Delta Amex Offer Elite Mileage Run: Nashville (BNA) to Seattle (SEA), Same-Day RT, 3954 MQM, 5.4cpm, $217

René’s Points for Better Travel has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. René’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. This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our advertising policy, visit visit this page.

A Delta Air Lines 767 is seen from the Delta Sky Club at Seattle SeaTac International Airport - SEA - in Washington state.

Fresh off posting about the Delta Amex Offer with ten strings attached, we found what appears to be a “compliant” mileage run! Continue reading

Review of Delta’s Newest Massive Flagship Sky Club in Seattle SEA – A First-Hand Visit

René’s Points for Better Travel has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. René’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. This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our advertising policy, visit visit this page.

Saturday, October 22, 2016 – A Guest Post from John (@laptoptravel)


Delta’s Newest Sky Club Preview Event, Seattle, Washington

On Thursday, October 20th, 2016 Delta unveiled their newest flagship Sky Club. It opened for a Private Preview Event which was invitation-only. In spite of other reviewers who are members of the press or allowed to attend media events earlier in the week, I actually am just a long-time Delta SkyMiles member and entered through the doors without special privilege (other than the invitation.)


Click ANY photo for full screen slide show!

So, enjoy this true, first-hand review of a person who was actually there and not writing a review based on a set of ‘press photos’ dispensed to reviewers (who never set foot in the Sky Club) from Delta and at a live event with lots of invited guests and Delta personnel. I just flew back in from Seattle the same night of the preview…

during the Opening of Delta Air Lines Sky Club A in Seattle Washinton, Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Official Preview Event Prior to Public Opening of Delta Air Lines Sky Club A in Seattle Washington, Thursday, October 20, 2016

This Review is ‘The Real Deal.’


Warm Greetings by Delta Sky Club Staff at Private Preview Event

This new facility has an on-site spa (with retail shop), a full-size kitchen, six shower facilities, a full-service Delta desk, tons of seating options and magnificent art throughout. The food and beverage offerings will also feature local beers, wines and tastes of the Pacific Northwest.

You can enter the Sky Club with a number of AMEX cards or, if you are a Skyteam elite plus status and are on a coach or anyone on a business class international departing (or connecting) ticket, you can also get in free.




The new flagship Delta Sky Club at Seattle-Tacoma (SeaTac) airport is found next to gate A1, in Concourse A, which is a welcome addition since the other Sky Club is located in the island Terminal S and requires a ride (or three) on SeaTac’s satellite transit system depending on what gate you connect from if you are in transit.


The location is a great space for Delta. Located near the Central terminal, and close to Terminal C as well, the location will allow more flyers to have easier access to a Sky Club. At the same time, it makes a bold statement to all Seattle passengers that Delta is a formidable force in the burgeoning Seattle market.

If you are familiar with the airport, the lounge is just a bit south of the Central Terminal (where the large food court is located.)

Upon entering the A concourse, the Sky Club can be found just before gate A1, next to the Seattle Tap Room (a restaurant.) If you are entering through TSA’s security lines, you will find the Sky Club a short walk to your right upon exiting those lines.

The club is impressive, and I do not mean on a simply domestic comparison; Delta has raised the bar of excellence on airport lounges with this newest addition. It feels massive and it should! The lounge occupies more than 21,000 square feet (third largest in the Delta system) with an enormous glass paneled 30’ high wall facing the tarmac and Mount Rainier along one entire side of the club.




It also has a very large balcony seating section which can be accessed by either of two staircases, one at the front and another at the rear of the Sky Club.


From virtually anywhere in the club, weather permitting, patrons will be treated to stunning views of Mount Rainier.


The colors of this flagship lounge reflect the colors of the Pacific Northwest; hues of blue and green that blend in soft tones throughout, but there is also the splash of deep, rich colors scattered throughout. All of these are presented on a backdrop of earth tones of brown, cream and tan which leave observers with a calming sense of comfort and relaxation.



