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Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: The planning & changes – Part 1
Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: Outbound from South Bend – Part 2
Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: The Westin Chicago & UBER Black & SUV – Part 3
Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: Outbound from Chicago & United Global 1st lounge Chicago O’Hare International Airport – Part 4
Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: The brand new and amazing Boeing 747-8 & 1st class seating & experience – Part 5
Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: The 1st class terminal in Frankfurt – Part 6
Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: A Porsche ride & domestic business class – Part 7
Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: Outbound from Gothenburg Sweden & business class to Munich Germany- Part 8
Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: A Mercedes ride and the 1st class lounge in Munich – Part 9
Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: The Airbus A330 & 1st class experience – Part 10
Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: An overnight in Toronto Canada at the SPG Four Points by Sheraton – Part 11
Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: The Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge- Part 12
Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: United business class back to Chicago & South Bend Indiana – Part 13
Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: Final thoughts & Delta comparison – Part 14

lufthansa duck ready to fly intra europe business class to MUC delta points blog

After 3 great weeks with family in Sweden, the reason I got into points to begin with btw, it was time for Lisa & I to head back home. There was a ton I was looking forward to on this return trip like a 50% empty 1st class cabin from MUC to YYZ but let’s not jump ahead.

sas star alliance lounge GOT gothenburg airport delta points blog

I had checked in online so all we had to do was dump our bags (and hope United would not lose them on the way home). Then off to the SAS Star Alliance lounge. The one Delta uses is right next door and I honestly like it better than this one. It seems larger and more open.

bus loading to tarmac boarding lufthansa GOT delta points blog

Then on to boarding. The bird was parked out on the tarmac so we had to do the bus trip out.

Lufthansa regional jet GOT delta points blog (1)

On the plus side it did present a neat opportunity to take some close up plane shots prior to boarding.

Lufthansa regional jet GOT delta points blog (2)

Lufthansa regional jet GOT delta points blog (3)

HOP! the Air France regional partner at GOT airport delta points blog

Including seeing a Skyteam Air France regional partner, HOP! one stall over.

Intra Europe lufthansa seats business class GOT delta points blog (1)

We settled into very similar seats as the trip up from FRA. We were the only ones in the business class cabin and the front row bulkhead did have a decent amount of space.

Intra Europe lufthansa seats business class GOT delta points blog (2)

I am not a fan of the slim line seats Lufthansa has chosen. They are hard. I mean really hard. The one Delta has chosen is much better (or at least the padding is I should say).

breakfast lufthansa GOT delta points blog

Breakfast was cold but fresh and tasty. I was planning on waiting to eat until I got to the MUC 1st class lounge, but ended up nibbling just about the whole plate.

view passing over Denmark lufthansa GOT delta points blog

The flight down was smooth and service was fine. The FA’s had a full coach section to attend to so we did not see them much after breakfast service. Not really an issue as I dozed a bit on the way down anyway.

tails in MUC lufthansa GOT delta points blog

I have to say the views of the land around Munich were breathtaking. Such a carpet of greens and yellows. I found myself just staring out the window and this time hoping for a go around so I could see it all again. Truly stunning. We taxied all the way around the back side of the airport to find an open area to park. Would there be a Porsche waiting for us at our gate? That is up next! – René

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Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

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firstworldproblems

There is just about no way for this to come across not sounding arrogant, thus my choice of the photo above. And once again, before the comments roll in about donating my points, giving away points is a really dumb idea as I donate “cash” that is I use my FlexPerks card as I earn 3x or a net 6% back vs. dumping my miles to charity.

Back on point; when one has so many points what points does one choose for a trip? Well this post is what I do and not necessarily what you should do. This is my thinking and my issues and you can glean what you will and perhaps consider some of the info to make your booking choices.

The advantage of having so many points is when you want to go from A to B you can look at all the different airlines that will get you there (yes, not just Delta). Also, there are other choices and issues. Let me break them down.

