Trip Reports

Delta Air Lines Mileage run – a break even trip – MKE-ATL-LAX part one

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

drive through chicago on my way to MKE delta points blog

At last let the fun begin. Fall is here and it is time to fly. Not just a little, but a lot. My first day was a mileage run to LAX via ATL. It got started with a great stay in Milwaukee. I spoke with the TSA folks and was informed that TSA Pre™ should be open in ONE MONTH in MKE! Great news to see so many more airports expanding the program.

Once at Atlanta I trucked up to the “hidden” A Skyclub near and started checking tweets. All of a sudden I see a tweet from a fellow BA blogger and..

tweet from MJ

Uh, really, MJ on Travel is one concourse over from where I am right now? Time to club hop!

mj on travel and rene delta points blog delta skyclub T atlanta airport

I do correspond now and then with MJ, but it is was so funny to bump in to him along the way. Even more fun, was an e-mail along the way from my MKE-ATL flight from Tony, a reader, who was about to land in ATL. It happened to be he was landing 2 gates from the “T” Skyclub where MJ was (what are the odds?)!

rene with reader tony delta skyclub atlanta delta points blog

Tony, it was so great to meet you! I look forward to spending more time with ya next time chatting about points and miles!

ife delta 767 atl to lax delta points blog

Thanks to the mighty schedule change rule I was able to change my flight to one that resulted in getting to fly my transcon not on the stock 767-300 with business class seats, marginally better than a standard coach seat, to an internationally configured bird that I reviewed here on my trip to Amsterdam in May. There was no wifi, but it was worth the trade-off to me for the space and seat. As readers know, for me, legroom is king and this seat has all I could need.

sliders dinner atl-lax delta points blog

The downside was, thanks to FeBo, I was the last one on the flight to get to pick my meal choice. I was really looking forward to the choice as the cold steak with potato salad is a very nice meal. The flight crew was kind enough to allow me to pick a meal off the “eats” menu and I picked the roast beef sliders!

view over lake michigan delta jet delta points blog

The flight was nice, I got to watch a movie as the IFE worked fine. The view out the window transcon is always breathtaking. Even if you fly a bunch, take some time and just appreciate a view so few will ever have!

broken USB power port on Delta 767-300 delta points blog

The only minor issue I had was some other passenger had destroyed the USB power port so there was no charging of my phone this way (I had my power brick and was using the 110 for my laptop). I may shoot off an e-mail to and advise them about it and see if I get a few points.

in-and-out burger lax airport delta points blog

Upon landing I headed over to In-N-Out burger to meet up with not just two readers, but also bumped into one of the flight attendants from my ride to LAX.

rene delta points and delta FA and blog readers lax in-and-out burger

It is so much fun to get to know readers better and to chat about our collective obsession / enthusiasm for points, miles and all things travel. I look forward to seeing both soon again!

Back to the airport and a quick shower and then some time in the Alaska club since my flight out was on that side of the airport.

alaska boardroom lax airport delta points blog 1

This was my first time in the Alaska Boardroom in LAX and it is very nice. No where near as crowded as the Delta side and so many more choices when it comes to food and drinks.

alaska boardroom lax airport delta points blog 2

I got in with my Skyclub membership. Your AMEX Reserve card will NOT get you in, but if you have the AMEX Platinum Membership Rewards card that will get you in. My visit was short but fun to take it all in.

Lastly it was time to fly back home to MKE via ATL again. I had the same internationally configured 767 on the way back and slept very well with the full flat seat. It really does make a huge difference in how rested you can be.

rene at delta F skydeck atl atlanta airport sunrise

I did not have much time in Atlanta but did have a chance to enjoy sunrise on the SkyDeck before my next flight.

take elevator from plane train to top floor skyclub

A quick tip on getting to the club. If you arrive on the plane train it is 3 sets of escalators to get up to the 3rd floor. It is much faster to go past the escalators and just take the elevator all the way up as it dumps you out just about at the front door of the “F” Skyclub.

ife 737-800 delta atl to mke delta points blog

It was great, during Day one, getting to meet 3 readers and bump into MJ on Travel. All of my upgrades for day one and day two had cleared before I started and that made this trip a bit more relaxing as I was not concerned about trying to change flights etc. to score an upgrade and could just enjoy the trip and I did. This Thursday  I have part two of this run and will break down the cost of the trip, some issues and the net result of all of this was that this trip was just about NET-FREE for me! That is a good way to take a mileage run and my grand totals for the year so far. – René


EDIT:   MQD tracking is now live on! Log-in and go look in your “MY DELTA” and you should see your number for the past few months of spending. The number DOES NOT MATTER for this year and only to show where you would be if this were 2014. There is a TON more about this and I will post later on today about it as I get more info and answer questions!