Notice the use of the greens and blues and the partition separators evoke the feeling of moving water and clouds, fitting for the Pacific Northwest.

Of course, there will always be a splash or two of ‘Delta red.’


The Sky Club has seating for 413 occupants and the mixture of options for finding a place to sit are varied, functional and simply beautiful! The true center of the lounge, and sure to be a conversation piece, is the massive three-sided curved couch.


I just love this couch!

Above the couch is a large sculpture; it is a wood sculpture, the work of local artist Paul Vexler and the centerpiece of the lounge. Since the space runs 30 feet from floor to ceiling the work finds a perfect place and encourages the observer to ‘take flight.’


Sculpture by Paul Vexler

There also are several counter tops with stools along a few sections of the glass windows for airplane watching while spending some time inside the lounge.

Check-in and Full Service Desk

Upon entry through the motion sensor sliding opaque, light blue sliding glass doors, travelers will find a standard Delta Sky Club check-in desk to their right. To the left, just around the corner will be a dedicated Delta full-service desk.



Travelers should appreciate the separation so a customer can get help with their travel issues without having to worry about those seeking to simply check in to the Sky Club. It also is obviously a time-saver.

Art is Abundant, and Well Presented

Art is featured throughout the club, and in a few areas almost as if the Sky Club was an art gallery to itself. Two major displays in the theme of gallery presentations can be found either along the back wall of the balcony seating area or along the wall which leads toward the rear staircase on the main floor.





In the balcony area, art is captured between displayed prints and collections of crayons; all presented in acrylic box frames.


Downstairs prints are similarly presented with an amazing display of sculpting forms out of the graphite from artist pencils! Look closely; it will amaze you.





My favorite piece has to be the work of Atlanta studio artist and photographer Craig Allan McMillan, who has produced the San Francisco Sky Club’s mural of the Golden Gate Bridge. Craig was on hand at the event, and I got to chat with him for a bit. He even presented me with a personally noted and signed print of the Pike Place Market mural piece which hangs above the full service desk of the club.



The piece is a variation of a pixelation theme of composing a single image made up of sometimes hundreds of smaller images; a composite if you will. This one is unique in that it is not simply images meshed together on a single flat surface but actually has many individual and distinctly differently framed photographs that work into making this piece of art three dimensional. It is exceptional and there is art everywhere!
















Throughout the club you will find seating for all needs; whether it be that you are traveling alone and need to get some work done, or engaged in a conversation with just another companion. There are many opportunities for larger groups, besides the massive leather couch. There are many four and six seat arrangements that feature a common center table.
















One unique piece I fell in love with was the dining room table located near the rear of the Sky Club. With seating for eight it promises to be popular for business travelers who need a conference-like table or for families.



Asanda Spa On-Site

I had the chance to view (and experience) the firstfruits of Delta’s new partnership with Asanda Spa of New York. In speaking with the location’s manager I learned that Asanda will be adding a second spa, logically so, at the New York JFK Terminal 4 Sky Club operated by Delta.


Treatments are available on a fee basis and appointments may be booked in person, appointments soon can be made using a MINDBODY Android or Apple app or even a Facebook function.



Asanda Spa Treatments and Price Sheet

The spa has a retail space in the Sky Club where a large selection of products is made available for purchase.



I found the treatments offered to be fresh and yet very hi-tech. For my massage, I was seated in one of the three massage chairs and there is a visual screen which a patron can set to match their desired preferences. It features music and scenery which help relax the wearied traveler. I chose beaches, waves and undersea just in case you had any doubts. A pleasing scent was also placed and I was encouraged to ‘breathe deeply’ during my twenty minute massage.

Asanda Spa will have three massage chairs, in addition to zero-gravity lounge chairs available. In some sessions, meditation is aided and guided by Deepak Chopra.




Each individual treatment area is separated by privacy curtains and subdued lighting. However, I did find the overall space a bit tight, but once one is in a chair receiving treatment it matters not in my opinion.

