Showing posts with label Delta. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Delta. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Delta Business Class Now 70,000 to Europe

I didn't receive an email about this change. No other members seemed to have a heads up on the 15,000 mile price increase for a round trip. BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO Delta.
15,000 More Miles to Sit Up Front

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Delta Award Search

The cheapest ticket was a business class fare halfway down the page. Not very sporting there Delta.
15,000 More Miles for Basic Coach

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Delta Checked Bags Guarantee Miles

I earned more Delta miles from my checked bag arriving late than from flying to JFK and back. My $410 flight, plus tax, yielded 2,050 miles while my bag arriving 25 minutes after parking at the gate earned 2,500 miles. Delayed bag miles don't post automatically, passengers need to submit a request at  Free miles, so take them if you can.

We're committed to providing you with reliable and on-time baggage service every time you fly. That's why we're backing your bags with a guarantee: if your checked bag doesn't arrive at the carousel in 20 minutes or less after any domestic flight, you are eligible to receive 2,500 bonus miles. Just complete the below form no later than three days after your flight's arrival. Requests should only be submitted after your flight.
Bags Are Always Slow at Denver

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Bad Ad Copy

A hotel chain ran a TV ad promoting rooms for "2,000 points and a few dollars."  Someone in marketing had to approve that copy and thought it was a good idea.  It is because it provides an alluring hook, but no useful data.  Cash & Points offers on their own are meaningless.  Some offers provide massive or minimal discounts, so more detail is needed.  The next ad might promote "0 points and a few dollars" because that's where Delta's frequent flyer program is heading.
Hard To Find Points Availability

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Delta Ready For Anything

While very bored at AUS, I noticed Delta had tug tow bars sitting around the gate area for five different aircraft families, from CRJ to 757/767.  Delta wants to be prepared even though some of these are rarely, if ever, used.  Southwest only needs one for all their aircraft, so this is a good example of the value of fleet planning.
Delta Ready For Anything

Monday, March 16, 2015

Delta's Silly Award Pricing

Anytime awards let customers use miles when standard award space is not available.  It's reasonable to expect a mark up, but Delta charges almost three times the basic award rate to Australia.  Luckily Virgin Australia has decent award space, so cheap award tickets can be found.  Though as shown below, Delta is happy to take many more miles from you to fly in their inferior business class.
Silly Delta, I'd Rather Not Pay 135,000 More Miles

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Delta Changes To Southwest Miles Earning Model

Delta will change the way passengers earn miles to a model based on ticket price rather than distance flown. I don't think this is a big deal for a few reasons.  Southwest already has an earning (and spending) model based on ticket prices and it seems to be going well. Also Delta hasn't announced how partner flights will earn miles. Further ground based partner earning is not impacted and miles still do not expire.  Delta also will add one way awards and a few other carrots to smooth the transition.
Fly Delta Jets
The scary aspect is that the award chart will change, but Delta doesn't know how. "[Award charts] will be available later in 2014." To save some anxiety, credit Delta flights to a partner; I prefer Alaska (same for my American flights) because they have great partnerships, a stable award chart, and care about the customer experience.  Spending miles will also protect against likely award chart inflation, but there is no rush until the new award chart is published and confirms devaluation fears.
Building A Better Frequent Flyer Program Too?
I hope Delta adopts a Southwest award chart too.  On Southwest every flight can be booked if seats are available.  70 miles per dollar of fare (Wanna Get Away rate) and you are free to move about the country.  It's a simple system and an easy way to know what your balance is worth.  This model removes any award chart deals, but it also eliminates award restrictions; I am happy to make that trade.  N.B. - I earn my Southwest and Delta miles primarily though ground based partners like credits cards and online shopping.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Nice Pun Delta is broken right now and their error message has a fun pun. Unfortunately the details of the error message seem inaccurate. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Delta Purchased 40 Airbus Aircraft