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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

René de Lambert is a contributing writer and the founder of RenesPoints. He is an avid Delta and SkyTeam flyer who has held Delta’s top Diamond Medallion status for many years and flown millions of miles.


  1. Very cool! One day, I hope to be able to do mileage runs like this! In the meantime, if you decide not to e-mail Delta for points about the USB port, at least shoot them a tweet with flt. #, seat #, etc. They’ll put in a work order so the next person doesn’t have the issue you do! (Not that I’ll be in that SUPER nice seating any time soon!)

    Thanks Rene!

  2. Nice article. One small clarification – you can’t get into the AS Boardroom with the Amex Platinum card, although you can with the Priority Pass Select card (which comes with the Amex Platinum).

  3. Sounds like a great mileage run especially with the flights in first on the newly configured 767s. (A trip to In-n-Out was icing on the cake.) I always look for flights with this aircraft. I had a mileage run to SAN last week and was surprised by the new SkyClub. It had been open for only three weeks. It is one of the nicest SkyClubs anywhere. There is even a balcony with rocking chairs over looking some of the gates! Pretty cool, I think.

  4. Hi Rene
    I’m pretty sure i spotted you at MKE on the 4th but was on the phone w/ platinum desk trying to make changes and by the time i was off I didn’t see you. Anyway, here’s a electronic hello instead. Was on a mileage run MKE-ATL-SFO x2

    Question: How do you maximize your mileage while on a MR? At the end of 3 MR’s this month i’ll be a few hundred miles short of Diamond, so I was able to route instead of ATL-MKE (600MQM’s) to ATL-MSP-MKE which gave me 1400MQM’s. Do you try this at every phase of a flight if you have a long enough layover? It wasn’t that easy to do as i was turned down by gate agents, customer service rep in Conc A, and platinum desk, but the skyclub rep was able to do it. I guess my question is when is it worth it and whether you try for it regularly?

    • @Alex – most times my upgrades clear and I am always careful about this. Yes, you can play with SDC and look for more miles. You know, from MKE, you can take the direct flight to go see the SKYDECK in JFK. That is a neat spot ( I have been told ) if you have time. I only tend to mess with flights when I need to. I know I should work them harder to get more but I let other stuff get in the way. But do get all you can each run and hope to see you next time! – Rene

  5. $200 Choice Benefit shows MQD’s earned for the trip I used it on. $269 all-in, used the voucher, received $230 MQDs.

  6. Hi René, thanks for all the helpful articles. I thought I had read that you couldn’t get medallion upgrades on planes with the business elite configuration– even domestically, is that wrong? If not, how do you find the planes with the best seat? We were upgraded to/from PVR last weekend and I heartily agree with you that front of the plane on the 737 we took was only marginally better than coach.

    • @JEandJL – only NO on INT flight or flights to Hawaii. Any other flights are just like std and yes you can upgrade.

  7. I was really hoping you weren’t going to let the cat out of the bag on he Alaska lounge in LAX, now there’s going to be more people there!

  8. Hi René
    What a fun MR!
    Did you ever eat at
    The apple pan in la?
    Both fun
    And there’s another burger joint whs name I have forgotten
    It’s sort of a trailer and the guy gets amazing tomatoes to dress his
    Have you been to terminal 4 JFK sky deck
    It is so pretty!
    Really enjoyed reading your MR post!!
    What fun
    Wow maybe someone will be on my
    LGA msp slc ANC sea JFK run
    Last weekend in sept sat-sun!
    Happy flying

  9. Pingback: Is a Break Even Delta Mileage Run possible? My day two run - Delta Points

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