Delta

8

I am re-publishing this post as a reminder that as of October 1, 2016, Delta Skymiles prices for Business Class awards between North American and Australia, Asia, Africa, and South America are becoming more expensive. Economy awards between the United States and South Africa, the Southwest Pacific, and the Middle East are getting cheaper however. 

If you have been saving your Skymiles for a Business Class award to any of those areas, consider booking so your trip is completed before October 1. The booking date is irrelevant, only the travel dates matter. 

Delta has devalued its miles with no notice (again.)

Effective immediately, awards for travel from October 1, 2016 on are going up in price to:

  • North Asia in Business Class
  • Southeast Asia in Business Class
  • Southwest Pacific in Business Class
  • Africa and South Africa in Business Class

However, awards for travel from October 1, 2016 on are going down in price to:

  • South Africa in economy
  • Southwest Pacific in economy
  • Middle East in economy

Delta no longer publishes an award chart, so we know about these changes by comparing the old award charts to prices published on Delta’s award calendars for travel from October 1, 2016 on. This is another blow to the value of SkyMiles, which are already the least valuable of any major mileage currency.

Let’s dive into the changes.

North Asia

China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Micronesia, Philippines, Taiwan , Russia East of the Ural Mountains, Guam, Saipan

Was: 35k/70k each way in economy/Business
For Travel after October 1: 35k/80k each way in economy/Business
Change: 10,000 more Delta miles each way in Business Class to Northern Asia

Southeast Asia

Brunei, Cambodia, East Timor, Indonesia, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkmenistan, Vietnam

Was: 45k/70k each way in economy/Business
For Travel after October 1: 40k/80k each way in economy/Business
Change: 10,000 more Delta miles each way in Business Class to Southeast Asia

Southwest Pacific

American Samoa, Australia, Christmas Islands, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Cook Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia, Kiribati, Nauru, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Norfolk Island, Pitcairn Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Wallis, Futuna Islands

Was: 50k/80k each way in economy/Business
For Travel after October 1: 45k/95k each way in economy/Business
Change: 5,000 fewer Delta miles each way in economy to Australia/New Zealand, 15,000 extra miles in Business Class

Middle East

Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Yemen

Was: 40k/70k each way in economy/Business
For Travel after October 1: 35k/70k each way in economy/Business
Change: 5,000 fewer Delta miles each way in economy to the Middle East

Africa (most of it, at least)

Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Libya, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mayotte, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Reunion, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Was: 40k/70k each way in economy/Business
For Travel after October 1: 40k/80k each way in economy/Business
Change: 10,000 more Delta miles each way in Business Class to most of Africa

South Africa

South Africa is a separate region from the rest of Africa.

Was: 50k/80k each way in economy/Business
For Travel after October 1: 40k/95k each way in economy/Business
Change: 10,000 fewer Delta miles each way in economy to South Africa, 15,000 more miles in Business

Other Regions

I have only covered award price changes for awards originating in the continental United States. There are other award chart changes. You can check out the full FlyerTalk thread that is uncovering them here.

Bottom Line

Delta miles have again gotten less valuable if you like to fly in Business Class. In economy class, a few awards have gotten cheaper. As usual, Delta gave no notice of the devaluation.

Award price changes are for travel October 1, 2016 or later. Booking date is irrelevant.1

------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 4.28.39 PM

14

Flying Blue is the loyalty program of Air France and a 1:1 transfer partner of Chase, American Express, Citi, and SPG. Flying Blue has a number of well-documented sweet spots including 15,000 miles one way to Hawaii from the United States mainland.

Speaking of transferring Citi points, I have to take down the Citi Prestige 50k offer in five days. Last time I had to take down a Citi 50k offer, the sign up bonus went to zero. Don’t miss out.

At the moment, however, you can book awards between the mainland and Kauai for 12,500 miles each way or 25,000 miles roundtrip. I assume this is a glitch caused by Flying Blue mis-classifying Kauai as being in the continental United States. LifeMiles used to have similar glitches putting Guam, Istanbul, and a few others in the continental United States.

It took LifeMiles months and months to correct those mistakes, so it might take Flying Blue a similar amount of time, or they might correct this mistake tomorrow. You should book as soon as you can if you want the discount.

The Mistake

Honolulu, Kona, and Maui still show the 15,000 miles price each way. That’s not bad, since Delta wants 22,500 Delta miles for the same flights, but it isn’t a mistake.

Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 10.14.02 PM Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 10.14.08 PM Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 10.14.41 PM Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 10.14.47 PM Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 10.15.25 PM Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 10.15.31 PM The mistake is that Kauai is only 12,500 miles one way.Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 10.15.58 PM Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 10.16.01 PM The 12,500 mile price comes up on the direct Delta flight between Los Angeles and Kauai. The award has only $5.60 in taxes each way.Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 10.16.16 PM

Unfortunately the mistake does not extend to First Class awards. In fact, Delta First Class (search Business Class on airfrance.us) prices at 31,250 miles each way…

Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 10.43.03 PM …while awards to the other islands are only 30,000 miles each way.Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 10.43.27 PM

The Award Space

For Flying Blue to have access to Delta award space at all, Delta needs to release Level 1 (Saver) award space to its members. This used to be laughably rare, especially to Hawaii, but Delta has quietly improved its award space, including to Hawaii.

For instance, here is economy award space from Atlanta to Kauai from August 1 to September 4, 2016. We see award space for 12,500 miles one way on 18/35 days.

Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 10.17.25 PM Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 10.17.30 PM This is 11 hours of flying to Hawaii for the normal price of a domestic economy award.Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 10.17.54 PM

You can find similar award space from many cities in America to Kauai and back for 25,000 Flying Blue miles roundtrip.

Other Great Deals to Hawaii

Never use United, Delta, or American Airlines miles to Hawaii.

Searching and Booking the Mistake

You can search for Flying Blue award space at airfrance.us once you have started an account.

Sign in to your Flying Blue account and select “Use My Miles”.  Everything on the search form is pretty intuitive. Delta First Class is “Business” on the search screen.

Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 11.09.17 AM

All transferable points transfer 1:1 to Flying Blue miles. The most time-sensitive way to get Flying Blue miles is by opening the Citi Prestige by Tuesday since its sign up details may change then.

Bottom Line

Book awards to Kauai on Delta planes with surprisingly good award space for 12,500 Flying Blue miles each way right now before the price goes up to 15,000 miles each way. (Of course, when that happens, you can still book the space for 25,000 Korean miles roundtrip.)

MileValue reader Rich has already booked this deal for four people, using 100,000 Flying Blue miles instead of $2,856 for four roundtrips to Kauai! Thanks, Rich, for the heads up.

------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 4.28.39 PM

0

Delta domestic economy and Delta Comfort+ award tickets are on sale for as little as 5,000 miles one way.

Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 2.29.28 PM

Conditions of the Sale

  • Must book award within the next week (by July 18, 2016)
  • Valid travel dates: on or after August 23, 2016 through February 10, 2017
  • Must book award at least 21 days ahead of travel time
  • Blackout dates

Listed below are some (but not all) examples of fares on sale:

Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 3.07.43 PM

Discounted Award Price Might Apply for Travel Before August 23

I searched for Atlanta to Chicago and found the sale price widely available in economy and Comfort+; interestingly the sale price is available even before the date the sale begins:

Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 3.39.48 PM

Delta claims the awards that are on sale are for travel beginning August 23, 2016 but all the routes I checked have discounted prices beginning August 1 (21 days out from today). Here is Austin to Los Angeles…

Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 3.44.07 PM

….and Charleston, SC to New York City.

Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 3.50.05 PM

The end travel date Delta claims the sale lasts through does appear to be correct. I looked up the prices of the awards above through February and all of the discounted award prices end February 10, 2017.

Is This Delta Sale a Good Deal?

On the Charleston to New York route the sale price of 7,500 miles is a 5,000 mile discount in economy on the price before Delta deleted its award charts. Comfort+ is new since the deleted award charts, so I don’t know how much of a discount this is.

