26k Delta RTs - Zürich Winter - all USA

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26k Delta RTs - Zürich Winter - all USA

Postby ChrisC » Fri Aug 24, 2018 9:41 am

Amazing DELTA deal - 26k frequent flier trips from anywhere in USA.

Easy 3+ hr trains to Austria (St Anton, Lech, etc), Zermatt, Andermatt, Davis, etc.

Better deal than flying anywhere out west.

My year for Austria - but not much of a loss (redopisit fee) if snow is bad.
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Re: 26k Delta RTs - Zürich Winter - all USA

Postby Tony Crocker » Sat Aug 25, 2018 2:20 pm

That mileage deal is consistent with the cash price we paid a week ago.

We fly LAX - GVA Jan. 16 and return Feb. 3, both trips via Amsterdam. $566pp round trip.

Since our trips are longer, we rent a car and go where weather/snow looks appealing. Last year that meant we landed in Geneva Thursday and were skiing 600 miles distant in the Dolomites by Saturday because it was raining to 2,000 meters in the NW quadrant of the the Alps that weekend.

Hopefully we can stay within that NW quadrant in 2019. Liz' ski club is in Verbier the last week of our trip. We may try to go there but we don't want to stay at the $600/night hotel they are using. We have done just fine in the $300-$400 range in the Alps the last two seasons. Verbier is one of the most expensive resorts, but Lech, Saalbach, Arabba and Val d'Isere aren't exactly downscale either.
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Re: 26k Delta RTs - Zürich Winter - all USA

Postby jamesdeluxe » Mon Aug 27, 2018 6:35 pm

Unbelievable deal. I wonder what is possessing Delta to give away FF awards like that? I see that they're routing you through JFK, so that's a full day of travel from SFO -- still, you can't look that gift horse in the mouth.
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Re: 26k Delta RTs - Zürich Winter - all USA

Postby ChrisC » Fri Oct 05, 2018 1:25 am

Tony Crocker wrote:That mileage deal is consistent with the cash price we paid a week ago.

We fly LAX - GVA Jan. 16 and return Feb. 3, both trips via Amsterdam. $566pp round trip.

Since our trips are longer, we rent a car and go where weather/snow looks appealing. Last year that meant we landed in Geneva Thursday and were skiing 600 miles distant in the Dolomites by Saturday because it was raining to 2,000 meters in the NW quadrant of the the Alps that weekend.

Hopefully we can stay within that NW quadrant in 2019. Liz' ski club is in Verbier the last week of our trip. We may try to go there but we don't want to stay at the $600/night hotel they are using. We have done just fine in the $300-$400 range in the Alps the last two seasons. Verbier is one of the most expensive resorts, but Lech, Saalbach, Arabba and Val d'Isere aren't exactly downscale either.


I wished I had the chance to ski Verbier last winter - so many excellent steep lines. But I could not get my brother to go there in early February (not enough marketing) - and had to see my Patriots try again at a Super Bowl. And in April - they closed down all their great lifts a week or two before I go there - Mt. Gele specifically.

Hotel rooms at Verbier seem really high. You can always do better in Zermatt or Chamonix. However, a traditional chalet experience in Europe - don't they have a lot?

And James - your expert knowledge on all these mid/small European resorts. I don't know how you track them down?!
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Re: 26k Delta RTs - Zürich Winter - all USA

Postby jamesdeluxe » Fri Oct 05, 2018 7:48 am

ChrisC wrote:James - your expert knowledge on all these mid/small European resorts. I don't know how you track them down?!

Good artists copy; great artists steal:
https://www.alpinforum.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=9

Click on any of the countries/regions and there are hundreds of geeky reports (they're as nuts about lifts as bestsnow.net is about snow quality) from virtually every ski area imaginable on that side of the pond, including Scandinavia, Russia, the Balkans, Caucasus, the Middle East, Western/Central Asia, etc. Enough to make your head spin.
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Re: 26k Delta RTs - Zürich Winter - all USA

Postby jamesdeluxe » Mon Nov 26, 2018 5:43 am

United is holding a Cyber Monday sale on FF awards for roundtrips to Europe (45K instead of 60) so I jumped on one for the second week of March to Zurich. Unfortunately, there were no discounts to Geneva, so my previously mentioned possibility of checking out Gstaad (or the 4 Valleys if conditions at lower elevations were suspect) will have to wait for another year.

Flights can only be on United (no partners/connecting flights inside Europe) and discounts vary according to your FF level; thus, those with higher status can get flights for 30K roundtrip -- the rich get richer.
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Re: 26k Delta RTs - Zürich Winter - all USA

Postby ChrisC » Wed Dec 05, 2018 9:05 pm

Last year I flew AA to Geneva for 46k miles in late January - which I thought was very good - meeting my brother in London. He used British Air miles, but still needed to pay about $380 in their fuel charges. If you fly on BA metal - it barely makes sense to use miles due to excessive fees.

United is a bit weird with their program. If you have a United credit card, they unlock a lot more low fare options - and specifically state this. I let mine go one year, and all the cheaper mileage options to Telluride no longer appeared. Therefore, I renewed - and now the search results specifically state - only available to United card customers.

I had a college friend whose uncle was head of the Gstaad ski school. He spent a January there and loved the skiing - did not go anywhere else. However, the town was supposedly quite upscale - like Megeve France.
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Re: 26k Delta RTs - Zürich Winter - all USA

Postby jamesdeluxe » Fri Dec 07, 2018 3:17 pm

ChrisC wrote:Last year I flew AA to Geneva for 46k miles in late January - which I thought was very good - meeting my brother in London. He used British Air miles, but still needed to pay about $380 in their fuel charges. If you fly on BA metal - it barely makes sense to use miles due to excessive fees.

