Anyone with Delta Skymiles has been dismayed in recent years by the fact that they have become increasingly worthless.
In the Golden Age of Skymiles we earned 1,000 miles per segment and Medallion flyers got 25- or 50-percent bonuses. Round-trip tickets were readily available for 20,000 miles and first class tickets cost 35,000 miles. A trip to Europe was 50,000 miles with business class at 80,000.
Then Delta raised ticket redemption levels and put in draconian capacity controls. It's still possible to get a 25,000-mile round-trip ticket, but only in the dead of winter on a day when no one is flying. Eighteen months ago when I needed three domestic tickets I ended up spending almost 200,000 miles. At one time this would have been nearly enough to buy round-trip tickets for two on the Concorde!
There is one good value floating around out there, and that is that magazines can be purchased for miles for far less then if you shelled out real money for them. The Economist magazine, for example, is one of the most expensive weekly magazines in print, with a yearly cost of almost $100. They rarely discount. But it's available through the Miles for Magazines program for 3,200 Skymiles. Nobody values Skymiles at two cents any more, but even if for some crazy reason you do, this is a great deal on a great magazine. So if we can't fly with our Skymiles, at least we can sit home and read!
I recently ordered The Economist and Harper's Magazine. I was also going to order a couple of magazines that required $2 in cash, but found that these came with an "auto-renew" feature. Having learned my lesson, I will never allow a magazine permission to auto-renew on my credit card.
You can see the list of magazines available below. To order magazines for miles, click here.
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