Wines and Beers

Andrea Robinson, Delta’s Sommelier was on hand talking about wines that will be featured in the Sky Club that are local to the economies of the Pacific Northwest such as Chateau St. Michelle. Complimentary alcoholic beverages served from the Sky Club’s bar will also feature a local IPA beer produced by Georgetown Lucille, in addition to featured vodkas from Glass Vodka.





Snack Dispensers Are Located at the Bar, seems so obvious, right?



The bar will also make available fresh squeezed orange juice, upon request. How special do you feel now?

Food Service

Food at the new Sky Club will follow along the newer Sky Club’s offerings, much like that of JFK’s Terminal 4 and the San Francisco lounge. That is, there is a great self-service food bar, and in the case of Seattle, local offerings that compliment the choices.

The entire beverage, The Bar and food are along one continuous, and curved line! The appearance is so elegant and goes along with the curved theme of much of the entire Sky Club; complimenting the nod to the Pacific Northwest and its oceans and skies in design and decor.

The Seattle Terminal A Sky Club will also feature the long-standing local favorite; Mac & Cheese made with local Beecher’s cheese. I happen to love that. Also found will be Beecher’s chips and cheese.


Food will be prepared daily composed of local, fresh ingredients, under the leadership of local Seattle Chef Ethan Stowell. The self-service will provide an assortment of snacks and salads as well as the standard fare of hot dishes and soups.







Convenient that Delta Places a Flights Notification Wall Near the Food Service Line…Just So You Will Not Miss That Flight!

During breakfast serving hours, typically until 11am, Alki Bakery bagels will compliment the food service, which will also feature oatmeal, hard-boiled eggs, yogurts, danish and many choices of spreads and toppings to go with local breads.

Delta also has promised features that will change and some offerings may just be a single day or time, just to keep the excitement going (and I think for menu development as well.)

Of course, for the Private Preview, Delta brought out all the stops with food from Ethan Stowell’s kitchens:




Fresh local oysters along with shrimp and crab!






Power Outlets and USB Ports Everywhere

One specific seating feature I really liked were the ‘pods;’ seating areas for one with an adjustable reading lamp as well as power ports conveniently located. A really neat added item is a moveable ottoman to rest your feet while in a pod. One of the most appreciated features for visitors to the lounge will be the fact that every seat, everywhere has power available! Finally, Delta responds with action and delivers upon travelers’ request for more outlets and USB ports.






It feels that every seat is a ‘view seat’ whether along the edge of the balcony overlooking the lounge below and the airport (and mountain views beyond) or along the floor of the main floor with the 30’ glass viewing windows…every seat has a great location.





Given that the Sky Club is so large and with a very open feeling, which hits a visitor upon entry, it feels massive and airy, which it is. Therefore, travelers are likely not to feel closed in or cramped even when the Sky Club is very full.


I did get a tour of the shower area. Funny, but the attendant asked if I wanted to actually take a shower. I would not want to waste a minute of taking in the new club during it’s private premiere, so I passed. But next time, the six shower rooms are waiting.


They remind me quite a lot of the ones in the JFK Terminal 4 Sky Club but without the overpowering red tiles and feature more earth tones in their design.



Ample space to shower, shave, take care of personal hygiene, make-up application, perhaps brush and blow-dry hair and undertake a change of clothing. Considering Seattle has quite a future for long-haul travelers returning from Europe and Asia it is a great needed feature and probably appreciated by many a weary traveler.




The new standard in Delta restrooms…we are seeing these in all the new Sky Clubs:







This art piece almost blinds you as you walk into the restroom. The same as in a few other U.S. Sky Clubs


 Summary and Final Thoughts

Claude Roussel, who is the Managing Director Sky Club for Delta Air Lines, spoke at the event and expressed what I believe this SkyClub represents. He said that for so long, both he and Delta’s customers had experienced outstanding lounges on their international travels but were always let down when returning to a domestic lounge. He said now Delta was changing that.


