2017 has only just begun, but I feel like I’ve said the phrase, “Wow, this game has changed” more times in the last two weeks than all of last year. This, despite all of the ‘deaths’ and devaluations that made 2016 a pretty bad year to be a travel hacker.
One thing that remained relatively unchanged last year was Delta’s Skybonus program. Skybonus is a rewards program for businesses as an incentive for them booking flights for their employees. Like AA’s equivalent, Business Extra (United’s is explicitly limited to corporations/large companies), rewards are earned as multipliers on ticket price, with higher multiples for higher fare classes.
At the end of 2015, Delta changed the program to have an annual spending requirement and to require a minimum number of distinct employees to take a flight, in order to make it a less viable double-dip option for sole proprietors. However, through some fare sales, targeted promotions, and help from family members, I was able to not only meet the requirements, but earn enough points (85,000) to redeem for a domestic round-trip. No one I know had ever earned enough points or redeemed a Skybonus certificate, so I was eager to try it out.
Within a few minutes, I received an email with my certificate number and a prompt to call Delta to redeem for a flight.
After entering the certificate details, the full certificate details appeared:
Thankfully, and unlike the upgrade certificates for which you can redeem (for which it’s often difficult to determine if there’s availability), my certificate’s terms were simple: as long as there was availability in T class (which is not the lowest fare class), I could book a flight.
There were plenty of options. I picked the most direct, which led me to the fare details page and eventually the checkout page.
Interestingly, the price breakdown and receipt showed not an award redemption, but a purchase of a flight with a base fare of $0 and the $11.20 ($5.60 TSA fee each way) in taxes and fees. What I suspect, therefore, is that I will earn Medallion Qualifying Miles on the flight, although obviously I won’t earn any redeemable miles. Ideally, I would have attempted to credit it to Alaska, but since their partnership with Delta is ending before I take my flight, I won’t get to see if I can earn redeemable miles based on fare class (for the sake of science, I might put in my Air France Flying Blue number, but the miles wouldn’t be too useful for me).
Another interesting note is that, despite the flight being after the end of the Delta/Alaska partnership, the website did allow me to enter my Alaska Mileageplan number and select “Preferred” seats as per the current reciprocal status benefits. Who knows if they’ll stick, but worth a shot.
All in all, this was a successful double dip. I think it’s unlikely I requalify for Skybonus this year, so it will probably be my last, but I’ll take it!