By the way, Comfort+ is economy with a little extra legroom and a few more perks.

Screen Shot 2016-05-12 at 12.47.25 PM

Screen Shot 2016-05-12 at 12.47.47 PM

I value Delta miles at 1.3 cents each, far below its competitors because Delta award space isn’t great, its partners aren’t as useful as most programs’, and it collects fuel surcharges on many awards.

At such a low valuation, domestic economy awards can be a good use of miles, but before booking, look up the price of the cash flight. Remember that 7,500 mile award from Charleston to New York City? That same cash flight is $147.

Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 4.37.20 PM

That means you’d get about 1.96 cents of value for your 7,500 SkyMiles if you booked the award. In in this  case, I would book the discounted award fare.

Run your own numbers by looking up the cash ticket price and dividing that number by the amount of miles you would use for the award. If you get an amount lower than .013 (1.3 cents per mile– or whatever you value Delta miles at), then I’d book this as a cash ticket. (Or better yet with the $250 Air Travel Credit on your Citi Prestige.)

Bottom Line

Delta is offering discounted economy and Comfort+ awards on 8,000+ domestic routes. Book by July 18 and fly late summer 2016 through mid February 2017.  Just make sure to compare the cost of a cash flight before jumping on the sale.

Read the offer’s full terms and conditions here.

------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 4.28.39 PM

2

For about a month, the Delta Gold and Platinum cards have had 50,000 to 60,000 point sign up bonuses. Those offers end today (Wednesday, July 6, 2016.)

The Delta Gold personal and business cards are offering 50,000 bonus Delta miles and a $50 statement credit after you spend $2,000 in your first three months.

The Delta Platinum is offering 60,000 bonus miles, 10,000 status miles (MQMs), and a $100 statement credit after you spend $2,000 in your first three months.

Quick Facts

Screen Shot 2016-06-04 at 3.53.35 PM

  • Sign Up Bonus:
    Platinum: 60k miles, 10k MQMs, and $100 statement credit after spending $2,000 in first three months
    Gold personal & business: 50k miles and $50 statement credit after spending $2,000 in the first three months
  • Category Bonuses: 2 miles per dollar on Delta purchases
  • Value of Delta Miles: Worth 1.3 cents each to me
  • Free Checked Bag for you plus up to three others on same Delta reservation
  • No Foreign Transaction Fee
  • Annual Fee:
    Platinum: $195, not waived (so a net of -$95 after statement credit)
    Gold: $95, waived for first year (so a net of +$50 after statement credit)
  • You can only get the bonus once per lifetime on Amex cards. Example: if in the past, you have had only the Gold personal, you are ineligible to get the bonus on the Gold personal, but you can get the bonus on the Platinum personal or Gold business.

So, Gold or Platinum?

I compared them fully in this post. The upshot is that the offers are about equal if you don’t care about Delta status, and the Delta Platinum is much better if you do.

One strategy I didn’t mention that I think is really strong is applying for both the Delta Gold personal and business cards on the same day. Both offer 50,000 bonus miles after $2,000 in spending in the first three months, and both waive the annual fee for the first year.

They also each offer a $50 statement credit for making a Delta purchase in the first three months, which can be activated by buying a $50 gift card.

In total, that would be 104,000 Delta miles for spending $4,000 in the first three months and $100 in free Delta gift cards for future flights.

I value Delta Miles at 1.3 cents each, so I value 104,000 SkyMiles at $1,352. Add in the $100 in free Delta flights, and $1,452 worth of miles and flights is an amazing haul for two credit card applications.

What to Do with 104,000 SkyMiles?

I recently posted the Top Five Uses of Delta SkyMiles and separately about the great award space in Business Class to Southeast Asia on partners.

SkyMiles used to lag way behind American and United miles in value, but that just isn’t the case any more as all are in the 1.3 to 1.6 cent range for me.

SkyMiles really shine in Business Class to Asia on partners China Airlines, China Eastern, and Korean.

Screen Shot 2014-10-26 at 5.08.17 PM

They can also be really good in economy or Business Class to Europe, South America, Africa, and Australia.

And I should mention that you don’t need to search for award space with Delta miles if you don’t want to. You can instead redeem them for 1 cent each toward purchasing any Delta ticket. I don’t recommend this because you should easily get more than 1 cent of value per mile by redeeming them for partner flights, but even this would guarantee $1,040 of value from 104,000 miles.

Bottom Line

Today (July 6) is the last day to get the Delta Gold and Platinum cards with 50,000 and 60,000 mile sign up bonuses.

The Delta Gold personal and business cards are offering 50,000 bonus Delta miles and a $50 statement credit after you spend $2,000 in your first three months.

And the Delta Platinum is offering 60,000 bonus miles, 10,000 status miles (MQMs), and a $100 statement credit after you spend $2,000 in your first three months.

------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 4.28.39 PM

2

There is great award space to Southeast Asia next January and February (which is peak dry season in many places) in Business Class that you can book with Delta SkyMiles.

Screen Shot 2016-06-30 at 3.04.54 PM

If you have Delta miles, book yourself an amazing Southeast Asian escape from winter today. If you don’t, get the miles today and book this space soon.

For six more days, until July 6, 2016, the Delta Gold personal and business cards are offering 50,000 bonus Delta miles and a $50 statement credit after you spend $2,000 in your first three months.

And the Delta Platinum is offering 60,000 bonus miles, 10,000 status miles (MQMs), and a $100 statement credit after you spend $2,000 in your first three months.

Award Space

Award space is widely available for two people in Business Class from most American cities to major Southeast Asian cities in January, February, and March. For instance, Los Angeles to Phnom Penh, Cambodia has award space for two passengers in Business Class on 34/35 days at the Saver price of 80,000 miles one way.

Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 12.53.29 AM Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 12.53.36 AM

All the days with $120 out of pocket are operated by China Eastern.

Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 12.54.04 AM

Similarly New York to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam has award space on 33/35 days over the same period.

Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 12.55.06 AM Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 12.55.11 AM

Atlanta to Bangkok has award space for two in Business Class on 19/35 days.

Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 12.57.22 AM Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 12.57.27 AM

Search from your home town to your preferred destination right on delta.com where Delta plus Asian partners China Eastern, China Southern, China Airlines, and Korean Airlines are all searchable.Screen Shot 2016-06-30 at 3.08.43 PM

Product

Much of the award space is on China Eastern. China Eastern’s new 777-300ERs serve American routes. They feature flat beds in Business Class in a 1-2-1 configuration ensuring aisle access for all Business Class passengers.

Screen Shot 2016-06-30 at 3.11.38 PM

China Airlines, China Southern, Korean, and Delta also feature flat beds in Business Class.

Booking the Award

Search on delta.com. Book on delta.com or by calling Delta at 800-323-2323 if you want to book Business one way and economy (40k miles) one way.

Pay your award taxes and fuel surcharges with the Citi Prestige® Card. The first $250 in award taxes, fuel surcharges, airfare, or airline fees per calendar year are refunded to you as a statement credit. If you’ve already maxed out the statement credit, you will still earn 3x ThankYou Points on the award taxes.

Bottom Line

There is great Delta award space in Business Class that you can book to Southeast Asia for two people during 2017’s dry season. You can book the space for 80,000 SkyMiles per person per direction.

For six more days, until July 6, 2016, the Delta Gold personal and business cards are offering 50,000 bonus Delta miles and a $50 statement credit after you spend $2,000 in your first three months.

And the Delta Platinum is offering 60,000 bonus miles, 10,000 status miles (MQMs), and a $100 statement credit after you spend $2,000 in your first three months.

------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 4.28.39 PM

2

Delta domestic award space can be really crappy. But from Delta’s hubs, you can take non-stop award flights to tons of enticing destinations without the trouble of finding award space.