This sentiment was echoed by Mike Medeiros, VP Seattle Operations for Delta. After my first-hand experience I fully agree. Delta has hit one out of the park with this unveiling of its new gem in the system.


For the first time, I consider this as much of a destination lounge as I would think of the Virgin lounge in Hong Kong, or the First Class lounge in Heathrow, although certainly not up to the Frankfurt First Class Terminal and Lounge.

For me, this SkyClub is a game-changer. It so far surpasses whatever Alaska Airlines Club and the AmEx Centurions have going here in the Seattle airport. This underscores Delta’s commitment to the Seattle hub and sets the new standard in excellence for airport lounges. This SkyClub, and the recently opened flagship Sky Club at Concourse B in Atlanta, are the blueprints for Delta’s forward thinking in the airport lounge strategy.

As Medeiros made the point “Delta is doing 153 departures daily right outside from those windows …and we’re not anywhere close to being done.” The Sky Club is, as he stated, planting Delta’s flag in the ground in Seattle.



Impressive Delta, very impressive.


Have you had the opportunity to visit the new SkyClub?  Will you alter your plans to make sure you get a chance to spend some time here? Let us know in the comments below…  Thank you, John @laptoptravel

Alaska Airlines Responds to Delta’s Seattle Seahawks Promotion and Offers Its Own Free Miles Promotion

René’s Points for Better Travel has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. René’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. This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our advertising policy, visit visit this page.

Sunday, October 9, 2016 – A Guest Post by John @laptoptravel


Battle in Seattle Continues…

I recently wrote about Delta Air Lines’ new promotion, “12Status,” which is just another jab in the continuing saga of the ‘Battle in Seattle’ between Alaska Airlines and Delta.  It is a ‘turf war,’ with Delta being the newcomer.

For years Alaska Airlines has been the ‘hometown’ airline to Seattle and has a loyal following. Alaska also boasts an all-Boeing (Seattle-based manufacturer) aircraft fleet.  Alaska Airlines even signed the NFL Seattle Seahawks’ quarterback Russell Wilson as their CFO (Chief Football Officer.) This flies in the face of Delta’s ‘12Status’ NFL promotion for SkyMiles members to earn free SkyMiles.

Not to be outdone by Delta’s free giveaway, Alaska has come up with their own free miles giveaway promotion; Fantasy Bonus Miles. Qualification is limited to those Alaska MileagePlan members who live in one of five states; Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington.  Alaska even made up an illustrative promotional video, featuring the Seahawks’ quarterback to launch and explain the promotion. You can see the full video here

A Significant Difference Between the Two Promotions

The one significant difference between the two promotions is that Delta gives away free miles to all eligible SkyMiles members who show up while Alaska is picking three winners from a pool of eligible entries. Alaska is touting the possibility of earning 400,000 redeemable miles in this program!

The tag line goes like this – This season, we’re converting our Chief Football Officer’s performance on the field into miles in the sky. Enter for your chance to win at  You Must Register to Win   Enjoy discounts on travel to away game destinations.  Alaska also features discount fares to the Seahawks’ away games on this website.

We know the importance of having supportive fans in the stands, both at home and on the road. To help Russell’s fans support him all season long, we are offering a 12% discount on air travel to most away games if you are traveling from WA, OR, ID, MT, AK, or British Columbia.  Alaska Airlines also has a promotion to allow fans to win free flights to cities where the Seahawks are playing.


Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Follow Russell on The Road Sweepstakes starts 8/22/16 at 12:00 p.m. PT and ends 12/16/16 at 11:59 p.m. PT. Open only to eligible legal residents of Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington who are at least 18 years old. Click here for Official Rules and complete details, including eligibility requirements, entry periods, entry instructions, odds of winning a prize, prize details and restrictions, etc. Void elsewhere & where prohibited or restricted by law. Sponsor: Alaska Airlines, Inc. Not affiliated with or endorsed by Facebook, NFL or any NFL team.

