how to HOLD delta award tickets

That will teach me to broadcast on twitter what I am going to blog about in the week ahead! My friend Scott who runs MileValue scooped me and posted already today about a way to put Delta award tickets on “hold” and you can see his post.

there is a way to hold award tickets for four hours on delta-com

I found out about this little gem while doing some award booking and had an error in the process and got the above warning but as you can see by the grayed out box it did create a PNR or a number assigned to the reservation. I then started to play around with ways to recreate this hold since despite what Delta has told us with the change last year on 9SEPT that it would no longer be possible, clearly it is.

final step to hold a reservation on delta for an award free

It really is very simple to create a 1-2 hour award hold (that is all you get doing it this way). At the last step, after you have filled everything in but have not yet clicked on REDEEM AWARD you simple click somewhere else. Then, when you go to look at your upcoming trips at the Delta home page, you will now see a PNR created for your award ticket but no points will have been removed from your account. It is much harder to trick into the 4 hour error hold but I am working on a quicker way to get this too.

award is on hold delta-com

Why is such a short hold of any value to us? Keep in mind that AMEX Membership rewards from the NON-Delta AMEX card, i.e. Platinum or Gold, personal or business transfer almost instantly over to at a 1:1 rate (there has not been a transfer bonus for a long time now). Thus, let’s say you find the perfect low level seats like I blogged about this morning and have spent hours and hours working on it and want to get some points over or want to real quick call your wife etc. to get the OK to book the tickets, this short hold will do that for you. If not, it just goes away in a few hours from your itineraries!

There is always a way – you just have to know what to do or what to ask for. I find reps will break almost ANY Delta rule for you if you just know how to ask ;-) – René

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Posted by rene | 6 Comments

less points discount fares

For a while now Delta has been paying out less Skymiles and MQMs for so called “discounter” fares. These are lower priced tickets than you and I have access to. Cruise lines, for example, have to fly employees home all over the world and get much better deals from Delta. But, as you can see from the screen shot above, they also, as of late, have been rewarding those who fly with less points in their personal account. All part of only reward those who spend the most with Delta.

Now on to yesterday’s tickets. Clearly the “mess” (from Delta’s viewpoint) was not published fares. What does that mean for those who are flying on these tickets, that is those of us who actually got a ticket issued not just a PNR that later was canceled when no ticket number was ultimately issued (txs for link DJ Noah). Will we get full points for these tickets?

First off I don’t care if I get one single point. The price was so good that I will be happy to pay that price all day long and never get a single Skymile or MQM. But I chatted a bit with readers on FlyerTalk and reader “Dlroads” feels Delta will pay out points based on the “Earn Miles with Special Fares” and I tend to agree. Maybe.

There were a bunch of dynamics going on for these brief two hours. Some were able to book on It could be argued these were NOT a special fare and Delta has directly told me again and again that if it is bookable on then it will earn FULL Skymiles and MQMs. They have said you and I can NOT book these kind of discounter fares. They have said that travel agents or tickets that are part of say a cruise and fly package certainly could be one of these consolidator fares. So I think those who got tickets on will get points like any other ticket.

But what about those who started at Travelocity, Orbitz and other sites? Most times, that is every other day of the week, these sites will and do qualify for full credit. What about this time? I would not be surprised at all if Delta says your ticket was a consolidator fare and you get less points. I have not confirmed this at all with Delta but I think it could happen. If it does, please, do not even think about complaining about it. You got a deal that comes up only once now and again and it may be years before it does again. How many points you get should not matter.

Anyway, what do you think? Do you think Delta will award full points for all the tickets or try to say they are ALL discounter fares and we all get less? – René

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Posted by rene | 17 Comments

swu certs delta airlines change delta points blog

For a very long time now Delta flyers have been less and less impressed with System Wide Upgrade (SWU) certificates. This was because, if you wanted to use them internationally, you would have to just about pay the price of a business class ticket to use them (and thus what was the point).

As of 01MARCH2014 that all will change with the creation of Global Upgrade certificates. All but Delta UBER cheap “E” class, that is not available everywhere, qualifies for these new certificates. This is news Delta elites have been waiting for for a long time.

These will ONLY be an option for Delta’s top elites, Diamond Medallions, and they will offer 4 of these as your Choice Benefit. Platinum Medallion will not have access to these Global certs.

