Tag Archives: skyteam

Why would I want Delta Skymiles status?

Many of you will never set foot on a Delta aircraft your whole life. And that’s just fine, you’re not really missing much. Granted, I’ve only ever experienced the airline’s short haul economy product, and although its new business class seat looks pretty sweet, I’d rather not subject myself to the legendary wonders of American airline hospitality any more than I have to.

But some of you will. Maybe you’re visiting the States and Delta’s offering the best point to point prices on a domestic leg. Or maybe you won’t fly Delta, but you intend to fly one of its Skyteam partners.

Image result for skyteam airlines

If that’s the case, and if you already have status on some other airline, you might be interested to know that Delta has a status match/challenge program.

Simply register for status match and if approved you’ll get Delta status  (see below for what tiers map to what) that lasts for 90 days. To extend it beyond the 90 days, you will need to earn a certain number of MQMs within that 90 days.

During those 90 days, you’ll enjoy the full fledged benefits of Delta status. Assuming you have Krisflyer Gold (and I’m guessing this will get matched to Delta Gold-see below), you’ll be able to enjoy perks on Delta like a free bag, priority boarding, luggage and security.

When flying on Skyteam partners, you’ll get lounge access and priority luggage.

Image result for skyteam lounge
Skyteam London lounge
Image result for skyteam lounge istanbul
Skyteam Istanbul Lounge

Delta has listed the following airline programs and their corresponding status match on their webpage

Delta SkyMiles Medallion Status

Silver

Gold

Platinum

Air Canada Altitude Status

Prestige 25K,

Elite 35K

Elite 50K

Elite 75K,

Super Elite 100K

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Status

MVP

MVP Gold

MVP Gold 75K

All Nippon Airways Mileage Club Status

Bronze

Platinum

Diamond

American Airlines AAdvantage Status

Gold

Platinum

Executive Platinum,

Platinum Pro,

Concierge Key

Asiana Airlines Asiana Club Status

Gold

Diamond

Diamond Plus,

Platinum

British Airways Executive Club Status

Bronze

Silver

Gold

Copa Airlines ConnectMiles Status

Silver

Gold

Platinum,

Presidential Platinum

Japan Airlines Mileage Bank Fly On Status

Crystal

Sapphire

Premier,

Diamond

Lufthansa Miles & More Status

Frequent Traveler

Senator,

HON Circle Members

United Airlines Mileage Plus Status

Premier Silver

Premier Gold

Premier Platinum,

Platinum 1K,

Global Services

This list is not exhaustive, however, as the page also says “If you have status with another airline not listed above, you may still be eligible for this challenge. Please submit your information below to confirm eligibility”

I’ve dropped them an email about whether they’ll be matching Krisflyer status and if so, what tiers map to what. If they do, I imagine they will map PPS/Solitaire PPS members to Platinum, with Krisflyer Golds and Silvers mapping to Gold and Silver respectively.

So if you’ve got 5 minutes and simply want to avoid paying a bag fee, or if you’ve got an upcoming Skyteam partner flight coming up, why not take the plunge?

(HT: Damien)

Garuda pulls 90% award sale early, promises to honor existing award holds

Well that didn’t last long. Garuda Indonesia has pulled its astounding 90% off award ticket sale, a full 7 days before it was originally scheduled to end.

In a way, it’s not surprising. Once the deal got picked up by the travel blogs, it was only a matter of time before Garuda’s reservations hotline got swamped by people hoping to score one of its coveted First and Business Class seats (me included).

Image result for garuda indonesia first class

And you can argue about how much this promotion is really costing them (in that the seats blocked off for saver awards are usually the ones that would have gone out empty anyway) but one thing’s for sure- when this deal came out most of us knew that this was going to be a mad rush situation. No one can really say they expected this to last all the way to the 31st.

Garuda Promo Pulled

There was some initial confusion as to whether awards that were booked but not yet ticketed would be honored. It appears that the answer is “yes”, provided the issuance is done before 31 Dec. Other bloggers who have called in have got similar answers. My worst fear when I heard that the promotion was pulled was that the miles I transferred (which are now still en route to my Garuda account) would end up orphaned. But it looks like I (and anyone else who has already booked an award) should be safe.

I certainly hope no one here transferred miles before getting a confirmed seat. I guess the object lesson here is

  1. If it’s too good to be true, it probably is
  2. If it’s too good to be true and is true, it probably won’t last

Congrats to everyone who got in on this deal (and I’m expecting many trip reports, ahem), and to those who didn’t, chin up. Deals come and go. I’m excited to see what this game throws at us next.

Garuda is offering 90% off redemptions. How do we make this work?

Garuda has announced a 90% off award redemptions sale for all routes, all cabin classes. This is real. This is happening. The interweb is going crazy.

The biggest upside of this promotion for us in Singapore is that it excludes the majority of US-based flyers because

(1) Garuda doesn’t fly to the USA

(2) You need to physically go down to a Garuda office to ticket an award booking, and there are only a few across the whole USA

(3) According to some comments on OMAAT, Gaurda’s US offices don’t take US issued credit card (I have no idea how that makes sense, but could not care less)

Take that, you MSing, card churning, better sign up offer having yanks!

I love you guys, really. 

But their misfortune is our gain. The clock is ticking, so let’s get down to brass tacks.

Step 1: Figure out if you can get Garuda Miles

This is a non-starter if you do not already have Garuda Miles, or Citibank Premiermiles/Thank You points. That is the only credit card I know of in Singapore that allows you to transfer to Garuda.