Also, if you’re on an Alaska flight departing Seattle (to any destination) this football season, you can board early if you wear Russell’s #3 jersey. If you have travelled with Alaska, or been near one of their gates during boarding, in an airport in one of these states you have likely heard the agent announcement offering early boarding when wearing a Russell Wilson jersey.

 Final Thoughts

So, while it is a bit comical to sit on the sidelines (pun intended) and watch the battle ensue, it can be rewarding as you can pick up free SkyMiles and MileagePlan miles while letting every play be for your benefit. I have already picked up more than 2,000 SkyMiles and the season has just begun! With a potential to earn say 400,000 Alaska Airlines’ MileagePlan Miles I am sitting pretty in the Pacific Northwest!

What do you think of Alaska’s latest response to Delta’s 12Status promotion?  Have you signed up for either one (or both) of these giveaway promotions?  Please let us know in the comments.  Thank you & safe travels! We’ll see you ‘up there’ – John of laptoptravel




An Insight into Alaska Airlines’ Mindset Going Forward with Virgin America Merger

René’s Points for Better Travel has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. René’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. This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our advertising policy, visit visit this page.

 A Guest Post by John @laptoptravel

Alaska Airlines Virgin America Merger laptoptravel Website Banner

The Merger is Expected to Be Completed in 2018

Alaska Airlines Virgin America Merger laptoptravel

I am very excited, as so many are, and intrigued by the merger between Alaska Airlines and Virgin America. For myself, as an MVP 75K member, it opens up new opportunities, increased capacity and more choices (especially along the West Coast.)

First Class Alaska Airlines

First Class breakfast aboard Alaska’s B737-800 (enroute between SEA & LAX)

Alaska has a team dedicated to the transition and we are anxious to hear exactly how they plan to integrate Virgin’s fleet and operational uniqueness into the Alaska system. There is a lot of speculation of what Alaska will or won’t do when it comes to absorbing Virgin America’s ‘hip peculiarities’; Boeing versus Airbus, Hip versus Conservative, Routes, Interiors, Perks and an endless myriad of policies.  How will they do it?  What are they thinking?

Thankfully, this week, we got another peek into the mindset of Alaska regarding some of those issues. Here are some highlights from a recent presentation by Scott Habberstad, Director of Sales and Community Marketing for Alaska Airlines.

A recent report by KRBD, a Ketchikan, Alaska radio station and news organization, offers some insights into Alaska Airlines’ thinking going forward with the Virgin American merger. Habberstad stated that the airline sees no reason why the merger would not get approved by the government. He also addresses the culture of Virgin America and how that might translate, in some form, through to Alaska Airlines’ operations:

“Virgin is different. It’s an experience. You board listening to Beyoncé,” he said. “It’s got purple mood lighting in the airplanes. It’s a different experience, but it’s a good experience. It’s fresher, it’s new. While I don’t think you’ll board to Beyoncé on us in the future, there might be a little bit of an uptick: A little fresher brand coming from us.”

He also said that Alaska will ‘try out’ the Airbus aircraft which are currently mostly leased on Virgin’s fleet.

Habberstad also mentioned Alaska Airlines’ relationship with Delta. He said “Delta is a good partner and a good competitor.” He also remarked that in spite of the fierce competition with Delta in the Seattle market that the Virgin America merger will allow Alaska to strengthen that position.


Synergy RouteMap Alaska Airlines Virgin America Merger

Current Map of Both Airlines’ Routes

I take that statement (about Delta being a good partner) with a grain of salt.  Surely, with a written partnership agreement between the two airlines negative statements are going to come forth with minimal frequency.  The two airlines still work together and Alaska even offers bonus EQM’s for its Alaska frequent flyer program, MileagePlan for members who fly Delta’s premium fares and credit them back to their Alaska account.

Habberstad added that the company will be concentrating on expanding its international partnerships in the future as well.

