Southwest Best Airlines for Redeeming Miles, Delta, Not So Much

May 21, 2012
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Ready to redeem your frequent-flier miles and reward points for a plane ticket?

You’ll probably get a seat on Southwest, but good luck with Delta, at least at the basic redemption level.

Southwest Airlines has the best availability of award seats among U.S. airlines on travel dates this year between April and October, according to an annual survey by IdeaWorks Co.

The worst among U.S. airlines: Delta Air Lines and US Airways. Those two had no seats available at the lowest mileage level on about two out of every three inquires, or worse.

Carriers with programs based on points tie rewards to dollars spent rather than miles traveled.

Higher fares earn more points–so coveted business travelers are well rewarded. And travelers can find seats when fares go higher without blackout dates or capacity controls–the price in points goes up proportionally with the
price in dollars.

Conversely, when airline programs award miles based on the distance traveled, higher fares often don’t get higher rewards. And many flights don’t have seats available at standard mileage levels, such as 25,000 miles for a domestic round-trip, which leaves many

If you get a card like this, forget it

consumers frustrated. Story by Scott McCartney for the Wall Street Journal.
Best Airlines for Redeeming Miles

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One Response to Southwest Best Airlines for Redeeming Miles, Delta, Not So Much

  1. Mark F on May 21, 2012 at 11:48 am

    I agree with your statement that Delta is among the worst airlines for redeeming miles. I recently cancelled my Delta Skymiles (American Express) account due to the unusable miles and “Free Companion Fare” bonus I was supposed to have earned. For two years in a row, a benefit of paying $125 per year membership fee, I was awarded a “Free Companion Fare” voucher. While I travel frequently for business and pleasure, I was never able to find an “eligible” flight where I could redeem the voucher – they expired without use and I finally just gave up on trying to use miles for air travel and redeemed miles for an AMEX gift card.

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