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One million miles. What a magical number, and one which can possibly earn you lifetime status, depending on the airline and a few other details. It's a definite goal for many frequent flyers, and we even recently daydreamed about how we'd spend 1,000,000 Delta SkyMiles.
Thanks to a new contest from Delta, however, all that daydreaming may become reality. The airline has partnered up with Tourism Queensland to give away one grand prize of one million miles, plus 14 second prizes of 250,000 miles each, awarded over the weeks leading up to the grand prize announcement. The idea is that you'll hopefully use some of those miles to fly yourself to Australia and enjoy the delights of Queensland, like the Great Barrier Reef, Whitsunday Islands and more.
How to enter:
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We often sit back and take a look at the balances on our frequent flyer accounts, all the while dreaming of more miles and more locations. Sometimes our imagination gets the best of us, and we’re thinking about where to go with this many miles or that many miles. At that point we might as well go all in, so we’ve started to think about where to go with one million miles:
We’ve flown with Delta more than we would like to admit, so we’ll start by dreaming up faux flights with them. One million miles will buy you, at the most basic level, 40 round-trip domestic flights in coach—that’s like pretty much one flight for every week of the year with a few leftover to head into the office to confirm your employment. At 40,000 miles per round-trip you can sit up front, but that’s going to limit you to just 25 round-trip flights in and around most of the United States and Canada.
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It's only natural to assume that a frequent flyer, perhaps one with ultra high status in an airline's loyalty program, also spends a ton of time staying at hotels. Travel and hotels go hand-in-hand; it's no coincidence that Jaunted's sister site is HotelChatter.com. Thus, most large hotels have deals with airlines to earn miles on nights. That's about the extent of airline-hotel partnerships, however. Until now.
"Crossover Rewards" will shower extra love, miles and points on elite members of Delta's SkyMiles program and Starwood Preferred Guest when they stay at SPG properties and fly Delta jets. We're talking to the tune of 4pm late checkout at hotels and a free checked bag on Delta. That's just the tip of the perks iceberg, really. Here's the full breakdown of Crossover Rewards fun:
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Picture this: you've just ordered a cocktail and, while a bartender shakes it up, you catch a glimpse of a tail of a Delta 747 gliding by on its way to the runway to take off for Tokyo. The sun is shining on your face as you sip your drink and watch another Delta jet gracefully lift its wings. It's almost time for your turn.
Such a relaxing scene is the stuff of frequent traveler dreams, or was, since Delta is making this a reality with the introduction of open-air Sky Decks at two of their Sky Club locations. Under construction as we type, the first-ever outdoor terraces in the Delta system will be found at New York-JFK and Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson as soon as four months from now.
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2013, man. This was to be the year we get elite status on Delta and we were just about to sign up for a Delta AMEX credit card when the airline dropped the news which has us thinking twice. Their SkyMiles loyalty program would change, transitioning from the classic distance-based mileage earning to a combination of distance and revenue.
In plainer terms, in order to get any status on Delta, a flyer would have to not only fly a certain amount of miles in a Delta seat, but also spend a certain amount on all those tickets, from $2,500 on up. The idea essentially to ensure the truly "elite" get their perks while those who gain Medallion status using super discounted fares or other incentives will drop down or out of the elite levels.
A nice grid of requirements is below...
US airlines are surely not known for stunning domestic lounges with great design, nice (enough) food, and comfy areas to sit and relax before squeezing into airplanes for a flight. That's why it comes as a surprise we actually enjoyed ourselves when we stepped foot inside the Delta SkyClub at Minneapolis/St. Paul. It boasts tons of space, thoughtful design and free Wifi, just what we wanted.
Upon first entry, we noted the sleek entrance highlighted by the clean blue glass that makes the space bright and fresh. After a little hang-up flashing our Virgin Australia Velocity frequent flyer gold card, we were pointed in the right direction to sit back and relax (and eat Biscoff). With MSP being a major hub for Delta, the airport offers two SkyClubs (one near Gate C12 and one near the entrances to Concourses F & G; this is the latter).
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There are some 60 airlines flying into and out of New York-JFK Airport. Competition is fierce, but New York's always game for a little of that. Passengers are looking for the cheapest tickets (of course), shiniest planes, most routes and newest facilities. Come next spring,
The entire project cost is in the billions, so it's no fresh paint fixer-upper or anything; every month construction workers build $26 million worth of new stuff into Terminal 4 (that's over $1 million every workday!). Why should you care? Because Delta wants you in it, loving it and flying out of it...and soon. They are on schedule and under budget (whoa) for an opening in May 2013. Arrive early for your late spring Delta flight, because this place will warrant some checking out.
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The length of Terminal 3 as viewed from its replacement: the extension of Terminal 4
Since early 2010 we've known the end was nigh. Delta plans to demolish the building after moving into their massive expansion of the neighboring Terminal 4, which will all go down in May 2013 and which we'll tell you all about tomorrow.
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We’re not really big fans of upselling at the airport, but it seems that the airlines won’t quit when it comes to offering up this and that for a fee. Delta has long been charging for checked baggage—just like all the other legacy carriers—but now they’re moving some of their extras right into the airline booking page. This is hardly something new for the airline industry, but Delta is quick to advertise it as a cross between a convenience and a perk.
Things like Priority Boarding are now available to be added onto your base airline fare—kind of like an order of fries—for as low as $9 per segment. Sure it’s a nice option to have, and we guess it’s best to take care of things all it once. However, we’re usually kind of fine with pushing and shoving ourselves to the front of the boarding line, and then just tossing our carry-on up and over an elderly grandma before finding our middle seat—we’re kidding of course.
Last time we were hanging out in one of Delta’s SkyClubs, we were enjoying a little bit of premium tequila, and now it looks like more of the top shelf stuff is coming to an airport lounge near you. All the booze that has been free will remain complimentary in the clubs, but there are some new fancy drinks and upgraded spirits that will now set you back some extra cash; better find a buddy with an expense account, and quick!
The rollout of what Delta is calling the “Luxury Bar” has already begun, and the plan is to have the new booze available in New York—both JFK and LGA—as well as Boston, Newark, Palm Beach, Seattle, and Washington. They promise that the offerings are coming to other airports sooner than later, so don’t worry if you call Los Angeles or Atlanta home.
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To celebrate the arrival of Avión Tequila at Delta SkyClub airport lounges, Delta and Avión have been hosting happy hour shindigs from 5pm to 7pm on Thursdays. We just happened to be in the neighborhood last week, and we’re already looking forward to another layover filled with agave spirits.
While killing some time in Atlanta we made our way to the SkyClub in the center of Concourse A near the Chili’s—after stopping at Chick-fil-A obviously. We got there a little early and warmed up with a glass of Sweetwater Pale Ale and waited for 5pm to arrive.
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We recently found ourselves at Delta’s SkyClub at Miami International Airport, and we have to admit we were pretty impressed—at least when comparing it to other domestic lounges. This place is clean and comfortable, but it’s got nothing on some of those swanky overseas lounges we’ve been lucky enough to visit.
Delta has been remodeling its clubs slowly but surely—like the one in LAX—but the club at MIA has it’s own unique style that sets it apart from its SkyClub siblings since it hit the scene in 2009. The architecture—think wavy ceilings—is featured in the club just like in other portions of the terminal, and the tying together of elements wasn't lost on us. Plenty of soft seating surfaces look a little more chic and cool than the usual office furniture placed inside an airline lounge, so we say thumbs up for that.