The slow retirement of the 757 continues.  Delta announced an order for 30 A321 NEO (New Engine Option) aircraft and 10 A330’s.  The A330 is a solid performer, a little bit better than the 767 while also being cheaper and faster to acquire than the 787.  Nothing earth shattering with this A330 order.  The A321’s are news.  Delta inherited an Airbus fleet (A319, A320, A330) when they purchased Northwest a few years ago; previously Delta was an Boeing (McDonald Douglas included) operation.  It looks like the narrow body fleet might be transitioning to Airbus for longer routes.
Delta MD at Denver
Delta is a strange airline.  Most carriers focus on having a single manufacturer and fuel burn when buying aircraft.  A single manufacturer, at least for narrow body and wide body fleets simplifies maintenance, pilot training, and operational complexities.  Fuel burn is usually an airlines largest expense and fuel prices fluctuate making it difficult to estimate future costs.  Delta likes cheap airframes because they are buying 717’s and MD-80 series jets on the used market for next to scrap value.  These jets burn more fuel and take more maintenance per flight hour, but the math works out because you can buy 8 or more 717’s for less than on new 737 (educated guess, purchase prices are not disclosed).  Delta seems to be doing fine managing their hodgepodge fleet, so 30 new A321’s (same cockpit in all the A320 series jets and 90%+ parts commonality).
Airbus Engine Detail
I also suspect that the A321’s will replace the 757 jets running all but the longest range flights.  The 757 is a 1970’s design (one of the best decades for commercial airlines, see Concorde), but works great today.  The plane is large (182 seats), has a tremendous range (4,705 miles), and has no direct replacement.  Boeings 737-900ER has a 1,835 mile shorter range and 10 fewer seats.  The A321 seats 183 and has a 1,250 mile shorter range.  The A321 NEO though still seats 183, but the range is boosted to only a 750 mile shortfall.  The fuel burn is also significantly less.  This makes the A321 NEO close enough to the 757 to cover the same routes (transatlantic crossings excluded) and a significantly reduces cost per seat mile (cost to fly one seat one mile).  Hawaiian Airlines announced a big A321 NEO order that will open up lighter density routes from the west coast.  US Airways isn’t announcing A321 NEO service from PHX yet, the 757 is still best for that route.
757 Profile
I like the 757, it has a cool look, comfortable feel, and the highest ratio of first class seats to coach seats for narrow body jets (best upgrade chances).  I also enjoy boarding through the second door and turning left for first class, but the 757’s days are numbered.  United plans on replacing it with the 737-900ER on all but PS, transatlantic, and 757-300 (stretched 216 seat version) routes.  I enjoy flying the 757 and I’ll enjoy it a little bit more next time I fly it.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Flying to Iceland on Frequent Flyer Miles

The Euro crisis is starting to impact my travel plans.  Air service to Iceland (KEF) has been reduced dramatically since the Icelanders started having currency problems (they have since been made to look responsible thanks to Greece, Italy, Spain, Ireland, Portugal, and Cyprus).  Despite not being in the news, air service to the Continent has shrunk to EasyJet, airberlin (oneworld), SAS (Star Alliance), and Iceland Air.  I'm not 100% certain, but SAS and airberlin are my most likely options.
Iceland Air 757 Having an Overnight Stay at DEN
Yes, I know I can fly direct from New York on Delta, but where is the fun in that?  Delta charges twice as many miles to go JKF-KEF than JFK-SFO and KEF is just 7 miles farther away.  If I'm not completely crossing the Atlantic, I refuse to pay full price.  Same complaint for Iceland Air's Saga miles, the rates are atrocious (Alaska is an Iceland Air partner until June 1, 2013 and their rates are also high).  SAS is the best option for me because I can fly from anywhere in Europe to Oslo and then to Iceland.  This will cost 25,000 United or US Airways miles round trip (or 40,000 miles in business class) from another European city.  I can also use American Airlines or British Airways miles to fly airberlin (both would cost 20,000 miles round trip in coach).  Iceland can also be a destination for my United or US Airways ticket and then I can stop at a Star Alliance hub for my free stopover (AA and BA don't have free stopovers).  
I Won't Be Flying Delta

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Delta Regional Jet Coach

Frontier (nee. Midwest Airlines) used to run a hub in Milwaukee that would take you to most big and mid sized cities east of the Rockies.  I heard they had cut back service, but I didn't know it was so extreme that you couldn't even get a flight from New York to Milwaukee. The only option out of LGA was Delta on a CRJ700.  I dislike the CRJ family of aircraft because they feel cramped. Add a fat guy (there is no way to report someone who needs to buy a second seat, but oh how I wish I could) and there is no space at all.  Two miserable hours after take off I landed and rejoiced at being able to move my arms and legs.
Delta Connection Coach Seats
Delta Connection Coach
Delta Connection CRJ700

Friday, January 18, 2013

Delta Includes a Minimum Spending Amount For Status

Rip on Delta Week continues with a huge program change. To have Delta status in 2014, you need to spend a minimum of $2,500 with Delta.  Partner flights not booked with a DL1234 flight number and taxes don't count.  This is a seismic shift in elite program rules and it defines loyalty as a monetary transaction.  Loyalty is much more complex than spending money with a company and Delta is missing the point.  Current Delta Elites should just status match over to Alaska, they'll still get Delta upgrades, plus get American upgrades and respect.

Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs) – Coming Next Year
Beginning January 1, 2014, SkyMiles members residing in the United States (excluding Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands) will earn Medallion status through a combination of miles or segments flown and their annual spending on Delta flights, which will be measured by Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs).
  • The threshold ranges from $2,500-$12,500 MQDs depending on Medallion level.
  • Alternatively, Delta SkyMiles Credit Cardmembers can be waived from the new Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs) requirement if they make at least $25,000 in Eligible Purchases within the calendar year.
  • MQDs are the total of the SkyMiles member’s spend on Delta-marketed flights (flight numbers that include the “DL” airline code), inclusive of the base fare and applicable surcharges, but exclusive of government- imposed taxes and fees.
Delta Taking Customers To A Cold And Lonely Place

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Delta's Award Booking Website Is Pathetic

I picked up the Delta Amex with a good sign up bonus and wanted to know how easily I can spend my new miles. I tried making a test award booking (all the steps to book, but cancel on the checkout page to see miles and fees) and after a few searches with NO low level awards, I found a city and date combination.  Except when selecting the return flight, I saw the error message below instead. Thanks Delta, I wasn't going to spend my miles, but you made sure of that. Error Message
I do have more respect for's award booking tool, it looks even better now.
United Express CRJ-200

Friday, January 4, 2013

Sunrise at Savannah Airport

I've always enjoyed watching the sunrise at an airport (EWR post, IAD post) and I saw a beauty last week in Savannah.
Nice Sunrise at Savannah Airport (SAV)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

IDine & Other Miles for Dining Programs

Miles for nothing, that's the goal, right?  Well that doesn't exist, but there are many ways to earn miles for no marginal cost.  Mileage dinning programs are ones way to pick up miles without spending more.  Just sign up for the program(s) of your choice (see links below), register your credit cards and you are set.  When dinning at a participating restaurant, you earn about 3 miles for every dollar spent.  The miles post a few weeks after your visit; no work required on your end after signing up. I use programs for airlines I don't earn miles in frequently to have another way to reset the miles' expiry date.  You might be able to grab 1,000 bonus miles for joining too.

American Express (Earn Amex Gift Cards) Dinning Program

United Airlines Dinning Program

US Airways Dinning Program

American Airlines Dinning Program

Delta Dinning Program

Alaska Airlines Dinning Program

Priority Club Dinning Program
American and United Jets at DEN

Friday, July 6, 2012

Delta Skymiles Amex Card Fills Mileage Balance Gaps

I am not the biggest fan of Delta, but SkyMiles are becoming more useful as Delta’s domestic network grows.  I’m not going to be flying Delta to collect SkyMiles (all my Delta and American flights are credited to Alaska), so their Amex card seems like the best route to earning miles. 

There is currently a lull in the credit card sign up game.  No one is offering the 50,000 to 100,000 point sign up bonuses any more.  Since I am unable to grab large numbers of miles, my new strategy is to strategically fill some gaps in my miles balances (I have a large pile of Starwood points that transfer to most airlines, so I’m never really in trouble, but I am hesitant to use them unless as a last resort).  SkyTeam is my largest gap so I picked up the Delta SkyMiles Amex to fill that gap.  It has a decent sign up bonus and no fee the first year.  It is a perfect fit for my needs. 
Delta Flight at MKE
I still recommend the Starwood Hotels Amex above all others.  If you don’t have it, you should grab it first.
Delta CRJ Needs a Visit to the Paint Shop

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

There's No Hope

I'm traveling for work this week and there is no hope for an upgrade.  Two US Airways segments then three Delta segments; I'm doomed to coach.  I'll be going through Milwaukee and Frontier's recent move to stop almost all Milwaukee flying is having an immediate impact by limiting my options and increasing my costs.  I never knew how much I depended on Midwest Express until they disappeared.  They also gave out warm cookies in coach, I could sure use one this week.
US Airways A319 at CLT

Monday, June 4, 2012

What is a Point or Mile Worth?