If I book with Delta or Alaska points I can book coach seats and as a Diamond expect with a great deal of probability to upgrade from coach. So, this gives me the best choice for least points, but perhaps not the best routes or airports to transition through. However, in case of IROPS my best chance to get where I need to be when I need to be there. Also, to score the coveted low level I may have to overnight, losing a day of my life plus the cost of a hotel for more points or cash.

The other choices, AA, US Air & BA points all have their perks and problems. For example, the airports these serve could be a longer drive than SBN or South Bend, my home town airport. Or, to get the lowest point cost, I may have to drive to other airports. Or, since I have no chance for upgrade booking in biz may just be the best choice – I do have a ton of points after all.

Now I warned you this post will sound arrogant, but these are the things I think about. If I book with DL or DL partners I have a good shot at upgrades that could include food on the flights. I will be connecting via airports I spend a ton of time in. I could enjoy Skydecks, but the SkyPubs have yet to implement the promised “enhancements” let alone just what those will be one day. The REV MGT folks may decide the best bits we tested are way to much money. Yes, all these things go into my thinking about what airline to fly.

With other airlines, coach is just not an option I am willing to go with. I have enough points that I can book biz as long as the price is worth it, that is, finding low level biz. Plus, with some of these other choices it could mean a better airport with say a Centurion Lounge. Yes, since SkyPubs are just a shadow of the AMEX (or The Club lounges) it is a consideration for layovers as a lounge that can provide good FREE food and drinks (and even a spa) makes the choice of airline a big factor.

Oh, and then there is the even larger MQM factor. I took a peek at buying a ticket to fly from SBN to where I want to go (a small-ish airport btw) and the price, get this almost 3 months out, is over $1000 in coach. This for a domestic flight. You have got to be kidding me; to have to start on a 50 seat CRJ for that kind of money? Yeah, RIGHT Delta – not gonna happen EVER! But I do live in the best part of the USA as I have a bunch of airport choices if I am willing to drive a few hours. I found from GRR or Grand Rapids I could buy a coach Delta ticket for just under $400 so I could use my FlexPerks points and expect an upgrade and earn MQMs and RDMs.

Choices choices choices. Crazy to think that a simple trip can include so many options! But all of this does come into play. Do I go for earning points and a shot at an upgrade or do I pick better routes and lounges. So many #firstworldproblems to consider, but all important to me.

Lastly even my scarce hotel points do come into play. Now sure I can use Arrival+ points to pay for a hotel so that does not really cost me anything out of pocket. Then again, I can choose to use those point to say pay for a mileage run or another trip!

So what did I choose? I can, due to my status with Delta, pick the less than favorable flight choices with Delta and dump them if they don’t improve. I have done that as a fall back. I have booked with another airline the perfect flights and airports along the way. I have a hotel room on points, not at my favorite choice, but one near my target airport and at a good rate on points vs. paying for the room with say Arrival+ points.

I hope you can see, with a good “bank” of points, your choice is not just the free option, but the one that will make the trip the best or most lucrative along the way! – René

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

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Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: The planning & changes – Part 1
Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: Outbound from South Bend – Part 2
Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: The Westin Chicago & UBER Black & SUV – Part 3
Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: Outbound from Chicago & United Global 1st lounge Chicago O’Hare International Airport – Part 4
Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: The brand new and amazing Boeing 747-8 & 1st class seating & experience – Part 5
Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: The 1st class terminal in Frankfurt – Part 6
Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: A Porsche ride & domestic business class – Part 7
Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: Outbound from Gothenburg Sweden & business class to Munich Germany- Part 8
Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: A Mercedes ride and the 1st class lounge in Munich – Part 9
Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: The Airbus A330 & 1st class experience – Part 10
Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: An overnight in Toronto Canada at the SPG Four Points by Sheraton – Part 11
Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: The Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge- Part 12
Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: United business class back to Chicago & South Bend Indiana – Part 13
Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: Final thoughts & Delta comparison – Part 14

porche ride to airplane FRA airport delta points blog

I have to say, while not at all necessary, being driven to a plane is just neat. Getting to see the underside of an airport & seeing the things most times you just don’t see. It is just special. (btw dearest Delta, when are you ever going to pick me up in a Delta Porsche – hint hint)

porche ride to airplane FRA airport delta points blog 2

Then to pull up and get to see the jet you are about to fly from the outside. Also just #AVgeek! The sounds, smells et al. All these sensations you just don’t experience when you board from a gate.

