Redeeming Delta Skymiles for maximal value
April 27, 2016
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May 2, 2016

Award Travel Success!

Award Travel

We will be flying on a Boeing 747 from London to Dubai!

Award Travel Success!

To go along with my post about how to maximize Delta Skymiles value from earlier today, I’d like to share a success story about doing just that! I booked award travel for me and a friend and got a crazy good deal!

Before American Airlines devalued their miles I booked a flight from Abu Dhabi to New York in their extremely luxurious A-380 First Class apartment for just 90,000 AAdvantage miles and about $80. I had a couple problems: 1. Mallory has a bachelorette party to go to that weekend and didn’t want to drive down to Miami first thing in the morning alone and 2. I didn’t really want to go all the way to Abu Dhabi alone. I cancelled the award travel on Virgin Atlantic that I had booked for just 70,000 Delta Skymiles +$50 and set out to find a route from Miami to Dubai a day later.

When talking with a good friend, I casually asked if he would be interested in going to Dubai if I could use some of my miles to get him there. Somewhat to my surprise he was almost instantly sold! So now I had two goals, I had to find award travel for myself from Miami to Dubai and round trip award travel for my friend from Dallas to Dubai.

Dubai with the iconic Burj Khalifa

Dubai with the iconic Burj Khalifa

I told my friend to give me a price he was willing to pay in taxes and surcharges and I could make it happen. The number was $550, so I began searching, I always like a good challenge. My options were pretty open since I had about 140,000 Delta miles, 50,000 AMEX Membership rewards which can be transferred to Delta and a number of other airlines, and 80,000 Chase rewards points which are transferrable to United, British Airways, and a number of other airlines. First I found his return flight, since I was leaving from Abu Dhabi I figured it would be easiest to leave from the same airport at similar times. I found flights with Delta skyteam partner Alitalia from Abu Dhabi to Rome to New York then Delta from New York to Dallas for only 70,000 miles + about $85 in business class. I originally found two seats in British Airways First Class from New York to Dubai, but unfortunately the surcharge was a little higher than we wanted and one of the seats on the New York to London leg sold out prior to trying to book it. There was however still two seat from London to Dubai in British Airways First class, so I booked that by transferring Chase points to my British Airways account and got a first class seat from London to Dubai for just 68,000 avios and $460 in taxes and fees (London Heathrow has some of the highest taxes and fees of any airport when booking travel to or through London on a British based carrier.)

award travel

British Airways First Class via airliners.net

I began searching again using American, Delta, and United’s websites to try to find the best deal from Dallas to London to complete the trip. I landed back at Delta’s website when I found a Dallas to New York to London flight that would allow us to overlap in New York for nearly the entire layover! Travel would be in Delta One their international and transcontinental business class for 80,000 skymiles and $5.60.

Delta One International/Transcon Business Class

Delta One International/Transcon Business Class

I had to transfer 20,000 AMEX membership rewards points to my Delta account at a 1:1 ratio to top off my skymiles account for booking. All in my friend will be traveling in first or business class for 150,000 Skymiles, 68,000 British Airways Avios, and $550. Here is a breakdown of what this travel would cost if we had paid for each ticket based off today’s prices:

  • DFW-LHR: Delta One – $7,049
  • LHR-DXB: British Airways First – $6,327
  • AUH-FCO-JFK-DFW: Alitalia Business and Delta First class – $ 2,512
  • Total Cost – $15,888 of flights for 218,000 miles and $550!

As you can see you can get some really great value from Delta’s skymiles if you are willing to use partner airlines and sometimes connect in different cities like Rome, Amsterdam, Paris, London, and Moscow to get a better deal! I ended up using 115,000 AAdvantage miles for British Airways first class from New York to Dubai, and purchased a $120 revenue ticket from Miami to New York. Fun fact – I have never been on a double decker plane, and all legs of this trip will be on either A380s or 747s, which are both double decker planes!

We will be spending 3 days in Dubai and 2 days in Abu Dhabi at Starwood hotels, which were also booked with miles! My only condition for booking these flights for my friend was that he had to write a couple guest posts about his travels, so you can look forward to a couple guest posts near the end of next month! It’s pretty nice to travel around the world in first class and stay in luxury hotels for next to nothing! You can do it too by utilizing airline miles and credit card signup bonuses! I will try to post more tips and tricks, but if you ever have a question please reach out!

Have you successfully gotten international business or first class award travel using Delta Skymiles or American AAdvantage miles? Where did you go and how did you maximize your travel?


  1. […] Rewards points to my British Airways Executive Club account to book a friend’s ticket from London to Dubai with me next month. Other transfer partners include Singapore Airlines (who I’d really like to […]

  2. […] Thad to join me on the trip, so I had to find both of us flights over to the UAE, which I did successfully for less than $600 in First or business class the entire […]

  3. Hello! I simply would like to give a huge thumbs up for the
    great information you’ve here on this post. I’ll be coming back to your site for more soon.

  4. […] is most travelers limiting factor. As I showed in the Award Travel success you can book European trips in business class for a reasonable amount of miles. However, if you are […]

  5. […] Rewards points to my British Airways Executive Club account to book a friend’s ticket from London to Dubai saving us thousands of dollars. Other transfer partners include Singapore Airlines (who I’d […]

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