My Experience Redeeming SkyMiles For Krug Champagne

Delta is doing everything they can to turn the SkyMiles program into a revenue based program in just about every way. They’re trying to peg the value of one SkyMile at a penny, regardless of what aspect of the travel experience you’re trying to redeem your miles for.

Yesterday I flew Delta out of Seattle, and used their gorgeous new SkyClub. I’ll have a review of that shortly, but in this post wanted to cover something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time.

I’ve long been fascinated by the Delta SkyClub premium drinks menu. While the club has complimentary house wine, beer, and cocktails, there are all kinds of premium drinks you can buy, and among these is champagne. And if you like good champagne, this is actually an exceptional use of SkyMiles.

What sparkling wine can you redeem your SkyMiles for?

  • Mionetto Prosecco Brut — $8 per glass, or 400 SkyMiles
  • Moet et Chandon Brut Imperial — $14 per glass, or 700 SkyMiles
  • Canard-Duchene Authentic Brut — $22 per bottle, or 1,100 SkyMiles
  • Dom Perignon 2006 — $250 per bottle, or 12,500 SkyMiles
  • Krug — $200 per bottle, or 10,000 SkyMiles
  • Louis Roederer Cristal — $275 per bottle, or 13,750 SkyMiles

The first three options are great if you just want a glass or two of something that bubbles, while champagne enthusiasts will no doubt recognize the three bottom champagnes.

While Delta tries to make each SkyMile worth a penny, you’ll notice that they give you two cents of value per SkyMile when redeeming towards champagne. Now I suppose that’s fair enough, since their cash prices displayed for champagne are higher than you’d find at retail (though nowhere as much as you’d pay in a restaurant). My favorite champagne place is K&L, so let’s use their pricing as an example of the retail costs of this. I’m going to factor in the 20.5% Washington State sales tax on liquor on these purchases, given that this is where I consumed it (and you don’t pay those taxes when redeeming SkyMiles):

So let me first say that Delta’s cash prices for these bottles is only marginally more than retail. But even more so, it’s a great use of SkyMiles, as you’re getting ~1.8 cents per mile for the Krug, ~1.75 cents per mile for Cristal, and ~1.5 cents per mile for the Dom.

While this is a good value, it’s still a lot of cash and miles. Just as I wouldn’t buy a bottle of fancy champagne every time I go out to dinner, I also wouldn’t redeem miles for one every time I go to a SkyClub.

However, I write about this stuff, so figured I’d take one for the team and test out the process. I know, it’s a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it! 😉

So I visited the bar at the SkyClub and approached the friendly bartender.

“This is probably a weird question, but is there any chance I could buy a bottle of the Krug to go? Don’t worry, I won’t consume it on the plane, it’s just a great value, and I figured I’d do my champagne shopping here.”

He chuckled, and said “you know, I’ve never been asked that before.” The manager was standing nearby, and he called her over. She laughed, but said that unfortunately due to Washington State liquor laws that’s not possible. I’m sure I’m not the only one who had this thought. I guess I’ll have to try this at a SkyClub in another state to see if they let me take it there.

However, both the bartender and manager seemed super excited about someone ordering one of their premium champagnes. They asked where we were sitting, and a few minutes later the awesome bartender returned with an ice bucket, the bottle of Krug, and two champagne flutes. Rather hilariously, at first there was a cleaning cloth placed over the ice bucket.

Now that’s what I call a drink with a view!!

All of the employees seemed genuinely excited about our order. Several of the people who come around to clear plates stopped by to ask how we were enjoying our champagne, etc.

Delta has a tablet they use for guests to redeem SkyMiles for premium drinks, though it wasn’t working, which they were all very apologetic for. So they took down my SkyMiles number, etc., and said the transaction would post by the end of the day. It sure did, but it looks like they accidentally charged me for the Cristal rather than the Krug. This will be a fun thing to get straightened out with Delta customer service…

Bottom line

What a cool experience for any champagne lover! Of course I wouldn’t do this every time, but if you appreciate good champagne, this is a very cool splurge. At a minimum this is a value of 1.5 cents per SkyMile, which is pretty solid.

The next time there’s a Delta Amex sign-up bonus of 50,000-70,000 miles, you can view that as 5-7 bottles of Krug. 😉

I was so impressed by the Delta SkyClub on the whole — everyone working there was amazing, and I can’t stress enough how they all made it fun as well.

Have you ever redeemed SkyMiles towards a premium SkyClub drink? Which one, and what was your experience like?

Comments

  1. “Excuse me sir, I just delivered your bottle of champagne, where did it go?”
    “Oh… uhmmmm… another staff took it after I finished it”
    *slowly tucks the neck of the bottle into bag*

  2. The ability for customer to take a full bottle home from a restaurant/club setting depends on whether the establishment has an on-premise (drinking on site) or off-premise (drinking off-site, aka liquor stores). Many state laws would not allow an on-premise establishment to sell alcohol to take off-site, with the occasional exception of taking a bottle of wine home if you were not able to finish it on-site.