porche ride to airplane FRA airport delta points blog 3

If the captain had been looking down at me he would have thought my face was about to break from the size of my smile. Next, getting taken up the back way up to the loading bridge avoiding the entire gate area is also just fun!

intra europe lufthansa business class delta points blog

But that is where most of the special part ends when you are about to fly intra-Europe business class on most airlines including Lufthansa. What you get, in my case of the 2-2 seater I was in, is one seat for you and one seat blocked off as your “personal space”.

intra europe lufthansa business class delta points blog 2

The perk of this is you can pull out the tray table of the 2nd seat and use that and leave your area free as you are still just sitting in a coach class seat and the little space you have really matters.

I passed on the dinner service up to Gothenburg and just slept for most of the ride as I had already had a hardy breakfast and lunch in the 1st class terminal.

Delta Connection CRJ900 1st class seat Delta Points mileage run to hawaii (2)

Business class seat Delta CRJ900

I really wish, rather than this sorta-coach approach, Lufthansa as well as AF & KLM would do the same as Delta does on their CRJ700/900 series jets and do the 1-2 seating in business class as you see above. The Delta seats are very good and comfortable and I have enjoyed even long rides of 2-3 hours in these seats.

Next up in my report is another regional ride down to Munich this time. We boarded via bus so I got some fun outside shots to share as well as a nice breakfast & more. Stay tuned! – René

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main entrance to Delta CORP ATL delta points blog (1)

I was so looking forward to this visit to Delta’s corporate office located right next door to the Delta Museum (more on that later this week btw) and the airport.

main entrance to Delta CORP ATL delta points blog (2)

I had missed an earlier invite that did not quite work out due to some weather issues and missed flights. Also, as a bit of a disclaimer and so it is clear, none of my trip was comp’ed by Delta CORP. I used Lisa’s Skymiles (low level award, naturally) to fly down to ATL and stayed at the Westin on my own SPG points (net 2500 after 500 back as a Platinum). However, I do deeply appreciate the private guided tour from two outstanding Delta PR reps who I have known for years and very much respect and appreciate.

We started the tour at the PR department and I was shown their work area and got to say hello to a few of the folks I had not yet had the privilege of meeting. I will say this about Delta folks, they are all really good people and I would expect nothing else. But at the same time I was teased with some bits from the work behind Skymiles 2015. :-)

twitter - facebook and more socal space at Delta CORP Delta Points blog (2)

The next stop was the social media lab or the home of the amazing @DeltaAssist team. There are few months that go by that I don’t tout how great this team is when you need them.

twitter - facebook and more socal space at Delta CORP Delta Points blog (1)

This team does much more than just Twitter as Facebook, Pinterest and others are all covered here. Still, for most of us, Twitter is what affects us most (maybe I am just biased – nahhh)!

Delta CORP OCC opperations customer center delta points blog (1)

Then on to the OCC or the Operations / Customer Center. Let me just tell you this place is amazing. Not just the overwhelming technology there but the people and what they do.

Delta CORP OCC opperations customer center delta points blog (2)

They are real time tracking and working to get 100% of all flights completed each and every day. Clearly that is impossible depending on the goal. For the day I visited, after a rough weather day the day before, was 99.5% of all flights and they were beating that goal mainline! Translation into normal English – we flyers are getting to where we want to be thanks to these folks’ hard work!

