrow and this weekend’s SWAG is a simple one all will like – a $30 gift card to Amazon.com – René

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6 comments

  1. My husband had a similar situation to Gregg in that Delta cancelled his flight from MCI to ATL due to weather and couldn’t rebook him for 2 days. He wasn’t offered any type of voucher. On the bus ride to the hotel, a lady from his flight had two hotel vouchers. Since my husband is Platinum with Delta I was irritated that he didn’t get vouchers and they didn’t even try to get him on an earlier flight. I emailed them and got a $250 credit, but he also lost two days!

  2. I will have 120k Delta miles by June. I am thinking ahead and looking for a low level award ticket to Asia starting from LAX. Any good route to go? Also, can I have stopover in Europe on way to Asia?

  3. @Sil – Delta does not allow Europe as a stopover on the way to Asia. You would have to do a “round the world” and start in LAX and move to Asia then back to LAX. http://www.delta.com/skymiles/use_miles/award_upgrade_mileage/delta_multi_airline_awards/round_the_world/index.jsp You are talking 180k for coach and 280k for biz. If not, you are are good to go for low level biz to north and south Asia at 120k http://www.delta.com/content/www/en_US/skymiles/use-miles/award-travel/airlines-and-mileage-charts/travel-from-the-u-s-canada.html

  4. Sorry Rene, redeeming 320k UR points to purchase $4k worth of travel is a terrible redemption. If they did sign up for all those Chase cards, they would be better off paying cash for the tickets and saving the UR points for a premium cabin trip by converting them to United miles. For example, 320k United miles is enough for a return trip for two in First Class to Australia. FYI, the retail cost for that is $37000.

  5. @DBest – True IF you can find the seats. United had been hard lately! For a family, picking the seats and flights they want may be best! – Rene

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