Delta hubs in the United States:

  • Atlanta
  • Boston
  • Cincinnati
  • Detroit
  • Los Angeles
  • Minneapolis
  • New York
  • Salt Lake City
  • Seattle

I’m going to show you great non-stop award space from four of these hubs to intercontinental destinations around the world. Why? Because the sign-up bonus offers on the Amex Delta cards are some of the highest they’ve ever been. You can only earn one sign-up bonus per card once a lifetime, so it’s important to take note when they’re high.

If you live in one of Delta’s nine hubs, the sign-up bonuses from the Delta Amex cards could take you (and loved ones) very far, very easily.

4597095571_4c3bbb4111_o
The streets of Bogotá, Colombia, by Diego F. Garcia P. taken from Flicker Creative Commons

The Deal With the Delta Cards

Until July 6, 2016, the Delta Gold card is offering 50,000 bonus Delta miles and a $50 statement credit after you spend $2,000 in your first three months.

The Delta Platinum is offering 60,000 bonus miles, 10,000 status miles (MQMs), and a $100 statement credit after you spend $2,000 in your first three months, also only until July 6, 2016.

The small business versions of these cards are offering the same sign-up offers, also only lasting through July 6, 2016.

This is the largest bonus I’ve seen on the Platinum card. I’ve seen up to 70,000 on the Gold card, but this is still quite high for a card that normally offers only 30,000 miles.

Read my post about both offers to see which is more suited to you.

Award Space from Delta Hubs

Delta does not publish their award chart anymore, so the prices you see below may just be a sale for the time period and not the normal price year round. All calendars are non-stop, for two people, unless otherwise noted.

Atlanta to Bogotá

Economy award space is available daily all of September from Atlanta to Bogotá, Colombia. With the 50k sign-up bonus from the Delta Gold card you could fly roundtrip and still have plenty of miles leftover.

Screen Shot 2016-06-23 at 4.47.56 PMThe return to Atlanta isn’t quite as open but as long as you don’t mind flying during the weekdays, you’ll have no problem finding space.

Screen Shot 2016-06-23 at 4.53.46 PMNew York to Barcelona

Take a holiday trip to Spain. You’d have enough miles from the Delta Platinum’s 60k sign-up bonus to treat yourself to Business Class in one direction and fly the other way with a different kind of miles.

The first calendar is for one person from New York to Barcelona, and the second is for one person from Barcelona to New York.

Screen Shot 2016-06-23 at 5.21.27 PM

Screen Shot 2016-06-23 at 5.18.52 PM

Seattle to Cancun

11 out of the 31 days in January 2017 have economy space between Seattle and Cancun. With the sign-up bonus from the Delta Platinum plus another 8k miles you could fly two people roundtrip.

Screen Shot 2016-06-23 at 5.50.38 PM

The return back to Seattle has equally as much space.

Screen Shot 2016-06-23 at 5.52.24 PM

Los Angeles to Honolulu

You can fly roundtrip to Honolulu in economy from Los Angeles with just the sign-up bonus from the Delta Gold card, and still have at least 7k miles left over. If you travel in August or September you’ll have a ton of dates to choose from in both directions.

Screen Shot 2016-06-23 at 5.58.11 PM

Here’s the return back to Los Angeles.
Screen Shot 2016-06-23 at 6.02.27 PM

Bottom Line

Getting from a small hometown airport to a Delta hub as part of a single award can be difficult due to Delta’s lack of domestic award space. But if you live in one of its nine hubs, then the Delta Gold or Platinum might be the perfect card for you right now. Sign up before July 6 to cash in on the 50k and 60k sign-up bonuses on the Amex Delta Gold and Platinum.

Hat tip Million Mile Secrets

------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 4.28.39 PM

9

I have a friend who, after about five months off from applying for any new cards, decided to give it another go recently. He is writing a series for MileValue on his experience. Below is Part 3, where he talks about the response he got from Chase concerning his applications for the Ink Plus and the British Airways Visa Signature, and what he decides to do next. Read Part 1 to see how he decided on his new round of credit cards, and Part 2 to read about application day. 

If you haven’t read Part 1 and Part 2 of this credit card application story, here’s a quick recap for you. I recently applied for the following cards:

  • the Ink Plus by Chase
  • the British Airways Visa Signature by Chase
  • the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature card by Bank of America
  • the Alaska Airlines Visa Business card by Bank of America

As expected, I received a pending status on my applications with Chase (I have definitely opened more than five cards in the last two years), was auto-approved for the Alaska Airlines Visa Business card and was manually approved by a Bank of America representative for the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature card after I called the reconsideration line and answered a couple very surface level questions. I decided not to call Chase’s reconsideration line since FlyerTalk advises against it, and just waited to see what response I would eventually receive from them.

And that is where today’s story begins.

So I Heard From Chase…

And it wasn’t the news I wanted.

Here is a scanned copy of the letter I received concerning the Ink Plus:

Screen Shot 2016-06-15 at 5.19.59 PM

And here is the letter I received concerning the British Airways card:

Screen Shot 2016-06-15 at 5.28.53 PM

Womp womp. Looks like I’ll need to break from the travel cards for two years before Chase cards can be considered again.

Plan B

I was preparing for this response by doing a bit more research on the next best card for me to apply for. I narrowed down my options to:

  • the Gold Delta SkyMiles Business Credit Card from American Express
  • the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express

I recently learned in Scott’s post about the best order for card applications that you should strategically snipe American Express cards whenever they have historically high sign-up bonuses. Both of those cards have high ones at the moment (the limited time offers last until July 6). The Gold Business card is offering 50,000 Delta miles and the Platinum is offering 60,000 Delta miles after spending $2,000 in three months. The Gold Delta SkyMiles card also has the same sign-up offer right now as the Gold Business card, but I have already earned a sign-up bonus from that card in the past, and you can only get the sign-up bonus on an American Express card once in a lifetime.

Screen Shot 2016-06-04 at 3.53.35 PM

The most important difference to me between the Gold and Platinum is that the Platinum has a $195 annual fee while the Gold’s $95 annual fee is waived the first year. The Platinum also offers a $100 statement credit towards any Delta purchase, but as I don’t have any plans to fly a revenue Delta ticket in the near future, it didn’t appeal to me. Read more about the 50k and 60k Delta Offers here to see which card is better for you.

The redemptions I have in mind for those Delta miles equal exactly how many miles I would get from the Gold Business card’s sign-up bonus plus the spending I plan to put on it, so I decided to stick with the Gold card instead of coughing up $195 for 10,000 extra miles that would likely sit dormant in my SkyMiles account for a while.

Applying For the Gold Delta SkyMiles Business Credit Card

I love earning extra miles from business cards. From my experience talking to friends, many people assume they are not eligible for a business credit card when they very well could be.

I didn’t waste any time– the day I got the denial letters from Chase I hopped online and filled in all the necessary information to apply for the Gold Delta SkyMiles Business card…

Screen Shot 2016-06-13 at 6.11.31 PM

…and received an auto-approval! The thrill never gets old. I always picture myself in a new exotic destination whenever I get a new travel card approval.

Screen Shot 2016-06-13 at 6.12.35 PM

What I Got From This Round of Card Apps

All in all, I came out a little short handed from this round of card applications since I was aiming for 60,000 Ultimate Rewards and 50,000 British Airways Avios on top of the Alaska miles. But it was worth a shot, and I added some valuable data points about the Chase 5/24 rule. I know from prior experience that my credit score will bounce back up from the denials after a few months.

It appears very clear to me that the Chase 5/24 does now fully apply to all Chase credit cards, including personal, business, and co-branded cards. I will not be applying for any in the near future. Proceed with caution applying for Chase cards if you have opened any five credit cards in the last 24 months, from any issuing bank.

I still came out 100,000 miles richer from this round, so you don’t hear me complaining!

