So, next week I fly to Atlanta and on the return flight will pass 25,000 Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQMs), the minimum required to maintain Silver Medallion status. If my current travel pattern continues, I will make Gold Medallion this year, and it’s not impossible that I could hit Platinum Medallion. I’ve flown 18 segments on Delta as of today, and I’ve cleared into First Class on 12 of those. That’s a 67 percent success rate as a lowly Silver. Yes, I am the luckiest man in the United States of America. I’m also very discerning in picking my flights. If there’s a 757 at 8am, and the 9am flight I really want is an MD-88, I’m going on the 757 because they have 24 or more seats in the forward cabin.
I’ve posted numerous times that I like flying Delta. Their people are pretty good, their airplanes are almost always clean, my Amex Card gets me into the Delta Sky Club, and obviously, the complimentary Medallion upgrades Delta offers are working for me right now. But still, it seems like I’m missing something. That something is the comfort of knowing that the odds of my being able to redeem a sensible amount of miles for travel that I really want are reasonable.
The anecdotal evidence is widespread that Sky Miles requires far more miles for certain types of travel (think premium class international) than the programs of its many competitors. For example, I’m flying American to London in August in First Class. I got the schedule I wanted for 125,000 miles each for MrsMJonTravel and I. I could probably tolerate business class to London, but the exact dates/times I wanted weren’t available in J class. (Note: If I were willing to wait 2 days, J class would’ve been available.) Not a bad deal in the summer, I think. When looking at Delta, I could get 2 Business Class seats for 200,000 miles each. So I’d pay 150,000 miles more to fly Delta, and sit in Business instead of American’s International Flagship Suite. Yes, I know Delta’s lie-flat product is pretty good, and I’ve already said I like their people and the airline….but do I like them 150,000 miles more? I don’t think so.
That was a long-winded build up to my “Delta Dilemma.” Here goes. After I put Silver in the bag next week, I’m seriously considering crediting my remaining Delta flights to Alaska’s Mileage Plan. I know, I know…..no more upgrades (most of my flights are short, DCA-ATL) or checked bag fee waivers (try not to check anyway), not to mention no priority boarding (the thing I’d miss most), but I earn miles to spend them on travel I want. And there is a lot of evidence out there that I’ll be much better off earning Alaska Mileage Plan miles than Delta Sky Miles.
I’ve by no means made up my mind on this, but I think the fact that I’m even considering it should say something about Sky Miles. And I haven’t even mentioned their award calendar and booking engine yet. 🙂 So dear reader, what say you? Am I crazy to even think about switching my Delta flights to Alaska’s Mileage Plan? I’d love to hear your thoughts.