Rookie Wednesday: Delta OPEN JAW award tickets to save on taxes + fees (sometimes).

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RenesPoints Rookie

Welcome to a weekly feature on the Renés Points blog. Each week this series covers in a “rookie” way either a Delta or travel related theme and attempts to break down to a basic level each topic. You can read up on all the previous posts HERE. Now on to this week’s feature.

open jaw booking 1

Delta has changed the rules for 2015 SkyMiles for award travel. To me, the biggest and worst crushing blow was the end of stopovers on awards. To be able to enjoy a few extra days at some Skyteam hub along the way was an AMAZING perk that is just gone now.

Also gone with the end of stopovers is the chance to tack on an open jaw at the end of a trip, up to 11 months later, and basically get a free one-way trip. Again, another HUGE loss for value of SkyMiles 2015.

But what has NOT gone away is the ability to use an OPEN JAW, that is, simply to return home from a different city than you landed in. Notice what says about OPEN JAW award travel:

“Open jaw Award Travel is permitted for Awards booked prior to January 1, 2015. To be eligible, the mileage between the open jaw points must be less than or equal to the total mileage flown between any other trip in the itinerary (origin to destination). A double open jaw is not permitted.

For Award Travel ticketed on or after January 1, 2015, all open jaw itineraries will be priced based on One-way Award Travel pricing rules.”

So what does that mean? Let’s look at some examples and the reason why you should still consider an open jaw ticket vs buying two one ways, but also why you should sometimes NOT buy an open jaw vs two one way awards.

open jaw booking 2

If you look at the opening screen shot in this post, then look at all the red arrows on page two, you will see we are looking at a trip from NYC to London and then home from Amsterdam to NYC again. This part of the multi-city search has not been destroyed by Delta IT / REV MGT like so many of the other functions from last year.

out of jfk into lhr out of ams back to ewr

nyc to lhr then ams to dtw delta award

You can see the total price for this trip, LEVEL 1 award in coach, is 60,000 SkyMiles plus taxes and fees of $53.20. Now since we have one-ways why not just book two one-ways? Look at the cost difference

nyc to lhr one way award

ams to nyc one-way delta

The two one-way awards will end up costing you $211.89 vs just $53.20. So does that ALWAYS mean you should then book an open jaw award this way? If saving money matters, yes, but do keep in mind you cannot cancel an award once you hit the 72 hr mark. Say you have a trip, and something goes wrong the day before your trip and you MUST cancel. With the open jaw all your points are gone. With two one-way awards you could at least get the points back for the return if that is more than 72 hrs away. Maybe worth the extra price to some people.

nyc to moscow then rome to nyc open jaw delta

distance from svo to fco

Let’s look at another few examples. You could fly from NYC to Moscow and then back home from Rome should you wish to do so (you just have to get yourself from SVO to FCO). One of the key things you want to watch out for is not mixing partner LEVEL 1 awards (the only way you will find them) and anything but LEVEL 1 Delta awards as if you do you will pay additive prices or more than one award per directon. You can see why having an award chart to compare is SO important right? Let’s look at one more

lax to cdg then open jaw icn to lax delta skymiles

lax to cdg one-way

icn to lax one way

Now in this case you may NOT want to do that open jaw even though you can. Notice you can do Los Angeles to Paris and then Seoul back to Los Angeles. The total price is correct at LEVEL 1 coach that is 30k for LAX to CDG and then also correct 35k LEVEL 1 ICN to LAX so total 65k round trip. But notice the tax of $83.20. If I price these two as two one-way awards the price ends up the same miles but the fees are just $5.60 +$41.20 (48,900 wan) = $46.80 total. So, in this case, the open jaw is a bad idea and gains you nothing!

Bottom line to take away from all of this is we can still do an open jaw award with Delta SkyMiles 2015, but it is not the same as it once was. It may save you some cash to do this or it may not. You need to check both ways to save the most! – Rene


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One comment

  1. This will especially play a role on award tickets through LHR. I paid $330 in taxes/fees per one way ticket a few months ago. I should have looked at the open jaw option!

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