Screen Shot 2016-06-15 at 6.53.21 PM

Final Words by Scott

If you want to apply for the British Airways Visa Signature, Alaska Airlines Visa Signature, Ink Plus, or the Delta Gold or Platinum SkyMiles cards (all mentioned in this post) please consider doing so through the links below. I receive a commission, and your support keeps this blog going.

  • The Ink Plus is a business card that offers 60,000 Ultimate Rewards after spending $5,000 in the first three months. Ultimate Rewards transfer 1:1 to United, British Airways, Singapore, Korean, Southwest, Virgin Atlantic, Hyatt, and more. You can
  • The British Airways Visa Signature card comes with 50,000 bonus Avios after spending $2,000 in the first three months on the card. British Airways Avios are perfect for short, direct, economy flights on British Airways partners that do not levy fuel surcharges like these partners. The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature card comes with 30,000 Alaska miles after spending $1,000 in the first three months. Alaska miles are awesome because you can still book pre-American Airlines chart devaluation  prices with them.
  • The Gold Delta SkyMiles card comes with 50,000 Delta miles after spending $2,000 in the first three months, and the Platinum Delta Skymiles card comes with 60,000 Delta miles after spending $2,000 in the first three months. Delta miles are great for flying to and within Argentina.
  • The Gold Delta SkyMiles Business card comes with 50,000 Delta miles after spending $2,000 in the first three months.
------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 4.28.39 PM

In light of the news that American Airlines is changing to a revenue-based award earning structure, and the fact that all three major US carriers now abide by a revenue-based award earning structure, I am writing a series of posts about when and where you should diversify the award miles you earn through paying for airfare. This post is Part 3, and discusses when and to where you should diversify your award earning when flying paid tickets on Delta flights. 

“When & Where You Should Diversify Revenue Ticket Miles” Series Index

In January of 2015, Delta switched to a revenue-based award earning structure that is much like the structure American Airlines’ is adopting come this August.  The amount of Delta miles you earn flying Delta flights is based on two things: the ticket price less any government imposed taxes or fees, and the elite status you have with the airline.

A revenue-based award earning structure is worse for folks who fly far, cheap tickets and better for people who fly short, expensive tickets. That is, at least, if we’re talking about crediting to Delta SkyMiles. But it is not obligatory to do that–you can enter your frequent flyer number with any United partner instead.

Screen Shot 2016-06-16 at 5.16.51 PMIn your mind, this fact should pose two questions.

  1. When should I choose to credit my award miles to Delta?
  2. If not Delta, then who?

I’m going to dive into both questions here to help equip you with the knowledge to make these decisions in the future.

Note that this post is specifically referencing the award miles earned from flying Delta flights. The amount of Delta miles you can earn flying a SkyTeam Alliance or other partner airline will be based on flight distance and the purchased fare class– see Delta’s website for partner-specific information.

When Should I Choose to Credit my Award Miles to Delta?

The simple answer to this question: Not when you’re buying a cheap economy ticket, but maybe if you’re buying an expensive premium cabin ticket. Delta’s revenue-based award earning system rewards those who generate more revenue for Delta, point blank.

The more correct answer to this question is: when the math works out, and when you’re not chasing or trying to maintain status. Before I go any further, let me explain what I mean by the latter part of that sentence.

The value of status miles will factor into the decision too (in Delta’s case, they are called Medallion Qualification Miles), if you’re trying to get or maintain Delta status. For example, even if a Delta Diamond Medallion elite earns fewer Delta redeemable miles by crediting their butt in seat miles to Delta over Alaska Airlines, he might still prefer it to boost his Medallion Qualification Mile balance.

But if you’re not concerned with status, then all that should matter to you is the math.

The Math

To figure out how many Delta miles you’ll earn flying their planes, use the following equation:

Status multiplier x (ticket price – government-imposed taxes/fees) = award miles earned

The status multiplier depends on what tier elite status you have with the airline:

  • 5x– SkyMiles member
  • 7x – Silver Medallion
  • 8x – Gold Medallion
  • 9x – Platinum Medallion
  • 11x– Diamond Medallion

We know the ticket price is how much delta.com tells us the flight costs.

But how can we isolate the government-imposed taxes and fees from that price? ITA Matrix. If you’re not familiar with ITA Matrix, here’s how to use it— it will show you the breakdown of a ticket by base fare, fuel surcharges, and government-imposed taxes and fees.

Look at this breakdown of a roundtrip Delta ticket between Seattle and the Zurich:Screen Shot 2016-06-16 at 6.21.55 PM

This is a good example of the kind of cheap revenue ticket readers of this blog would buy, because it’s an example where you might be better off paying for the flight in cash rather than using miles that could be put towards higher value redemptions.

The dollar amounts outlined in the red rectangle are the government-imposed taxes and fees (sum =$114.56). Fuel surcharges are always labeled as either YR and YQ (in this case YR). Fare 1 and 2 are the base fares in each direction of the roundtrip.

Now we can plug in our equation.

5 x (595.56 – 114.56) = 2,405

So, assuming you are just a normal SkyMiles member without status, you would earn 2,405 Delta miles for flying about 13,750 miles on a Delta plane.

Even if you are a Diamond Medallion elite, you would only earn 5,291 Delta miles on this ticket.

But let’s say you purchased a Business Class ticket on the same flight, which costs $5,054.06 (oh yea, now I remember why I collect miles!). Your equation would look like this:

5 x (5,054.06 –114.56) = 24,698

Then you would certainly want to credit those miles to Delta, because you cannot beat that crediting to any other partner. It is easy to see how this system rewards those that spend more. But I assume the majority of us will find ourselves with something closer to the first equation’s answer most of the time.

Conclusion

When it comes time for you to make this decision, plug your own numbers in. Compare this first solution to the number you get from multiplying the distance you will fly by the percentage that corresponds to your fare class, which you can gather from the table in the “If Not Delta, Then Who?” section below.

If the first solution is greater than the second solution, stick with Delta. Otherwise, read on to see your options for crediting to other partners.

If Not Delta, Then Who?

I compared award earning charts when flying Delta from the following partners to see whose is the most lucrative:

  • Alaska Airlines
  • Alitalia
  • Air France
  • Garuda Indonesia
  • Hawaiian
  • Korean Air
  • Virgin Atlantic
  • Virgin Australia

I chose those loyalty programs because they have at least some valuable redemption options. The table below is the analysis of my comparison:

Screen Shot 2016-06-17 at 1.20.45 PM
(click to enlarge)

Conclusion

Again, the following conclusion is not considering the incentive of status. If you’re aiming for or trying to maintain status with one of Delta’s partner airlines, than perhaps the elite qualifying miles earned from crediting to that partner matter more to you than redeemable miles.

That being said, the best alternative airline to credit miles to when flying Delta is going to depend on what type of miles you value more– Alitalia, Alaska, Virgin Atlantic, and Virgin Australia all offer good earning rates on discounted economy fares (which are the most common types of tickets people like you and I buy). Click here to read about the top 11 most valuable miles to me.

I would choose to credit my miles earned from flying the discounted fare example above, between Seattle and Zurich (fare class V), to Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan because I value those miles much more than Alitalia, Virgin Atlantic, or Virgin Australia miles.

If your fare class is not one associated with a discounted economy ticket, then check out the table above to see the best option for you depending how much you value the miles from the top earning loyalty programs.

Best Card to Buy Airfare With

Your top choice for buying Delta tickets should be the Citi Prestige® Card, since it comes with a $250 Air Travel Credit every calendar year that applies to airfare. If you haven’t used the credit yet, buy the fare with your Prestige, and you will receive an offsetting credit on your next statement.

Even if you’ve already used your $250 credit for this year, the card offers 3x on all airfare purchases, which is a higher category bonus than what any of the Delta’s co-branded cards offer for buying their own plane tickets (2x).