Delta CORP OCC opperations customer center delta points blog (3)

They are tracking everything. From news, to all the many regional partners that all have their own control centers that then communicate with our mothership – this is an amazing amount of data flowing into one place to be sorted out. The dance to make this all work is impressive.

Delta CORP OCC opperations customer center delta points blog (4)

Then there are the weather folks that are a major part of the daily operations as you can guess. Not just for the day, but for days ahead and they can even share the data they find with all the other bits of Delta, even Trainer Oil, if it can have an impact on operations. Brilliant and a great use of valuable data that can help us and the company.

Next what I simply call parts (yeah that sounds dumb, but for us, bits that keep jets running are just parts, right). Seriously, when something breaks on a jet you have to get a replacement. That may mean flying a jet to a hub or location that has the part or in some other way getting the part to where the broken jet is. Many of these folks have been on the front line of repairing jets so they know not just logistics but often the part they are working with. This all just cooks my brain and so builds my appreciation for all that goes in to making all 1000+ takeoffs and landings work each and every day. Humbling to say the very least.

Delta CORP OCC opperations customer center delta points blog (5)

Then there is stuff that just makes me giggle. They, like every company on the planet, have break room, but a toaster out in tech room – really? – too funny to me.

Delta CORP OCC opperations customer center delta points blog (6)

Lastly there was the situation room. Not just for meetings but if things go wrong you are going to see the people that matter all in this room.

So what to take away from all of this? One is there will just about never be a time Delta is not “up and running”. They have a fully TESTED backup in case “whatever” happens. The airline’s operations is truly overwhelming and stunning. I have always been uber impressed how just about perfect Delta “works” and now I see why they truly are THIS good. Wow factor is off the charts.

I brag on Delta a bunch. I fly Delta just about exclusively year after year. I have history with Delta / NWA for a reason and this day showed me why I made the right choice! – René

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Posted by rene | 9 Comments

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Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: The planning & changes – Part 1
Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: Outbound from South Bend – Part 2
Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: The Westin Chicago & UBER Black & SUV – Part 3
Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: Outbound from Chicago & United Global 1st lounge Chicago O’Hare International Airport – Part 4
Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: The brand new and amazing Boeing 747-8 & 1st class seating & experience – Part 5
Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: The 1st class terminal in Frankfurt – Part 6
Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: A Porsche ride & domestic business class – Part 7
Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: Outbound from Gothenburg Sweden & business class to Munich Germany- Part 8
Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: A Mercedes ride and the 1st class lounge in Munich – Part 9
Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: The Airbus A330 & 1st class experience – Part 10
Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: An overnight in Toronto Canada at the SPG Four Points by Sheraton – Part 11
Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: The Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge- Part 12
Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: United business class back to Chicago & South Bend Indiana – Part 13
Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: Final thoughts & Delta comparison – Part 14

lufthansa 1st class terminal fra airport delta points blog

THIS! This is just about as #AVgeek kool as you can get. A building that is a lounge. A lounge very few ever go to or even know exists. This is a “destination” you can spend most of a day at and that is just what we were about to do.

This was our second trip to the 1st class terminal. It is simple to find. You just walk out of baggage claim (yes, out of the airport), turn left, walk for about 2 minutes and you will see what you see above. Take the elevator up and you are there.

You will be warmly greeted and the attendant may or may not keep your passport. You will then have free use of the lounge until your next flight but more on that later.

panasonic rocker chairs in the lufthansa 1st class terminal fra delta points blog

To me, the best spot, is the Panasonic “rocking” chairs. Oh my. If you can put into your mind the perfect nap location this is it. These things gently rock you as they play music. If you can stay awake in these there is something wrong with you. A perfect way to catch up on some missed sleep from the flight. Well that and a cup of tea and a mimosa – sure why not!

breakfast choices lufthansa 1st class terminal FRA airport

After a short nap it was time for breakfast. There is a nice buffet or you can order off the menu. I went for the buffet.

