any disadvantages to using Delta Skymiles for fare?

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JohnFiscal
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any disadvantages to using Delta Skymiles for fare?

Post by JohnFiscal » Wed May 16, 2018 8:47 pm

Planning a trip to Manila in August. I can save $1,400 (total) by using 140,000 Delta Skymiles.

I'm wondering if there is any potential downside to using the miles for this trip. It will be wife and I to visit her parents. We've made this trip probably 4 times before on the same route. Delta is always the best route for us to MNL (2 stops/about 24 total hours). There's no point in me considering anything else, believe me, I have put many dozens of hours into researching flights for these trips.

What I don't understand is if there is any potential downside to having paid with miles (plus some cash). Would that limit our flexibility in case there are problems with the flights? I'd rather be stuck in some domestic airport for this issue [eta: as on a different trip] than in Narita or Manila. OTOH, the route from here to MNL is simple and there is really no useful alternate.

Anyway, any downsides? TIA (I'd post over in flyertalk but I haven't been around there for awhile, wouldn't know the best place to post)
Last edited by JohnFiscal on Thu May 17, 2018 6:57 am, edited 1 time in total.

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whodidntante
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Re: any disadvantages to using Delta Skymiles for fare?

Post by whodidntante » Wed May 16, 2018 8:48 pm

I use my miles to buy tickets for companions and pay cash for my own, so I can qualify for higher tiers of status. If you rarely fly this will not be important to you.

Some airlines have restrictions on award tickets, like you cannot buy up to first class or whatever. Probably not an issue.

JohnFiscal
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Re: any disadvantages to using Delta Skymiles for fare?

Post by JohnFiscal » Wed May 16, 2018 9:18 pm

whodidntante wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 8:48 pm
I use my miles to buy tickets for companions and pay cash for my own, so I can qualify for higher tiers of status. If you rarely fly this will not be important to you.

Some airlines have restrictions on award tickets, like you cannot buy up to first class or whatever. Probably not an issue.
Thank you for the tips. Yes, won't be flying except with spouse, what with impending retirement.

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Alexa9
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Re: any disadvantages to using Delta Skymiles for fare?

Post by Alexa9 » Wed May 16, 2018 9:31 pm

Pay with miles whenever you can. I'd look and see how much those tickets would be if you paid cash to determine if it's worth it. That seems like a bargain to me at first glance.
If there's any problem at the airport (not sure why there would be), just pay with the Delta card and dispute it later. Don't let it wreck your trip.

TravelGeek
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Re: any disadvantages to using Delta Skymiles for fare?

Post by TravelGeek » Wed May 16, 2018 9:44 pm

You get one cent per Skymile, which is slightly lower than what some people like the Points Guy site value them. But not terrible IMO, especially if you don’t have any better alternative use for them that guarantees a higher value.

In theory award tickets may give you fewer protections in case of irregular operations, but in practice that is pretty unlikely. If your flight gets cancelled, Delta will still rebook you on a later flight operated by them. What they are less likely to do is rebook you on another airline if they can find you a perhaps less convenient but still suitable alternative that doesn’t require them to buy you a ticket for cash on some other airline.

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Watty
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Re: any disadvantages to using Delta Skymiles for fare?

Post by Watty » Wed May 16, 2018 9:49 pm

JohnFiscal wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 8:47 pm
Anyway, any downsides?
I'm not sure how it would work with an international flight if you got bumped with a ticket that you bought with miles but that might be different.

Unless you have something else that you might use the miles on in the near future I would tend to use them sooner rather than later since the frequent flyer miles are frequently devalued.

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whodidntante
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Re: any disadvantages to using Delta Skymiles for fare?

Post by whodidntante » Wed May 16, 2018 10:49 pm

Watty wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 9:49 pm
JohnFiscal wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 8:47 pm
Anyway, any downsides?
I'm not sure how it would work with an international flight if you got bumped with a ticket that you bought with miles but that might be different.

Unless you have something else that you might use the miles on in the near future I would tend to use them sooner rather than later since the frequent flyer miles are frequently devalued.
Rebooking priority is usually based on your status with the airline or partner network. Booking code or what you paid for the seat will be a factor if you are in competition with others of the same status.

