If you search for Delta metal only business class flights from Paris to Atlanta in July you will find NO seats at the lowest award. That is, according to the deleted award charts, “LEVEL 1″should price out as 62,500 SkyMiles for such an award. You will see a few days with “LEVEL 2” awards, that is, “OL” awards for 80,000 SkyMiles.
Now here is where things in 2015 are MUCH worse than they were before the “all new award calendar” took effect and brought misery to our frequent flyer lives. In the past, it was relatively simple. If you look in the Essentials Tab and the E7 posts you will find for YEARS the step by step ways to assemble leg by leg a low level award (including for 2015). If not low level, at least you could find “low-er” level awards as putting a mid-level segment into the mix of award “segments” would push the entire award, including partners, into the highest of all the segments priced and that was for each way. For a hypothetical example if you searched for a round trip Atlanta to Rome, Italy in business class and found this (ie back in the day it was 100k for a low level round trip):
Atlanta to Rome outbound (via Amsterdam) MID – 100,000 SkyMiles
Rome to Atlanta (via Boston) return LOW – 50,000 SkyMiles
Total round trip – 150,000
So the outbound you found as a Delta award at mid level, including a low level on the partner, and you paid the higher award of the segments Delta charged but nothing “extra” other than the highest common denominator. Yes, it hurt but so be it. On the return you found all Low level and thus the total award price as you see.
Next there is the major bit of info you always, both then and now, must understand and that is partner award pricing must always, always, always be at the lowest level, or for us now LEVEL 1, for us to get it. If there is not LEVEL 1 space then no space is available to SkyMiles members. This was true then and is true today.
Before, you could go jump on Delta.com in the multi-leg search and simply, after you did the hard work of finding the lowest level segments you wanted, including stopovers that were allowed back then, plug them in and Delta.com would spit out the correctly priced award ticket. Lots of work, yes, but you could get real value out of your SkyMiles and the Delta.com award page just WORKED. I cannot stress this enough. You could make it WORK! Now you just get an error and have to call and play rep roulette and most reps are nowhere near good enough to understand how to get things done.
Now here is where we are getting to the shocking change that is yet one more MAJOR crushing unannounced devaluation with SkyMiles 2015.
Unless PARTNER, and DELTA, award space is open at LEVEL 1
you will not get a ticket priced as just one “ticket”!
I hope you understand how penalizing and beyond nauseating this is for us. Let me make it clear for you. Delta partner computers do not understand ANYTHING but LEVEL 1 awards. Thus:
Anything other than LEVEL 1 Delta metal award,
with a partner, will price as TWO (or more) tickets.
Yep! One of the major issues that we have found over and over, and I thought it was just Delta.com making a mistake, is NOT a mistake but a planned way of booking tickets. Even if you find LEVEL 1 space on partners, unless you find corresponding LEVEL 1 space on Delta metal you will be paying for two SkyMiles award tickets, that is one ticket for the partner at Level 1 and one ticket at whatever level award on the Delta segment(s).
Can you fully comprehend how horrid this is and what a massive hidden devaluation we now have with the 2015 SkyMiles program?
My level of frustration over this is off the chart. There is no way even to spoon feed a phone rep segments now unless you are able to find Level 1 award space on Delta metal and partner metal segments.
Can this get any worse? Well, believe it or not, yes it can. We know Delta reps do not understand the rules. I was told just yesterday that an international stopover must be less than 12 hours (it is less than 24 according to Delta.com btw). Since we can no longer use Delta.com to assemble awards we must suffer with what a Delta rep tells us and most times it is just wrong. Not just that, Delta CORP has taken away the power to fix things when clearly the computers are not pricing tickets as they should per the rules.
Folks, we are in uncharted (no pun intended) waters now. The facts are for SkyMiles 2015 unless we can find level 1 across the board, we are often paying for 2 or 3 award tickets that should price as just one. I guess the promise Delta made for 2015 of more tickets at a lower SkyMiles price meant paying for multiple tickets per trip at a lower price than before compared to just one! – René.