breakfast lufthansa 1st class terminal fra delta points blog

My wife did the same and finished off the meal with a coffee.

coffee lufthansa 1st class terminal fra delta points blog

After breakfast (and another short nap in the chairs from heaven) it was time to get cleaned up with a quick shower. I oped not to go for a bath but did get some 1st class ducks from the attendant.

eating area lufthansa 1st class terminal fra delta points blog

Time for lunch. Lunch also offered a nice spread. Salad and appetizers first.

lunch buffet lufthansa 1st class lounge fra airport delta points blog (1)

As well as many light other choices for sandwiches etc.

lunch buffet lufthansa 1st class lounge fra airport delta points blog (2)

std and worldcup lunch menu lufthansa 1st class lounge fra airport delta points blog

They even had, in addition to the normal lunch menu, special world cup menu choices. I decided to stay with what the club is known for, that is, the Schnitzel.

appitizer lufthansa 1st class terminal fra delta points blog

Well I should say after a light appetizer of shrimp I ordered the Schnitzel.

Wienerschnitzel lufthansa 1st class terminal fra delta points blog

It did not disappoint and was quite good. The only things I am on the fence about is the “warm” potato salad. I guess in my American head it should be cold or hot. It was still nummy so just a personal gripe.

dessert option lufthansa 1st class terminal fra delta points blog

I did not have room at this point for desserts but there were many choices.

after lunch lufthansa 1st class terminal fra delta points blog

Well how about a tiny custard dessert. OK. That can fit someplace. It was nice, but was lemon filled. I am not a fan of lemon. If you love lemon I am sure it was a home run. I ate around the lemon!

drinks lufthansa 1st class terminal fra delta points blog

Lastly there is a very stocked bar. I am more of a red wine kind of guy, but there is anything you can want for.

candy lufthansa 1st class terminal fra delta points blog

Got a sweet tooth? Yeah they got that covered too. In spades!

Then it was at last time to go to our next flight, the regional domestic business class up to Gothenburg. A new attendant found us since we had been there during the shift change. We were escorted downstairs to passport control and our Porsche ride to our next flight, but more on that in the next part of the trip report! – René

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Posted by rene | 8 Comments

weather 27 july 2014

Sorry I did not get this posted yesterday when the alert went up, but if you are planning on flying out of some of the biggest airports from the Northeast coast today you may want to rethink. Delta has a weather waiver in place for the following airports today the 27th as well as tomorrow the 28th!

  • Baltimore, MD (BWI)
  • New York, NY – Kennedy (JFK)
  • New York, NY – LaGuardia (LGA)
  • Newark, NJ (EWR)
  • Newburgh, NY (SWF)
  • Philadelphia, PA (PHL)
  • Washington, DC – Dulles (IAD)
  • Washington, DC – Reagan National (DCA)
  • White Plains, NY (HPN)

delta weather waver 27july2014

Most readers should know by now the perk of this waiver is that you can make changes all you want free. You can change if you are “To / From / Through” so rerouting if connecting is a good idea, that can mean more miles, but most importantly not leave you stuck in these cities for possibly days on end on your own dime.

The other bit to keep in mind, is the 29th! With this many airports affected one would expect some nice oversold situations for “bumpertunites” on Tuesday. Most import is fly safe everyone! – René

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gold 40 year delta service pin with diamonds Delta Points Blog (1)

This week, since I am at the home of our beloved mothership, that is, Atlanta, and am going to enjoy a tour of the Delta museum with readers today, how about we giveaway something extra special.

gold 40 year delta service pin with diamonds Delta Points Blog (2)

I know when I was a kid it was really fun to get a set of “wings” from the pilot. Plus, it was just super neat to sport them walking off the jet!

gold 40 year delta service pin with diamonds Delta Points Blog (3)

Now as an adult a bit of plastic is a little less fun, even though I am still a child at heart.

gold 40 year delta service pin with diamonds Delta Points Blog (4)

