The Importance of Points Diversity

Putting all your eggs in one basket is rarely a smart move. Especially in the points world. Earlier this week I found myself looking to book a flight from Rome to NYC and, among other things, started checking the usual suspects for award options. There are a few SkyTeam flights which are feasible so those are where I focused initially. It is always interesting to see how the prices vary amongst partners.

For the Delta flight there is “saver” level business class available. That prices out the same in both the SkyMiles and FlyingBlue programs thanks to Delta tossing the “because we can” fee in there of a couple hundred euros. Things are more interesting in the economy class cabin.

SkyMiles pricing for the route/date in question
SkyMiles pricing for the route/date in question

The Alitalia flight is available through both programs. FlyingBlue charges fewer points (25k v 30k) and also charges less in the way of fees by more than 50 euro. Neither publishes the details of what those fees really areand certainly some of them are real taxes but the part where Delta is charging more is intriguing to me.

FlyingBlue pricing for the route/date in question
FlyingBlue pricing for the route/date in question

And then there’s the unsurprising part where Delta makes a seat on its own flight available for a higher rate in economy. The fee part matches but it is more points than the Alitalia flights thanks to the many different levels of award pricing the carrier now offers.

Of course, there’s also the question of the cost to accrue the points in question. For me the SkyMiles have been earnt over the years via flying, promos and even an old SkyMiles credit card more than a decade ago. The FlyingBlue points would come from my Membership Rewards account which theoretically have a higher cost to acquire (or potential transfer value) but for now I’m mostly considering them to be on par based on my travel patterns and redemption style.

As for the actual booking, we ended up choosing something else based on schedule and price. But this served as a good reminder to always check the various options available and the value of keeping points in multiple places. If the timing on that Alitalia flight had worked then clearly the FlyingBlue booking was a better choice for me.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


    1. No doubt there is some difference in the product quality on board depending on carrier and aircraft. But, in this case, I was mostly looking at the difference in pricing to get a seat on the same flight.

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