Blogger Confessions: Really Bad Redemption Of Miles

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A while ago, we shared a confession on something done here at Points, Miles & Martinis that we weren’t proud of, a few really bad award redemptions. from exchanging one years’ worth of Amex points for shirts, to redeeming SPG points for Amazon Gift Cards because I feared a devaluation was imminent to using SPG Flights to purchase two round trip domestic tickets to Austin, we’ve done our fare share of bad redemptions here at Points, Miles & Martinis.

But for some reason we haven’t learned our lesson and we’ve done it again.

Another (Not So) Bad Redemption

I have more Delta SkyMiles than I know what to do with. So when I looked at an upcoming flight out west from Atlanta and saw the First Class price was about $1,200 and a Coach seat was going for ~$650, I considered using Delta SkyMiles. I mean, when you have the Delta Reserve Credit Card from American Express and the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express you tend to rack up quite a bit of airline miles.

Since the tickets were so high priced, I looked at award tickets and even considered the Pay With Miles option for holders of the the following cards:

Mile Redemption

The miles required for the first class ticket ranged from astronomically high 100,000 miles to only moderately ridiculous 80,000 miles. But in all seriousness, I like having the last seat availability option with the higher priced awards. Even though it requires more miles and I’d rather be using far less miles, I can generally book a ticket because I have so many miles to burn. I get a seat, Delta takes a bunch more miles out of my account. Its a win win.

The flight option requiring 80,000 miles would have worked just fine. But I’m looking for MQMs to maintain Platinum Status next year which I’ve earned the easy way.

Pay With Miles Redemption

It’s no Delta Secret that the Pay With Miles Option can add value when you are looking to pad your account with MQMs. But this option would require me to come up with enough miles to cover the $1,200 cost. That would mean 120,000 Delta SkyMiles for a First Class Ticket. I’d earn miles and MQMs with the flight so its not like I’d be at a total loss once the miles were redeemed. So I went with this option and saw a big reduction of 120,000 drop out of my account faster than you see United copy every move Delta makes.

Bottom Line

This was arguably a bone head redemption, but it worked for me at the time. Can I change the decision now? No. So I’ll live with yet another (not so) bad award redemption, the MQMs that come along with it, and hopefully, I’ll get to enjoy another one of Delta’s First Class Omelette’s.


There’s my confession. Now it’s your turn. What was the worst award redemption you’ve ever made using points or miles? Don’t say you’ve never made one because we all know you’ve been there too.

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About The Weekly Flyer

The Weekly Flyer writes about travel from a business traveler perspective. He travels the world every week accumulating points and miles along the way.

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  1. Geez…And I thought booking RT TRANSCON economy for 40K SkyMiles was bad. Why didn’t you just book the 80K or 100K miles ticket instead of the 120K Cash redemption ticket?

  2. So not a super HORRIBLE redemption, but the very first redemption I did was going CVG-CLT-FLL for 20,000 miles a person (that was with the 5000 mile discount for having the US Airways Mastercard), when I should have used 7500 Avios to go CVG-MIA.

    Fewer points AND a non-stop flight instead of connecting…

  3. I used 100,000 AMEX pts to get a $1000 gift card and used amazon payments to turn it into $1000 cash. Not the worst use, but i had several times in the next few months where that 100k Amex points would have come handy. I think a redemption only is really “bad” when later on those points can be used for a greater value.

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