Nate79
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Re: any disadvantages to using Delta Skymiles for fare?

Post by Nate79 » Wed May 16, 2018 11:42 pm

What else would you use the miles for? Isn't this why you collect them in the first place?

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Nestegg_User
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Re: any disadvantages to using Delta Skymiles for fare?

Post by Nestegg_User » Thu May 17, 2018 12:35 am

prior experience we had: had gotten two tickets- one purchased outright with the other with miles
flight was getting bumped- due to status of ticket from miles, it was lower rank and got bumped. we had to choose to both wait for ** whatever ** next flight they could get us on, not necessarily the next flight
( mileage fare seems to be the lowest rank and doesn’t have any way to get to be used towards a competitors flight, hence the need to wait until THEY can get you towards the destination)

TravelGeek
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Re: any disadvantages to using Delta Skymiles for fare?

Post by TravelGeek » Thu May 17, 2018 12:54 am

Yeah, pretty much the scenario I alluded to above as a small risk.

International long haul flights generally are very unlikely to get canceled, though. In over 1.5 million miles it happened to me exactly once due to an engine failure shortly after takeoff (return to airport), and they found us a new aircraft within a few hours. Granted, it was fortunate that this happened on departure from a major hub, but it still is a rare scenario that I don’t spend my time worrying about. Otherwise, why bother earning miles?

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catdude
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Re: any disadvantages to using Delta Skymiles for fare?

Post by catdude » Thu May 17, 2018 1:28 am

Years ago, when I lived in the D.C. area and traveled to the west coast a couple times a year, I always paid for plane tickets rather than used mileage credits. Those miles came in very handy a couple times when my parents got sick and I had to fly to Oregon on short notice. I used my miles to buy tickets then (once on United and once on American, IIRC); if I'd had to pay for tickets the cost would've been astronomical. So OP, that may be a reason to hang onto your miles -- you never know when there'll be a family emergency and the need to fly on short notice. But that said, I'm not sure how applicable this is to your situation... if you have to fly to the Philipines on short notice, it may not be possible to book a flight using miles.
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NoHeat
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Re: any disadvantages to using Delta Skymiles for fare?

Post by NoHeat » Thu May 17, 2018 5:29 am

JohnFiscal wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 8:47 pm
I'm wondering if there is any potential downside to using the miles for this trip.
One possible downside of not paying cash: if you cancel due to getting sick or a funeral, travel insurance can compensate if you paid cash, but likely not if you bought with miles.

I mention travel insurance because you sound like a candidate for it, with a trip well into the future by someone old enough to be near retirement.

dbr
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Re: any disadvantages to using Delta Skymiles for fare?

Post by dbr » Thu May 17, 2018 7:59 am

You should post in Flyertalk Delta Forum: https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/delta-a ... miles-665/

Those people are very expert in nuances of using miles for flight.

One downside is that $0.010 per mile is not very cost effective compared to better opportunities one might find. However if the use is there, that is what miles are for. An upside of using miles is that it is easier to cancel and refund miles than to do the same with paid tickets, usually, though there is a fee. Probably the question to ask over at FT is how things are handled if flights are delayed or cancelled.

KT785
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Re: any disadvantages to using Delta Skymiles for fare?

Post by KT785 » Thu May 17, 2018 8:13 am

I'll echo what several other posters have said, $0.01 per mile value is low considering what you can often extract out of Delta SkyMiles with some effort. For point of reference, my wife and I just traveled round trip to Germany--flying from our small regional airport to Munich and back via Atlanta. Cash price for the tickets would have been $3,000-$3,500 depending on when I booked the tickets . . . . I only used 120,000 Delta SkyMiles.

If you're not going to use them for any other purpose, it's a legitimate $1,400 in value, but for near-term future travel I might save them as you can likely get 2 or 3 times the value out of them depending on destination and planning.

SRenaeP
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Re: any disadvantages to using Delta Skymiles for fare?