See my review of the Citi Prestige Card which explains its many components like its annual $250 Air Travel Credit, 50,000 point sign up bonus, access to the American Airlines Admirals Clubs and Priority Pass lounges, 3x points per dollar on air travel and hotels, and a $450 annual fee.

Bottom Line

If you’re like me and only spend cash on the cheapest of airfares, then it is very likely you will not want to credit the miles you earn from flying Delta to SkyMiles since the airline uses a revenue-based award earning structure. If you haven’t started an account with Alaska Airlines’ frequent flyer program Mileage Plan, then do so today. Out of Delta’s partners, it is likely the most valuable program to funnel your miles into.

If you want to jumpstart that Alaska miles collection, sign up for the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature card. Earn 30,000 bonus miles after spending $1,000 within the first three months of opening the account.

While I can not directly link to Alaska Airlines Visa Signature card, you may find it by clicking below if you decide to apply. (I receive a commission, and your support keeps this blog going.)

------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 4.28.39 PM

5

Until July 6, 2016, the Delta Gold card is offering 50,000 bonus miles and a $50 statement credit; the Delta Platinum is offering 60,000 bonus miles, 10,000 status miles (MQMs), and a $100 statement credit.

I compared the 50,000 mile Gold and 60,000 mile Platinum offers here, and discussed which is better for you.

Delta miles have been derided for years as less valuable than most types of miles. While that remains true, United and American Airlines have devalued their award charts to the point that some Delta awards are cheap. Delta also has a number of partners with fantastic Business Class cabins with plenty of award space. If you’re serious about miles, you should collect Delta miles, and you should easily get great value from your SkyMiles.

Here are a few very high value awards with SkyMiles:

  1. 35,000 miles each way + taxes to Middle East.  American charges 40k; United charges 42.5k.
  2. 35,000 miles each way + taxes to North Asia and China. This is the same amount American and United charge, but Delta has better award space.
  3. 80,000 miles each way + taxes in Business Class to anywhere in East Asia on China Airlines, which has amazing award space and a top notch flat bed product.
  4. 80,000 miles each way + taxes + $200 fuel surcharge in Business Class to anywhere in East Asia on China Eastern Airlines, which has amazing award space and a top notch flat bed product (though you may prefer to redeem Korean miles for China Eastern First Class to fly in a double bed.)
  5. 62,500 miles each way + taxes in Business Class to Europe on Virgin Atlantic

35k to Middle East

Other than using 25,000 (or occasionally 12,500) Flying Blue miles to Israel, this is probably the best award to the Middle East. Delta’s 35,000 miles price point is significantly cheaper than the 40,000 American Airlines miles or 42,500 United miles the same award would cost.

Most routing options will be via Europe on partners like Air France.

Screen Shot 2016-06-16 at 7.09.01 PM Award space is available every day in February from New York to Dubai.Screen Shot 2016-06-16 at 7.09.34 PM

35k to North Asia and China

From the United States to North Asia and China, Delta has the same 35,000 miles price as United and American. (Technically American charges 32,500 to 37,500 miles depending on date, partner, and destination.)

Screen Shot 2016-06-16 at 7.11.54 PM

The reason I included this award is that award space is just so wide open on Delta flights and partners Korean and China Airlines. For instance, award space is open 27/28 days in February from New York to Hong Kong.

Screen Shot 2016-06-16 at 7.11.07 PM

80k State of the Art Flat Beds to Asia (No Fuel Surcharges)

China Airlines, based in Taiwan, has a top notch flat bed product that they updated in 2014. The four 6’6″ beds per row all have direct aisle access.

Screen Shot 2014-10-26 at 5.08.17 PM

China Airlines releases masses of award space in Business Class, Delta doesn’t collect fuel surcharges on China Airlines flights, and the 80,000 mile price is the same whether you go to Taiwan or anywhere else in East or Southeast Asia.

Screen Shot 2016-06-16 at 7.13.16 PM

Right now there is award space in Business Class–usually 2 to 3 seats per flight–from Los Angeles to Taipei every day from February 5 to March 4.
Screen Shot 2016-06-16 at 7.12.53 PM

Another 80k Option to Asia (but with Fuel Surcharges)

China Eastern also releases a ton of state-of-the-art flat bed award space to Asia in Business Class that you can book with 80,000 Delta miles. Unfortunately you’ll also pay about $200 in fuel surcharges per direction.

Screen Shot 2016-06-16 at 7.17.13 PM

There is award space every day in February and March from New York to Shanghai in China Eastern Business Class.

Screen Shot 2016-06-16 at 7.17.41 PM

Unfortunately Delta miles cannot book partner First Class, and China Eastern First Class features two middle seats that combine into one double bed. You can book the double bed with Korean miles, a transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards and SPG Starpoints.

 

Screen Shot 2016-06-09 at 10.24.09 PM62.5k Flat Bed to Europe, Good Award Space

Delta doesn’t collect fuel surcharges on Virgin Atlantic flights when you book one way or roundtrip awards originating in the United States. (Booking just a one way award home from Europe will incur fuel surcharges.)

Screen Shot 2016-06-16 at 7.16.25 PM

Award space is good in Business Class from San Francisco to London this February with most days pricing at 62,500 miles one way and the rest at 80,000.

Screen Shot 2016-06-16 at 7.15.20 PMMost of that award space is on Virgin Atlantic direct flights with flat beds. I’ve isolated the direct Virgin Atlantic Upper Class award space here:
Screen Shot 2016-06-16 at 7.16.14 PM
Unfortunately if you just book the one way to Europe to avoid expensive taxes out of London, you’ll miss the amazing Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse there. If you want to see that on a one way award, you’d pay an obscene $506 in taxes and fuel surcharges on top of your miles.

Screen Shot 2016-06-16 at 7.41.00 PM

Bottom Line

Until July 6, 2016, the Delta Gold card is offering 50,000 bonus Delta miles and a $50 statement credit after you spend $2,000 in your first three months.

Until July 6, 2016, the Delta Platinum is offering 60,000 bonus miles, 10,000 status miles (MQMs), and a $100 statement credit after you spend $2,000 in your first three months.

These huge bonuses can be used for very high value awards in economy or Business Class to Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.

------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 4.28.39 PM

2

China Eastern flies its 777-300ER with flat beds in Business Class and a flat double bed in First Class for two people to share between several American cities and Shanghai with connections throughout Asia.

Screen Shot 2016-06-09 at 10.24.09 PM
You can book Business Class for 77,500 Korean miles or 80,000 Delta miles, and you can book First Class for 100,000 Korean miles. If you book two First Class award seats, you can combine your beds into one large double bed. All these awards include fuel surcharges of about $200 per person per direction.

Award space is wide open in China Eastern Business and First Class.

China Eastern Product

China Eastern has its 777-300ER on routes from Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, and New York to its hub in Shanghai.
Screen Shot 2016-06-09 at 10.28.34 PM
This video gives an overview of the cabins.

There are 52 Business Class beds in a 1-2-1 configuration, meaning all passengers have direct aisle access. There are six First Class beds, four along the windows in two rows and a pair between the aisles. It is this pair of First Class beds that can have its partition removed to convert into a fully flat double bed. The only other flying double bed is in Singapore Suites Class on the carrier’s A380s.

While the seats and beds on China Eastern’s 777-300ER are some of the best in the world, I don’t think you’ll find the service up to that level according to trip reports online including this one in Business Class from New York to Shanghai.

