Saturday, April 28, 2012

My Wings Have Melted

Just last week, I was writing about airline frequent flier programs and how they supported our need for travel like an addict's enabler. I also reminisced about my schemes to collect miles any which way that was available. So I was horrified not too many years ago, when a trip to the US for Ron cost 60,000 miles when it seemed not too far in the past, it had only been 35,000.

Ignoring changes had been my downfall, but knowing we didn't have enough collected for anything in the near future, I just did my best to accumulate as much as possible. When my Delta account statement arrived showing I had 89,000 miles, I thought I had hit the jackpot. I immediately went to their site and found that Europe to Ecuador, South America is 60,000 miles. 

I wanted to cheer, scream out the window, "We did it! We finally did it once again. We are flying for free." I knew that I could transfer some of my points from my American Express card over to fill in the gap between 89,629 and 120,000. Essentially, I wouldn't even need to transfer the whole 30,371 miles. We have been spending money like rich men furnishing the new apartment. Once those miles hit the statement, the transfer would be a lot less. 

Pardon the expression, but I was flying high. I was so excited to be able to take a trip far away and not to have to pay for the flight. What a savings. With Delta on my favorites list, I started checking flights. You cannot be too early for frequent flier tickets, though the maximum is 329 days ahead of the first flight out. 

I looked at every combo to get the least amount of traveling time. Some 'stop-overs' are 20 hours long. That is not stop-over; that is a mini-vacation. I really don't want it to take a week of our four weeks just to get there. Once over the Atlantic, we could make it faster on alpacas. 

What seemed like a clue was to go from here to Amsterdam on our own, then fly from AMS to UIO (the airport code for Quito). Still, these are routed through Minneapolis to Atlanta and finally as an afterthought getting to Quito. It kind of feels like the airline is saying, "Well folks, we have run out of options, so let's continue on to Quito...just for the fun of it..whatta'ya say?

After I found what I thought was the perfect fare, I went to "price" it with and without miles. For miles, it kept coming up with 220,000 miles for 2 people. Now I know math is not my strongest subject, but even can add 60,000 + 60,000 and arrive at 120,000. I did it in my head, but I did double check my calculations on the computer. Darn if I weren't right. So why is Delta telling me 220,000 where there aren't four of us going? 

Back to Delta's frequent flier program's list or rewards, perusing the list again. Europe to Northern South America is one category and Southern South American is another. Strange that they broke up the continent in this way. This is like saying Northern North America consists of Canada and all the states with 2 exceptions. Then  Southern North American is made up of Mexico, Texas, and Hawaii. Weird!! Whoever came up with that must have failed geography. I knew Ecuador is in the Northern South America category if you are going to be picky about it. There it is right there on the chart 60,000 miles, but that is where I must have stopped reading the first time. If I had continued, the next line states. These awards are for travel in one direction only.

Icarus, I commiserate. I flew too close to the sun and Delta melted my wings. We both came crashing down to earth, but I will live to fly another day.
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