Finding Level 1 Delta business class awards to Europe (Sweden) – Part 1
Virgin Atlantic Upper Class outbound via Manchester – Part 2
The Escape Lounge Manchester T3 – Part 3
KLM Euro business class to Amsterdam & Gothenburg – Part 4
The smallest lounge EVER – the Ford business class lounge in Gothenburg GOT- Part 5
The Club Carlson Park Inn by Radisson Stockholm – Part 6
Hertz Presidents Circle GOLD club rental in Sweden – Part 7
KLM Euro business class to Amsterdam & Manchester – Part 8
The KLM Crown Lounge Amsterdam #25 – Part 9
ASPIRE lounge #26 Amsterdam AMS Priority Pass lounge review – Part 10
SPG Sheraton Amsterdam Airport Hotel Schiphol suite review- Part 11
The Escape Lounge Manchester T2 for Virgin Atlantic Upper Class guests review- Part 12
Virgin Atlantic Upper Class Manchester to Atlanta – Part 13
Final thoughts, costs and Virgin vs. DeltaONE to Europe – Part 14
All I can say is THANK YOU Virgin Atlantic. Or more correctly, thank you that you are now part of the Delta partner family as, if you were not, well, take a look at these next two screen shots. The first for comparison is for next month, July 2015, from Atlanta to London with LEVEL 1 business class award space using partners like Virgin Atlantic. The second for comparison is DeltaONE or Delta metal only flights:
I hope you can see my point, or that is, the use of SkyMiles for this trip. The above search is just a one-way award point search and the LEVEL 1 award space, thanks to being able to consult the Delta award charts (yes they are still in use, just hidden) does show a LEVEL 1 round trip award in business class should only cost 125,000 round trip or 62,500 one-way per person vs. the LEVEL 5, EVERY SINGLE DAY, on Delta (shame on you Delta)!
Clearly I was NOT going to be flying Delta unless something happened like the “mighty schedule change” (See E8) that would allow me to switch to Delta metal for no extra Delta points as Delta can and does force LEVEL 1 award space in these cases on their own jets, but not on partners (they can not force space on partners).
So how did I find this trip for LEVEL 1 each? Clearly, I followed my own council and searched leg by leg (See E7 & E21). After finding the over the water, then England to Sweden I finally found South Bend to Atlanta (and the same thing the other way round) and called Delta. I did not really find the most perfect flights and it did take a bunch of connections, some VERY long layovers and even an overnight in Amsterdam. But to me, on principle and due to being tenacious about getting real value out of my SkyMiles, I am willing to do whatever it takes to get my money’s worth out of the SkyMiles program.
Plus, on the outbound, due to having, err, about an 8 hour layover in Atlanta, Lisa & I had time to enjoy some sun time on the Sky Deck at the SkyClub F. Also,
We had SOOOOOOO much time that we could take a quick and perfect UBERx into the heart of Atlanta and have lunch with my friend and fellow BA Blogger MJ on Travel at the amazing Fox Brothers BBQ. In other words, we used the less than 24 hour connection rule on international flights to enjoy a day in Atlanta on our way and that is not all bad (and what it took to find a LEVEL 1 connecting flight out of South Bend – SBN).
On the way home, the only way to make the LEVEL 1 award work, was to overnight in Amsterdam or in Manchester to make the early morning Virgin flight back through Atlanta. We chose Amsterdam due to the fact that the Sheraton Amsterdam is right at the airport, is a very nice hotel, and has recently lowered the amount of SPG points needed for an award stay and lastly because I am an SPG Platinum guest.
Now had the rules been as they were under SkyMiles 2014, despite the extra taxes, I would have on the outbound or the return thought about spending a few days in England (you could do a free stopover under the old rules). If you read the blog you know, to me, this has been the most nasty and punishing award changes ever by Delta. There was no need for Delta to take this perk away as I am flying the same flights regardless of a day or two stopover in England or Holland. This only shows disrespect for those who collect SkyMiles.
But the bottom line is I did get real value for my Delta points. I was able to fly round trip in business class for 125,000 points plus $121.20 each. When you look at summer time purchased fares from my home town to Sweden it is very common to see prices north of $3000 each round trip. So, getting the better part of 2 ½ cents each in value for my SkyMiles is not bad at all. Sure I had some other costs involved like burning SPG points for a hotel stay but that did not cost me much to get them.
So there is still value in SkyMiles. Sure they are no where as valuable as they once were, and I still will focus my earnings on other programs that give me MORE value, but if you are really willing to work it you can get LEVEL 1 awards. Next up is my review of Virgin Atlantic Upper Class from Atlanta to Manchester. – René
PS – Don’t forget
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