With the Singapore Airlines redemption option going away, my favorite feature of the Skymiles program will be no more. Reader Gene wonders what good options are left, and points out that Delta and Jet Airways are partners.
My thoughts are as follows:
1. Korean is still a partner. Don’t trust Delta website inventory, I don’t really see business class availability on the Northwest website anymore, either. The same thing happened to Air France inventory. The website is just wrong, business class seats still exist, you just can’t find them by limiting yourself to the online tools that the airline provides. Now, Korean doesn’t often make more than a single business class seat available at a time. But it’s a good option.
2. Air France/KLM do make business class seats available stil…
3. Northwest legacy partnerships have been migrated. The first one that stands out is Malaysian. They fly, for instance, Los Angeles – Tapei – Kuala Lumpur. Their business class product is only ‘ok’ but a perfectly good option for getting to Asia. Too bad Delta doesn’t allow first class redemptions…
4. Another Northwest legacy partner is Air Tahiti Nui. Delta miles are actually among the best for getting to Tahiti, since they partner with both Air France and Air Tahiti Nui — the only carriers offering service between the US and Tahiti. And in fact you could presumably contruct an award Los Angeles – Papeete – Auckland as a ‘hidden’ way to use Delta miles for getting to New Zealand.
5. As Gene observed, Delta partners with Jet Airways (and Kingfisher). Jet for one has a really top notch product, I have no personal experience with Kingfisher’s. Though at least in the latter’s case I understand award inventory isn’t the easiest to come by, there’s a nice product option for getting to India.
6. Kenya Airways if you fancy Africa… and Vietnam Airlines is joining up.
The frustrating thing is that there’s no central place where you can search availability on most of these partners. And Skymiles agents are of varying ability in finding partner seats. So booking isn’t an easy process, necessarily. But Delta does still have some good partnerships.
Their partners don’t tend to be as generous in award inventory, and they don’t necessarily have as top notch products, as some in Star or oneworld. But these are likely the best uses of Delta miles that remain.
Other thoughts, suggestions that I’m missing here?