Delta Airways, the first of the big three airlines changed the frequent flyer program to mileage earning based on the amount you spend on a ticket rather than the distance flown. Due to the revenue based mileage earning change, it is tough to earn miles when you fly Delta Airlines on a discounted ticket.
When you fly Delta on a discount ticket your mileage earning is ZERO, based on the distance traveled and you will earn only miles based on the base fare price of your ticket. Is there an option to earn more miles?
How Many Miles I Can Get for Flying Delta from the USA to India
If you buy a Delta discounted economy ticket with V or X booking code, you will get ZERO miles for the distance flown when you credit your miles to Delta Airlines frequent flyer program. For example, I purchased a ticket for $849 from Houston to Mumbai in an economy class travel when I plugged the details in “wheretocredit” website it showed me for the V or X booking code ticket I will be getting ZERO Delta frequent flyer miles for the miles flown.
Revenue Based Miles Earning
I will not earn ZERO miles, and I will be earning 1,375 Delta frequent flyer miles based on five times the base fare ticket price of $274. Because I have no status with Delta frequent flyer program, I will be earning only 1,375 Delta frequent flyer miles. Still, the 1,375 is not a lot of miles, and it is not going to get me anywhere beyond the runway.
Where to Credit Your Delta Miles
Since I will be earning only 1,375 miles if I use Delta frequent flyer number in my reservation, what are the options do I have?. Until last month Delta had a partnership with Alaska Airlines that ended in May 2017. Crediting Delta flying miles to Alaska Airlines is no brainer, Alaska Airlines has one of the best frequent flyer programs in the World. Using Alaska Airlines miles you can fly to Asia one way in business class for 62,500 miles on Cathy Pacific.
Now crediting miles to Alaska Airlines option has closed, I need to look for some other partner airline where I can credit my miles. When I looked for the partner airlines mileage credit, I want to make sure the following criteria is met:
- The airline should be flying to 6 or more US destinations.
- I should be able to earn miles on partner airlines by flying or using credit card spend.
- Miles should not expire as long as there is any mileage earning activity without flying, it is an essential criterion for me. A lot of Airlines will expire the miles earned after 24 or 36 months no matter whether you had any mileage earning activity. So I do not want to credit my miles to any airline program that will forcefully expire my miles.
- Shopping portal to earn additional miles.
I will be flying close to 18,722 miles round trip. Based on the above criteria, I used the “wheretocredit” website to find out how many miles I will earn for the IAH-CDG-BOM-CDG-IAH flight.
I immediately removed most of the Airline frequent flyer programs from consideration, due to the following reasons Saudi, Czech, China Eastern Airlines, etc. expire the earned miles in 24 or 36 months even if there are any airline miles earning activity including flying.
Other airlines in the list I rejected because either I will receive fewer miles, or they fell into one of the above categories of miles expiration policy.
Crediting Delta Airlines Flight Miles to Virgin Atlantic
Crediting miles to most of the airlines ruled out, the only Airline that fit my criteria is Virgin Atlantic. Virgin Atlantic flies to ten US cities, and in addition to Delta Airlines, they have code share partnership with ten other airlines around the world for additional miles earning opportunity.
Use Virgin Atlantic Shopping Portal to Earn Virgin Atlantic Miles
Virgin Airlines has online shopping portal where you can use the shopping portal to earn extra miles. Moreover, the essential criteria is Virgin Atlantic airline miles never expires as long as there is any mileage activity in a 36 month period. As of today, Virgin Airline does not require to take a revenue flight to keep the miles active, so it is effortless to keep the Virgin Atlantic airlines from getting expired by having mileage activity through Virgin Atlantic shopping portal or credit card spend or any other mileage earning opportunity using Virgin Atlantic partners.
Use Bank of America Cobranded Credit Card to Earn Virgin Atlantic Miles
For US residents Bank of America issues, a Virgin Atlantic cobranded credit card which will help you to earn Virgin Atlantic airline miles for every day spend as well as keep the miles from expiring.
Transfer Credit Card Rewards Point to Virgin Atlantic
Earn Virgin Atlantic Miles using Partners
Plus there are plenty of other ways to earn Virgin Atlantic miles using various mileage earning partners.
Since Virgin Atlantic matched all of my criteria for collecting and keeping miles I opened a Virgin Atlantic frequent flyer account and registered the account number with my Delta Reservation.
Any Disadvantage to Virgin Atlantic Rewards Ticket?
One main disadvantage of using Virgin Atlantic miles to book the rewards ticket is Virgin Atlantic levies a huge fuel/carried imposed surcharge on the award ticket. For example, a one-way business class from Atlanta to London Heathrow will cost you $510 in fuel surcharge in addition to 57,500 Virgin Atlantic miles. But today lot of European and Asian Airways levies a fuel surcharge on an award ticket, so Virgin Atlantic is not an exclusive member of fuel surcharge tax club.
There are a lot of blog writers do not like Virgin Atlantic frequent flyer program, either due to limited award seat availability or fuel surcharges. In my opinion, instead of getting just 1,375 miles in Delta frequent flyer program. I prefer getting more miles in Virgin Atlantic that I can use for my feature award travel.
Another disadvantage which may or may not be is a major issue, if you book the Delta ticket using your American Express Delta cobranded card, you will not be able to check in your first baggage free of charge, and you will not get preferred Group 1 Delta Boarding. If you travel internationally the first checked in luggage is free in Delta, depending on the destination you fly, so you will loose the free checked in baggage benefit only when you travel within the USA.
If you frequently fly on Saudi Arabian, Czech Airlines or China Eastern Airlines your best bet is to credit the miles to those airlines and use the miles within three years of acquiring the miles. If you fly at least once in two years in Aero Mexico or Air France/KLM, you can credit your miles to those Airlines. But please note crediting miles to Air France/KLM will only earn you 25% of miles (4,680) flown compared to Aero Mexico which credits 80% of the miles (15,066) flown.
But my criteria is stringent I do not want to credit my miles to any airline program that will systematically expire the miles regardless of any mileage activity or requires me to fly the airlines to prevent the miles from getting expired. The only time I will credit my airline’s miles to any airline program like Singapore Airline assuming I am transferring a large chunk of my Chase Ultimate Rewards point for an immediate award travel, otherwise, I will not credit my airline miles to any frequent flyer program that will expire my miles.
Update #1: Check out my recent blog article Issues getting airline mile credit for codeshare when you travel using a codeshare airline.