Delta Swooping In?

Discussion in 'Virgin Atlantic | Flying Club' started by From NYC, Dec 2, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. From NYC
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    From NYC Gold Member

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  2. LETTERBOY
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    LETTERBOY Gold Member

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    If this happens, hopefully DL won't import their approach to FF redemption.
     
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  3. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    As opposed to the VS approach? What miles would you rather have right now? Flying club miles approach worthlessness for award travel on VS.
     
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  4. LETTERBOY
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    LETTERBOY Gold Member

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    What makes them worthless?
     
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  5. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    I don't know about you, but I'm not particularly enamored with spending ~$1300 in fuel surcharge + fees/taxes for an award ticket, and on top of that not being able to add local connecting flights.

    I don't know about you, but I'm much happier being able to add connections at both ends for no cost, add in an open-jaw and stopover if I wish (if nothing else for a free one-way to use down the road), mix and match partners at no cost.

    If you prefer going out of pocket for over $1000 more than you would need to with Delta (using US-London routes as the benchmark here since it's of greatest interest for me), and then going out of pocket for additional transportation to your destination and/or origin if you don't live near an airport served by virgin, or if you want to end up elsewhere I guess VS miles are a great value for redeeming awards on Virgin Atlantic!

    Me, I prefer to save the money and have more flexibility in origin, destination, routing, etc. I've even seen specials where I could even buy enough DL miles to redeem for an award TATL (from any origin, not just London or a handful of american cities), plus redeem the award and pay the fees/taxes, for about the same you'd need to pay just in taxes and fees using VS miles for a more restrictive award. That drives the value of the virgin miles perilously close to 0 for award tickets on VS. There are far too many better options, including DL.
     
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  6. LETTERBOY
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    LETTERBOY Gold Member

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    As long as availability is there, I don't mind fuel surcharges. IAD-LHR for 80,000 miles & $1300 is better than paying almost $3800 (just did a quick search IAD-LHR in lowest Upper Class fare for July 2013). On my budget, I can afford to pay $1300. I can't afford to pay $3800. Sitting in Upper Class for the price of a coach ticket isn't bad.

    I live in the Washington DC area, and my award goal is IAD-LHR, so I don't care about connections, and getting to IAD is no problem. And I have no desire to make my hairline recede anymore than it is by trying to find a low level flight using Skypesos and Delta's p!$$ poor award calendar.

    Getting an Upper Class seat for 80,000 miles and $1300, which is about 65% cheaper than the purchase price of $3800, isn't saving money?
     
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  7. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    It's OK, but hardly ideal and certainly not the clearly superior option you make it out to be. You may be better off redeeming for an upgrade from premium economy in any case.
    Prior to the current snit with AF, finding space would have been trivially easy, although for this particular corner case the skyteam option would not be as convenient or as nice of a product. With that said, finding TATL space on a DL flat bed isn't quite as bad as you make it out to be, especially eastbound which is easy to search for using AF site, and if you limit what DL.com tries to do it doesn't do quite as terrible. In any case, about 2/3 of days in July are available eastbound out of jfk and half or so westbound (according to the calendar, but for the half-dozen dates I checked the calendar was accurate). This took maybe 5 minutes.
    It depends on what you compare to - it's not really saving when you can fly the same class of service on another carrier for 100k miles and $300, unless you place a high value on the VS product and its nonstop nature. A 3cpm discount for business class is highly mediocre.

    Personally, lower fees and for many partners no surcharges, ability to mix and match partners on one award from the same award chart, ability to somewhat search and book a number of partners online, etc. are a lot better than possible better availability on a very limited set of nonstop routes in exchange for being gouged an extra $1000 in fees.
     
  8. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    How much do the points cost you? Either directly or opportunity cost from other possible earning avenues?

    Nothing in life is free.
     
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  9. LETTERBOY
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    The vast majority of my FF miles/hotel points are earned from credit card spending, online shopping malls, and other non-travel methods. So, if I were using the VS black AmEx card from BofA, just based on cc spending, it would cost me $53,333.34 to earn 80,000 miles. If I were using the DL AmEx, it would cost me $100,000 in spending to earn enough miles for a business class ticket to Europe, and then I'd have to find a low award ticket on DL. Even with the fuel surcharges of $1300, it would still be cheaper for me to get an award ticket through VS and their credit card than it would be with DL.

    I agree with this, which is one reason I don't mind fuel surcharges. Now, I certainly wouldn't be sad if VS (or BA, or Miles & More, etc.) decided to stop charging YQ, but considering that even with them, I'm getting a business/first class seat at a vastly reduced price (vs. a price I couldn't normally afford to pay), I'll live with them.
     
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  10. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    4.7 cents saved per dollar spent compares reasonably well with the 3.8 cents you'd save on each dollar spent on the delta CC you chose. Depending on spend rate and patterns, you could at a minimum bump that spend down to 80k with a starwood amex (4.75 cents) or potentially significantly less with an amex PRG spending heavily in bonus categories (You could also transfer to ANA and fly VS for fewer miles, but with surcharges, and have overall much more flexibility).

    The earn is relatively good (and you seemed to have moved on from boosting VS redemption policies to promoting the earn ratio of their CC), but the overinflated surcharges and inflexible network + award rules currently in place don't make up for it for me or imo for most people. I think that VS miles are more profitably used for upgrades if you fly them a lot, or for a few of their partner gems that offer much better value than redeeming on VS metal.

    And as far as award availability goes, since DL doesn't fly IAD-LHR I checked them out of JFK (mentioned above) and more recently VS out of IAD. VS had a few more days availability in your July time frame westbound, but nothing dramatic. DL actually had slightly more own-metal days available eastbound, surprisingly enough.

    Yea, an award ticket with surcharges can beat retail price, but that does not mean it represents a good value in comparison to other alternatives.
     
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