Anyone that’s read the blog for a while knows that I like Delta Air Lines. It’s hard to put a finger on any one thing that makes me like Delta. Their airplanes are usually clean. Their people are usually pleasant. And then there’s Wi-Fi on almost every domestic flight. I’m frequently upgraded when I fly Delta as a formerly Silver, and now Gold Medallion. I fly Delta almost exclusively for work purposes, usually on a K fare or better, and I think that has a lot to do with my upgrade success, even as a mere Silver.
What’s not to like? SkyMiles makes me nervous. The whole 3-tier award availability thing, with not a lot available at the low tier price is a challenge that I can’t quite make peace with. I did manage to grab two 25,000 mile coach awards from DCA to MIA back in December. It felt like a major coup. But let’s face it, SkyMiles is the only program where I would actually consider spending 25,000 miles for a domestic coach ticket. With other programs, I could use those miles to upgrade my coach ticket on any fare to first class….or perhaps spend a few more miles and nab a business class ticket to Europe. SkyMiles, not so much. Though in their defense, I have found some J-class availability to/from Europe at the 100,000 mile level during some of my experimental searches recently. But I don’t think there’s any question that SkyMiles are among the most challenging miles to use with ease. I don’t suppose there’s a promise from any airline that using your miles will be easy, nor do I have any right to expect that to be the case. But my experience has been that with other programs, it’s less of a hassle. Maybe I’m imagining things?
All that said, I really do like flying Delta, and I’ll keep doing so for work and personal trips when it makes sense. They’ve been pretty good to me, and were extra nice when that award flight to Miami I mentioned canceled due to weather. They’ll be my backup airline in 2011. If SkyMiles gets better, they can be my number one airline.