Am I crazy to earn Skypesos at the expense of Aadvantage miles?

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Miles/Points' started by jfhscott, Dec 27, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. jfhscott
    Original Member

    jfhscott Silver Member

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    Ordinarily, I know very well that Skymiles are the Zimbabwe dollars of the frequent flyer world.

    I'm contemplating several large purchases from Staples, and can earn 2 miles per dollar from AA or Delta. Currently, I have 1.4MM RDM on AA and 252K RDM on Delta. I generally use miles for F and C travel for myself and my family, and for F, C, or Y to support (typically) young adults in my church go perform mission work in far flung places, including Haiti, New Guinea, and Central Africa.

    I would not mind getting to 300K Skymiles to enjoy the apparently decent availablity of C awards on Virgin Australia, either for myself, or if more young adults choose to go to New Guinea, where my church has an ongoing mission relationship.

    I'm even contemplating shifting my idine earn to Skymiles.

    Am I crazy, or do the above circumstances justify such choices?
     
  2. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    All miles have their value. AA has good availability and one-way awards, but oneworld is weak in some areas (like Africa, for example) and in some areas Skyteam and Delta Partners are best situated. Delta's routing rules, while not allowing 1-way awards, do allow for open-jaw and international stopovers, something I believe AA gave up when instituting 1-way awards.

    You won't get F with skymiles, but there are plenty of options in C. Australia as you mentioned, and also Europe or Africa with a stopover in Europe are all worthy of consideration. French Polynesia as well.

    Having miles in a diversity of alliances is generally a good thing, as long as you have plenty of miles in your primary option(s).
     
  3. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    I have always viewed the approach of assigning a fixed value to each mile to be too simplistic. If I am just a few miles sways from an award, the last few miles earned are worth quite a bit to me, and I will happily forgo more "valuable" miles to complete an award. And diversification is always worth something (difficult to put a numeric value on it). With 1.4 million AA miles, I'd definitely start looking to diversify (and start spending those... They aren't earning you interest!)
     
  4. Elusive

    Elusive Silver Member

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    I just grabbed two seats in biz RT to India from the States for my parents using skypesos. Beyond being surprised about the availability just a month out, the taxes came out to only like 250 bucks in total for both tickets. That was enough for me to give earning skypesos a second look...
     
  5. rwoman
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    rwoman Gold Member

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    While AA miles tend to have a lot of value, with a bit of flexibility, it is not impossible to use Skymiles for award travel. In addition to DL, AF, KL and other partners can make traveling in awards much easier.
     
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  6. Gargoyle
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    Gargoyle Milepoint Guide

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    I've actually done reasonably well with Skymiles for TATL F tix. I don't always get them for the lowest redemption, but 150k for F to Europe in the summer/high season is still 3 to 5 cpm.
     
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  7. KyRoamer
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    KyRoamer Gold Member

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    Skymiles TATL F? What carrier. My experience is business and often at 200k or higher.
     
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  8. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    I suspect Gargoyle means business, and the last couple of times I checked, availability on the TATL legs, particularly on AF from east coast gateways, was excellent. If not at the gateway already, then Delta's spotty domestic availability comes into play and becomes the biggest limiting factor.

    I haven't spent ages characterizing availability, but when I've looked availability TATL has been good at the low level in biz.
     
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  9. Gargoyle
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    Gargoyle Milepoint Guide

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    ORD-CDG, outbound AF, return DL B/E, 150k each (two tix) in June/July. Outbound on AF was up front, but I don't know if the flight was 2 or 3 class, I wasn't the passenger, the tix were a wedding present.

    Ticket booking class was O which is "Business Elite Points Award".

    I also got a few AF up front seats on two class planes for around 100k in 2010.
     
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  10. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    Be careful. DL has starting pricing award tickets with stopovers as two RTs and even the real rules on open jaws are ambiguous at the moment.
     
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  11. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    If it's AF two class, this is not FC and if three class with real IFC on AF, this is not allowed with DL miles according to SkyTeam rules.
     
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  12. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    It sure would be nice if Delta would do something revolutionary like publish their award routing rules.
     
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  13. KyRoamer
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    KyRoamer Gold Member

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    That would make it too difficult to change the rules for every call. :p
     
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  14. Andyandy
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    Andyandy Gold Member

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    I think DL gets a bit of a bad rap. Though the award calendar is a mess, I value Skymiles for off-, and shoulder-season TATL travel. I've found that the availability is pretty good September -March/April if you're a bit flexible. Did ATL-PRG roundtrip in May not too long ago at the low level. Of course that route appears to have been axed. :(
     
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  15. MDDCFlyer

    MDDCFlyer Silver Member

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    I never been on Virgin Australia flight but the reports paints a nice picture. Plus it seems to be available from DL. Getting your positioning flight to west coast will be something else though.
    I tend to diversify if I have a chance, unless I am aiming for a particular redemption in the near future. One never know when a different alliance will come handy. I had trips with one way coming from AA and the other from UA. Even within the same alliance it is good to have options as the redemption price will vary from airline to airline. I think I have close to 900K miles spread out over 7 or 8 different program - using each to play to the unique program strength.

