A couple of days ago I posted about great fares that Delta had published between Toronto and Beijing, for ~$2,000 roundtrip. The best part was that these fares allowed routing via Detroit, which meant you could fly Delta’s new A350, which features their Delta One Suites with doors.
Of course I’m dying to fly the Delta A350, partly because it’s the first A350 operated by a US airline, and partly because I’m curious just how good Delta’s new business class hard product is (I’m skeptical, since this is a modified Vantage XL seat, so I wonder if this product is even better than the reverse herringbone seats they have on their A330s).
I also happen to be completing a Delta Platinum Medallion status challenge, meaning I need to decide what my plan is for next year.
Given that Delta has been charging $500 one-way surcharges for flights involving Delta One Suites, I figured there wouldn’t be many other great opportunities to try the product, at least in the short term. You’re paying a $1,000 premium roundtrip even when you do find a good business class fare, and there hasn’t been much saver level award availability on these flights.
So since Tiffany and I are both completing Delta Platinum challenges, we went ahead and booked tickets to Beijing next February. The roundtrip tickets from Toronto to Beijing will earn us over 20,000 Medallion Qualifying Miles, which is great. Furthermore, since I paid with The Platinum Card® from American Express, I’ll earn 5x points on the purchase, which I value at a return of ~8.5%.
Personally Beijing is my least favorite major city in China (of those I’ve been to), and I especially have no interest in going there in February, when it’ll be cold.
Since the fare has a one week minimum stay, our plan is to go somewhere else during that time. We’re open to ideas. My first thought was to fly to Australia, given that we could review the new business class products on Garuda Indonesia, Malaysia Airlines, Thai Airways, Vietnam Airlines, etc.
We can book Malaysia at a reasonable cost using oneworld miles and Thai at a reasonable cost using Star Alliance miles, but redemptions on Garuda and Vietnam are surprisingly expensive. For example, while United charges 40,000 miles for one-way business class from China to Australia, Delta, Korean Air, etc., charge almost double as many miles. I haven’t been able to find a “sweet spot” SkyTeam program for this, which is a shame, since I see availability on Vietnam Airlines in one direction and Garuda Indonesia in the other. If anyone has any great ideas there, I’d love to hear them.
I can’t wait to try Delta’s new business class, and now I really feel like I should be requalifying for Delta status next year. However, I’m really not sure how far I should go, given that Delta recently made it a lot more difficult to earn Diamond status.
Now I just need to book Qatar Airways’ Qsuites product, to see how that stacks up…
Any requests on where we should go in February from Beijing to try some new products and find warmer weather?