Delta Refugees Welcome

Old Sep 13, 2023, 6:34 pm
  #1  
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Delta Refugees Welcome

A hearty hello to all the other refugees fleeing Delta. I look forward to learning the ins and outs of a different FF program together.
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Old Sep 13, 2023, 6:50 pm
  #2  
 
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Originally Posted by ekozie
A hearty hello to all the other refugees fleeing Delta. I look forward to learning the ins and outs of a different FF program together.
Welcome!

While none of the US big 3 FF programs are great, as far as return on $ spent, DL has been the worst for awhile now.

Rack up some AA LPs and then take an Etihad first class trip to Thailand or something for 90,000 LPs, and you'll see what you've been missing. I don't think DL has any sweet spot redemptions quite like that.

Caveat -- others on this sub-forum will differ in preferences, but I stick with AA for 3 reasons mainly: 1) as an EP I get a lot of upgrades, and Admirals Clubs aren't **too** crowded; 2) internationally, AA biz is actually not too bad and their lounges and partner lounges are some of the best; 3) I like taking some pretty aspirational and epic reward trips to international destinations (already been to Fiji and Tokyo this year in J, going to Bangkok in December), and AA's partners and partner-award chart still make this **relatively** easy compared to UA and DL (you can def find Int'l 1st and Biz availability on JL, Fiji, EY, QR, etc. ***relatively** frequently if you keep your nose to the ground).
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Old Sep 13, 2023, 6:55 pm
  #3  
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Originally Posted by ekozie
A hearty hello to all the other refugees fleeing Delta. I look forward to learning the ins and outs of a different FF program together.
Welcome. I'm not sure of your travel patterns but if you are paying for your own travel (as opposed to business travel on OPM) the "cheat code" for AA is to earn miles with partners (aa hotels and shopping portal mostly, augmented with some CC spend) which will get you LP (ie, status) as well as miles, and then use those miles for cheap domestic economy awards (you'll be eligible for upgrades with status) and partner business or first class international flights (the award chart is very good). Basically, never pay for flights.

If you do have to pay for a flight (no cheap awards), you get all your status benefits (MCE seating, free checked bags, eligible for upgrades) on basic economy fares. They are unchangeable and earn only 40% of the miles and LP, though, so there are some downsides, but it's not as bad as with other airlines.

When I did a search, I was shocked to see that DL was charging 180k miles for economy awards to Asia, and 495k for business. You can get partner business awards for 60k (JL, CX) and AA metal economy awards for as little as 23k (that's the cheapest I've seen recently, anyway). Partner awards are NOT dynamic so they will always be 60k for business (57.5k to Europe) if you can find them. Try to avoid BA to Europe -- they charge hefty fees. AY is your friend if you are ok connecting in Helsinki (also a great city and worth visiting in the summer, if you haven't been).

IMO it's easily the best program in the US if you are paying for your own flights (UA might be better if you do mostly business travel)

Enjoy!
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Old Sep 13, 2023, 6:59 pm
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Welcome. My word of caution is that I would not assume that the status thresholds and LP earning rates that we've seen on AA this year will carry over into the next status year, which begins in March 2024. We shall see . . .
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Old Sep 13, 2023, 6:59 pm
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Originally Posted by VegasGambler
Welcome. I'm not sure of your travel patterns but if you are paying for your own travel (as opposed to business travel on OPM) the "cheat code" for AA is to earn miles with partners (aa hotels and shopping portal mostly, augmented with some CC spend) which will get you LP (ie, status) as well as miles, and then use those miles for cheap domestic economy awards (you'll be eligible for upgrades with status) and partner business or first class international flights (the award chart is very good). Basically, never pay for flights.

If you do have to pay for a flight (no cheap awards), you get all your status benefits (MCE seating, free checked bags, eligible for upgrades) on basic economy fares. They are unchangeable and earn only 40% of the miles and LP, though, so there are some downsides, but it's not as bad as with other airlines.

When I did a search, I was shocked to see that DL was charging 180k miles for economy awards to Asia, and 495k for business. You can get partner business awards for 60k (JL, CX) and AA metal economy awards for as little as 23k (that's the cheapest I've seen recently, anyway). Partner awards are NOT dynamic so they will always be 60k for business (57.5k to Europe) if you can find them. Try to avoid BA to Europe -- they charge hefty fees. AY is your friend if you are ok connecting in Helsinki (also a great city and worth visiting in the summer, if you haven't been).

IMO it's easily the best program in the US if you are paying for your own flights (UA might be better if you do mostly business travel)

Enjoy!
Lots of good points here. Agree that UA might be better if you do mostly biz travel and your company pays for it (more partners, generally more access to more corners of the world on *A), but if your travel is primarily domestic (when you're earning points), and you want to take some trips to far-flung destinations some day, AA is the place to earn airline-specific miles in the US.