But a real, authentic, 14 Gold (gold filled I believe, that is, 14k gold over silver) with diamonds representing 40 years of service to Delta – that is kinda kool and btw these are very hard to get. It is not like you can just order these out of a catalog! :-)

So this week the “normal” rules are bit out the window. You can enter as many times as you like but you have to, with each answer, include a link to a post you like in your comment. For example, say you liked the post about the mighty schedule change. You would have to comment something like:

I liked the post about schedule changes:

http://deltapoints.boardingarea.com/2012/10/09/understanding-the-power-of-the-mighty-schedule-change-rule-with-delta-air-lines/

There you go. I will use random.org to pick the winner. As I said, enter as often as you wish, but you must include a different post link each time you comment! Clear? I will pick a winner LATE next Friday the 1st of August 2014! – René

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PS – be sure and follow along today
and this weekend as I travel
to Atlanta & visit with readers!
#DeltaPointsATL

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Posted by rene | 236 Comments

delta president Ed Bastian talking about first class upsell

From seekingalpha.com

There is a full copy of the transcript of the Q2 earnings call from Delta on seekingalpha.com and clearly Delta continues to do well, but the part that really got my attention was the above. That is, the up-selling of first class seats.

I have talked about this before, then re-evaluated my stand and posted again a sequel, and this also seems to be working for Delta and this “could” be bad for us. Here is why.

I am most happy Delta is making a ton of money. I am thrilled they are making staggering cash from bag and other fees (as long as Delta Points readers are not part of that). But to see the amount of open seats available for upgrade for elite’s shrinking is worrying.

Now before you pile on the WFBF that is “want first buy first” bandwagon, or as a reader commented once (who’s husband is a DL pilot) that us over-entitled elites should basically never ever get upgrades and are just whiny to begin with, understand that medallion upgrades are one of the BIG reasons a flyer stays loyal to Delta. I mean, it sure will not be for the frequent flyer program in 2015 as there will be few rewards there after 1JAN2015. Upgrades are still one of THE top perks and a major reason to shoot for top status with the airline.

Also understand I really am fine with the current system Delta has put in place. After all, anyone paying for these upgrades are overpaying IMO. They are basically paying close to retail for the upgrade either with cash or points. Even I sometimes buy and recommend 1st class tickets including mileage runs in 1st class when the price is right.

delta want to upsell me biz for 213 no thanks no way

However, what I can see happening is the prices for these upgrade going lower and lower to the point where medallion upgrades become almost impossible to get.

For example, I am on a one day mileage run later this year and paid $196 for the ticket (less a $50 voucher). Now the current price to buy 1st class for the round trip is just $409. So, the up-charge they are offering me is simply the price difference between what the 1st class ticket “buy price” would be and what I paid. I love this. Not that I would ever do it, but I love the math. I love that Delta can make more money selling a seat at the current first class price.

But what if? What if they decide 10 days out to send me an email that I can upgrade to 1st for say $50 or even $100 round trip? I would personally still not do it as I expect the upgrade as a Diamond (currently running about 90% for me this year) but I bet a TON of folks would buy an upgrade in a heartbeat at that kind of price.

At this point this is just speculation. We will have to watch very closely to see if REV MGT decides it is worth taking the next step in decimating the value of being an elite Delta flyer. I sure hope not! – René

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PS – be sure and follow along today
and this weekend
as I travel to Atlanta &
visit with readers!
#DeltaPointsATL

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chase 70k offer

From: CYIN @ Flyertalk.com

Per Flyertalk there is a 70,000 public offer in the Chase branches for the INK plus card. You should know what this means!

BUMP THE BONUS!

If you got in on the 60,000 Point offer in May then you are inside the 90 day window where Chase will historically  MATCH  the current best public offer. Just send off a secure message to them via your Chase login requesting they match the current best 70,000 point offer since you just applied a month or so ago. You should have the points added in no time!