Some thoughts. Nice change. But think about this, since they are good one way, for a husband and wife with a trip to Europe or Asia you are burning 2 one way and 2 on the return so all 4 would go on one trip. Still, a nice deal for a coach price ticket when the upgrade space via certs is open. Before you ask, flying on say AF or KLM, the old rules still apply. Connecting to an AF or KLM flight, this is still not clear to me as the FAQs page says: “Seats are subject to availability and may not be available on all flights or in all markets.”

The other change is Regional Upgrade certificates. These are open to Diamond and Platinums so a Diamond could pick these as their Platinum choice and then Global ones as one of the two Diamond choices (since a Diamond cannot pick the same choice twice). But if a Diamond does not want the Global they could get 8 as a DM and 4 more as the PM choice thus ending up with 12 Regional certs plus still one more DM choice!

Overall this is a nice improvement for Diamonds and rewarding those who make it to the top level with Delta. When looking at the value of all the choices this clearly becomes one of the best in dollar value. I see this and Gold medallion “gift” choice being the two best choices going forward.

For Platinums, yes you are losing out on the chance to use the old SWUs for international upgrades but as talked about they were practically worthless for that anyway so no great loss.

delta 2014 and 2016 skymiles program changes

On to other good changes to the Skymiles program. Hawaii from the west coast (including Salt Lake) will also as of 01MARCH2014 be open to free medallion upgrades. This is, in my mind, a HUGE upgrade to the program and a direct response to Alaska air that also offers upgrades to Hawaii. The Hawaii flights from Atlanta will require a Global upgrade cert to get that free.

Now the downgrades. The first is that JFK to LAX, SFO and SEA that truly is now an international “light” flight will no longer qualify for free medallion upgrades. This is really too bad and to many as significant a DOWNGRADE as Hawaii is an upgrade. Not just no more free upgrades, but it will require a Global cert to upgrade this flight as well (not just a Regional one)!

Lastly, if you have already redeemed your 2014 choice benefit, at this point, too bad, you cannot exchange them back in for these new great SWUs. I would love to see Delta allow a one time exception and let you trade back in your choice if you have not say used the Skymiles or old SWUs or ETV choice (that is just sitting in your account unused).

Oh, and I should say Delta is also, as of 2016, changing when Skymiles begins and ends. We need to get used to 31JAN each year becoming the END of the program year and 01FEB then being the new start date to keep track of.

So far so good on this change Delta flyers and a some truly good “enhancements” for a change. What do you think. Happy with the adjustments? – shout out and let us know! – René

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Posted by rene | 65 Comments

delta buy mqms

What you are seeing is a brilliant approach to rake in a ton of cash from the BUY MQMs from Delta. The airline has truly taken printing money from elite flyers to a totally new level by charging, not just a TON more than last year, but more for some and much less for other. If I were to want to buy 10,000 MQMs as a Diamond Medallion it could set me back $1,995.00CRAZY – JUST CRAZY!

lisa buy mqms

My wife, as a Gold Medallion, is offered the “bargain basement” price of only $1,495.00 for 10,000 MQMs. – Really?

not a medallion member

Now the ONLY good thing they have done is, apparently, BLOCK some from buying these vastly and ridiculously over priced MQMs when it would do nothing for as a Skymiles member with NO MQMs. Some will get the message that they are NOT allowed to buy MQMs at any price.

You can take a peek at Flyer Talker’s reaction to this above but as we talked about this past weekend, even at last year’s fixed and over inflated prices, getting a Delta AMEX Reserve either personal or business, is just $450 each and you get 10,000 MQMs and Skymiles after 1st purchase worth at least $100! So let’s see, hummm, spend net $350.00 or $1995.00. What would you choose? – René

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Posted by rene | 16 Comments

doubble delta mqms sea promo delta points blog

First, to match the offer Alaska Airlines has promoted (as the battle between the partners continues to heat up) Delta has improved the 2x Skymiles offer to include 2x Medallion Qualifying Miles as well.

I reached out to Delta to see if you have already flown under the current promotional period if you could retro-actively get credit for the 2x MQMs and was told NO this was not being offered. This is only good from this day forward but it is a LONG promotion (ends 31OCT2014) so be sure to SIGN UP and we will have to look at this promo when factoring the CPM or cost per mile for mileage runs that connect via these cities.

mia to las mr

Speaking of mileage runs, there are some good ones right now from MIA to LAS as well as SAN and vice versa. Be sure to do some ITA Matrix searches and see what could work for you. Some are very nice for back to back trips to collect over 10,000 MQMs for under $500!