If you don’t have Citibank points, all is not lost. Garuda allows you to buy miles at US$30 per 1,000 miles. Is this a great rate? Not really. But given how few miles you need it can still work. The main issue here is it is unclear how long the miles will take to post. Garuda lets you book without any miles in your account but you must ticket within 1 week (see point 2). If the miles come in post 31 December then you just have a nice little stash of unusable currency.

Step 2: Plan your dates

You need to issue your tickets by 31 December 2016 for travel between 1 Feb 2017 and 31 May 2017.

You will need to physically go down to Garuda’s offices in United Square Mon-Fri 9am-6pm. Which means that you only have next week to get this done (and need to transfer your Citibank points today if possible)

Unless you already have leave blocked or can block leave on short(ish) notice, you might be looking at taking a long weekend and going somewhere nearer like Japan.

There are 3 potential long weekends for you to do this

  • CNY (28-30 Jan)
  • Good Friday (14-16 Jan)
  • Labor (29 Apr-1 May)

Do note that if your plans change post 31 December 2016 and you wish to change dates, you will need to pay the full award price. Therefore it’s wise to freeze those dates right now.

Step 3: Plan your route

Image result for garuda indonesia first class

Image result for garuda indonesia first class

Garuda’s new First Class is amazing and everyone wants to try it. Unfortunately it only appears to be available on 3 routes serviced by 77Ws

  • DPS-NRT
  • CGK-SIN-AMS
  • CGK-SIN-LHR

Moreover, I cannot find any availability for DPS-NRT in F during the promotion period.  DPS-NRT in F is available for revenue bookings but not for awards so they might be blocking it.

This means that unless you can free up the time (and flexibility of travel dates) to pay Amsterdam or London a visit, you’re going to be looking at business (which is still a great deal at 90% off).

When booking Garuda business you want to be careful about what aircraft you’re flying.  Garuda has full flat 1-2-1 business class on its 777Ws

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And some of its A333s. I cannot confirm which routes have them.

Image result for garuda a330 business class

However, the rest of its A333s and all of its A332s only have the old, angled flat product in a 2-2-2 configuration. This one is probably not worth trying.

Image result for garuda a330 business class

I’m sure if you do a dummy booking online and fiddle with seat selection in business class, you should be able to see what type of A330 is servicing your route. In the interest of getting this article out asap I’ve not done that.

My experience booking with this promotion

I’ve gone and locked in a trip to Japan for the long labor day weekend, more to review the business class product than anything else. As much as my heart was set on trying the First Class product (because it’s supposed to give even SQ a run for its money), I just couldn’t find the space or make the timings work. I do hope some lucky reader is able to do this (and writes a detailed guest post trip report!)

I called up the Singapore call centre and after waiting about 5 minutes got through to an agent. She was very patient and knowledgeable as we went through various permutations of routes to see what worked. In the end I booked DPS-NRT-DPS, which requires me to position to Bali. SIN-DPS-NRT-DPS-SIN was available but required an overnight stay in Bali on the way back, which really didn’t work for me. Plus, the SIN-DPS leg left at 1655 on a Friday and I probably wouldn’t be able to make that work either.

The final damage was 12,600 miles(!) plus $134.50 in taxes for the round trip. I didn’t have the miles in my account yet but she was able to hold the award for 7 days. So now all I need to do is transfer over some of my Citi TY points.

I cannot tell you what ridiculous value that is, even if I’ll need to position myself to Bali (or I could redeem miles and fly SQ to DPS with $160 of surcharges…).

Is it safe?

I know it’s inevitable that people are going to be asking this question. And although it’s somewhat understandable, it’s also annoying in the sense that we do so many things on a day to day basis that have a higher inherent risk than flying. We take car rides without thinking twice about it.

No other form of transportation is as scrutinized, investigated and monitored as commercial aviation. Here’s a good summary

DEATH BY: YOUR ODDS

  • Cardiovascular disease: 1 in 2
  • Smoking (by/before age 35): 1 in 600
  • Car trip, coast-to-coast: 1 in 14,000
  • Bicycle accident: 1 in 88,000
  • Tornado: 1 in 450,000
  • Train, coast-to-coast: 1 in 1,000,000
  • Lightning: 1 in 1.9 million
  • Bee sting: 1 in 5.5 million
  • U.S. commercial jet airline: 1 in 7 million (if you look at global airline travel the figure is something like 4-5 million. I still fancy those odds)

People generally have a very poor understanding of probability and how incredibly safe air travel is today. To hear people who have never flown the airline put it down based on absolutely no hard evidence is just upsetting.

Years ago, I would not have flown Garuda. They had a terrible safety record. They were banned from flying to the EU. But the airline has undergone one of the most amazing transformations ever. It’s started winning awards like “most improved airline” for service and safety. It is now a 5 Star airline on Skytrax (and yes we can all argue about how valid Skytrax rankings are but still) and has resumed flights to the EU. It has amazing looking cabin products on its brand new 77W and A330 aircraft.

Or as this article on Coconut’s Jarkarta site puts it

It’s hard to remember now, but the perception of Garuda used to be quite different. In the late 1990s and early-to-mid 2000s, the company was hit by financial and operational difficulties that caused its service standards suffer severely. It was even banned (along with all other Indonesian airlines) from entering Europe due to the country’s poor safety ratings.

But after that low point, the company initiated a series of programs, dubbed the Quantum Leap expansion plan, to turn the struggling airline around. Since then, its performance has consistently improved by leaps and bounds each year, earning it the aforementioned praise and awards. Buoyed by Garuda’s performance, the whole Indonesian airline industry has also seen great increases in standards, leading to the United States upgrading the country’s safety rating this year, allowing Indonesian carriers to operate routes to US cities for the first time in over a decade.

So I have absolutely no qualms about flying with the new and improved Garuda.

Good hunting everyone. Update me with what you get.