Yeah, certain airports kill you with FF award fees and I think that LHR is the worst.

AA's awards are generally 25% less than United or Delta. Only 22.5K miles one-way for my upcoming Pyrenees trip on partner airline Iberia to Toulouse through Madrid.
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Re: 26k Delta RTs - Zürich Winter - all USA

Postby jamesdeluxe » Sat Dec 08, 2018 5:47 am

ChrisC wrote:United is a bit weird with their program. If you have a United credit card, they unlock a lot more low fare options - and specifically state this. I let mine go one year, and all the cheaper mileage options to Telluride no longer appeared. Therefore, I renewed - and now the search results specifically state - only available to United card customers.

Not sure I'd call it weird -- seems like they're aggressively incentivizing people to get a United credit card so it makes sense to provide fare discounts like that.

The card also includes a couple free United Club passes every year. I'm not aware of AA or Delta doing that; in fact, Tony mentioned that even with his high status on Delta, he doesn't receive comp access to Sky Lounges. The free passes are popular at major hubs like mine to the point that I recently received this e-mail heads-up from United: "We may not be able to accept one-time passes at United Club locations in Newark Terminal C during peak afternoon and evening travel times when these locations are at or near capacity."
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Re: 26k Delta RTs - Zürich Winter - all USA

Postby Tony Crocker » Sun Dec 09, 2018 12:55 am

AMEX offered me the Delta Reserve credit card starting in October. One of the extra perks is comp access to Sky Lounges. I finished up my eastern report there this morning. Unfortunately it's $29 for guests, not worth it for Liz today as we only had about 45 minutes between security and boarding.
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Re: 26k Delta RTs - Zürich Winter - all USA

Postby jamesdeluxe » Sat Dec 22, 2018 6:00 am

Yesterday, United posted a shocking two-day FF-award sale to its premium U.S. ski destinations through March 9: 17.5K miles roundtrip to Aspen, Jackson Hole, Vail, and Montrose (all nonstop from EWR) and one-stop flights to Bozeman, Gunnison/Crested Butte, Hayden/Sun Valley, and Mammoth. I've never seen them do that -- a shame that my destination trips/vacation time for the season are already booked.
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Re: 26k Delta RTs - Zürich Winter - all USA

Postby ChrisC » Sat Dec 22, 2018 10:53 am

jamesdeluxe wrote:Yesterday, United posted a shocking two-day FF-award sale to its premium U.S. ski destinations through March 9: 17.5K miles roundtrip to Aspen, Jackson Hole, Vail, and Montrose (all nonstop from EWR) and one-stop flights to Bozeman, Gunnison/Crested Butte, Hayden/Sun Valley, and Mammoth. I've never seen them do that -- a shame that my destination trips/vacation time for the season are already booked.


Thanks!

I just booked some United (SFO - Telluride/Montrose) flights for 8.8k miles each way in late February / early March. That's the best award I ever redeemed to Telluride. I am generally lucky to find something 25k or $300.
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Re: 26k Delta RTs - Zürich Winter - all USA

Postby jamesdeluxe » Sat Dec 22, 2018 3:30 pm

ChrisC wrote:I just booked some United (SFO - Telluride/Montrose) flights for 8.8k miles each way in late February / early March. That's the best award I ever redeemed to Telluride. I am generally lucky to find something 25k or $300.

Excellent, glad that someone could take advantage of it. While your Delta 26K SFO to ZRH is the biggest FF-award steal I've ever seen, this United sale is a close second.
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Re: 26k Delta RTs - Zürich Winter - all USA

Postby Tony Crocker » Sat Dec 22, 2018 3:50 pm

How big a steal a FF award is should be based on what you would have paid for a ticket.

My objective, not necessarily achieved, is to get close to $200 in saved airfare cost per 10K of FF miles redeemed. Last year for both trips to the Alps we had to use 60K miles but if we had paid for the tickets, they would have been in the $1,100+ range.

The 26K to Zurich was a great deal, but Delta was also having a fire sale on paid tickets, as we paid $566 to Geneva in the same time frame.

The 17.5K to Telluride is good as I suspect it would be tough to spend less than $350 for that.

Our best deal was 95K United miles to Yap and Truk in December 2014. United has a monopoly in Micronesia, so would have otherwise cost $2,600. My other big score was 90K Delta miles to Tokyo and Palau in January 2011. Tokyo alone is difficult to get for under $1,000.
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Re: 26k Delta RTs - Zürich Winter - all USA

Postby jamesdeluxe » Mon Dec 24, 2018 6:39 am

Tony Crocker wrote:How big a steal a FF award is should be based on what you would have paid for a ticket. My objective, not necessarily achieved, is to get close to $200 in saved airfare cost per 10K of FF miles redeemed.

Tony's formula makes sense in theory but is applicable mainly to him as he lives in a different world than me on a variety of levels (FF war chest, free time, disposable income, based on the west coast rather than the northeast). As mentioned in other FF threads, over 17 years as a destination skier, my personal tipping point for paying cash vs. FF awards for roundtrip flights to Europe is when they're less than $700 and domestically when they're less than $350.

Tony Crocker wrote:The 26K to Zurich was a great deal, but Delta was also having a fire sale on paid tickets, as we paid $566 to Geneva in the same time frame.

For example, this ^^ statement indicates that $566 x 2 doesn't represent a big financial consideration/opportunity cost to you. Personally, there's no way that I would pass up a 26K roundtrip to Europe rather than paying $566, unless my FF-mile reserves were almost depleted.


One other bullet point to include in the calculation is refundability if you need to cancel -- cash tickets at the lowest price points these days are "use 'em or lose 'em" while mileage awards can be redeposited for $100-150 or for free depending on FF status or when you have a compelling excuse (United making provisions for my almost-expired passport two seasons ago).
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