90day status

Lastly the targeted FREE Silver Medallion status for 90 days offer has also improved that is lower BIS or but in seat miles are needed if you can register for this promotion. – René

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Posted by rene | 22 Comments

list of targeted delta airlines promotions delta points blog

Since it is Monday today, and many of us are back at work, we are a bit grumpy. Another thing that makes me grumpy are Delta targeted promotions. There is a long list of current ones. I got a big bag of “rocks”. My guess is you too will get a big bag of “rocks”. But on the off chance I can brighten your Monday, here is the list I found:


Are there any I have missed that you got? Please be sure to comment on the blog below and leave a link for your fellow Delta flyers so they can have a chance at a lump-of-coal bonus too!

BTW, in case you are not following me on twitter (shame on you) there are some amazing mileage run deals out and about today! – René

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Posted by rene | 7 Comments

train out to terminal fco rome italy delta points blog

I really had a fun time in Rome. My stay turned out nice, the history and the sights in Rome were truly amazing. But being a total aviation geek, deep down, I was really looking forward to my Magnifica trip back home (I know, this is just wrong)!

no online checkin alitalia

On my KLM trip down to Rome I could not use online check-in. @KLM attempted to help me but could not find the issue, but at least I could DM them. I could not check-in on either. @Alitalia would not follow me and still is not following me and I doubt they would have done anything anyway.

entrance to Giotto lounge concorse g rome italy delta points blog

We flew out of the satellite terminal G and had to take the tram out to the gates. The Giotto (they should call it Grotto) lounge is downstairs.

bar and food service Giotto lounge alitalia rome italy

The breakfast snacks were not that great and nothing like Delta or KLM lounges. There is a bar where you can get a cappuccino and drinks.

not one good chair Giotto alitalia lounge rome italy

The seats are some of the most uncomfortable I have ever endured in any lounge so far. The wifi was free and slow. There is not much good I can say about the Giotto lounge.

this guy is getting on first alitalia  business class fco-bos delta points blog

We left a little early as waiting to board was better than staying in the lounge. As you can see, the guy in front of us really wanted to be first on-board the flight!

Alitalia Magnifica Class Business seat review delta points blog (6)

At last, time for Magnifica! I have seen a few reviews but was this as nice as it seemed.

Alitalia Magnifica Class Business seat review delta points blog (4)

We were in the back row of the front business cabin in the so called “honeymoon seats”. I want you to look at the armrest between them. They are not good. And if you were to raise the partition to get some privacy if you did not know the flyer next to you it is only bout 1″ wide. Not kidding. Bad design if not together then go for the ones with the space between you.

Alitalia Magnifica Class Business seat review delta points blog (8)

The window sides are single seats and would be much better if not a couple. But note the odd number seats seat well is open. This can be good or bad depending on what you like.

Alitalia Magnifica Class Business seat review delta points blog (10)

The seat controls are straight forward and there is a vibrate massage built into the seats. It was OK but not amazing.

Alitalia Magnifica Class Business seat review delta points blog (9)

The video screen are nice sized but fixed in place. It is both touch screen or can be controlled by the hand unit. The choice of movies is very poor compared to Delta. A few recent movies and a few old ones. I would bring your own. Also note in the left foot well the amenity kit. It was so sad. No real bag just plastic and cheap stuff inside.

amenity kit alitalia magnifica delta points blog

The lotion box kit in comparison was boutique like. I did not try any of the items but it did look nice!

Alitalia Magnifica Class Business seat review delta points blog (14)

Now this is an Italian plane. Don’t flame me for this but I sorta got used to many Italian things not working quite right over the past few days. For example, the bathroom in the lounge had nice tile but the cheapest fixtures on earth and most were busted. Lisa’s remote was stuck on announcement for the complete flight and did not work. At least the touch screen did work.

Alitalia Magnifica Class Business seat review delta points blog (11)

On to the meal. The appetizer was very good. A chopped smoked salmon on a biscuit and some Prosciutto with pickled veggies.

Alitalia Magnifica Class Business seat review delta points blog (12)

The meal service was done via the serving carts where they serve up what you want onto plates. Kinda neat.