What is a point / mile worth?  It’s a simple question with a complex answer.  A mile or point in every program will have a different value too.  Also, miles might not have any value until a certain number are collected.  Ultimately the value is different for each person, but here are my answers and how I got to them.
Jets Lined Up at FRA
Miles and points are a currency that can be exchanged for goods and services.  These goods can also be purchased for cash, making it a simple equation: Total Value / Total Points = $x.xx per point.  If a flight to Europe is $1,000 or 50,000 miles, then each mile is worth 2c.  The denominator will always be known, but the numerator gets fuzzy when you are buying awards that you would never buy with cash.  A first class trip to Europe costs $13,000 or 135,000 miles; yielding almost 10c per mile in value!  But I would never pay $13,000 to fly to Europe, so what is it really worth?  Priceless is the best answer, but it doesn’t help with the math.  I just total the perceived value of the experience and that’s the value.  The means a first class award is more like 3-6c in value; still a good deal.

Do the math for yourself and use your answers to decide if to spend miles or cash.  For example, I would use miles to book a $450 domestic round trip, but use cash for a $300 ticket.  It’s a gray area for borderline redemptions.  I’ll lower my threshold if my balance still has a large number of miles.  Also, if your credit card doesn’t earn at least 2c in value for every dollar spent, just use the fee free Fidelity Amex. It has 2% cash back on every purchase and cash is accepted by any airline.
Sun Rise at ORD
SPG – 3c
Starwood Hotel (SPG) points are my favorite.  With the Cash & Points redemption option, SPG points are consistently worth about 4c each, while full points awards run 2-3c.  The SPG Amex (business card has the better sign up bonus) earns one point per dollar and two points for spending at SPG hotels.  Points can also be transferred to about 30 airline programs with a 25% bonus for every 20,000 points transferred.  This makes the SPG card better for earning American or Delta miles than the airlines’ own credit cards.  SPG is my favorite program and currency because of its high value and flexibility. 
W South Beach Miami Hotel View
Drawbacks: There aren’t SPG hotels everywhere and the top level hotels cost too many points to have any value.  The cobranded credit card is an Amex and not everyone takes those (like my local liquor store).  Mile awards with United and Southwest are poor value. 

Minimum balance of 4,000 needed to achieve top value.

United – 1.75c
United miles are the best in the air.  They are part of the Star Alliance (25 airlines and growing) and have a few other strategic alliances for miles redemption (Aer Lingus has great availability to Europe).  Their reservations people are very good and the website can be used to find and book complicated award trips.

Minimum balance of 12,500 needed to achieve decent value.
United Airlines Jets at EWR Sunrise
American – 1.5c
American is a oneworld partner and doesn’t charge excessive fuel surcharges on awards.  They allow one way bookings and have a decent award chart.  American availability, coach and first, to most places not over the Atlantic, is second to none.  Good off season discounts and a cheap oneworld partner chart (80,000 miles in first London to Australia).  oneworld coverage is spotty and fuel surcharges pop up on European carriers.

Minimum balance of 12,500 needed to achieve decent value.

Delta – 1c
Delta has a three tier award chart and every time I want to redeem, my flight is in the second or third tier, destroying the value of my miles.  They are a Sky Team partner and Virgin Australia partner, so It’s best to redeem miles with Air France/KLM or Virgin Australia.  I wound up cashing in my miles for Economist subscriptions, 3,200 for a year or 3c in value.  Not bad considering my options.

Minimum balance of 25,000 needed to achieve decent value or 3,200 for a year of The Economist.
Not Every Trip Is Glamours
Alaska Airlines – 1.6c
I credit my Delta and American flights to Alaska.  Alaska isn't part of an alliance, but are partners with most airlines you would want to fly not in the Star Alliance.  The award chart is downright cheap in places too.  The flexible earning and redeeming of miles makes Alaska a great program to have miles in.  One ways are allowed and there is a cash and points option.  Partner awards have to be a single carrier plus Alaska to get you to the gateway city.  Not Star Alliance good, but close.  Other than flights and credit card spend (not a good deal), it’s hard to earn miles with them (SPG transfers mostly).

Minimum balance of 12,500 needed to achieve decent value.

US Airways – 1.7c
Star Alliance member with a reasonable award chart (more reasonable than UA to Asia in business).  Only allow round trips.  Can’t book partner awards online, so be prepared for an hour long call with reservations.  Great deals on off peak awards.  The Mileathon promotion runs annually and is a great way to stock up on miles.  US Airways also runs frequent mileage purchase promotions.   I constantly fear award chart devaluation. 

