An 18,000+ point Delta Mileage Run: Final thoughts, cost & more

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An 18,000+ point Delta Mileage Run: The planning of the MEGADelta run – Part 1
An 18,000+ point Delta Mileage Run: Positioning to LAX the start city – Part 2
An 18,000+ point Delta Mileage Run: A review of the SPG Sheraton LAX – Part 3
An 18,000+ point Delta Mileage Run: Skyteam Lounge hopping in LAX – Korean Air lounge LAX & more? – Part 4
An 18,000+ point Delta Mileage Run: The run to Sweden & embracing Delta coach travel – Part 5
An 18,000+ point Delta Mileage Run: The KLM coach experience & the run from Sweden – Part 6
An 18,000+ point Delta Mileage Run: Alaska Boardroom LAX vs Delta Skyclub & flight from LAX home – Part 7
An 18,000+ point Delta Mileage Run: Final thoughts, cost & more – Part 8

18k delta mileage run from great circle mapper


What was flying 18,000+ miles in less that a week like? It was tiring, but it really was fun overall. I mean I got to spend a day with mom and that is just about priceless to me. Beyond that, all the fun stuff along the way was just a treat. Just take a look.

I got to spend a few days with my friend Lars-Erik who shares my affinity for all things Scandinavian. Both of us got to visit the new LAX International terminal and all it has to offer including almost getting denied access to two lounges (gotta love seamless Skyteam travel).

I was, as I am flight after flight, more and more impressed with Delta as a well run airline. The people, the product, the food the appreciation and respect for medallions – there truly are not enough good things or posts I can say about Delta in this regard. If you value these kinds of things, then you want Delta as your airline of choice!

I was intrigued and impressed by KLM’s regional partner. In fact, I often am each time I take them back and forth between AMS & GOT. And sharing the regional love, Delta’s partners do a good job as well considering the crummy CRJ200’s many of them have to work with.

I wish Skyteam lounge folks (i.e. NOT Delta), on both sides of the pond, were a little more helpful than they are. I like the lounges themselves and the amenities, but the people – well – they could be a bit nicer when they say NO (they always say no, fyi)!

The first question I had to answer was, how do I get to LAX? Time to break out the old FlexPerks points and find a flight for under 20,000 FlexPerks points, that is a ticket under $400 to LAX. South Bend was 30k. Same goes for Kalamazoo (those two are my nearest airports). Grand Rapids was the winner and I had never been there so why not give it a shot even though it was a 2 hour drive to the airport (vs. the less than 45 minutes for SBN). As I have shown you before my MAX out of pocket cost for a 20k FlexPerks ticket is just $94 so I will use that number for my fixed cost. Let’s also add $26 for gas (this probably is too high but that’s OK).

I used points to stay at the Sheraton both pre/post run so no cost there other than the value of the points, but not going there.

Then we have the run. Now this is how I do my travel math (again not saying this is the right way or wrong way to do it, but just how I do it). When I take a bump and get say $400 I don’t count it right away – I count it when I spend it. So, for this run, the ticket was $567-400 voucher that I had, thus I was down to $167 to pay. I then used my Barclays’ Arrival+ card. I then used points to wipe out the charge and thus my cost for the run was net ZERO! Thus here are the final numbers for the positioning flights & the run itself:

  • I earned  in total was 18,759 MQMs
  • My net cost was just $94 or 0.5 CPM (yep 1/2 a cent per mile)
  • W/out voucher / Arrival points cost would have been 3.5 CPM
  • W/out any points at all to offset cost would have been 5.1 CPM
  • I earned as a Diamond Medallion 42,200 Skymiles
  • Net SPG points spent on two hotel nights  (-13,000)

My other costs were gas cost $26, airport bus and in town trolley ride $17. I also earned a $600 bump voucher on the way home but I will count that, as already mentioned, when I spend it. At a minimum I got $422 in further value for my Skymiles on top of the MQMs but those I will count also when I spend them. So my all in transportation costs out of pocket were $137. I had very few out of pocket food costs as I ate on board or in lounges (hotel and airline). I did get a ride to the airport in GOT from reader David so I saved a few bucks there! 🙂

Another data point is that I am still weeks after flights waiting for credit for my KLM flown legs. I know from readers and FlyerTalk that I am not the only one who is waiting for long periods of time to get partner credit on many flights. I have no stress about this as I know at some point Delta will give me credit for the flights! Worst case I wait two months (i.e. 60 days) and shoot off an e-mail and they will fix it – they always do. (EDIT: Strangely, after complaining to they all showed up in a few hours – hummm).

Some other final thoughts. Notice my run “started” in LAX or Los Angeles. Every single day I get an e-mail or comment with someone asking me to find a run from their home town (or how hard it is to find one from where they live). Guess what, this run, plus the next two I took, NONE OF THEM started from my home town. Where you live, let me say it once again, DOES NOT MATTER! My run after this one started in MIA or Miami Florida. The final one for the month in DFW or Dallas Texas. Each time I used FlexPerks points to position to the start city. How do I get so many FlexPerks points? Either via the $94 way or I apply for new cards now and then, personal and business and so does my wife who can then transfer her FlexPerks points to me to spend for positioning flights.

Another takeaway for me is I am NOT doing flights this long in coach again. The idea of one of the Asia or Australia runs in coach is NEVER going to happen for me unless I use a global upgrade certificate. As I have said coach travel is not good enough unless it is a short flight. Also, as a Diamond it is the exception I do not upgrade. Giving you a sneak peak at my other flights I ended the full month of September with 20 for 22 eligible 1st class upgrades clearing. That is 91% folks on some of the cheapest fare classes Delta sells. Had I not done some SDCs to “better” flights I would have probably missed 1 or 2 more and ended up around 81% for the full month. I will say Monday AM flights are to be avoided if you are looking for free upgrades :-)!

So there you are. I was after this, home just one day, then took a flight to Miami, run to PHX and then trip to LAS for BAcon and a flight to Dallas and a run to SAN. But more about how that went later on (it ALL went really well btw)! – René

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.


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