Every year since the merger with Northwest Airlines, I have been a loyal Delta flyer. I have had status with NWA/Delta ever since I was 18 years old and have done everything in my power to reach Platinum status annually since I was 22. It’s been an interesting and turbulent 9 years, but last year I decided to separate my flying from Delta and burn my miles as much as possible. I’ve have earned over 1.5 million redeemable NWA/Delta SkyMiles over the last 9 years and finally, after the long overdue farewell, I’ve used all but 1,100 SkyMiles!
My final farewell to Delta depleted my SkyMiles account on a mix award ticket between mid-level and saver-level award tickets to San Juan, Puerto Rico from San Diego. A low-level or saver award ticket would cost me 35,000 miles roundtrip, yet after searching for days on Delta.com I was unable to find any saver award tickets to San Juan—no surprises. Only high level awards were showing online. I even tried pricing it out segment by segment and was unsuccessful! The only good news was that I was able to find low level award home from San Juan via NYC with a free stopover in Seattle. After days of searching, I gave up and called Delta to see what they could find me, hoping they would be presented with an option that was better or cheaper than what I was finding.
To my surprise, the Delta agent found me a better deal—she actually knew what she was doing! She was able to book me on an award ticket for 45,000 miles (mid-level outbound, low level inbound) flying SAN-ATL-SJU-JFK-SEA-SAN. I would stay in San Juan for 5 days, fly to Seattle via JFK which would allow me to try out Delta’s transcontinental economy comfort with free alcohol and free meals, and then spend 4 days in Seattle before returning to San Diego. Although the price of the ticket wasn’t low level, it was only 10,000 more miles than normal and provided the free stop over that I needed. I figured I’d book this ticket for two reasons. ) 1. It got me to where I wanted to go for $10 and 45,000 SkyMiles and 2. It depleted my SkyMiles account. After all, what was I ever going to get for 11,000 skymiles anyways?! Absolutely nothing, so in this case the midlevel way was worth the transaction!
My Award trip routing
This trip has come and gone, and I will say this was one of the best award trips I have flown in a long time! Not only did it deplete my SkyMiles account, but on 3 of the 4 Delta flights, for the first time ever my upgrade cleared! That’s right on 3 of the 4 Delta metal segments I was upgraded from economy to business! If I would have booked this ticket in business using SkyMiles, the cost would have been 70,000 miles+; but instead I cashed in 45,000 miles and enjoyed business class from Atlanta to San Juan, San Juan to New York and New York to Seattle! I got to enjoy Delta’s best domestic First product for the price of an economy class award ticket! The only segment that did not clear was on my initial leg—San Diego to Atlanta—which was actually alright, because a number of my favorite San Diego based flight attendants (and friends) were working the flight so I still received the royal treatment!
My final farewell to my SkyMiles left me feeling warm and fuzzy about Delta Air Lines. Each flight had a great crew and I had a good experience over all. I will write more about my transcontinental flight experience on Delta in the new few days, but my 45,000 miles was well spent! It’s nice to see that sometimes, Elites flying on Award tickets do get upgraded, yet at the same time, this final farewell just shows how crowded the Sky is, for even as a Platinum Elite (for 30 more days) I could not clear upgrades on all segments.
Farewell old friend, it’s been quite the experience!