This is an absolute necessity; since Alaska’s international reach is limited to Canada, Costa Rica and Mexico. As the SeaTac (Seattle/Tacoma) Airport continues with its new international terminal it’s in Alaska’s best interest to get some ancillary revenue through that with increased international flights and partnerships.  After all, Alaska is going to pay its share for that terminal, based on passenger traffic whether they like it or not; a fact that Delta will surely reap the benefits of as it ramps up its Seattle hub for future international destinations and increased routes.  Delta’s goal is to increase its flights five-fold over summer of 2014’s traffic.

Alaska has a lot on their plate, and as oil prices (and jet fuel costs) rise, the costs of the merger, paying for the new SeaTac international terminal and competition with Delta make its burden heavy-laden, so no missteps can be afforded.

What do you think of the Alaska/Virgin merger?  Do you think this will help Alaska in their battle with their ‘frenemy’ Delta Air Lines? Have Fun ‘Up there!’ – John @ laptoptravel

How Delta Made an Allowance to Give My Wife the Best Present Ever – by John @laptoptravel

René’s Points for Better Travel has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. René’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. This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our advertising policy, visit visit this page.

A Guest Post by John @laptoptravel

Executive Suite Hyatt Regency Hong Kong Living Room

Let me preface my article by sharing the fact (though many of you are aware if you read my blog) that my wife is disabled; she suffers from a bone disease which makes most travel uncomfortable; air travel even worse in most situations. Therefore, premium travel arrangements for her are paramount. This is the primary reason why I continue to strive for, attain and keep top elite status in at least one airline program annually. I do some pretty ugly Mileage Runs so she can benefit.

In addition, I have been a loyal Delta flyer for more than fifty-three years; I started flying when I was negative 30 years old, right?

As a Diamond Medallion with Delta Air Lines, members receive the opportunity to choose two items from their “Choice Medallion Benefits” selections annually upon achieving that status.  Unfortunately, not every elite of Delta’s (perhaps most) frequent flyer program, SkyMiles, is aware or understands that these benefits are there, how to choose and what to choose. On a recent flight back from Dallas, where I was re-qualifying for my Hyatt Diamond status renewal, I flew alongside a Platinum Medallion who had never heard of choice benefits.  As soon as I got Gogo Wi-Fi going up in the air, I shared with my seatmate (Hi kate2424 if you’re reading this) and to her amazement and my shock she stated: “I have never seen this before!”

Delta Choice Benefits

Okay, so folks…friends don’t let friends fly un-informed!

 Help your friends and family out and share with them the secrets that we share on this blog…and if you get the chance visit me on Twitter here.

The next time I fly with a Platinum or Diamond who tells me they have not ever even heard of these benefits, well….I am blaming you! But back to my story about my wife’s very special trip!  I got a bit side-tracked, because I am passionate about flying and member benefits.

We constantly monitor the airlines for fare deals and segmented prices in order to share great deals and often Mileage Runs for you.  Quite a while back, but still in 2016, we found an amazing fare deal that included a round-trip between Seattle and Hong Kong.  Now I have made that flight a few times myself as part of my Mileage Runs for Medallion Qualification Miles (MQM’s) as well as keeping an eye on that one for Mileage Run clients (I do work on the Juicy Miles Mileage Run team.) Knowing that this is the second-longest non-stop flight that Delta offers (Atlanta to Johannesburg being the longest) I thought it would make the most valuable award flight for her birthday to fly to Hong Kong in DeltaONE comfort with beds and three meals! After all, with early boarding you could spend close to sixteen hours in that seat!

Seattle to Hong Kong Map

A 14+ Hour Non-Stop Flight Between Seattle and Hong Kong All in DeltaONE

I have always wanted to share Asia with my wife but the travel time on the trip seemed too much for her in coach; even Comfort+.  Only a DeltaONE flat-bed seat would do the trick.  She has a birthday coming up later in the year so I searched for the best travel dates that gave us enough time in Hong Kong to relax, not feel rushed and for her to have time to rest after the long flight. I identified both an outbound and a return flight that had no seats sold anywhere on the plane! (I will admit now that when I am planning a vacation, I book way, way out in advance!)

