Christmas Travel Booked! ...and why I am ditching Delta Skymiles

I decided to start shopping early this year. Since I am using 99% of my vacation time for Asia I have nothing left for my Christmas trip home. Driving doesn't make sense since I will only be home for 3 days. I decided I would fly down and try to use miles to book it. I made it happen but not how I would have liked.

I first searched for award seats to my home airport. Delta wanted 40,000 miles round trip. Really? For an empty 37 minute fligh? I'll pass.

Next I looked at what it cost to buy outright. $220.00 for the fare. Very reasonable for a holiday weekend to and airport where Delta is the ONLY airline that flies there. I turned my 40,000 mile ticket into a 20,000 mile ticket using their Pay with Miles option. Using 20,000 miles took $200 off the fare. I paid the remaining $20.

In the end I got the times and flights I wanted and it only cost me $15 more and 5,000 less miles than a standard award seat. A very good deal in my opinion and makes the already stressful holiday much easier. I don't have to do the 5-hour drive each way alone, no unpaid time off work, and no traffic to deal with.

This is one of several award ticket searches on Delta where I cannot find the low level award seats. As far as I can tell they are virtually non-existent unless you want to take very inconvenient flight times or long layovers. In my eyes the value of Delta Skymiles are dropping rapidly. Hence my earning switch to Star Alliance/United.

As a quick comparison I just did a dummy award ticket search for Atlanta to Bangkok on my departure date of November 5. Delta still wants the "medium" price. On Continental/United I found 14 options all at the low price level. Amazing the difference! Granted I could call Delta and look for Korean Air availability but that is tough too. And requires calling in. It took me 30 seconds to find the 14 Star Alliance options.

Hence I am ditching Delta miles as much as I possibly can. I will still fly them and earn them but won't expect a lot from them. I just hope I can get lucky enough to find low level seats and use them someday. I plan on burning the miles as I go since I suspect they will continue to lose value. I am not the only one. People are leaving Delta in droves because of this exact problem. Their low level awards are borderline false advertising.