    Bottom line - if you want to use Virgin Australia, yes DL miles will be a good option for you. Especially, since you have so many miles on AA.
     
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  16. rwoman
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    rwoman Gold Member

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    I suspect with the many TATL cuts for 2012, awards could become harder to come by at low levels. We shall see...:confused:
     
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  17. KyRoamer
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    KyRoamer Gold Member

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    I'd like to give this message a dislike because it is likely very true. However, in the spirit of not shooting the messager I gave it a deserved like. :p
     
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  18. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    Ultimately, a lot depends on how the cuts reflect demand. If they have not cut enough, there will be excellent award inventory, although initially not until close to the departure date. If they have cut too much, it will be bad, including for those wishing to travel on paid tickets, especially last minute business trips. If airline forecasts are approximately accurate, we may not see much difference, but there could still be increased volatility.
     
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  19. rwoman
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    rwoman Gold Member

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    I'm thinking the Olympics are not going to help (but one never knows), especially to the UK and destinations with easy access to the UK.
     
  20. flyatlanta

    flyatlanta Active Member

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    Hi Scott

    I would suggest you to use chase sapphire (first year annual fee waived) or freedom reward card to make the purchase through chase reward plus shopping portal. You will earn 5 bonus points per dollar you spend in Staples.com as long as you navigate through Chase site. Not mention Chase Saphire card offers 50,000 point if you spend $3000 in 3 month which won't be a problem for your purchase. There are lot of posting regarding the Chase credit promotion

    Once you earned the points you can use your points in 2 ways
    1. transfer your points to your travel program. (Sapphire card only). You can transfer your point from your Freedom card to Sapphire card first then transfer the point to your travel reward program. as the workaround. Currently, the partner supported by point transfer includes Brisitsh Airways, Continental, United, Korean Air (Skyteam) and Southwest.

    2. You can use points to book travel from Chase travel which you can pay with point or cash & points combined. The price is the same as you book through Delta.com. The travel you booked via Chase travel,can earn miles. It gives.you flexibility to choose the travel program.

    I personally think Chase will add more travel reward programs in the future. I personally think earning cash rebate instead of Delta mile give you flexibility when you try to arrange your travel.
     
  21. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    I know the sapphire is a great card and all, but people are really going overboard in recommending it. It's a great fit for some situations, but not all.

    First of all, if you want to "pay with points", then just get a good cashback card and be done with it. You'll get a better return and more flexibility.

    Secondly, none of Chase's partners are places that Scott already has miles/points (and where he can easily earn them with his current situation. Incremental spend gets him over a major threshold relevant to his desired travel on Delta, or adds to a big stash on AA. He'd need to move more activity to earn on e.g. UA moving forward or else a lot of the miles would be orphaned. If he's willing to do that, the sapphire option is a good one, but it's always good to weigh the earning attractiveness of a specific opportunity with how it synergizes with your existing resources. It's going to take a lot of spend and/or churning to build up enough points via UR to go business to australia, for example, and not nearly as much earning on Delta.

    If Scott has or is interested to obtain an eligible amex card (I think the MB plat still has the 50k bonus, and includes lounge access for the airlines he has miles on, which may be of interest) Amex has 4x points for purchases from staples. There have been frequent opportunities to transfer these to delta at 50% bonus, sometimes with MQMs attached. This would net 6 miles per dollar, plus a 50k bonus. The upfront cost of the plat is high, though, so the benefits need to be valued.

    There is also the possibility that this purchase needs to go on some specific card, corporate or otherwise, and only the choice of shopping portal is negotiable.
     
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  22. fewtreezy

    fewtreezy Active Member

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    I think the ultimate point (no pun intended), is that a good wallet has both. Amex runs great promotions for transfers to Delta and is absolutely worth having in your wallet. I think people overlook the promotions that Amex also runs through their shopping portals. Ultimate Rewards is great and I regularly use my Sapphire preferred, but it's nice to have an amex for their promotions as well. The other thing forgotten about amex is the amount of "free" or "reduced cost" stuff you can get. Exhibit A - Gift Chain promo, Exhibit B - Vente Privee statement credit, so on and so forth. There are a lot of promos with Amex that have been overlooked by people because of the Ultimate Rewards bonuses, particularly through the shopping portal. Outside of transferring to Delta and BA, I don't really use my Amex points and they are kind of in no man's land when a promo is not going on. That's the one thing I don't like...
     
  23. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    With the important caveat that you need to be sure that you're getting enough benefit out of each to justify any annual fees that you accrue.
     
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  24. fewtreezy

    fewtreezy Active Member

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    IMHO, no card is worth an annual fee, cancel and recycle.
     
  25. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    That depends on the card - there are two places that I would make an exception to that rule.

    1) Cards that offer an annual bonus that's worth the annual fee, or more. An example of these would be hotel cards that offer a free night every year, and charge a minor fee.
    2) Cards that offer ongoing benefits that you judge to be worth the annual fee. An example of this sort of card is the Amex Platinum, which has a big fee, but has benefits that would otherwise cost more to acquire.

    To some extent you can dance around many of these sort of bonuses switching from personal to business to different flavors, etc. but when push comes to shove it can make sense to renew.
     

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