Minimum balance of 25,000 needed to achieve good value.
Use BA Miles to Fly LAN Around South America
British Airways - .5c or 2c
BA is great for short one segment trips on American or LAN.  BA has a distance based award chart, allows one ways, and has partner booking online.  For long flights (less generous pricing), connections (each segment is charged, not total distance), premium cabins (x2 for business, x3 for first), or trips in Europe (steep fuel charges) don’t bother.  Good deals are found mostly in the America’s. The scary high fuel charges take the value out of any BA, Iberia, of Finnair award.

Minimum balance of 4,500 needed to achieve decent value.

Other Carriers – 0-10c
Southwest will sell any seat at 60 points per dollar so they have a fixed value of 1.67c per point (not bad really).  Other airline programs can be anywhere.  My Frontier miles might only be good for a magazine subscription.  Foreign carriers could have no value or tons of value, depending on if you need to use those airlines.  If you are going somewhere only Emirates flies, then those miles will be worth much more.  It’s too subjective for me to give a definitive value.
Southwest and US Airways Jets at ABQ

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Travel Tip – Good Day Trip Ideas

Sometimes you need a few more miles for the next status tier, other times you just want a mini-vacation, day trips are great solutions.  Instead of going on a two day cross country trek for miles, a little hop somewhere can do the job just as well; you can’t claim to experience a city just by their airport. Here are a few cities that make great day trip material.
United Airlines 757 at SFO
United Airlines 757 at SFO
San Jose (SJC) – I really like San Jose, the airport is short cab ride to downtown, walkable once you get there.  While in town, I recommend the Technology Museum; it has really interesting stuff like a robot that draws your picture and computer chip making equipment.  There are also a few good places to grab a bite in the area too.  The weather is usually outstanding too.
San Jose Tech Museum
San Antonio (SAT) – San Antonio usually has cheap fares and is a very easy city to tour.  The airport is about 15 minutes by cab from the Alamo (free tours).  From there, take a stroll on the river walk and grab a bite at one of the many restaurants along the river.  The boat rides are cheap and fun too.  It can get hot in the summer, but you don’t feel it that much by the river.

San Francisco (SFO) – San Francisco has a lot to offer, Alcatraz tours (book in advance), great sea food, In-N-Out, sights, the water front, and the trollies.  All of this is a (expensive for public transit) BART ride from the airport.  Very easy to day trip, but the BART is a little long, so allow extra time.  SFO isn't the most predictable airport, inconsistent security wait times and fog regularly causes delays.  There are usually cheap transcon flights, so it's worth a shot.
San Francisco Sights
Boston (BOS) – Take the T (subway) into town for $2.  It’s maybe a 20 minute ride to get to Boston Common.  Boston has a few sights all within a short stroll, like the capital building, old cemeteries, and other historic buildings.  There is also a lovely park along the Charles River for a stroll.  Another quick hop on the T and you are back at the airport.  BOS is also a nice airport to chill in if you have a connection, free (and fast) wifi, good views, and a nice terminal for Continental, US Airways, and Delta.  The United, jetBlue, and American terminals are difficult to spend time in.

Massachusetts State House, Kodak B&W Film + Fisheye

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Duluth International Airport, A Favorite I've Never Flown

I like Duluth International Airport, it is one of my favorite airports in the world really and I’ve never flown out of there.  Duluth strikes me as a plucky little contender that wants to hit above its weight.  I subscribe to their email list and frequently get updates on them adding new destinations, frequencies, and even airport sponsored promotions.  Only Allegiant, Delta, and United have scheduled service, but the airport tries hard to give people incentive to fly with them instead of driving to MSP.  Duluth is a small airport and is more likely to have higher fares, but they offer unique benefits to help draw in customers.
DLH, Trying innovative ways to grow traffic
Here are some examples of how Duluth tries to grab customers and attention. They give United passengers three days of free parking, a big step to help bring down the total cost of a trip.  They run frequent promotions for free tickets.  I got one in my inbox today to promote the Allegiant flights and a few weeks ago, they were giving away United tickets to celebrate the two year anniversary of service to ORD.  They are also building a new terminal to enhance the passenger experience.  This is most likely a giant waste of money due to the low traffic numbers and the existing terminal seemed fine anyway (see Indianapolis for a larger scale example), but is another way they are trying to pull in customers.  Plucky little Duluth airport is fun to follow and I’d like to see more airports try to compete with innovative and creative solutions.