    Certain states, such as California and Oregon, does allow both on-prem and off-prem licensing at one establishment, which allows wine bars to sell wines to take home (Vino Volo in airports, as an example), assuming they have both licenses. In the case of Sky Club, since their business model is to serve on-site and not for customer to take stuff home, it would be unlikely for them to get both on-prem and off-prem licenses, since there’s a licensing cost involved.

  3. As much I love sky club, they removed all nuts. I don’t mean crazy people (nuts) because unfortunately they left them. Many times I just liked to stop by to get some peanuts and beer and that really hit the spot between flights. I miss it so much

  4. I bought a bottle of Cristal 2007 in the LGA Skyclub. Said I would drink it there, but threw it in my Rimowa carry-on and made a run for the gate.

  5. Obviously this is fun and not a bad deal, but Sky Club house cocktail list is actually pretty solid so I don’t see myself spending when I can drink for free

  6. I’ve been taking advantage of this for a while. If you view the skyclub as a bar instead of as a store their drink prices are a tremendous value, especially when compared to other airport bars.

    While i’ve never ordered a bottle of Krug, I gladly part with 300 miles for a craft beer (that would be $8-9 in a bar) or 500 miles for a cocktail (that would easily be $12-15).

  7. I’ll also add that you can tip with miles and the bartender confirmed they get tipped out at 2 cents per mile. The system is more onerous that using a credit card but if im sitting at the bar they usually let me run a tab.

  8. Frequent Flyer programs have a lot of stray miles floating around from infrequent flyers. These miles are treated as a liability until they eventually expire because the customer never accumulated enough for a flight (or they get redeemed at an awful exchange-rate for merchandise). Offering a decent redemption for relatively few miles may end up costing Delta more than they expect.

  9. I have actually started going back to the sky clubs on a regular basis, specifically for their premium wines. You are right that they are priced only marginally above retail value, making them a good deal. And with the exception of a few top and restaurants in the airports, you won’t find any better wine.

    The past few years, I have tended to choose to pay to eat/drink outside of the sky clubs because of the lousy selection. They have really upped their offerings and I am finding myself in there more often than not.

  10. Interesting. I wonder what kind of license an airline club gets. For example, one cannot generally take home liquor purchased from a licensed bar (unless they have a special “packaged goods” license). However, many states allow a doggy bag for the unconsumed portion of a bottle purchased at a licensed eating establishment (key is that it must be opened at the establishment).

  11. If there was a time to give them a fake Skymiles number, this was it (or drain your miles for a premium ticket as soon as you left).

  12. @ Ben — When you factor in the free alcohol you could obtain in the SkyClub, this is a not-so-great use of miles. That said, I would love to see others use this so I can use my miles for something better!

  13. Love this… great use of SkyMiles. Can’t wait for the detailed lounge review. Will be there in 3.5 weeks on my way home to SFO from LHR. And my day starts with another amazing lounge… Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse in Heathrow. #regularbrag

  14. Lucky,

    Given how favorable you seem to the Delta ground and flight experience, as well as how Delta is being innovative in how people can redeem Skymiles, why don’t you a new comprehensive comparison of Skymiles versus American and United? You have voiced frustrations with AAdvantage, so it would make sense if you could do a “mark to market” on the three major US frequent flier programs. Examine in flight and ground product, ease of earning miles, ease of using miles, ease of earning upgrades, redemption options, etc.

  15. Great story. I just love the kitchen cloth used to serve Krug. I mean, classy!
    And this the day after United proudly boasts about its award winning champagne- served in a plastic cup! How do US airlines manage to make top champagnes look so naff?!

  16. This redemption is only useful and good value if we can take away and bring it home.

    I will not want to rush to finish a bottle of Krug and Delta lounges are not places that people willing spend long hours to be able to drink a paid bottle of Krug. Delta should allow people to redeem at the club, and passenger to collect on the plane, if they cannot let someone take it out from the lounge directly.

  17. I normally wouldn’t do this either, but if my fiance and I were traveling and we were “stuck” at an airport with a SkyClub for a long layover on a birthday/anniversary/special-occasion, I’d totally go for the Krug!! 😉

  18. It’s pretty painful to take 10000 SkyMiles out for a bottle of Krug for consumption within Sky Club. (ps: complimentary Krug onboard Singapore first class tastes better than one bought at ground)

  19. I normally drink the free local beer(s) or house wine (the Grenache Syrah Merlot blend is pretty good), but last weekend I was at ATL B SkyClub and decided to buy a Terrapin Hopsecutioner. They sell it for $3, so it cost me 150 miles which I thought was a great deal. I just pulled up my BP from Apple wallet, and they scanned it with the iPad and had me sign for it just like a transaction on Square. I’ll still generally stick with the complimentary choices, but it’s nice to have another option.

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