Just When I Think I’m Done With Skymiles, They Pull Me Back In

Delta Skymiles were the first airline miles currency I used with any frequency. I flew Delta often and they were a transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards, the only credit card I used, at the time, that earned points. I then started collecting them for real when I knew we were looking to go to Australia. Delta ran an offer in 2011 where if you transferred miles, they would double the amount of miles you were transferring, basically letting you buy Skymiles at a little more than a cent a piece. I maxed out Sharon’s and my limits on transferring miles. In retrospect I lucked out because in 2014 I was able to book two business class tickets from Los Angeles to Sydney on Virgin Australia using our Skymiles.

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Once we were done with that trip, I was out of Delta Skymiles. I started signing up for Delta American Express credit cards whenever they increased the sign up bonuses, getting the Gold cards for both of us. I even had the Platinum card for a while. I built up decent balances in our accounts and was waiting for the time to use them when it happened. Delta decided to get rid of their mileage charts. No longer did you know how many miles you would need to redeem for an award. If it was a busier time or a special event or just because they felt like it, Delta could start charging whatever number of Skymiles they wanted. I was screwed. I sat with six digit Skymiles balances in both Sharon and my accounts and could never find a good use for them. For a trip to Europe, I was able to find saver level tickets with United and American but Delta’s prices in miles were almost double. Even trips to New York from Orlando were pricing at 15,000 miles or more each way when the cash prices for tickets were around $100. I looked into Delta’s Pay with Miles program and could redeem Skymiles for 1 cent each. I really considered this to be a good option to liquidate my miles but by the time I was actually ready to do this, I no longer had a Delta AMEX card that’s required to give me that option.

Then, slowly, something started to happen. Delta began to adjust the prices needed to make award flights. No longer was a flight set at 12,500 miles for a one-way trip. I was able to book a flight from Las Vegas to Orange County, CA airport for 5,500 Skymiles. I also was able to find seats from Los Angeles to Orlando, a one way non-stop flight that often goes for $200-$250, for only 12,500 Skymiles. Oh no, not again.

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So now I’m beginning to think there’s value in having Skymiles again. I’m not the only one that’s noticed the change, as the MommyPoints and Points Guy websites have also observed the same thing happening. In addition to this, American Express has gone all in on their Skymiles credit cards, offering higher than normal sign up bonuses. I was able to get a Gold business card with a 60,000 point sign up bonus and Sharon received a targeted offer of 75,000 Skymiles for getting the Gold Skymiles AMEX. The latter one was particularly nice because American Express usually limits you to one sign up bonus per “lifetime,” unless you receive a specific offer not including that exclusion.

I’m taking full advantage of the ease to rack up Skymiles but I’m also looking for any way to use them before the prices rise again. I just found flights to New York for 6,500 Skymiles plus $5.60 in taxes and it’s not the flight at 6AM that no one wants to take, either. With a cash price of $165 for the same flight, that’s getting 2.5 cents per Skymile and I’ll take that all day, everyday.

So for the time being Delta, you have me. But I’m not stupid. I know you could decide that I’m no longer worth it to you. Before throwing me aside, just remember that American is over there offering Sharon Platinum Pro status just for saying hello.

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