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From now until September 30. 2011 Delta is running a 100% promotion on purchased and transferred Skymiles. Is this a good deal? It can be, if you use the miles wisely (and I’ve written a lot on how to maximize Delta awards, like here, here, here and here). The transfer option is more lucrative than buying Miles. Let’s take a look:
Buy Miles: Miles cost 3.5 cents a piece, with a maximum purchase of 60,000 per year (120,000 including bonus) and the price comes to $2,100 for a grand total of 120,000 miles. 120,000 Delta miles will get you to Asia in business class or like I did this summer – Europe and most of Africa (except South Africa, which is 140,000). Would you pay $2,100 for a business class trip to to Asia or Africa? I know I would. However, the transfer miles is a much better deal as long as you have miles to work with.
Transfer Miles: Cost is 1 cent a mile to transfer plus a $30 fee per transfer, with a maximum transfer of 150,000 per year (300,000 received) and they can only be transferred in 30,000 mile segments. So in essence you are buying miles at 1.1 cents each since each transfer of 30,000 miles costs $330. If you max out this promo, you would do that 5 times for $1,650 and you’d end up with 150,000 new Skymiles. 150,000 Skymiles can get you business class from the US to Australia (even on partner airline V Australia), US to Tahiti in business class on Air France. This is an incredible deal.
While Skymiles are among the hardest miles to use due to Delta.com being broken and the award engine pricing awards at eye-popping levels, huge value can be had – especially when booking partner awards because they are always at the low level. Also beware that Delta just instituted a nasty rule that awards can not be changed within 72 hours of departure. You may have to jump through hoops to use these miles, but I do firmly believe there is huge value with Skymiles, because I’ve personally redeemed them for unbelievable trips.
Before getting in on this promotion, I recommend researching your potential awards before you get the miles so you know what you are in for. An Expertflyer subscription will make your life easier because it shows partner award space on Air France/KLM/Alitalia/China Southern/Aeroflot/Air Europa/Alaska/China Eastern/Air Tahiti Nui/Gol/Hawaiian and Malaysian. While Delta award space is not on Expertflyer, you can search for mileage upgrade space.
As always – feel free to comment below with any questions.