Alitalia Magnifica Class Business seat review delta points blog (13)

The first pasta dish was very good the red wine was nice. For some reason both Lisa & I were never offered a salad from the cart with the main dish.

Alitalia Magnifica Class Business seat review delta points blog (15)

The main dish was either a fish cake or veal. Lisa & I both chose the veal and it was very nice I must say.

Alitalia Magnifica Class Business seat review delta points blog (1)

They came by several times with bread baskets and that is nice. I just wish there could be more butter on flights but it seems all airlines are cheap on butter!

Alitalia Magnifica Class Business seat review delta points blog (2)

For dessert I had a tart and Lisa had some fruit. They had a nice sweet dessert wine to go with it. Before landing we were served a light snack with Soprasetta and a dry cheese that was very very good.

snack before landing alitalia magnifica business class delta points blog

However, what do you think the worst thing an Italian airline could do regarding meal service. If you said run out of red wine you would guess right!

Alitalia Magnifica Class Business seat review delta points blog (3)

They do have outside cameras on the flight so you can view takeoff, approach and landing. I know the A380 has this also but I had not seen it yet so I enjoyed it.

Some overall thoughts about the flight. Check-in went great and was fast. The lounge was a disappointment. The seats were nice but Delta’s new ones are very similar. Food was a bit better than Delta buy only by a little. Wine was just as good on Delta and has never “run dry”. Service is better on Delta IMO especially since the Alitalia FA’s were much more attentive to me than to Lisa. I could not online check-in and @Alitalia still is not following me and doubt they ever will. I am very happy I took this flight and I would fly Magnifica again for 100,000 Delta points or even the new 125,000 Delta points plus under $200 in tax but if routes are better I will stick with Delta! – René

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Posted by rene | 14 Comments

skymiles marketplace

On Tuesday I talked about the Skymiles auction and how, depending on the winning price, it could maybe be a good value and use of your Skymiles. I have also in the past looked at the option to spend Skymiles to rent a cartiny arrow. This can also, at times, be an “OK” value but rarely a good deal.

Renting a car, or paying for a hotel room is a function of the Skymiles Marketplacetiny arrow. As you can see from the above FAQs screen shot, you must be Gold Medallion+ or have a Delta AMEXtiny arrow to use the site.

skymiles hotel one

So let’s say you have one of the coveted seats at the sold out Chicago Seminars in a few weeks. You got a ticket for the event but did not get a hotel room at the host site. What do you do? Could you use some Skymiles to book a room? Let’s see what comes up.

skymiles hotel two

If you do a search you will find not ALL hotels in any area show up. There are limited ones that participate in the program. But Howard Johnson’s hotels are not all that bad. Is spending 26,000+ Skymiles a good deal? Well if you do “Pay with Miles” on a Delta ticket we know you can get 1 cent each for a ticket so you are in effect spending $260 for the stay or $130 per night. Is that a good price? Let’s see if we just go try to book a room at Howard Johnson’s web site and see:

skymiles hotel three

Oh, well, hum. I guess $60/night is just a tiny bit cheaper than $130 per night. Not just a tiny bit but, uh, well way less than HALF the price! YIKES! I have searched many times for hotels for different trips just to see if I could get near the 1 cent value to have tried and used Skymiles this way just to be able to post that I did it but I have never ever found good value ever.

So just like most things in the Skymiles Marketplace that are over priced and a total waste of your valued Skymiles, please avoid booking hotel rooms with your Skymiles! – René

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Posted by rene | No Comments

skymiles auctions email

There is a never ending battle over determining what a point is worth. Not just Skymiles but any points. It is simple with things like Ultimate Rewardstiny arrow that you spend like cash at 1.25 cents each to say buy an airline ticket but less so when you transfer to say United as then it becomes more murky. To me, since I fly to Sweden a lot, and want to fly business, but don’t want to pay for business, I value my Skymiles at 2-3 cents each (since I can buy a business class discounted ticket, most times, around $3000 with flexible dates)

skymiles auctions

How does that tie in with today’s post? Most of us got the “spam” e-mail from Delta about Skymiles Auctionstiny arrow. This can be a neat idea and is marketed much like the SPG “Moments” I blogged about back in February of 2012tiny arrow.

spg moments

Now if Colin Montgomerie is your golf hero, and you have a ton of points to fly to China, it will not take much to play a round with him. But that is the SPG program, back to Delta.

attend baseball game

Let’s say you are an Atlanta Braves fan and or you live in Atlanta (you know medallions have access to a premium parking lottiny arrow right). And you want some good seats.

attend baseball game 2

Look at a recent auction. Now I don’t want to get into a discussion if a few hours at a baseball game is worth the ticket price or not but let’s break down the math of this deal to see if spending your Skymiles for this has value.

attend baseball game 3

If we were to buy 6 “low price ” dugout level seats it would cost us $532 or more. We also know with the Delta AMEX cardtiny arrow and with “Pay with Miles” we can get a fixed 1 cent each for a Skymiles so they are worth at least 1 cent each redeemed for any ticket any time anywhere.

