This does it for me for the year. This one was another run I had not planned to take, but the price was just way too good and it was a chance to spend some time with a fellow blogger along the way. That is priceless. I will break down the numbers soon and my grand totals for the year.
I always say where you live just does not matter if the price is good enough. This run popped up out of Las Vegas for $139 round trip. Picking up 5193 MQM for that is a great deal and low CPM or cost per mile. But how does one get to Las Vegas from South Bend? Clearly via Lansing Michigan? What? Well I used 20,000 FlexPerks points. These are fun in a few ways. You can spend up to $400 MAX on a ticket with those 20,000 points. Fare class does not matter, it is all about the number and staying under it. Go $1 over and you go to the next point level, 30,000 and then you can spend up to $600. I did not want to burn that much and out of South Bend everything was over $500, but Lansing which is just a little more than 1-ish hour farther away than SBN airport got me what I wanted. So the positioning cost was ZERO for airfare, and I did have some parking and gas but no tolls in Michigan. That did run me $60 all-in.
Some will now say, “hold on, that did cost you the points so you lost out on $400“. No, first off, this is my point math :-). Next, I have more points than I can spend and I am working toward a goal of MQMs not more FlexPerks points (mileage runs is one of the reasons I collect them anyway). Lastly, if “those people” MUST put a number on 20,000 FlexPerks then the cost is just $158 that is 40x$500 ($3.95 fee each) Vanilla Reloads. Fair enough?
Anyway, back to my fun run that is #DeltaMR2013. MJ’s and my first flight was 6:AM out of LAS so I had to go in the night before.
My night flight from DTW to LAS was nearly an EMPTY first class flight (it was catered for FULL so I got the veterinarian with a chicken breast). I am serious, this was the most empty flight I have ever seen. There were 7 empty seats in 1st class and only 40 passengers in the back on a 757. Just amazing. Even an SPG CrossoverRewards “medallion” would have upgraded on this flight (they were even selling 1st class upgrades)!
I have a life long buddy in LAS so he picked me up and we went out to dinner. Since I had already had food on the flight I just snacked on some nummy wings and a good beer and some great time with my friend Bill at local micro brewery.
After paying for dinner with my Chase Sapphire Preferred card (gotta get those 2x points) he took me on a tour of the Las Vegas strip and area. I wanted to check out the Pawn Shop from the hit TV show Pawn Stars but it closed at 9:PM. Next time!
The strip was neat and fun to see all the hotels you only see in the movies and such. Not my kind of thing (i.e. casinos) but still fun to look at the show.
Especially the water show like the one you see above. I can only imagine how many slot machines it takes to keep this much water doing this in the dessert. I don’t gamble as I see it is the same as the lotto – all just voluntary taxes. I don’t pay one penny more in tax than I have to so why would anyone flush money this way, but to each his own.
On to day one. The day started with a cab race to the airport (MJ won just barely) and then a visit to the Centurion Lounge that you can get access to with the AMEX Membership Rewards Platinum cards (the NON-Delta ones). You can also pay for a visit with any AMEX but that is not for me.
We were there too early for the full hot breakfast that started at 6:AM
But MJ had a coffee and I had some fruit and juice and we slowly began to wake up for the trip. I say slowly as we start flying to Jacksonville Florida the best route possible. That would be via LAX clearly and both of us slept mostly on the 1-ish hour flight.
That was a good thing too as there was NO, I mean NO, breakfast catering on the jet. No bananas, no muffins, no banana bread. Who can eat peanuts and pretzels in 1st class for breakfast. #Fail Delta, #Fail big time. KLM would have had a hot breakfast sandwich on such a short hop (short rant over).
Once landing we headed over to the Skyclub and some refreshments while we watched the upgrade list go from no way to really no way (I ended up 7th and MJ in the 20-ish area). I then tweeted:
And this is really true. There are just too many Medallions for too few seats (there are only 45 1st class seats on a 777 and as you can see with 2 seats open to upgrade 58 were on the list 🙁 ). I guess I like the MQD idea for 2014 as long as the “spend your way to the top” via AMEX does not go away and I do not think it ever will as it would be a mass cause for people dumping their CO-branded Delta AMEX cards.
So on to our Economy Comfort front row on a 777 wide body. The seats were OK. Leg room was ample and the only thing I really missed was space and service. I had a snack box with my HOOU coupon and it was good. I like just about everything in these meat and cheese boxes. The service was just OK but it is nothing like what you get in 1st (these FA’s did not strive for five shall we say). We had a good tailwind and the flight was under 4 hours from LAX to ATL.
Due to the fast flight we had some extra time in ATL and headed over to the SkyDeck. The weather was cool but fine and fun to spend time “outside”.
Not just outside but I had a chance to meet up with some readers as well. Levi, it was fun to see you and your wife and hope you enjoy your trip! Congratulations you two!
The quick 45 min trip to JAX was strange. I should have cleared the upgrade, but for some reason did not and was dumped down the upgrade list. There was an issue when boarding that the gate said we were NOT checked in despite our having our boarding passes in hand.
Ah well, we had both pre-cleared on the trip back and MJ was kind enough to pick us up some steak sandwiches in JAX. They really were quite good and I was hungry at this point.
The only special thing about the trip up from JAX to ATL was the first class passengers behind MJ & I were so loud that it was easier to tweet to MJ sitting next to me than try to hold a conversation. Can you imagine people like this using cell phones in flight. Oh my!
The leg back to LAX cleared at the gate and I was on an ex-NWA 757 with the right side cut outs for your feet This was sweet and I so wish all the jets would implement this in 1st class. It made all the difference in the world and I was able to stretch out and sleep most of the way back to LAS. I had pre-cleared the redeye back to MSP and slept from gate to gate!
I had a long layover in MSP so spent some time at the XpressSpa and the Skyclub before
suffering in anguish enjoying my CRJ200 Endeavor Air 1 hr ride to LAN. Oh how many ways can I say how bad these things are. UGG.
Now to the math. I paid just $139 for the tickets and even got $25 back from FlexPerks for buying a $50 Delta e-Gift card on my FlexPerks card the day I flew as they will credit you back for incidentals up to $25 per redeemed award ticket. However I like to take the credit when I spend so the $25 does not count NOW (my math again) So, that works out to just 1.5CPM. Now I did have the gas & parking so real cost was up to $174. Even if you want to add the “cost/value” of the 20,000 FlexPerks points of $158 I am still only at $357 or 3.9CPM all in for the 9243 MQMs.
As a Dimond Medallion I earn $207 in value in for the 20,797 Skymiles earned bringing my real travel cost down to just $150! Are you all starting to understand and grasp the idea of where you live just does not matter? If I had done two days back to back of this run, then the cost per mile would have been even less. Lastly I did burn 20,000 IHG points for a hotel room at the Holiday Inn Express near the LAS airport that I would not go back to again. I also did have a $20 cab bill as the free shuttle did not start till 5:AM (not in my plans as there were NO time restrictions on the shuttle on the hotel web page).
So that wraps up the run. What are my numbers looking like for the year? Also, what about SWAG Saturday and how will that tie in? Be sure to check back later today at 1:PM for SWAG and Sunday afternoon for the wrap-up for the full year as well as some final reflections of me as a Diamond vs MJ as a Platinum for upgrades (and if I at last got him to carry my bags)! – René
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