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Delta Award space & smart to spend miles for upgrades? Time to pick on two of my favorite bloggers!

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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.


 

two great bloggers

I thought I would pick on two of my favorite BoardingArea.com bloggers this afternoon and comment on their posts. Both of my brethren are Platinum Medallions with Delta (can’t get them to mileage run enough with me to make the top level). But, both of them know their stuff about our beloved airline.

chart

First let’s pick on MJ a bit. He talked about the survey that more low level seats are opening up at Delta. Delta does award more space to higher level medallions but the survey he was talking about is for a normal flyer. I have not seen a huge change but then again I know how to work my way to find what I want most times. Is MJ and the survey right? Are you seeing what the WSJ reports above that is more award space opening up at low level?

Next let’s pick on PM&M. His post this afternoon made me go – HUH!?!?! – and jump on Delta.com and see what I could have missed as I am booking or checking seats all the time.

before

He is talking about expanded (really) use of miles for upgrades and that it can be a good move since upgrade space can be hard unless you happen to be a Diamond Medallion (I tend to get about 90% upgrade success). But his slides seemed confusing to me.

after

Depending on the flight you can pay a little or a lot to upgrade in cash or in miles and STILL EARN miles for the trip. How much more, well, not ALL that much more depending on your medallion status. Plus, for crying out loud, you may as in my test case, pay a large part of a low level round trip price in points for the upgrade!

lax-1

And the route and price REALLY matters. Now if the price to upgrade is really cheap it could well be worth it but count the cost. For example, this LAX-JFK one. Not all bad in coach to just buy a ticket in cash but it is coach. What about upgrade with cash or points?

lax-2

Holy COW! 271,000 points to upgrade one way? Really? Yes I am earning a bunch more MQMs but not all that many more Skymiles for flying first this way. Plus look at this:

lax award 1 way

I could just book a coach award seat. Now this price is round trip so next year, hopefully, this would be half as many miles or less. What about a business class award seat?

lax award 2

Ouch! Ouch ouch! But still notice the round trip business class award price is less than the cash+points one way total price. So clearly it would be foolish to upgrade this one.

The bottom line is there can be times either cash or points for an upgrade can be a good choice but for me personally I would MUCH rather save my points for award travel and work for those upgrades the best I can for free!- René
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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.

13 Comments

  1. The amount of miles used for an upgrade really doesn’t matter as much as their valuation. No matter how much they ask for the upgrade, you only get a penny per point in value.

    • @Lack – yes great point so it depends or your personal valuation but also the potential value of an award ticket as well.

  2. How do you upgrade with miles? Can you do it online? Or only over the phone?

  3. I usually don’t see the upgrade with miles option. Could it be because I am not choosing an upgradable fare class?

    • @RL – hummm strange. I have reports of those without not seeing miles upgrade option but those with always seeing it. will report back after more data or more reader input. txs again for YOUR feedback as well. helpful.

  4. Don in ATL Reply

    I am following several routes for award trips and have noticed that there are less award seats at the low level awards recently than there were last year, or even a few months ago. I am looking 330 days in advance. Whereas there used to be low level awards in BE on certain routes to the EU once or twice a week, now it is down to once a week and seems to be going to every other week on some routes. Similarly, there used to be an abundance of FC seats domestically to just about any city pair available at 50K RT. Now you are lucky if you find one. The rule seems to be that almost all the FC now require 80K RT instead of the low level 50K. Maybe I’m looking at routes that do not give the overall picture, but from what I’m experiencing, the total number of low level award seats is decreasing.

  5. Tucsonbabe Reply

    Tested this after reading the post earlier. The option to upgrade with miles comes up on the page just before you purchase the ticket with your CC. I tested Tus to Dca and the cost in miles was 33,000 Each Way. I don’t think so. Perhaps on a routing without connections it is more reasonable. For me it just another useless Delta gesture.

  6. I have not seen the miles upgrade either. Maybe I am missing something but is it better to do this than to buy a FC tix and reduce the price substantially with miles? PM&M seem to imply you get more miles/MQMs with the miles upgrade than pay with miles (FC) but I don’t see how

  7. Pingback: Should medallions fear upgrade with miles - "the sequel" post - Delta Points - Delta Points

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