Why I paid 65,000 miles for a domestic flight

A couple of weeks ago I described how I was able to book two first class tickets for less than the price of one coach ticket.  I thought it might have been an isolated glitch, but readers found a number of other cases where this was possible. The trick is that you need the companion certificate issued to Delta Reserve cardholders.

After I booked two of us into first class for $724.80 all-in (using my companion certificate), I wasn’t done.  There would be three of us traveling for the holidays and we’d like to be on the same flight.  I figured that the quoted $810 price for economy had to be an error.  I decided to wait and see if the price came down.

The next day, I checked again, but found that the price had gone up.  It would now cost me $887 for the same flight!  Unperturbed, I setup a Google Flights alert.  Google will let me know when the price goes down.  Two weeks later, I see that the price went up again.  As I write this, Google tells me that the new price is $926.  This is for a 3 hour domestic flight!  Crazy.

Maybe I’m being overoptimistic, but I still think the price will come down.  But, to hedge my bets, I booked myself an award ticket for the flight.  Delta demanded 65,000 miles for the round-trip flight, in coach.  That’s a ridiculously high price for a domestic economy ticket, but I paid it.  I want to travel with my family after all.

Thanks to having high level elite status with Delta, I can cancel or change awards for free until 72 hours before the flight.  So, until then, I’ll continue to watch for prices to go down.  If prices drop far enough, I’ll book the paid flight and cancel the award.  Or, even better, if award prices drop, I’ll re-book with the lower award price.

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

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Stannis
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Stannis

This is where the 50% Amex Biz Plat rebate shines. At $810 it would’ve been only 40k MR points, plus at least 4k RDM Skymiles back.

Gus
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Gus

Just do a hidden city ticket, it should work in at least one direction, in sure FLL-DTW-YYZ would be cheap.

Gib
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Gib

How do hidden city tickets work? I thought they cancel the return flight? Can you help me understand? Thanks.

Igor
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Igor

Clickbait

Eli C
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Eli C

I use an app called Hopper to determine a flight’s price direction (I’m not associated with them).

JL100
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JL100

I appreciate the realistic posts of using points in the real world, not every redemption can be 40,000 points for lie flat international. I just used 40,000 US Bank points for a domestic flight because our nephew decided to go with us on a domestic flight only two weeks out. Since he is not old enough to fly without us, he had to be on the same flights which were $575. Don’t feel great about using that many points, but used less than the 55,000 AA points needed for the flight and got a reasonable value from the US Bank points where I would be looking to use on a “cash” flight at some point anyway.

Al
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Al

I don’t get it. why don’t you just buy another first class ticket for $700? Why is the economy ticket more expensive than the first class ticket?

Stvr
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Stvr

Cool story bro

Credit
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Credit

Greg, how do you stay so fit and handsome even in your old age?

phil
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phil

His pic is from 15 yrs ago .

ed
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ed

Since we know you manufacture US Bank Flex Perks with Kiva, it seems hard to imagine why you’d be price sensitive. Yeah, some lost value on a $700 ticket but the spent cost is compressed greatly and unless you’re reselling, the opportunity cost isn’t bad. With respect to insurance for the flight price, I suppose you checked Southwest. Probably the only time I fly WN is when I booked “just in case fares don’t come down” and then they didn’t. Also, a scenario where you might maximize the US FP points (albeit, a bit annoying to do with every member of family).