As an avid reader of Renés blog I have learned the do’s and don’ts in getting the best value from points and miles programs and not just Delta’s. I have obtained value from Membership Rewards Points, SPG points, Flex Perks , and yes even Delta SkyMiles, although as we all know, that ship seems to be sailing faster than a cruise that “Frequent Floater” MJ On Travel likes to take!
One of the greatest sins of redeeming your points, and what everyone knows, is to stay clear away from most non-travel redemptions, such as gift cards and merchandise. Why? Because you lose incredible value when you redeem for less than what the points could potentially get you for other uses. Here’s a simple example. Delta $kyRubles are always worth at least 1 cent to me as long as I have a Delta American Express Card. Why? Because I can use Pay With Miles at one cent per mile to buy tickets. It doesn’t make sense for me to spend $150 worth of miles for a $100 gift card on places like the SkyMiles Market Place.
All that being said, as René has proven using HUCB, there are always exceptions to every rule. Delta has a program in place called the Delta SkyMiles Experiences. It is an online auction site where you can bid for special experiences and packages, many of them you just couldn’t go out and buy on your own. SPG also has a similar program called SPG Moments, this program, unlike Delta’s, does have some redemption offers in addition to auctions.
Some of the options you can redeem your miles and points for include fine dining restaurant and celebrity chef dinners, concert tickets, sporting events, award shows, red carpet premieres and more. Many include additional benefits you couldn’t buy, like VIP suites, meet and greets with an artist etc. You would have to factor your own personal taste and perceived dollar value for you to determine if you got value out of your redemption.
I got a call from René back in April and he was just giddy that he had just spent 10k Skymiles on a SkyMiles Auction. I was shocked! Was he feeling okay? It was unlike René to spend his SkyMiles on anything but Level 1 International Business flights! Well it turns out this past spring Delta, for the first time, offered to SkyMiles Experiences the chance to bid on entry for two into their annual Delta jet Drag (he even says he gave them the idea to include those outside Delta)!
For those of you unfamiliar, the Delta Jet Drag is an annual Delta tradition, where teams of Delta employees, attempt to drag a Delta 757, using a tug rope, 20 feet in an effort to raise money for the American Cancer Society. This event has traditionally been a Delta Employees friends and family event, that in the past hasn’t been open to anyone from the public. Well this year, they allowed three semi-public teams, one of them being SkyMiles Experience bidders.
So, when René called and asked me if I would be interested in being his +1 for the Delta Jet Drag, I was just ECSTATIC! I have been a loyal Delta fanboy and still am despite the many recent devaluations. When I got the official e-mail from Delta that our team was to be called “Plane Crazy” I sprang into action making signs posters and banners. Time to represent the team!
We arrived at the Airport Hilton right across from Delta Corporate headquarters where I met up with René and got a Delta T-Shirt and a cool swag bag with goodies from Delta then boarded a bus to Delta’s Technical Operations Center. This was an #AVGeek’s dream. Huge hangers, machinery, and right attached to the ATL tarmac. It was super cool to see a glimpse of the operation. I almost missed my turn to pull looking around. Much like Delta’s planes being on time, or even earlier in most cases, they called Team Plane Crazy about 8 minutes earlier than our scheduled time – I was literally running from the other side to make it. But I did, and we got some awesome shots of the group.
This entire event was a fantastic experience ,and yes, in my opinion, WELL WORTH the 10k miles, René spent. Thanks René so much! That was an awesome day, I owe you a drink at the Amex Centurion Lounge in Miami, next time if you can guest me in since I still don’t have my own non-Delta AMEX Platinum card to get by myself!
I know René was very excited about his 10k SPG moment redemption to check out the 2015 PGA Championship from inside the 16th-Hole SPG Suite at the Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wisconsin. I’m not a golf fan, but sitting in a luxury suite with free food and drink, sounds like an awesome way to watch it. Although I personally would save all my SPG points for another night at The Westin Palace Madrid! (Review coming soon here on Renés blog) – Noah Mark