Jay's Corner: Miles and Miles- Part One

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Miles and Miles
Part 1:  Elite Miles

Terms you need to know:
FF Miles – Frequent Flier miles  - you spend these
EQM or MQD – Elite Qualifying Miles or Medallion Qualifying Miles – These are Status Miles
MR – Mileage Run – a set of back to back flights with a goal of getting a lot of miles cheap.  Like Oakland to Maui via Salt Lake and LA for $200 and 7300 miles with connections round trip. It took 3 days, 15,000 miles, 15 airports $400.00, no hotels, a few meals, 4 showers at LAX skyclub and 3 new friends.
MR/Trip – is my own creation where I find a good deal like Chicago to Istanbul for $600 round trip and I go and stay for a long weekend.  Purists don’t consider it a MR but it’s my blog.  I have only done on pure MR.
First we have to start off with the fact that there are two kinds of miles that you receive when you fly from point A to B and back.  You receive Elite Status Miles  these mile reset to zero every year.  You need to collect increments of 25000 miles to receive perks  on the airline every year.  I will use Delta because it is what I fly as an example.  The second type is Frequent Flier Miles (FF Miles) these you can spend for tickets and will be covered in Part 2 of Miles and Miles.





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Delta has a 4 tier mileage system.   With perks that go with each:
 Silver 25,000 miles –  One Free checked bag, discount on Economy Comfort and access to exit rows, slim chance for upgrade to First Class.  10%
Gold 50,000 miles –  Priority check-in, security and boarding, Free EC seat domestic and reduced  international flights and exit row access.    Better shot at First Class 40% depending on airport and destination.  Minnesota to Alaska good chance.  Atlanta to LA no chance.   
Platinum -75,000 miles – Priority check-in, security and boarding, Free EC seat domestic and Free EC  international flights and exit row access.    Better shot at First Class 70% depending on airport and destination.  Cincinnati to Washington good chance,   Cincinnati to San Francisco slim chance.  One free gift from Delta like upgrade passes or gifting Elite Silver Medallion status to someone and more.
Diamond 125,000 miles – Priority check-in, security and boarding, Free EC seat domestic and Free EC  international flights and exit row access.    Better shot at First Class 90% depending on airport and destination.  Cincinnati to Washington very good chance,   Cincinnati to San Francisco fair chance.  Two free gifts from Delta like FREE Skyclub membership, upgrade passes good for 4 international flights on discounted fares (new this year) or gifting Elite Gold Medallion status to someone and a 125% milage bonus for FF Miles  so you fly 1000 mile you receive 2500 FF miles.
Here is a link: https://www.delta.com/content/www/en_US/skymiles/about-skymiles/medallion-program/medallion-benefits.html



With Delta unlike the other carriers, Delta has a very strong tie to American Express.  If you have an American Express card you can earn Elite Medallion Miles and Frequent Flyer miles.  The card also gives you an edge on the upgrade list over others with just status.  Delta has also introduced a new qualifying hurdle that tracks your spending on Delta.  You now have to spend $2500 to make Silver Medallion as well as fly 25,000 miles.  Unless you have that magic American Express Card. (I don’t and never will)



Last year I flew for status.  My goal Gold for two free bags so I could bring back two cases of wine from Napa, CA for free.  We I got a little crazy and next thing you know I am passing Platinum heading for Diamond.  This was a dilemma but due to some weird circumstances and a Mileage Run of 19,000 miles in three days of nonstop back to back flights taking me through Maui twice and LA four times from Oakland for $400 round trip I end up with 128,000 status miles for the year spending around $6000.  Destinations that I actually spent time at included -   Hawaii, San Juan, Istanbul, San Francisco, Washington DC, Italy, Alaska, Greece, Paris, Israel, San Francisco.  Of course I didn’t always fly straight there, one example of a MR/Trip was Cincinnati to Atlanta to Mexico City to Paris $650 round trip for 16,000 Elite Miles and 32,000 Frequent Flier Miles.