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I was looking at booking a flight from Portland, OR to Cincinnati, OH. Price for First Class RT ticket for 2 is $2,364. I thought I might be able to book Y class tickets and use my mile to upgrade to First Class, however the Y class tickets are more expensive that the First Class Tickets by about $1,000.00. If I use miles alone to book the RT it’s over 300,000 miles. How is a normal, once a year traveler supposed to be able to use their miles to travel on Delta?
Definitely frustrating. Delta has done a very good job of trying to tie the value of Skymiles to the value of a cash ticket. You’re seeing that firsthand it seems!
The downside to using miles on any airline (not just Delta), is you are forced to be at the mercy of saver award level space (the cheap option), which may not be available on the exact date you want to choose, or the exact routing you want to take (maybe there is a one-stop instead of a non-stop).
If you aren’t flying anytime soon, I’d consider setting a price alert on Google Flights. That’s a crazy high price for tickets from Portland to Cinci… and I can’t imagine they are always that high.
I’d also look at regular coach prices (not full-fare). Unless this is a special trip, I don’t think the value of first-class is that high. You’d only be looking at probably two 3ish hour flights with a bit of extra legroom, slightly comfier seat, and a meal.