Why you should want SkyMiles
I rag on the SkyMiles program a lot. I don’t have a lot of faith in the future of SkyMiles, because if the people running the program had their way it would go fully revenue based tomorrow. And while I see it happening eventually, I highly doubt it will happen in the short term.
In the meantime, those earning SkyMiles through credit card spend with the goal of redeeming for international premium cabins are arguably in a better position this year than ever before.
As of this year, Delta allows one-way awards for half the cost of a roundtrip. That means if you’re simply earning miles from a credit card sign-up bonus or two, you’re very well positioned to make an actually valuable redemption.
Virgin Atlantic business class
Furthermore, as of now, SkyMiles continue to be an extremely valuable currency for travel to many of the world’s toughest destinations to get to on miles:
- Delta partners with Virgin Australia, which releases the most saver level business class award space between the US mainland and Australia
- Delta partners with Air France, Alitalia, KLM, and Virgin Atlantic, which arguably give you some of the best redemption opportunities for travel to Europe
- Delta partners with both Air France and Air Tahiti Nui, making them one of the best currencies to redeem for travel to Tahiti
- Delta’s airline partners to Asia are greatly improving, and you can redeem SkyMiles for travel to Asia on China Airlines, China Eastern, China Southern, Korean Air, and more
Will you fly Singapore Suites, Etihad’s First Apartment, or Cathay Pacific First Class using SkyMiles? Nope, but for now you’ll get access to some fantastic partner airlines with solid business class products, arguably giving you among the best access to awards to Europe, Australia, and more.
If you haven’t yet signed up for a SkyMiles credit card, I’d highly recommend doing so.
After all, I am eying a redemption on Virgin Australia, especially once their new business class product rolls out next year.
Virgin Australia’s new business class, which should roll out next year
Delta Amex Welcome bonus offers
KLM business class
Terms of the Delta AmEx offers
As far as the terms of the offers go, the following are listed for the two personal versions of the offer:
If we identify you as currently having an American Express® Card account, you may not be eligible for this welcome bonus offer. This offer is also not available to applicants who have or have had this product.
While the following is listed for the business version of the offer:
Welcome bonus offer not available to applicants who have or have had this product within the last 12 months.
In practice I’m not sure to what degree they’ll be enforced, but those are the rules.
In terms of card limits, nowadays you can have a maximum of four American Express credit cards.
It doesn’t matter whether they’re personal or business, so that means you can have four American Express business credit cards, or two American Express personal credit cards and two American Express business credit cards. Split it up however you’d like.
All four of the Delta cards above are credit cards.
Korean Air A380 business class onboard bar
Hi, I have the Delta Reserve card currently (and received the signup bonus when I signed up a few years ago). If I sign up for Gold (non-business version), would I be eligible for the bonus mile? What I'm interested in more is the 10k MQM bonus so I'll make the medallion level for next year. Thanks.
@ Laoh -- Anecdotally I think you should be fine. The terms do always technically say that existing card members aren't eligible, but the major restriction in practice seems to be that you can't have had that exact product before, and it sounds like you haven't had it.
Please mention if there are fuel charges on these flights, because that's the difference between a 160k redemption being a good/great value or a very poor one. $600 YQ per person would make travel impossible for us.
@ Ken -- No fuel surcharges on Alitalia, Air France, Virgin Australia, and Virgin Atlantic when originating in the US. Mild fuel surcharges on China Airlines and China Eastern.
Does the $100 statement credit count towards gift cards purchased through their website?
@ Adam -- In practice many have reported that it does.
I can't get any VA business flights to show at delta.com tonight, even on days where 80K flights show available.
Anyone else have this problem?
@ Dave -- Hmmm, not having any issues.
@Lucky Regular reader of your OMaaT, MilesDownUnder, has (as far as I can tell from multiple searches, which failed to find this info elsewhere) had a bit of an exclusive on his site, as he's got confirmation from Virgin Australia that VA's sexy new Business Class (the reverse herringbone 1-2-1 configuration) should be trickling out from August 2015 (for A330 Australian Coast to Coast service) and November 2015 (for 777 International Long Haul) with full...
@Lucky Regular reader of your OMaaT, MilesDownUnder, has (as far as I can tell from multiple searches, which failed to find this info elsewhere) had a bit of an exclusive on his site, as he's got confirmation from Virgin Australia that VA's sexy new Business Class (the reverse herringbone 1-2-1 configuration) should be trickling out from August 2015 (for A330 Australian Coast to Coast service) and November 2015 (for 777 International Long Haul) with full completion expected by end of November 2015 (for A330) and April 2016 (for 777) respectively.
I've already booked return flights to LAX for May 2016 in anticipation (whole fleet should be well and truly in service by then) of trying out this excellent product, especially since a price readjustment is quite possible once the new product rolls out (on all accounts, it will deserve a price premium).
Miles Down Under - "Boeing 777 out of service for the refit on 27 October 2015 and expects to be done by April 2016."
Miles Down Under - "First redesigned Airbus A330 aircraft will launch in mid-August, with the full Airbus A330 fleet refit to be completed by early November 2015."
@bbwsw - I'm not sure which dates you're searching, but I just looked at PDX-CDG for next May, and found some 30K economy and 62,500 Biz. I used the "5 week" choice under the flexible dates option. They also have higher, but the lows are available.
ps-oops; to clarify that, 125k is a one way Biz award seat...thanks
Ben: I'm seeing crazy numbers come up when I search for an award out of Portland, OR. To get to NYC---one way is either 45 or 55k or more miles. To get to Europe (and they have a non-stop to Tokyo from Portland) is 125,000. On their site, they don't show their partners.
What am I doing wrong? Thanks
@ bigbirdwithsilverwings -- If possible, it helps to search segment by segment. Try to find space on the longhaul flight first, and then try to piece together connections. Booking SkyMiles awards takes some work, though with some effort you can get a lot of value out of the currency.
Sorry to take this off topic. How do you feel about AA cutting off the redemptions on HA from the mainland to Hawaii? Along with the increased miles needed to redeem on 4 peak holidays, it seems like Chinese water torture. They are trickling bad news on a weekly basis. I expect the day the hammer will drop and you'll have a program identical to SkyMiles.
@ Tony -- Shared my thoughts on that here:
Ultimately the way I choose to redeem miles still hasn't been impacted. There's no doubt a bigger devaluation will happen eventually, though in the meantime I can't really complain about the status quo of redeeming AAdvantage miles.
You're wrong about the use of the word your. :)
Will the delta Amex platinum card allow you to access the American Express centurion lounges for free? Can't find a clear answer anywhere .
@ Ben -- Nope, you'd have to pay $50 to enter.
Your wrong about the 4 charge card limit.
Aisle access is really important for business class, but all of Delta's partner currently do not provide 1-2-1 configuration on business seats.
@ Hjsk -- It depends on the partner, as some do. Virgin Atlantic and Alitalia have it throughout their longhaul fleet, while China Airlines, China Eastern, and Air France have it throughout at least some of their fleet. If you pick and choose partners carefully, you absolutely can redeem SkyMiles for seats with direct aisle access.
Ben, seriously, don't you feel scared / uncomfortable when you fly those old MD88 planes with Delta?
@ 31583 -- Heh, fly them all the time with American, and absolutely not. They're well maintained and US carriers have excellent safety records, so it doesn't bother me one bit.
Virgin Australia's 777 fleet will all have the new seat by 06 April 2016: www.milesdownunder.com/2015/06/virgin-australia-prepares-for-the-refurbishment-of-its-777-fleet/