Otherwise, earn from transfer partners (Amex, Citi, Capital One, Chase, etc.) and transfer to Air Canada Aeroplan or Avianca LifeMiles.
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Old Sep 13, 2023, 7:22 pm
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Originally Posted by npretnar
Rack up some AA LPs and then take an Etihad first class trip to Thailand or something for 90,000 LPs, and you'll see what you've been missing. I don't think DL has any sweet spot redemptions quite like that.
OP needs to rack up some AA miles, not loyalty points. Miles get you to Thailand on Etihad. Loyalty points (LPs) get you to #19 on the upgrade list.

Originally Posted by VegasGambler
Welcome. I'm not sure of your travel patterns but if you are paying for your own travel (as opposed to business travel on OPM) the "cheat code" for AA is to earn miles with partners...

IMO it's easily the best program in the US if you are paying for your own flights (UA might be better if you do mostly business travel)
Why does it matter who is paying for travel? A mile (or LP) earned is a mile (or LP) earned regardless of who is paying for the travel, no?
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Old Sep 13, 2023, 7:48 pm
  #7  
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One thing I really do have to give AA credit for is that, IMHO, the switch to LP has (intentionally I have to think) gamified the program in a way that keeps people more engaged, as there are still some outsized opportunities to earn LPs. Not the case with DLís new program which is just straight revenue, even for non airline partner earnings that count.
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Old Sep 13, 2023, 7:49 pm
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Originally Posted by Herb687
OP needs to rack up some AA miles, not loyalty points. Miles get you to Thailand on Etihad. Loyalty points (LPs) get you to #19 on the upgrade list.
Correct. And if you want to go from the U.S. to Thailand in Etihad F, it's going to cost you 165,000 AA miles, not 90,000.
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Old Sep 13, 2023, 7:54 pm
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Originally Posted by Herb687
Why does it matter who is paying for travel? A mile (or LP) earned is a mile (or LP) earned regardless of who is paying for the travel, no?
It matters because the UA program is good but the only way to get status is to spend a lot on flights. This is not a problem if someone else is paying, but it's a problem if I'm paying.

On the other hand, you can be EXP on AA without spending any money on flights at all.

Earning miles and LP through other (cheaper) methods and using the miles to fly for free is a good method if you would have to otherwise pay for your flights, but it's not worth much if your employer pays for your flights anyway. I expect to have about $1000 of spend on flights this year, and still requalify for EXP. All my other travel was / will be with miles.
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Old Sep 13, 2023, 8:04 pm
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From a former DL refugee, who is inching closer and closer to free agency, welcome.
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Old Sep 13, 2023, 8:09 pm
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Originally Posted by npretnar
Welcome!

While none of the US big 3 FF programs are great, as far as return on $ spent, DL has been the worst for awhile now.

Rack up some AA LPs and then take an Etihad first class trip to Thailand or something for 90,000 LPs, and you'll see what you've been missing. I don't think DL has any sweet spot redemptions quite like that.

Caveat -- others on this sub-forum will differ in preferences, but I stick with AA for 3 reasons mainly: 1) as an EP I get a lot of upgrades, and Admirals Clubs aren't **too** crowded; 2) internationally, AA biz is actually not too bad and their lounges and partner lounges are some of the best; 3) I like taking some pretty aspirational and epic reward trips to international destinations (already been to Fiji and Tokyo this year in J, going to Bangkok in December), and AA's partners and partner-award chart still make this **relatively** easy compared to UA and DL (you can def find Int'l 1st and Biz availability on JL, Fiji, EY, QR, etc. ***relatively** frequently if you keep your nose to the ground).
As a former AA EP now DL diamond, I do appreciate AA's better aircraft, warm nuts and hot towels. Definitely will be flying Oneworld more often now. Delta is the original and sustained hosing leader of the pack indeed.
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Old Sep 13, 2023, 8:24 pm
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Originally Posted by guv1976
Correct. And if you want to go from the U.S. to Thailand in Etihad F, it's going to cost you 165,000 AA miles, not 90,000.
It depends on where you start the journey. I just paid 90k for LHR-BKK via Abu Dhabi
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Old Sep 13, 2023, 8:26 pm
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Originally Posted by Herb687
OP needs to rack up some AA miles, not loyalty points. Miles get you to Thailand on Etihad. Loyalty points (LPs) get you to #19 on the upgrade list.
No. LPs and miles are equivalent. If you earn 90k LPs on CC spend you can redeem those for partner travel.
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Old Sep 13, 2023, 8:31 pm
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Originally Posted by npretnar
No. LPs and miles are equivalent. If you earn 90k LPs on CC spend you can redeem those for partner travel.
Except for the bonus LPs earned at 60K and 100K thresholds. Those don't earn miles. But as mentioned upstream, no guarantees that program aspect will roll over to next year regardless.
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Old Sep 13, 2023, 8:54 pm
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Originally Posted by npretnar
It depends on where you start the journey. I just paid 90k for LHR-BKK via Abu Dhabi
That's true. But since both you and the OP list the U.S. as your country of residence, I'm sure that you'll forgive me for thinking that you were talking about U.S.-Thailand award travel.
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