I blogged a few AeroMexico business class mileage runs last week: one from Los Angeles to Santo Domingo and another from New York (JFK) to Quito. The main attraction of those mileage runs is earning a bunch of Delta Air Lines MQD for a fraction of that figure. (Here’s a post explaining why and how.)
But often overlooked bonus makes the deals even sweeter: the redeemable Delta SkyMiles one earns on those trips. (The same goes for any Delta or other SkyTeam airline cash fare and credit to your SkyMiles account.)
You’re probably laughing because one of Delta’s hobbies seems to be blasting away at the SkyMiles program. (Hello, Global Upgrade Certificate devaluations, absolutely horrid partner redemption rates, etc.)
But in all fairness, remember SkyMiles award tickets count toward Medallion status earnings. So, that’s something.
We generally value SkyMiles at one cent per point. Using that valuation, let’s show you how that can actually make the mileage/status runs even more rewarding.
Redeemable SkyMiles Bonuses
Let’s use last week’s mileage run posts as examples. (This is the math René and I use when deciding whether or not to book a run.)
The JFK to Quito trip earns a base of about 16,048 redeemable SkyMiles. Taking that one SkyMile = one cent valuation, you’re earning back about $160.48 in Delta-marketed travel. That figuratively brings down the trip’s $911.81 cost to $751.33. (There’s a big “if” we’ll get to in a minute.)
But if you’re a Medallion member, you earn even more SkyMiles. Diamonds earn 120% more. Platinums score 80% more. Golds get 60%. Silvers receive a 40% extra kick.
Given that, here’s what those Medallions could expect to earn from the trip:
- Diamond: 35,305 total SkyMiles (worth ~ $353)
- Platinum: 28,886 total SkyMiles (worth ~ $288)
- Gold: 25,676 total SkyMiles (worth ~ $256)
- Silver: 22,467 total SkyMiles (worth ~ $224)
Not bad, right? Diamonds, of course, are the big winners here. If they value SkyMiles at a penny each as we do, they’re essentially getting a $3229.60 MQD trip for under $560.
Is this making sense? Yes? Maybe? Heck, no?
Let’s check out the LAX to Santo Domingo mileage run. That earns about 13,900 redeemable SkyMiles, worth about $139 in Delta travel. (Or nearly $280 in premium drinks at Delta Sky Clubs!) And that’s if you’re like, Tin status (a cute way of saying “no status.”)
Medallions can haul in about:
- Diamond: 30,580 total SkyMiles (worth ~ $305)
- Platinum: 25,020 total SkyMiles (worth ~ $252)
- Gold: 22,240 total SkyMiles (worth ~ $222)
- Silver: 19,460 total SkyMiles (worth ~ $194)
And all of that is on top of whatever credit card points/miles you earn paying for the trip.
But there’s a big caveat here.
You Actually Have to Redeem the SkyMiles!
Earning the redeemable SkyMiles is nice, sure. But the only way you enjoy the “savings” is by using them. Like, applying them toward future trips.
That $353 a Diamond earns on the JFK-UIO run is worth that amount only if the Diamond uses those 35,305 SkyMiles on Delta-marketed trips. (Treat yourself, a friend, or the family!)
The 22,240 SkyMiles a Gold scores from the LAX-SDQ run are worthless until they’re put to good use.
Points and miles don’t earn interest. As René says, they’re not a fine red wine that gets better with age.
My wife and I have blown through hundreds of thousands of miles and points this year. Because that’s what you’re supposed to do: use them.
Make sure to use your bonus SkyMiles for something. That makes your original purchase all the more rewarding.
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