DeltaONE Delta Air Lines LAX - JFK First Class Business Seats Mileage Run

Fortunately, I also had some unused Ultimate Rewards points so I was able to book one ticket through their travel portal and realize a 25% discount on the cost.  Ultimate Rewards points, when used for travel on their website credit you 1.25 cents for every point used.  The fare I had already found for the trip was amazing at around $500 round-trip, so this was a no-brainer.  My cost basis for the Ultimate Rewards was about 7/10 cents per point, so making the ticket cost ‘out of pocket’ about $280. I bought another ticket on Delta’s website and used some Delta credits I had been holding in “My Wallet.”

So, for about $630 out of pocket, we had two round-trip tickets from the Mainland USA to Hong Kong.

I felt pretty proud of myself for such a great deal and also that soon my wife would have the chance to see Asia; specifically Hong Kong.  Last year I took her to Paris, but we missed her actual birthday since the fares didn’t quite fall right.  This year she would actually wake up on her birthday in Hong Kong, overlooking Victoria Harbor! Thanks to Hyatt’s Gold Passport with Diamond Suite Upgrades, similar to Delta’s benefits in that respect.

Executive Suite Hyatt Regency Hong Kong Living Room

Our Guaranteed Suite by Hyatt Hotels in Hong Kong

After having secured the tickets, I called the Diamond desk at Delta to secure my/our DeltaONE seats using my four Global Upgrade Certificates for this year’s Diamond Choice Benefit (I still have my Platinum choices, and next year’s still to be chosen.)

Sure enough, the agent on the telephone confirmed that the plane was wide-open and we could use the GUC’s and select our seats, including the re-positioning flights to get us to our original destination airport.  Coming back, once again confirmed that the plane was empty but wait, only one upgrade seat was ‘available.’ Ruh Roh!  I questioned the agent and said I saw that the seatmap was completely open. She agreed but said only one seat had been made available by the ‘revenue department’ (yeah, those guys) for use with a Global Upgrade Certificate.  She said I would get the seat and my wife would have to wait-list.  I quickly chose her favorite seat, knowing that I would give it to her and I would fly home in Comfort+ if need be.  I then told the agent that I did not want to use the other certificate on the return for any other flights for my wife unless she cleared the Hong Kong to Seattle segment.  In that way, I would not be wasting a perfectly good GUC for an eight-hundred (or less) mile flight.

Since we were ‘way out’ on the schedule I was a bit dismayed.  I asked when she thought the seat would clear and the reply came back that the revenue department will take a look on a periodic basis and make a determination. Hmmm?

I did call back later that night and tried to ask for a supervisor to get someone with the authority and understanding to realize that this was absurd; two people going are upgraded but only one on the return with ZERO seats sold on the aircraft.  No joy. The SkyMiles rep said the system would not allow them to override. I asked if they could ‘oversell’ one seat in GUC for me. Again the reply came back “No. We cannot do that and we are not allowed to do that. No one here can do that for you.”

The next morning around mid-day I called again.  The whole thing just sat wrong with me overnight.  I called the Diamond desk and once again was told no.  I then asked to speak to the SkyMiles supervisor…a pause…then “I don’t think it will do any good.”  I persisted and then another pause…then “I have spoken to the supervisor on duty, please wait until they can speak with you regarding your….<click>

What? They hung up on me?  I was thinking to myself “Oh they just don’t want to deal with me and they probably know it’s illogical.”  I waited about thirty minutes thinking if they really wanted to do something someone would call me back from Delta, right? No call.

