This post is the counter argument.
Capital One miles have a fixed value, and can be redeemed at one cent per mile on any ticket available for purchase. 40,000 Capital One miles can be redeemed for $400 off any flight, and for many, this easy conversion system makes life a lot simpler when firming up travel plans.
The legacy carriers, such as Delta Airlines, allow miles to stretch quite a bit further than their Capital One counterparts. Delta, for instance, publishes an award chart with "Low" "Medium" and "High" award tickets. A "low" award ticket for domestic round trip travel is 25,000 miles, "medium" is 40,000 miles, and "high" is 60,000 miles. Delta markets this award chart as user friendly. Travelers never have to worry about award seats not being available! They are always bookable with miles....not always at the price you want to pay, though. Let me explain three reasons why booking Delta awards isn't always a bed of roses.
1. "Low" level tickets are often extremely hard to find
I decided to take a look at travel from Atlanta to Honolulu in November or December. Ms. CCT and I traveled this route last year, but we paid cash because the fare was so low. The award chart, unfortunately, was a grizzly mess when I checked. There were very few green (low) dates. Nearly every day was at "medium" or "high." After saving for a long time, you can imagine how defeating it is to see that the trip you envisioned will cost nearly double what it would with another airline.
|Where Have All The Reasonable Awards Gone?|
2. The calendar may show "low" awards that don't really exist
This problem comes from first hand experience and it really highlights the IT issues that Delta.com has. A "low" coach ticket award from the U.S. to Europe costs 60,000 Skymiles. This is very reasonable and in line with what the other carriers are charging. Because I have family in Madrid, I thought to take a look at the Atlanta-Madrid route in November. See below.
|Lots of Green Options!|
|Hey! That's Not What I Wanted!|
3. No One-Way awards
Like U.S. Airways, Delta charges the same number of miles for a one-way as a round trip award ticket. This greatly limits the flexibility of Skymiles, especially when you are faced with a rather expensive award booking.
|Skymiles: The Rare Way To Get to Mauritius|
Don't fret because in future posts I will show you some ways to harness the Delta Award Calendar. There really are some good deals to be had with Skymiles. Don't lose hope! If you are planning on booking a Delta award ticket or have some Skymiles lying around, don't hesitate to email me. I can help. Until tomorrow!
-Charm City Traveler