Ryan is a writer by trade, but when he isn’t meeting deadlines, he’s also a hobbyist magician who has learnt over the years the best tricks are
cheating XMMs and SYTs the Krisflyer stopover and Alaska JAL tricks. He’s also a sucker for every major city’s speakeasies, not resting until he has hunted each of them down. He’s sworn to keep their whereabouts safe, but buy him a whisk(e)y and he’ll shamefully spill all secrets
While being a Starwood loyalist (soon to be Marriott) means I’d always look for an opportunity to clock stays for elite status (re)qualification, high rates – especially during peak season – sometimes mean that staying at an AirBnB makes more cents (sense).
In 2016, Delta Air Lines partnered with the homestay site, allowing guests to earn 1 mile for every US$1 spent on all stays, excluding taxes and fees. Earning is simple enough: book through this dedicated link, enter your SkyMiles number and proceed to book as you would. To be clear though, miles can only be earned through stays. AirBnB Experiences booked via the link will not earn any miles.
However, this only applies to new bookings, so any stays already booked won’t get to earn any miles. Of course, simply cancelling and re-booking will easily bypass this, provided your host’s cancellation policy isn’t strict.
AirBnB also has a similar partnership with Qantas. However, it is important to note that, given that only accounts with an Australian address are eligible for earning Qantas Points, it isn’t much use for most of us here in Singapore.
Balancing the benefits and downsides
Realistically, there aren’t many opportunities to earn SkyMiles in Singapore, be it through credit card spend or butt-in-seat miles – there is currently only one daily Delta flight to NRT.
These limitations of earning them mean that it would be challenging for someone based here to actually earn enough for an award flight.
That said, free miles are free miles. It only takes an additional click to earn them with your stays, and you also get to double dip when paying with the DBS WWMC to get 10x points on top of whatever SkyMiles you earn.
Unlike Krisflyer, SkyMiles have no expiry, so you won’t be earning all these miles in vain, watching them vanish after three years of idly sitting in your account.
Where to use SkyMiles
Delta has a SkyMiles Marketplace that lets you redeem stuff like gift cards and vouchers, starting from 3,000 miles. And while this is heresy for any travel hacker worth his/her salt, this is a bo bian type of situation, where you’ve got miles to spend, but not enough for a redemption of any kind.
Alternatively, if you regularly fly with airlines like Garuda, Vietnam Airlines and Korean Air, you can always credit your flights to SkyMiles, since they’re all under the same SkyTeam umbrella.
Of the US3 carriers, Delta’s FFP is arguably the worst. They removed redemption charts in 2015, although there is an unofficial one out there. Awards are priced dynamically based on demand. As TPG puts it, a domestic award within the US can be redeemed for 9k miles on a given day and cost 2.5 times more on another.
The good thing, as already mentioned, is that SkyMiles don’t expire. So who knows? You just might have enough miles one day to book an award flight in their new Delta One Suites, which some feel is even better than SQ’s new A380 business seats.
When all your hotel options are exhausted, whether due to lack of availability or ridiculously high rates during peak season, you’ll find this is a good option to get the most out of an AirBnB booking.
It is perhaps a bit of a stretch to ever hope to use SkyMiles towards any award booking, but one can always dream. After all, that’s what the miles and points game is about – realising dreams of flying in premium seats we would otherwise struggle to afford.