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Reader Scott would like to hear “more creative and/or useful ways to burn his ton of SkyMiles.” Affectionately known as SkyPesos by many frequent fliers (just read Flyertalk), I don’t think it’s any secret that Delta SkyMiles are among the most difficult of frequent flier currencies to burn. Seriously, it’s a real struggle for me to reconcile my issues with Delta SkyMiles with my love and affection for Delta the airline. I don’t make any bones about it, Delta is a great airline with a top-notch inflight product, great people, and an all around good experience. But SkyMiles? Don’t even get me started on just how many different ways AAdvantage blows SkyMiles out of the water.
I really appreciate Scott’s question. I assume that since Scott found his way here to MJ on Travel, he’s more than likely read View From the Wing. I don’t know if it’s good blogger etiquette to refer a reader to another blogger, but I’m going to do just that. If you’re interested in learning more about how to successfully burn SkyMiles, please read Gary’s recent post on this very subject.
But not to be out done, I want to add a few thoughts to this conversation. I think Delta is a good airline. Heck, for all I know, maybe their mileage program model is the wave of the future, but I surely hope not. In their defense, Delta actually offers OK domestic coach award redemption. And if you can’t find the seats you want, there is always the “Pay With Miles” option. Even with it’s poor return on frequent flier investment…if you’ve got a ton of miles, don’t be afraid to use it to save yourself some bucks. I recently did just that on a mid-con domestic trip, and although I’m sure some dedicated frequent fliers could find all kinds of reasons not to, I don’t regret my decision to spend my SkyMiles in this manner one bit! And given that SkyMiles are relatively easy to earn (large bonuses at times), don’t be afraid to burn a few more of them on an award that might cost you less in total miles with some other programs.
Delta’s requirements to upgrade with miles are a bit over the top, but if you are booked on at least a K fare domestically and Y, B, or M fare internationally, explore the possibility of using your SkyMiles to upgrade to First Class. I don’t even care if you’re a Delta Medallion. There’s something to be said for having your upgrade confirmed far in advance. I recently took advantage of this option on a trans-con flight, and couldn’t be happier with my decision.
There are things you can do to make your Delta SkyMiles experience more tolerable. These are just a few. If other readers have a suggestion, please chime in. We’d all love to hear from you!