Search for Award Space

You can search for Business Class award space on delta.com.
Screen Shot 2016-06-09 at 10.22.07 PM
There is award space in Business Class on China Eastern flights between New York and Shanghai every day in April 2017.
Screen Shot 2016-06-09 at 10.22.14 PM
By clicking on the flight number on any day’s results, you can see that the operating aircraft is a 777-300.
Screen Shot 2016-06-09 at 10.39.02 PM
The only place I know to search China Eastern First Class award space is Expert Flyer, which is a paid service, though you can get a free five day trial.
Screen Shot 2016-06-09 at 9.48.42 PM
Award space is excellent on all the routes. I see a lot of flights to/from New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco with two First Class award seats. I see flights to/from Chicago with four.
Screen Shot 2016-06-09 at 9.55.01 PMScreen Shot 2016-06-09 at 9.55.15 PMScreen Shot 2016-06-09 at 9.56.00 PM

Book Award Space

You can book Business Class award space with Delta SkyMiles, but not First Class space. Delta doesn’t offer three-cabin First Class, and it doesn’t allow you to book partner First Class with its miles either.

Delta charges 80,000 SkyMiles plus taxes each way and fuel surcharges (about $200 one way from the United States to Asia.)
Screen Shot 2016-06-09 at 9.57.36 PMThat miles price is the same wherever you start in the United States and wherever you end in East Asia or Southeast Asia as long as you find Saver award space for all flights.

Book with Delta miles on delta.com.

You can book China Eastern Business and First Class with Korean SkyPass miles. Korean charges 77,500 miles one way in Business Class and 100,000 one way in First Class to Asia 2.

Screen Shot 2016-06-09 at 10.18.37 PMAsia 2 is most of the places you’d want to fly on China Eastern.Screen Shot 2016-06-09 at 10.18.53 PM
Unfortunately booking Korean awards is a pain. Basically:

  1. You call (800) 438-5000 to put the award on hold. Tell the agent that you want to book a Bonus Award and feed her the date, cabin, and flight numbers of the China Eastern segments you found on delta.com or Expert Flyer.
  2. Complete the Bonus Award Application. You can only book awards for yourself, parents, grandparents, siblings, children, grandchildren, parents-in-law, and children-in-law. You have to provide proof of the relationship too, which might mean scanning and emailing a marriage certificate or birth certificate. Insane, I know, but you can literally fly across an ocean in a double bed for your trouble.
  3. Call back to ticket the award.

Getting the Miles

There are current huge bonuses on Delta cards:

The Gold personal and Gold business cards are offering 50,000 bonus miles for spending $2,000 in the first three months. The Platinum personal card is offering 60,000 bonus miles with the same spending requirement. Which is better for you?

You can also transfer American Express Membership Rewards to Delta miles at a 1:1 rate and SPG Starpoints at a 20:000 points to 25,000 miles rate.

You can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards 1:1 to Korean miles and SPG Starpoints at a 20:000 points to 25,000 miles rate.

There are huge offers (55,000 to 60,000 bonus points) on the Sapphire Preferred and Ink Plus.

While I can not directly link to the current Sapphire Preferred offer, you may find it by clicking below if you decide to apply. (I receive a commission, and your support keeps this blog going.)

While I can not directly link to the current Ink Plus offer, you may find it by clicking below if you decide to apply. (I receive a commission, and your support keeps this blog going.)

Bottom Line

For a reasonable miles price and modest fuel surcharge, you can fly world class flat beds between the United States and Asia.

Use Delta or Korean miles to book the wide open award space in China Eastern Business Class and Korean miles to book the wide open double bed First Class space.

------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 4.28.39 PM

0

For travel in July through Mid November 2016, Delta is discounting Economy awards between Atlanta and Brazil.

As far as I can tell, it only applies to travel specifically between Atlanta and Rio de Janeiro or Atlanta and São Paulo, no other North or South American cities. The sale also appears to be unadvertised, I just stumbled upon the lower prices by doing some searching for myself.

The normal price for a one way in economy between the United States and Brazil is 30,000 Delta miles.

The current sale reduces that price to 27,500 Delta miles.

Atlanta to Rio de Janeiro

Screen Shot 2016-06-06 at 3.19.54 PM

Atlanta to São Paulo:

Screen Shot 2016-06-06 at 3.22.22 PM

That’s about an 8% discount– not huge, but notable, especially if you have Delta miles to burn. Not to mention the sale timing overlaps with the 2016 Summer Olympics that are about to take place in Rio de Janeiro (August 5 – 21).

23007119631_1bb89d9373_o

Roundtrip, the sale brings the price down from 60,000 to 55,000 Delta miles.

Award Space

In the following calendars, days that are priced at 27,500 have discounted economy space available. The days that do have discounted space have tons of it. The calendars didn’t change for most routes even when I input the maximum number of passengers (9).

Atlanta to Rio de Janeiro

The majority of available award space that’s on sale is in September and October, with a few dates scattered in July, August, and November.

Here is the calendar for nine people in September.

Screen Shot 2016-06-06 at 4.00.35 PM

And October’s, for nine people:

Screen Shot 2016-06-06 at 4.09.08 PM

Rio de Janeiro to Atlanta

The pattern of space on the return route is similar: a few days scattered in July and August, lots of space in September and October, and a few dates in November. Here is October’s calendar for nine people: Screen Shot 2016-06-06 at 4.21.45 PM

Atlanta to São Paulo

Discounted space is even more widely available to São Paulo. There’s just a couple days open in July, but there are tons of options August through Mid November for up to nine people.

Here is Mid August through Mid September’s calendar for nine people.

Screen Shot 2016-06-06 at 4.33.16 PM

São Paulo to Atlanta

This return route has a few days with discounted space available scattered in July and August, and tons of it in September through Mid November for up to nine people.

Here is the calendar for October and the beginning of November for nine people.

Screen Shot 2016-06-06 at 4.44.24 PM

Out of Pocket Fees

There are no fuel surcharges on these awards. The taxes flying from Atlanta to Rio de Janeiro or São Paulo are $5.60, and the return direction costs $46.16.

Is This Delta Sale a Good Deal?

The best deals to Brazil are:

  • with 20,000 Etihad miles on American Airlines flights from March 1 – May 31 or August 16 – November 30
  • with 20,000 Alaska miles on American Airlines flights from March 1 – May 31 or August 16 – November 30

…because you can still book on old American Airlines chart with Alaska or Etihad Miles.

The legacy carrier prices to Brazil are:

  • 30,000 American Airlines miles
  • 30,000 United miles

So, if you have Etihad miles (1:1 transfer partner of Citi ThankYou Points and SPG Points) or Alaska miles and want to travel March 1 – May 31 or August 16 – November 30, you’re better off using those. Otherwise, take advantage of the Delta economy sale that will save you 2,500 miles from July through Mid November.

How to Get the Miles

Until July 6, 2016, the Delta Gold card is offering 50,000 bonus Delta miles and a $50 statement credit after you spend $2,000 in your first three months.

Also until July 6, 2016, the Delta Platinum is offering 60,000 bonus miles, 10,000 status miles (MQMs), and a $100 statement credit after you spend $2,000 in your first three months.

Read my review of these 50k and 60k Delta offers to figure out which is better suited to you.

Bottom Line

Delta is offering discounted economy award travel between Atlanta and Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo during the months of July through mid November. The Olympics are during this time period (August 5 – 21), so if you were thinking of attending, this could be good news for you.

This sale is unadvertised so I have no idea how long it will last– act fast if you want to take advantage of it.

------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 4.28.39 PM

Hawaii is one of the best places in the world to visit, and judging by the number of inquiries I get about booking awards to Hawaii, it’s clear that many people agree. There are a number of cheap ways to get there that I’ll list in order.

Screen Shot 2013-06-11 at 10.15.24 PM
Waikiki at Sunset

1. Allegiant Air $314+ roundtrip (ending 8/2016)

Allegiant Air is an ultra-low cost carrier that flies from Las Vegas and Los Angeles to Honolulu. The flights are as cheap as $314 roundtrip, but a carry on will cost $50 roundtrip and a checked bag is $70 roundtrip. Additionally if you want to select your seat or board early, you have to pay extra.

If you live in LA or Vegas, don’t mind a middle seat for six hours, and can travel with only one carry on, $364 roundtrip to Hawaii including a carry on is the best deal in my opinion–better than burning 25,000+ miles on the trip.

