Delta SkyMiles Goes to a Revenue Based Model

The Wall Street Journal, InsideFlyer, Points Miles and Martinis, and One Mile At A Time are all reporting that Delta Air Lines will unveil a new SkyMiles program which will go into effect January 1, 2015.

Under the new program, SkyMiles members will earn miles in the following scheme:

  • 5 miles per $1 spent on base fare for general members
  • 7 miles per $1 spent on base fare for Silver Medallions
  • 8 miles per $1 spent on base fare for Gold Medallions
  • 9 miles per $1 spent on base fare for Platinum Medallions
  • 11 miles per $1 spent on base fare for Diamond Medallions

Biggest losers? Gold Medallions on cheapest fares

Biggest winners? Diamond Medallions on Full-fare or Premium Cabin tickets

Here's a breakdown of the bonus SkyMiles earned in the old system versus the new system:

Elite LevelOld Program BonusNew Program BonusChange

Let's look at a flight between Los Angeles and New York JFK.

  • Non-stop flight is 2,470 miles
  • Cheapest Fare: $308 (round trip, including taxes and fees), $266 base fare
  • Full Fare (Y): $4,384 (round trip, including taxes and fees), $4,058 base fare
Elite LevelOld ProgramNew Program (cheap fare)New Program (Y fare)

Positive Changes for Redemption

Delta is adding one-way tickets priced at half the roundtrip redemption amount (currently you have to redeem at roundtrip amounts even if all you want is a one-way).

Miles+Cash awards will be added as an option although details have not yet been announced.

Questionable Changes for Redemption

Delta claims adding two more redemption tiers will improve low-level award availability, but I remain skeptical.  There will be five-tiers of redemption amounts rather than the current three of Low, Medium, and High.

Delta says the new redemption structure will align more closely to the price of air travel, so expect a huge devaluation as well.

Conclusion: BURN THOSE SKYMILES and if you're not a Full-Fare flyer, consider looking elsewhere ::cough:: ALASKA ::cough::

Frequent flyers I have talked to also believe that United will follow suit in moving to a Revenue system for Mileage Plus.

Reader Question: Why did Comcast stock prices fall after TWC merger announcement?

Comcast announced a premium ($26/per share higher than Charters last bid based on Wednesday's closing prices) to encourage Time Warner shareholders to approve the deal.

Comcast's "Board of Directors have approved a definitive agreement for Time Warner Cable to merge with Comcast. The agreement is a friendly, stock-for-stock transaction in which Comcast will acquire 100 percent of Time Warner Cable's 284.9 million shares outstanding for shares of CMCSA amounting to approximately $45.2 billion in equity value. Each Time Warner Cable share will be exchanged for 2.875 shares of CMCSA."

As of Wednesday's close that meant...

  • TWC $135.31
  • CMCSA $55.24
  • Equivalent value: ($55.24)(2.875) = $158.82
  • Premium of $158.82-$135.31 = $23.51

That's a pretty big gap, so the market is adjusting now...

  • TWC $145.15
  • CMCSA $53.25
  • Equivalent value: ($53.25)(2.875) = $153.09
  • Premium of $153.09-$145.15 = $7.94

There are some concerns about regulator approval of the deal (meaning the announced deal might not happen - like AT&T/T-Mobile or the early talks of American/USAir) which has been the suggested reason that the the premium hasn't closed faster through the day.

NOW... Here's the basic supply/demand explanation.

At the time the deal as announced if you sold off 1,000 shares of Comcast to buy shares of TWC this is what would have happened.

  • ($55.24)(1,000) = $55,240
  • $55,240/$135.31 = 408 shares of TWC

Let's say the market eventually equalizes to something like this right before the deal goes through:

  • TWC $148.00
  • CMCSA $51.50
  • Equivalent value: ($51.50)(2.875) $148.06
  • Premium of $148.06-$148.00 = $0.06

Your 408 shares of TWC will become 1173 shares of CMCSA worth $60,409.50.

Had you kept your 1,000 shares of CMCSA throughout it would be worth $51,500.00.

So, if you anticipate the deal actually happening, the smart bet is to sell off your Comcast shares to buy Time Warner shares. From basic economics we know the supply of shares remains the same, but demand for TWC will go up and demand for CMCSA will go down. Thus the share price for TWC will go up and the share price for CMCSA will go down.

SIDE NOTE: Because a drop in share prices causes the average joe to panic, CMCSA also announced a stock buy back which will reduce supply of CMCSA



Cheap Fares on Delta... Northwest to Asia/Europe

Book by March 3, 2014

$549 Portland-Amsterdam
$572 Portland-TokyoNarita

$328 Seattle-BeijingCapital
$399 Seattle-Shanghai
$525 Seattle-TokyoHaneda
$527 Seattle-TokyoNarita
$549 Seattle-Amsterdam
$549 Seattle-LondonHeathrow
$549 Seattle-ParisCDG

Alaska Double EQMs on new SEA-DTW route

The Alaska/Delta war is continuing... if you're trying to get some extra miles for MVP qualification (or just some additional miles), AS is giving double miles on it's three newest routes.

