Off to Frequent Traveler University in Seattle / Burned All My SkyMiles

HOW are those two ideas in the title related?, you might’ve asked yourself. It’s because I used ALLL the rest of my SkyMiles to buy my ticket to Seattle to attend Frequent Traveler University. It’s my first FTU, my first time in Washington, my first time in Delta First, and hopefully my last experience with SkyMiles.

Most of you guys know that the SkyMiles program is being altered to a revenue model beginning in 2015. The news didn’t exactly surprise me, but it did make me wonder why the heck I ever bothered with Delta in the first place. Sorta like an ex that you look back on and wonder, “What did I ever see in that person?” Yeah. Like that.

I bought my ticket for FTU while still in Vegas in February. I love to book new travel while I’m already traveling. It gives me something to look forward to when I start to get sad that an amazing experience is coming to an end. So with a ticket to the event in hand, I had to find a way to get myself to Seattle.

I found a great fare on Delta for $298 in economy round-trip. Not bad at all. I didn’t buy it because I thought the price would hold for a day or two. Bad move. The price shot up to $400 overnight. I kicked myself for a few days until the big announcement regarding the changes to SkyMiles was made. Then, in a moment of I’m-so-over-this-mess, I burned ALL of my SkyMiles to travel to FTU in First.

The ticket was 72,500 miles at low-level availability. After massaging Delta.dumb for about an hour, I got it to price out the correct segments and times, transferred over 7,000 Membership Rewards points from American Express, and in one big, fiery push of a button BURNED ALL MY SKYMILES. Take that, Delta.

What flashed before me was all of the other opportunities: Flying around Africa on Kenya Airways, getting to Patagonia on Aerolineas Argentinas, or even going back to Australia on Virgin Australia in business class for only 150K round-trip. But then I thought:

  • I can get to Africa with United/Ultimate Rewards miles (don’t care if I have to pay the markup)
  • I can get to South American with TAM and LAN using American miles and Avios in a pinch
  • I can get to Australia. There are lots of ways to get back there

And then, finally, screw you, Delta. Not only am I voting with my dollars, I’m voting with my frequent flier currency. In fact, Delta is the last place I’d look for award availability. I thought about buying the ticket to Seattle on American. After all, I want to make Executive Platinum at some point. But you know what? No. I burned the SkyMiles.

So what I’m left with is: I’ll be in Seattle for Frequent Traveler University! And I’m very excited about it. If any of you guys are around, I’d love to say hello.


Oh, and I guess I’m left with these orphan miles, too:

Screenshot 2014-03-04 13.05.41

I’m staying at the Hyatt Place downtown for two nights, then at the Marriott with all the others on the days of FTU. Expect reviews of Delta First, Hyatt Place, and Marriott, as well as thoughts and observations about my first FTU and being in Seattle. Can’t wait!

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About Harlan

Just a dude living in Memphis, traveling, and working toward financial independence.

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