You can always pay for your Allegiant flights, bag fees, seat fees, and food with the $250 Air Travel Credit on your Citi Prestige® Card, which comes with 50,000 bonus ThankYou Points after $3,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open.

Check out my review of the Citi Prestige Card which explains its many benefits like $250 in airfare or airline fee credits per calendar year, access to the American Airlines Admirals Clubs and Priority Pass lounges, 3x points per dollar on air travel and hotels, and a $450 annual fee.

With $250 off the price of an Allegiant ticket, you could get one to Hawaii for about $100 roundtrip.

Here’s my review of paying $90 extra to get a “Giant Seat” up front from Los Angeles to Honolulu when I flew Allegiant.

Allegiant has announced that it will terminate Hawaii service in August 2016.

2. Avios Award: 25,000+ Avios and $11+ roundtrip

I love that British Airways Avios has a distance-based award chart. For 25,000 Avios and $11, you can fly roundtrip on American Airlines or Alaska Airlines planes from the West Coast to Hawaii. Here are the possible routes.

Screen Shot 2015-12-03 at 6.21.15 PM
1: Seasonal

Avios can be used for one way awards at half the price of a roundtrip award, which means that if you can’t get the Avios deal both ways, it’s still a good idea to go one way for 12,500 Avios and use another one way deal.

See here for an Anatomy of an Award post for a step-by-step breakdown of the time I booked a one way award from Honolulu to Los Angeles with Avios.

Getting British Airways Avios

You can get Chase’s British Airways card, transfer Ultimate Rewards 1:1, transfer Starpoints 4:5, or transfer Membership Rewards 5:4.

  • The British Airways Visa Signature card comes with 50,000 bonus Avios after spending $2,000 in the first three months on the card.

    Spend $15,000 in the first 12 months for another 25,000 bonus Avios. The maximum bonus is 75,000 total Avios for spending $15,000 in the first 12 months of which $2,000 came in the first three.

    While I can not directly link to the current British Airways Visa offer, you may find it by clicking below if you decide to apply. (I receive a commission, and your support keeps this blog going.)

3. Korean Miles Award: 25,000+ Korean Miles and $11 Roundtrip, First Class from 45,000 Korean Miles Roundtrip

Korean miles can book a roundtrip in Delta economy from anywhere in the United States to any of the four major Hawaiian islands for 25,000 Korean miles. A roundtrip in Delta First Class is 45,000 Korean miles.

You just have to find Saver award space on Delta flights on delta.com and transfer your Ultimate Rewards or SPG Starpoints to Korean miles.

More info on the process: Guide to Booking Delta Flights to Hawaii for 25k Korean Miles Roundtrip, 45k in First

Korean miles can also book Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines Saver award space, but the price is higher: 30k/60k Korean miles roundtrip in economy/First.

Getting Korean Miles

Korean miles are a 1:1 transfer partner of Ultimate Rewards and 4:5 transfer partner of Starpoints.

  • The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a personal card that earns 50k Ultimate Rewards after spending $4k in 3 months.

    You also get 5k bonus points for adding an authorized user while applying, so I think of this as a 55k bonus point card. (Adding an authorized user does not prevent that person from getting the card at the same time or in the future as a primary account holder and getting the full sign up bonus.)

    The Sapphire Preferred earns 2x points on dining and travel. Dining includes bars, restaurants, and fast food. Travel includes airfare, hotels, taxis, rental cars, tolls, parking, and much more.

    The Sapphire Preferred has no annual fee the first year, then $95 thereafter.

    While I can not directly link to the current Sapphire Preferred offer, you may find it by clicking below if you decide to apply. (I receive a commission, and your support keeps this blog going.)

4. Singapore Miles Award: 35,000+ Singapore Miles and $11 Roundtrip, First Class from 60,000 Singapore Miles Roundtrip

Singapore miles can book United economy from anywhere in the United States to any of the four major Hawaiian islands for 17,500 Singapore miles each way. One way in United First Class is 30,000 Singapore miles.

You just have to find Saver award space on United flights on united.com and transfer your Ultimate Rewards, Membership Rewards, ThankYou Points, or SPG Starpoints to Singapore miles.

More info on the process: Guide to Booking United Flights to Hawaii with Singapore Miles

While it’s ideal to use one of the three previous options to book an award to Hawaii, you might not live in a place that can take advantage of Allegiant flights or Avios awards, and Delta is notoriously poor for releasing award space (which means Korean miles are useless.) The best bet on this list is definitely United opening up award space, which you can then book with Singapore miles.

Getting Singapore Miles

Singapore miles are a partner of every transferable points program. Cards I like that earns points that transfer:

What Wasn’t On the List

  • United miles
  • Delta miles
  • American Airlines miles

Flights on those airlines can be booked cheaper with Singapore, Korean, and British Airways miles respectively.

------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 4.28.39 PM

Which airlines has the best miles and frequent flyer program? United, American, and Delta are the big three legacy carriers that most directly compete with each other in the United States. For that reason, I publish charts that compare their award prices.

I have updated my charts to show the prices that United, Delta, and American Airlines will charge for awards flown October 1, 2016 and November 1, 2016 or later. For travel through September 30, 2016, Delta’s different award prices can be found here.

Economy

All charts compare the cheapest possible award you can book with the airlines, called Saver, MileSAAver, or Level 1. All charts show the price in thousands of miles.

The economy chart has an extra column because American Airlines has off peak dates for economy awards that are cheaper than their normal MileSAAver awards. The asterisk next to the Europe off peak award is because, it is the only off peak award bookable on American Airlines partners. All other off peak awards must fly American Airlines planes only.

The slashes in the American column show the price for flying on American (cheaper) and partners (more expensive.)

Screen Shot 2016-03-02 at 7.06.12 PM

American’s devAAluation has put its economy award prices roughly in line with Delta’s and United’s.

Delta’s October Devaluation for Business Class came with some economy reductions. Delta now has some of the cheapest economy awards.

The biggest steals I see are American Airlines off peak awards to Central America and Hong Kong.

Business Class

The slashes in the United and American columns show the prices for flying that airline (cheaper) and partners (more expensive) except the slashes in the American cells for flights within the United States and Canada show the price for flying First Class on a two cabin plane (cheaper) and Business Class on a three cabin plane (more expensive.) The slashes in the Delta column show the price for flying First Class (cheaper) and flat bed Business Class (more expensive.)

Screen Shot 2016-03-02 at 6.47.30 PM

Again American’s changes put it right in line with its competitors briefly until Delta’s changes made American Airlines awards look cheap by comparison again. American miles are still cheaper to Northern South America, Japan, and Korea.

First

Delta doesn’t have a column because Delta miles cannot be used to book three-cabin First Class. To book SkyTeam First Class, transfer Ultimate Rewards or Starpoints to Korean miles. Slashes show the price of flying that airline (cheaper) and the price of flying a partner (more expensive.)
Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 2.16.13 PM

It is almost always cheaper to use American Airlines miles to fly one of its awesome partners’ First Classes than it is to use United miles to fly one of its partners’ First Classes, but both charts are terrible. The only possible value I see is paying 80,000 American Airlines miles to fly JAL’s very awesome First Class to Japan or Korea.

For First Class awards in 2016, look to use Alaska miles, Korean miles, or Singapore miles instead.

Bottom Line

Of course we all thought that American Airlines would devalue its charts roughly in line with United’s and Delta’s, but I didn’t realize how closely American had copied its competitors until putting this post together and seeing that the airlines have nearly the same prices on all awards originating in the continental United States.

Delta’s changes for travel October 1 or later are welcome for economy travel but terrible for Business Class travel.

------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 4.28.39 PM

It is cheaper to book the exact same Delta flights to Hawaii with Korean miles than with Delta miles.