Also, if you have not had this card before, or had the OLD Mastercard version, it may be worth a visit to your local Chase branch for an application! – René

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Welcome to a weekly feature on the Delta Points blog. Each week this series covers in a “rookie” way either a Delta or travel related theme and attempts to break down to a basic level each topic. You can read up on all the previous posts HERE. Now on to this week’s feature.

bonus offer

One of the questions asked, when I was fishing for rookie ideas from readers, was about when to go for a Delta promotion. What a great question.

To me, the real question is not if to go for a promo but what promo to pick. I mean if you are working on earning points, and going to buy anything at all, you should be picking a promo. What do I mean by this?

skymiles shopping page

The “normal” Delta flyer, AKA not us and those who read the blog, would automatically say something like:

“Hey I will always start at Skymiles Shopping to get a bunch more Skymiles and I will pay with my Delta Skymiles card to get an extra point per dollar on top of the special promo. This is the BEST choice right?”

Well maybe – but take a look at this. Let’s say you are buying things where the warranty does not matter because buying with a gift card does not give you the “extra” 1 year warranty most cards give you when you make a purchase with their card. With that in mind, before you do the above at Skymiles Shopping, if you buy a Delta AMEX gift card and then use that to pay you already locked in the 1x Skymiles for using that card to buy the gift card and 2 or 3% cash. Or, maybe even more points if you are starting at the Arrival portal to buy the AMEX gift card. Then, you can still earn the special promo for buying whatever you want at their site.

You see my point that just adding one more step can mean many more points. So always look at any promo to see if you can do it a bit better with a little more effort.

The next or really first step is to see if whatever deal really is the best – FOR YOU! You will see many painstakingly show you the math of how to get the absolute best results but they may not be the results you want. For example, you may be collecting Skymiles for some award you have in mind. In this case, earning extra Arrival points or some other shopping portal cash may not be what you want i.e. your goal for more Skymiles. Again, you may choose to earn less to meet your personal goal even though the “yield” may be worth less than it could be – as long as you are aware of this do what you want.

I will give you an example of where I give up some rewards points for a personal goal. I try to spend $120,000 each year on my two Delta AMEX Reserve cards to earn the 60,000 MQMs I get from all that spend. Many times I am giving up higher returns with other cards to meet my spend. Worth it? It is to me for all those MQMs as well as meeting my Delta MQD waiver i.e. after spending $25,000 on one or a combination of the two cards (spending on both count). Now yes I get bonus Skymiles as well so that helps but I am still accepting at times a lower yield to meet my goal of MQMs.

Back to promos. The same principle works with different promos. This time let’s look the other direction. It may be that the Skymiles promo may seem sweet but checking EVRewards or other sites like the Arrival+ shopping portal could earn you cash or points to use like cash to buy Delta tickets. Then, you will earn Skymiles from flying and get to go on a trip (well at least this year – not so much under Skymiles2015 when flying is the worst way to earn Skymiles).

All of this can work with any promo like cars, hotels etc. You personally have to weigh if cash, some other points or Skymiles is your goal and what you need for some trip you are working for. With either of these, just like already mentioned, the “value” of earning more hotel or car program points may be “worth” more than the value of a Skymile but if you need Skymiles more than either of the other program points going all-in for Skymiles bonus may be the best choice for you to reach your goal.

Lastly, we have the promos to avoid. What are those? There are some promotions that are just bad and you might as well just buy Skymiles rather than chase the promo (btw NEVER buy Skymiles it is a very bad choice). The type of promo I am talking about is one where say you get a tiny promo bonus but then are locked in to paying for something for months or years at prices much higher than retail. This sounds so simple but many fall for the trap of the promo to get you in. Just compare the price of whatever product it is and  if you would buy it anyway at that price  then, sure, yes get the promo for the Skymiles as the points are just gravy on top of what is already something you will buy. Clear? – René

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

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Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed on this page are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.