Delta Award Flight – Eking Out Value from Delta SkyPennies Currency to Alaska

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a man and woman sitting in an airplane

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This second post in my review series of my first ever Alaskan cruise is the type of post I would normally put up on EyeOfTheFlyer but since this is all part of my cruise adventure I wanted to include it here. Plus, as Chris has posted a number of times here on FrequentFloaters, accumulating different airline points can help you greatly reduce the out of pocket cost of your next great cruise adventure.

a cup of beer and a card on a table

While I am currently a top elite with Delta, that is a Diamond Medallion, I have some nice perks not everyone would have access to, but I have some ideas for you to lock into your mind while walking through this post. After booking my cruise (more on that later in the series) I started looking for airline tickets, on Delta points, that would yield a high value, that is, a low cost in points. As I posted about here on the blog I found a remarkable redemption for Delta main cabin seats for just 11,000 points each way!

a cup of liquid on a napkin next to a piece of paper

With my status from Delta I get a number of coach to 1st class upgrade coupons and there was space on the way to Alaska to use them so I booked coach out and simply paid up 40,000 points more for the return in 1st class. For 51,000 points per person in 1st class (plus a few dollars in fees) I was pleased with the results.

a tv on a plane

a tray with food on it

After all having free wifi (for part of the trip until we crossed into no-mans land over Canada) a large seat, great in flight entertainment with my bluetooth headphones with (as you see in the shot above) my bluetooth transmitter plugged into the headphone port as well as lunch and first class service was exactly what I was looking for to beginning this adventure in style and at an affordable price.

a aerial view of mountains and clouds

Now that is all great but how can everyone who cruises benefit from this information? I always try to book fully refundable points awards (or as close to refundable) tickets on not just Delta but any airline that can offer a good price in points. That way, as I get closer and closer to the date of sailing, I can keep looking for better choices to get me from A-B either at a better point price or a better experience. Many times the best way to do this is booking two one-way awards rather than a round trip so you can then adjust each way on it’s own for better deals (avoid this with programs with high change fees).

aerial view of a city and clouds

Here is another great way to jump on stunning values like the 11,000 Delta points offer. With Delta you can book for yourself more than one seat. So if you are two traveling in my example you could book 3 seats for 2 of you for 33,000 points each way. Having an empty middle seat make that experience soooooooo much better and really gives you a 1st class “lite” experience for a longer flight. Not all airlines will allow this but it is worth checking on and then follow the rules of always checking in both of your boarding passes along the way (and one of my favorite posts I have ever written btw)! 🙂

a screenshot of a flight status

Oh here is another great tip to save you a little bit more. If your bag is late (as was mine) you can get a small refund in Delta points for waiting around. Even with my value of Delta SkyPennies at just 1 cent each this is a $25 refund toward your next award trip! – René

 

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2 COMMENTS

  1. René, looks like a solid use of points and upgrade certificates. Were you able to use RUCs (Regional Upgrade Certificates) or GUCs (Global Upgrade Certificates) for the flight to Alaska? Also, were you able to apply from ORD:SEA:ANC or just the SEA:ANC leg? It seems like Delta is “pricing” the RUC/GUC based on difference in fare, having nothing to do with distance or geography as the names imply.

    We are booked on a cruise this fall and as you’ve done, I’ve already booked two one-way awards tickets, in case something more appealing pops up. For our outbound to Quito, similar to you, we’ve booked using points for coach and applied GUC for upgrade to first. Nothing has cleared yet as Delta keeps changing the schedule and aircraft, we don’t even have assigned seats yet…

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