- An Alaska Delta Elite Mileage Run: Planning, positioning, hotels and costs
- An Alaska Delta Elite Mileage Run: The IHG Crowne Plaza LAX
- An Alaska Delta Elite Mileage Run: Amazing views flying to Alaska ANC
- An Alaska Delta Elite Mileage Run: The Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum
- An Alaska Delta Elite Mileage Run: The ANC Alaska Board Room
- An Alaska Delta Elite Mileage Run: The IHG InterContinental Los Angeles
- An Alaska Delta Elite Mileage Run: Final thoughts & was it worth taking?
I have a bunch of trips booked with Delta over the next few months, but only one last mileage run this year (not booking any more for now). I do have one booked in February 2016 but it is a combo vacation fun run so even if Delta does something really utterly stupid like puts an end to rollover MQMs I am good to go. Please know I have no information about any nasty changes like that, but this current SkyMiles team has shown cuts are much more important than loyalty.
The trip to Alaska was one I always wanted to do and a place I have always wanted to visit. Actually this was a second trip up but the first one was more of a vacation than a run so I thought I would review this one that was just for the points and what is possible.
I also thought I would start with a review of the full numbers first since so many are right now looking at all their elite numbers and trying to figure out just what they are going to do before year end. Maybe this will give you some things to think about.
When it comes to Elite Mileage Runs I always start with the run itself. What is the “CPM” or the cost / cents per mile for it and can I afford to position to the start city for a reasonable price. Also, will the two trips once averaged out still provide value to me. As long as the run starts in the USA I can always jump on the run, that is buy it, and have until midnight the next day to cancel free of charge with Delta if I can not make the rest of the bits work. Here is how this one worked for me.
The run itself cost a low $262, that I paid for with a bump voucher (I got a bunch this year), and it earned me 8,108 MQMs at 3.2 CPM (had I used my own money) plus a
patheticly ridiculously nauseatingly embarrassing low 2,020 SkyMiles “rebate” back as a Diamond Medallion (keep in mind I really don’t care about the rebate in SkyMiles, it is all about the elite MQMs).
I don’t live in LA so I had to get there. Normally I would fly out of somewhere that I can spend a low 20,000 FlexPerks points to position, but it is the end of the year so I spoiled myself and spent 30,000 points allowing me to go up to a $600 ticket out of my home town SBN. So, I earned 4,958 MQMs positioning as well as 5,181 SkyMiles. Now we should all know it only costs me $94 per 20k FlexPerks points so my out of pocket real cost was just $141 or 2.8 CPM to fly out and back from South Bend, Indiana to Los Angeles.
Thus my math and totals for flying was a sweet 13,066 MQMs at 1.1 CPM out of pocket. Add back the 7,201 SkyMiles value at least 1 cent each and I get a $72 refund thus $141-72=$69 all-in personal costs. That works for me since, again, only MQMs matter to me for my elite status. Not free but very close.
But what about the rest of my costs? I had both my wife’s and my own Chase IHG card free night certs I needed to use anyway but let’s include the credit card fee as a cost for these two nights at $49 each. That really is a bit high as I get other nice perks that I value by holding the card(s) like 10% points back and Platinum status. Either way let’s count the $98 for the two nights as a cost. Plus let’s tack on $24 for my parking fees in SBN and $6 gas so up to $197 for air / ground / lodging total!
You may be thinking what about food, but there really was very little cost here. I lived on Sky Club munchies and all 1st class flights that included meals (had to use a few RU’s but worth it). Plus, as you will see in the hotel reviews, club rooms meals and an amazing suite upgrade along the way. Oh and I did get a nice dinner treat from TexasYankee at Ruth’s Chris that would have cost a bunch had I paid for it! 🙂
Bottom line was that I had a really “fun run”. I had a mind blowing Delta event on the way home that to this day makes my head spin. I picked up, at a very reasonable cost out of pocket, the MQMs I wanted to end the year basically rolling over Diamond Medallion status in MQMs (that is, I will have it again once I spend $25,000 on my Delta AMEX card in January 2016).
But was it all worth it? Tag along for the ride and see what you think! – René
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