  • AS 788/789 Seattle/New Orleans through August 15, 2014
  • AS 775/756 Seattle/Tampa through August 15, 2014


  • AS 792/793 Seattle/Detroit through October 31, 2014||20140211_SALE||

Google Glass brings new level of personal service to Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic hostess using Google Glass

Next time you arrive at the airport, the person checking you in may know your name, destination and even your dietary requirements before you even open your mouth.

Virgin Atlantic’s concierge staff in the Upper Class lounge at London Heathrow have begun trialing a scheme in which hostesses recognize passengers using Google Glass.

The technology will be able to identify a customer, see their flight details and preferences, before showing the hostess their flight information, and more.

The technology then immediately begins checking that passenger in, and can update the hostess on travel information, weather and events at the customer's destination.

Microsoft Surface Pro Finally Gets A Release Date

From The Verge

Microsoft is finally naming a date for its Surface Pro launch today: February 9th. The software giant may have missed its January release date promise, but the Windows 8-powered tablet will be available to purchase next month from retailers in the US and Canada. Microsoft is "taking a phased approach" with Surface Pro availability that may disappoint some international customers. "It will be available initially in the US and Canada with additional markets to follow in the coming weeks and months," says a spokesperson.
Microsoft's latest Surface tablet runs on a full version of Windows 8, meaning it will support existing desktop applications in addition to the new Windows 8-style ones. The Surface Pro is similar to Microsoft's Surface RT tablet on the exterior, with a 10.6-inch screen and support for Touch and Type Covers. However, pen support and a Full HD display with an Intel Core i5 processor means this tablet is significantly better specs wise. Earlier this month The Verge got an early look at Microsoft's Surface Pro tablet. We were particularly impressed with the display and the accuracy of the pen that Microsoft has supplied with this tablet. There's some trade offs with the Surface Pro compared to the RT, with an increased thickness and weight combination, but the speed and desktop apps support may make up for that.
Alongside the Surface Pro availability, Microsoft is also expanding the number of markets for its Surface RT tablet. 13 new European countries will be able to purchase the Surface RT in the coming weeks, doubling Microsoft's available markets. Three new Touch Covers will also be available for a limited time with unique designs along with a special Wedge Touch Mouse, Surface Edition. The Surface Pro will start at $899 without a cover for the 64GB model.

How To Not Suck at Meetings

Lifehacker is re-posting an article by Eli Rubel on how to run your meetings. Mandatory reading for all.

Eli Rubel is the co-founder and CEO of Glider, a Portland-based startup that's an alum of both TechStars and the Portland Seed Fund. In case you've got a meeting with him, you can follow him on Twitter as @eli_rubel or on his personal blog.

I'm Back! About time...

I recently reflected on how much use a journal can serve, and after several days of searching the Internets for the best place to post a journal, LiveJournal remains the most useful. Given the lack of development of the LiveJournal platform over the past five years, this highlights precisely the strengths of the platform.

In addition to the usefulness factor, I have noted a severe degradation in my writing, and writing a journal seems one good method to exercising the skill. If you don't use it, you lose it.

More Work Learnin’

Sat through a meeting that was scheduled for 1.5 hours to set the design for the business end of our Content Resource System for the new product I’ve been working hard on for the past few months. The meeting went 2 hours. You would think it would be easy, but I forget that most people in the room don’t know the difference between a Combo Box and a Text Box. Ouch.

Eleonora, an account rep, compared it to a recent hellish dentist visit and suggested she’d prefer another visit to the dentist rather than do this again.

What seems so easy in our Software Engineering class (establishing a TLD and DD and getting to implementation) is extremely difficult when everyone in the room isn’t on the same page…

Not So Sexy… ARINC 429 Williamsburg

I actually learned a ton about work stuffs today. Imagine that? Now I went from knowing nearly nothing about ARINC 429 Williamsburg protocol, to knowing what it does and the bits that make up a Williamsburg message.

Then I learned how we encapsulate our proprietary messages and how the Airshow box can display connecting gate information and terminal charts. Neat.

Unfortunately I still know nothing. It’s like saying I know TCP guarantees messages get from one place to another in order and HTTP messages can be sent over TCP… but knowing nothing more.

Stuff Mom Never Told You: Are gay households more egalitarian?

I like this particular episode less for the answers but rather for the interesting questions posed throughout. This topic should get much more than the nearly 28 minutes here, but the questions are something mull over and return to tuen mull over again.

How much of our household life is defined by gender roles?

How much of our household life is defined by “because that’s the way it’s always been done?”

How can couples “level the playing field” to promote conflict resolution and improve the quality of arguments? 

Why do we spend so much time arguing about children, money, or the division of labor within our households?

I suppose I didn’t LEARN much; however a big component of learning is trying to figure things out for yourself.