Welcome to a weekly feature on the Renés Points blog. Each week this series covers in a “rookie” way either a Delta or travel related theme and attempts to break down to a basic level each topic. You can read up on all the previous posts HERE. Now on to this week’s feature.
Not much shocks me in the frequent flyer world anymore. Rookie questions do not bother me one bit and I love helping out. However, one thing that just instantly makes my blood boil and it is related to the same topic – DeltaMileageRuns. The first is when press folks say that mileage runs are dead due to Skymiles2015. The next, is when anyone incorrectly says Delta is revenue based and earning elite status is now based on how much you spend for a ticket. No, and REALLY NO! You have just shown how little you know about Delta.
So we know runs are not dead – yet. But they have changed. Even I have adjusted over on DeltaMileageRun.com what kind of runs I will post and it has resulted in fewer posts this year compared to 2015. My numbers for 2015 are:
- Sub 4CPM for weekdays coach
- Sub 5CPM for weekends coach
- Sub 8CPM for weekdays 1st
- Sub 9CPM for weekends 1st
The CPM is cost or cents per mile. That is the price you are paying to earn an MQM. The reason for these adjusted lower prices vs. 2014 is that the “rebate” or Skymiles we earn are so small this year that they are just not a factor of value anymore, thus the MQM price must be lower than before to be worth the price. After all, if you fly each month, and you value the perks of elite status, you still have to earn your MQMs one way or another (in addition to MQD spend or MQD exempt spending). Always know with Skymiles2015 spending less is winning and spending more is losing. Anyone who says they get more for spending more is just flushing cash down the toilet, does not understand what they are doing and is beyond our help.
Now that brings us to the main point of today’s rookie post – when the numbers are REALLY good it will be time to go all-in. When we do find prices that yield in the 2-3 CPM range it is time to book a bunch of them and if positioning is needed, book back to back days (within reason that is). Even if we have to pay to position, either with FlexPerks points or with our own cash (using bump vouchers is a better choice), the total cost for the points earned in flying to the starting city plus the run could end up well within our target numbers!
Other thoughts about “fun runs” this year. Do keep in mind just flying for points is a bit crazy to most, but not to me. So many are all about the destination. OK great. They don’t care how they get there and in what cabin as long as the trip is short so they can have max time at end point. Happy for ya and that is what you love. Not me. For me, I can have a ton of fun on the journey. From first class treatment to time in lounges with amazing perks to popping out to dinner with a friend or chance to pick up some points buying cheap gift cards is what I call a fun day. That is just me.
I will say I do see a day when this all becomes pointless (no pun intended). In yesterday’s Delta earnings call they said first class seats are sold almost 50% of the time. Not saying it is a bad thing for Delta to sell seats (hello) but less open seats for complimentary upgrades is clearly not a good thing for those of us who want them. The value of paying for higher status by taking a mileage run will be greatly if not completely diminished if that number goes too much higher. For most elites the true value of an elite program is upgrades – without those it is time to move on. Having said that, for me, I would then return to Platinum status as my yearly goal as the perks it gives for award tickets has always been my ultimate goal, that is, unlimited free changes up to 72hrs before departure for not just me but for anyone I book a ticket with out of my account.
Really the bottom line, as it is each year, is to start planning now and looking at where you want to be at year end rather than scrambling and over paying in the last few months of the year – René
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