  • Delta charges 22,500 miles each way in economy and 40,000 miles in First Class between the mainland and Hawaii or 50,000 in flat bed Delta One
  • Korean charges 25,000 miles roundtrip in economy and 45,000 miles roundtrip in First Class or Delta One between the mainland and Hawaii

That’s a humongous difference. Instead of costing 90,000 Delta miles to get two people from your home airport to Hawaii and back, you could pay 50,000 Korean miles. Instead of paying 160,000 Delta miles for two roundtrip First Class tickets, you could pay 90,000 Korean miles–even theoretically for flat beds!

To reiterate, these are the exact same flights with vastly different prices depending on which miles you use.

Korean has access to all the same Level 1 award space Delta releases to people with Delta miles, but no other Delta award space.

What’s the catch? For bookings to Hawaii, there are two:

  1. You can only book Korean awards for yourself or immediate family members, with proof of relationships.
  2. Korean awards are the same price roundtrip or one way, so you have to book roundtrip (although an open jaw is allowed.) Delta awards can be booked one way (and then you can return home with another type of miles.)

However there are a number of benefits to booking Korean awards to Hawaii:

  1. Korean awards cost fewer miles than Delta awards
  2. Korean awards have no change or cancellation fees if your plans change
  3. Korean awards of Delta flights to Hawaii do not have fuel surcharges, so both types of awards will just have identical taxes of $11 roundtrip.
  4. Korean offers a stopover on roundtrip awards to Hawaii. Delta doesn’t.
  5. Korean miles are easy to get

Getting Korean Miles

Korean miles are a partner of two of the four major transferable points program:

  1. Chase Ultimate Rewards, 1:1
  2. SPG Starpoints, 1:1 with a bonus. Every 20,000 Starpoints transferred earns a 5,000 mile bonus, so the ideal transfers are in exact increments of 20,000 Starpoints to 25,000 Korean miles.

Right now, the two best cards to get Korean miles are the Sapphire Preferred and Ink Plus because both earn Ultimate Rewards that transfer 1:1 to Korean miles.

The Sapphire Preferred is one of the best personal credit cards on the market. It offers:

  • 50,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $4,000 in the first three months
  • 5,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards for adding an authorized user
  • 2 Ultimate Rewards per dollar on travel and dining purchases
  • 1 Ultimate Reward per dollar on all other purchases
  • no annual fee the first year and $95 thereafter

While I can not directly link to the current Sapphire Preferred offer, you may find it by clicking below if you decide to apply. (I receive a commission, and your support keeps this blog going.)

The Ink Plus is easily the best business card on the market. It offers:

  • 60,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $5,000 in the first three months
  • 5 Ultimate Rewards per dollar at office supply stores and on cellular phone, landline, internet and cable TV services
  • 2 Ultimate Rewards per dollar at gas stations and hotel accommodations
  • 1 Ultimate Reward per dollar on all other purchases
  • $95 annual fee

While I can not directly link to the current Ink Plus offer, you may find it by clicking below if you decide to apply. (I receive a commission, and your support keeps this blog going.)

Starpoints also transfer to Korean miles, and both SPG cards are in the middle of their biggest bonuses ever.

Searching for Award Space, Transferring Miles, and Booking the Awards

You will have to search for award space on the Delta flights on delta.com; then you will call Korean Airlines and possibly email them some documents to ticket the award.

Searching Delta.com

On the home page of delta.com run an award search from your home airport to Oahu (HNL), Maui (OGG), Kauai (LIH), or the Big Island (KOA). I prefer one way searches because I think they display the results more clearly.

Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 3.14.11 PM

At the top of the search results, select “Delta Only” to avoid Alaska Airlines flights showing up in the results (they can booked with Korean miles, but at a higher price) and change the calendar to “5 Weeks” if you are extra flexible.

Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 5.55.00 PM

Here are the results for this fall from Los Angeles to Maui for two passengers. Days that say 22,500 have Level 1 award space that we can book with Korean miles. Other days do not.
Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 3.15.39 PM Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 3.15.45 PM

Similarly, here is Kauai to Los Angeles for two passengers. Again, I see surprisingly good economy award space this fall.Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 3.16.04 PM Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 3.16.09 PM First Class award space is not nearly as good. Level 1 space is 40,000 miles each way per person, so that’s what you need to find.Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 3.16.59 PM Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 3.17.03 PM Once you find the award space you want that prices at the Level 1 price, note the date, cabin, and flight number. For instance, here is an economy trip with Level 1 award space from Minneapolis to Maui, returning from Kauai to Minneapolis.Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 3.20.15 PM

Flat Beds

Delta flies flat beds from Atlanta to Honolulu, but award space is terrible on the route. These flights would still be 45,000 Korean miles roundtrip even though they are 50,000 Delta miles one way at the Level 1 price. Let us know in the comments if you find any award space on these routes.

Booking Process

I have never booked an award with Korean miles. I am relying on this post from One Mile at a Time. Basically:

  1. You call (800) 438-5000 to put the award on hold. Tell the agent that you want to book a Bonus Award and feed her the date, cabin, and flight numbers of the Delta segments you found on delta.com. For cabin, call the forward cabin on Delta’s planes “Business Class” even though Delta calls it something else.
  2. Complete the Bonus Award Application. You can only book awards for yourself, parents, grandparents, siblings, children, grandchildren, parents-in-law, and children-in-law. You have to provide proof of the relationship too, which might mean scanning and emailing a marriage certificate or birth certificate. Insane, I know, but you can literally save about $1,000 worth of miles for two people taking a roundtrip to Hawaii.
  3. Call back to ticket the award.
Transferring Miles

Transfers from Ultimate Rewards to Korean are instant, so put the award on hold before transferring.

SPG transfers take approximately five days. Also initiate these after putting the award on hold because Korean award holds are of essentially limitless duration.

Picking Seats

To pick your seats and confirm that your reservation was ticketed correctly, call Delta.

Get Creative (Routing Rules)

Here are the routing rules when redeeming Korean miles to fly SkyTeam partners, like Delta:

  • Roundtrip and one way awards are the same price, so book roundtrip awards
  • You get one stopover per roundtrip award in addition to the destination
  • You can have three segments maximum in each direction
  • You get one open jaw, at the destination only

You can get a stopover on the mainland an open jaw in Hawaii, so you can book something like:

  • Your home airport to Los Angeles
  • Hang out in LA for a few days (or weeks or months)
  • Los Angeles to one Hawaiian island
  • Another Hawaiian island to your home airport

That leaves just a single interisland flight to be booked separately (or several interisland flights depending on how many islands you want to see.

Bottom Line

Use Korean miles instead of Delta miles to book economy and First Class awards to Hawaii on Delta flights. You’ll pay fewer miles, lower fees, and be able to book the exact same seats. Plus Korean awards allow a stopover en route an open jaw at the destination.

Cards that earn Ultimate Rewards are ideal, since they transfer 1:1 instantly to Korean miles.

The Sapphire Preferred is one of the best personal credit cards on the market. It offers:

  • 50,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $4,000 in the first three months
  • 5,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards for adding an authorized user
  • 2 Ultimate Rewards per dollar on travel and dining purchases
  • 1 Ultimate Reward per dollar on all other purchases
  • no annual fee the first year and $95 thereafter

While I can not directly link to the current Sapphire Preferred offer, you may find it by clicking below if you decide to apply. (I receive a commission, and your support keeps this blog going.)

The Ink Plus is easily the best business card on the market. It offers:

  • 60,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $5,000 in the first three months
  • 5 Ultimate Rewards per dollar at office supply stores and on cellular phone, landline, internet and cable TV services
  • 2 Ultimate Rewards per dollar at gas stations and hotel accommodations
  • 1 Ultimate Reward per dollar on all other purchases
  • $95 annual fee

While I can not directly link to the current Ink Plus offer, you may find it by clicking below if you decide to apply. (I receive a commission, and your support keeps this blog going.)

------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 4.28.39 PM

Follow Me