Post by SRenaeP » Thu May 17, 2018 9:22 am

NoHeat wrote:
Thu May 17, 2018 5:29 am
JohnFiscal wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 8:47 pm
I'm wondering if there is any potential downside to using the miles for this trip.
One possible downside of not paying cash: if you cancel due to getting sick or a funeral, travel insurance can compensate if you paid cash, but likely not if you bought with miles.

I mention travel insurance because you sound like a candidate for it, with a trip well into the future by someone old enough to be near retirement.
Typically you can cancel and redeposit your miles. IIRC, there's a fee if it's within 72 hours of the flight. Nevertheless, it wouldn't be a total loss.

In the interest of full non-disclosure, I'm not a fan of travel insurance.

TravelGeek
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Re: any disadvantages to using Delta Skymiles for fare?

Post by TravelGeek » Thu May 17, 2018 1:58 pm

SRenaeP wrote:
Thu May 17, 2018 9:22 am
Typically you can cancel and redeposit your miles. IIRC, there's a fee if it's within 72 hours of the flight. Nevertheless, it wouldn't be a total loss.

In the interest of full non-disclosure, I'm not a fan of travel insurance.
I am not a fan of travel insurance either.

Redeposit fee is $150 per ticket, unless you are a higher level elite with Delta. And no redeposit within 72 hrs of departure.

What Will The Redeposit Fee Be If I Cancel An Award Booking?

The Award Ticket redeposit fee is $150 USD. This fee is waived for Diamond and Platinum Medallion members. Award Tickets not canceled at least 72 hours prior to the originating flight departure time are nonrefundable.


https://www.delta.com/content/www/en_US ... -faqs.html
Last edited by TravelGeek on Thu May 17, 2018 2:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

TravelGeek
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Re: any disadvantages to using Delta Skymiles for fare?

Post by TravelGeek » Thu May 17, 2018 2:07 pm

KT785 wrote:
Thu May 17, 2018 8:13 am
I'll echo what several other posters have said, $0.01 per mile value is low considering what you can often extract out of Delta SkyMiles with some effort. For point of reference, my wife and I just traveled round trip to Germany--flying from our small regional airport to Munich and back via Atlanta. Cash price for the tickets would have been $3,000-$3,500 depending on when I booked the tickets . . . . I only used 120,000 Delta SkyMiles.

If you're not going to use them for any other purpose, it's a legitimate $1,400 in value, but for near-term future travel I might save them as you can likely get 2 or 3 times the value out of them depending on destination and planning.
There's a reason Flyertalkers use the derogatory term "SkyPesos" for Delta miles.

Took me 10 years to find a use for my 130,000 Delta miles that didn't offend my frugality and "void" my FT membership, and I had to fly on New Year's Eve from Europe to the US in business class to get a decent valuation. Now, I admit I didn't check for every flight I took in those 10 years, but for most international trips. Either no business class availability or at ridiculous award rates.

If OP doesn't have a lot of travel opportunities coming up where they might be able to use the miles, I would use them now. They don't get more valuable with time. This is often a problem when people jump into the mileage game because of the hype they come across on the web, and they don't actually travel much and/or with no flexibility (gotta go Thanksgiving and Xmas), so not a lot of flexibility in leveraging the miles.
Last edited by TravelGeek on Thu May 17, 2018 2:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

ssquared87
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Re: any disadvantages to using Delta Skymiles for fare?

Post by ssquared87 » Thu May 17, 2018 2:20 pm

It's a decent deal, but see how many more points a business or first class ticket is. While it may cost more points, you may get better value per point..i.e. cost double the points but the ticket would be more than double the price if paying with cash. May not be worth it if its not a long flight though, but generally you get better value by using points for business and first class tickets than coach.

Either way, using the points is best bet. You'll save lots of points, and lock in rewards at the current value. In 6 months or 6 weeks delta may decrease the redemption value of the points who knows. Devaluations happen every so often, so points are worth more now than they will be a year from now...don't horde them.

Starper
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Re: any disadvantages to using Delta Skymiles for fare?

Post by Starper » Thu May 17, 2018 2:22 pm

Which airline did you use to book tickets with delta miles from the US to Manila?

Fid you have to call delta or use the website?

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