This package, if it goes for under 53,200 Skymiles is a fair value as you still get a parking pass and a jersey too worth not just cash value. If someone gets it for only 40,000 Skymiles that is not a “bad” price or redemption for your Skymiles (again if you would pay for the tickets anyway).

This is just one example and to show you the math. There are other things to consider that go beyond the raw dollar value. There are other events with “stars” that you will, more than likely, never ever get another chance to do or take part in. What is the value for a once in a lifetime experience? I have no idea, you tell me. But that is part of the point of this. With this or the SPG program you are able to, via redemption of points, get something of great value beyond flying.

So if you have a ton of Skymiles and are looking for something fun to do, do take a look. Just make sure you DON’T overspend as Skymiles do have great value for those of us who know howtiny arrow to use them! – René

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Posted by rene | One Comment


I try each day to pick some little bit, any little bit, to share something travel related I have learned. Today is more just what I am thinking about for the rest of the year. Most of this is just my musings in my head and some of my concerns. Some of this I may be right about, others we will see. Feel free to comment what is on your mind for this year, and next, for our airline and you personally.

I cringe each August 15th now since so many BIG “enhancements” have come down from the mothership in the past few years at around this time. Then again, like Friday’s post, all through the year we keep finding out about program changes without notice and then sometimes a second change. Delta says their lawyers say they have to do it this way, but as my fellow BoardingArea blogger Gary Leff points out, so often other airlines give warnings before program changes. I hope the year shows some good news, but I fear what is next.

Another issue that really bothers me is the lack of the promised MQD reference card (my words). We were told we would be able to:

“You will be able to track and monitor your MQDs and Delta SkyMiles Credit Card Eligible Purchases on prior to January 1, 2014.”

that is compare what our spending on Delta tickets would be in real life had MQDs been in effect this year already. Also, I would assume, the amount we have spent across all personal and business Delta AMEX cards we have done this year toward the exemptions spending. I hope this comes soon, but would not be surprised to see it propagate into our “MY DELTA” as late as the beginning of December as that would be prior to 01JAN2014 right!?!

klm europe food short 1hr flight delta points blog

I wish Delta would do better with Domestic food. I really like the domestic business class product Delta has and dislike the economy with extra space that KLM has. But KLM, even on just a 1 hr hop, feeds you something like a salad or a sandwich. Not an amazing meal, but better than the snack basket Delta has. I am really tired of the basket and the basket choices. How about we go Dutch Delta? ;-)

I can’t wait to get on a jet (even with snack basket only). It has been a few weeks since I have been up in the air and I miss it. I really love to fly and that is why I like mileage runs as well as fun and work trips. I get to go back to SFO soon.

Another thing I am still miffed about is cash & points from the NWA days (cash one way and points the other) that Delta promised to bring back. This program, as well as one-way Skymiles awards, would be so welcomed and appreciated and I really think help Delta’s image in the frequent flyer world. Heck, in a twisted kind of way, Delta could even end up with more money from Skymiles because the T72 rule would fully affect both one ways compared to a round trip tickets. I just don’t think these two things are important enough for Delta to address this year. MQD is the focus and maybe we could see these two by this time next year, but I doubt it. I can dream right?

my skymiles redeemed delta points blog

What is next for Skymiles? Delta will clearly not tell me or you, but if we are to believe the pundits nothing good is on the way next. I am not sure and think we have more time as-is. But as you can see my recent redemption totals I am burning my Delta points as fast as I get them and will keep doing so (200k per Sweden visit for Lisa & me in business class does tend to do that ;-) )

That is what is my head for now. I hope you have a good rest of your weekend everyone and don’t forget about SWAG Saturday as I will have the drawing very late tonight. – René

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Posted by rene | 3 Comments

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