I call again and speak with another agent whom I had not discussed the matter with. I explained my dilemma and gave her my PNR.  She replied “Your wife has cleared and we have put her in the seat next to you on all matching flights.” I guess the supervisor relented, found a way or was coming back on the line to tell me that in the earlier call, but somehow the connection was terminated.

DeltaONE Seats

Well, Finally…we’ve got these and we’re the only ones in the DeltaONE cabin still (as of this post)

Choice Benefits can make an ordinary trip extraordinary; and should never be overlooked. They are the best part of the SkyMiles program, in my opinion.

Anyway, moral of the story is that miracles can happen; even little ones that may not seem to matter too much to a multi-billion dollar airline at the time, however in the painful world that my wife lives in…it can be huge!

It is efforts like this that make me continue to love the airline I was raised on… – John

 Thank You Delta Air Lines!

Seattle to New Orleans $198 & 5362 MQMs at 3.6CPM Delta Elite Mileage Run Works Both Directions

René’s Points for Better Travel has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. René’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. This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our advertising policy, visit visit this page.

Monday, February 29, 2016   by John @laptoptravel

Mileage Run to New Orleans


SEA-MSY APRIL 2016 (1)

The Box Mileage Run Pattern

SEA-MSY APRIL 2016 (1)

Click any photo to Enlarge

SEA-MSY APRIL 2016 (2)

One Example Booking

SEA-MSY APRIL 2016 (3)

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Well, I am back from my Massive Mileage Run to SouthEast Asia (Japan, Thailand and S. Korea)! It’s not like I was ever really gone; I still did posts and twitter, of course.  And I did look for Mileage Runs while on that trip…but it is much harder without all of my (proprietary) tools!  So, here’s a leap day gift for everyone!

I found this great run between Seattle and New Orleans!  Before you even ask; YES, it works in both directions!  In fact I find more (that is, more of them…) cheaper fares from New Orleans to Seattle than originating from Seattle.  Although I did find a single date that works for $198 from Seattle to New Orleans.

Most of the fares from Seattle to New Orleans are $204, plus the one I found (May 3rd, an overnight with a May 4th return) for $198.  I found several from New Orleans to Seattle at the $198 fare.

Either way, the best you can do is 5,477 MQM’s at about 3.6 CPM.  The layover on many of the flights is less than two hours, so these are easily done in a flight plus a connection in either direction; most involving either an overnight flight or a required one night stay.  But there are much things worse than a night in New Orleans (or Seattle if you’re Sleeepless…)

There are also routings that will only give you 5,362 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQM’s) but still either 5362 or 5477 you are getting a great deal!  If you could fine two of these back-to-back at $198 each you could use FlexPerks and book the pair for only 20,000 points!  Now that would be a sweet deal!

Let me caution anyone thinking they might get upgraded to First Class on these flights.  It is probably not going to happen flying into and out of Salt Lake City.

One of my greatest discomforts is when I fly a mileage run through a Delta hub which is heavy-Medallion territory and your chances of getting a complimentary upgrade is minimal.  That is why this run as a simple overnight is tolerable and a good value for a little more than $200.

Anyway here are the numbers:

The Details:

MQM’s:     5,477 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQM’s)

Fare:         $204

Cost:   3.7 Cents Per Mile (CPM)


MQM’s:     5,362 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQM’s)

Fare:         $198

Cost:   3.6 Cents Per Mile (CPM)

Please login to your Delta account before you click on the booking link below:

This link books through Kayak and then onto  – DIRECT BOOKING LINK  

Both fares are eligible for Pay With Miles, if you want to “buy down” the fare. You will still get the MQM’s, but you are reducing your redeemable miles as they are tied to the base fare PAID.

I like this trip since it is still before Delta’s change on Comfort+ booking policies.  That happens for travel on or after May 16th, 2016.  There are many Comfort+ seats still available for your selection on these four segments. Thank you for visiting and following us, hopefully throughout 2016 here at Renes Points and Elite Mileage Runs

Best Wishes and Happy Travels. Enjoy your travels!  – John @laptoptravel