Delta ripped the bandage off…finally, and we are where we are. You know my take on revenue-based. Overall, I actually earn more miles, but one could be forgiven for asking just what those miles are worth?

One thing my AAdvantage in Atlanta experiment along with a dabble of Southwest have taught me is that there are alternatives to Delta in Atlanta. That said, flying isn’t a leisure occupation for me, it’s a job requirement. The likelihood that a business traveler who lives 20 minutes from the busiest airport in the world and Delta’s biggest hub just walks from Delta based on the mileage program just isn’t that high. At the same time, jumping off the “status” hamster wheel has freed me to take advantage (no pun intended) of some of the good deals out there. Then again, I’ll be heading to the airport Wednesday for my first Delta flight in 2 months. Wonder if they even noticed I was away? Thought so.


Image courtesy of

The Other Side of Miles are Like Money

On a macro level, I tacitly get the idea of revenue based loyalty and “the price is the price.” It’s clean and easy to understand at a basic level, and in reality, that’s what the majority of people want. On the other hand, it can be expensive in more ways than one. Further, every dollar I spend on my Delta Amex, every Delta mile I fly dollar I spend on Delta tickets, is earning a currency that I can only spend with Delta (or a partner). Now, I really have no idea what kind of deal I’ll ultimately get since the price is the price and I don’t need an award chart.

Top of wallet now – Ultimate Rewards (Sapphire Preferred and Ink) and yes, my old friend, Fidelity Amex. I can spend what I earn just about anywhere and be semi-confident in the value I receive in return. That is working for me at the moment. Assuming I don’t fold like a cheap suit, and panic when the reality of not being at least Platinum Medallion and living in Atlanta hits me this fall, those cards will remain top of wallet for the foreseeable future.

-MJ, July 22, 2015