Double Mile Bonuses Everywhere: Delta, United, Alaska

Over the past few days, Delta, United, and Alaska have all offered promotions where (during the duration of the promotion) trips are eligible for double miles. It’s getting a little wild out there, but it’s a good way to bulk up on some miles before the end of the year.

Alaska Airlines (to/from Seattle only)

For any flights on Alaska between October 22 and May 31, register your Alaska Mileage Plan account for the promotion and earn double EQMs (elite qualifying miles – a big deal, helping you earn status faster) on any flights between

Seattle and…
Los Angeles
Las Vegas
Oakland
San Francisco
San Jose
Santa Rosa
(and vice versa)

[button target=”_blank” style=”” class=”” link=”http://www.alaskaair.com/www2/Promo/Registration/PromoEntry.aspx?INT=AS_PzM-G3NoCal_||20131022_MP||&pid=AS1310″]Register for Alaska’s Double Miles Promo[/button]

Delta (to/from Seattle only)

For flights out of Delta’s Seattle hub, SkyMiles members can earn double miles on certain flights to/from Seattle once registered. However, unlike Alaska, these double miles do not count towards elite status qualification.

Seattle-San Francisco (and vice versa)
Seattle-Los Angeles (and vice versa)
Seattle-Las Vegas (and vice versa)

[button target=”_blank” style=”” class=”” link=”http://delta.com/seattledoublemiles”]Register for Delta’s Double Miles Promo[/button]

United (domestic U.S. flights only)

For those of us who don’t routinely fly to or from Seattle, United is having a double miles promotion for domestic flights within the continental 48 states between Oct 21 and Nov 21, 2013. Unfortunately, this isn’t that big of a deal because for the promotion because you have to book the more expensive fares. Basically, super-cheap fares aren’t valid, and the more expensive fares make it not worthwhile to spend the money for the extra points

That said, you might as well register for the promotion anyways!

[button target=”_blank” style=”” class=”” link=”http://www.united.com/web/en-US/apps/mileageplus/promotions/registrationDetails.aspx?promoCode=TB2M06″]Register for United’s Double Miles Promo[/button]

Why is this United promo probably not a very good deal?

Last night, I booked a flight from San Diego to Baltimore (BWI) in a few weeks for a meeting I have in Washington for about $300. Why not fly into DCA (Washington National)? BWI is often $200+ cheaper than National. It’s more of a pain to get into DC from BWI, but it can save me a few hundred bucks. As a self-employed person who has to foot the bill, I’ll take it!

It’s all about the fare class

So, when I discovered United’s deal this morning, I went to look at the details: only flights booked in certain fare classes are valid for this promotion, notably F, A, J, C, D, Z, P, Y, B, M, E, U, H, Q, V, W and S fare classes. Since I booked it last night, I still was within the 24-hour cancellation period, so I could get out of it if I found a more expensive flight.

Since my flight was booked in “K” class (ultra-cheap), it was not valid for this promotion, and to qualify, the cheapest flight would’ve been $550 (S Class), about the same price as flights into Washington National (where I’d rather fly anyways).

Further, it’s about 2,500 miles from San Diego to the DC area (5,000 roundtrip). Granted, if I paid the extra $200 for a qualifying flight, I would’ve earned another 5,000 miles on top of it all, but when you price it out, it’s an expensive deal:

$200 / 5,000 miles = 4 cents per mile.

Valuing United miles at a maximum of 3 cents per mile, I decided it wasn’t worth it – and I probably get a better deal with United’s Award Accelerator, which charges 3 cents per mile.

So, how could this be useful? If you have to fly on a more expensive fare because there are no cheaper (K Class or similar) fares, great! You’ll get double miles. But for those cheaper fares, it’s not worth it.