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Delta Is Incredibly Stingy With Rewards

Yesterday I got an e-mail from Delta Airlines, offering 30,000 bonus miles in its frequent flyer program if I’d sign up for its Gold SkyMiles American Express credit card.

Today I opened up the Wall Street Journal to find a study that shows how incredibly difficult it is to redeem those miles.

An independent consulting company found that Delta could fulfill only 12.9% of the requests it submitted for seats using the standard mileage levels.

Worst airlines for redeeming frequent flyer miles

Of the 22 airlines it tested, USAirways was the only one that fared worse, fulfilling only 10.7% of requests for frequent flyer seats.

“The numbers codify what a lot of fliers have suspected for some time,” the Journal says. Some “airlines are making it almost impossible to score a free trip using miles — at least without having to pay a significantly higher price in miles than the standard award.”

Compare Delta’s performance to that of Southwest, which fulfilled 99.3% of requests for award seats requiring standard mileage levels.

Best airlines for redeeming frequent flyer miles

Oh, and Southwest doesn’t charge extra to check bags.

Don’t sign up for any airline credit card until you’ve read this report because miles you can’t use are miles you don’t need.

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Comments (2)
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  1. CrankySaver said:
    on June 4th at 01:28 pm

    I don’t know if this beatdown had anything to do with it, but Delta just announced it is eliminating all SkyMiles redemption fees, effectively immediately. That means you’ll no longer have to pay a fee of up to $150 to use your miles to book a ticket within 20 days of travel.

  2. Beatrice said:
    on March 8th at 11:10 pm

    I have been trying for three years yo use my Delta miles booking as long as 9 months ahead for a saver award New York to Paris.
    I regularly go on line to check.
    I have not been able to get a seat for 60 000 miles which is what a saver award costs.
    I have written to Delta about it and get the same standard answer that award seats are capacity controlled. I can tell you that Delta miles are worthless at the saver award level .they simply do not exist.
    No such problem with united American jet blue or Southwest