Another value of Delta Skymiles get 3 trips for the price of 2 even in FIRST CLASS!

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I love my Skymiles. There – I said it! And I am proud of that and they are NOT skypesos. Why? I want you to show me another airline that will let you use points to do both a stop over and an open jaw on the same ticket?

I am going try to make a hard to grasp topic simple so bear with me. First some parameters.

Q – what is a stop over?
A – a stop or pause of up to 11 months in your travel.

Q – what is an open jaw?
A – a trip added to the beginning OR the end of you ticket.

Q – how many segments can I have each way of my trip?
A – 4 each way. (8 in total rt but reports are more possible)

Now let’s say you want to go to see fall colors in Paris in October, Florida in January to golf and Utah in March to ski and all 3 places for the price of 2 tickets. How do you do this? Here is how.

Ticket 1 – DTW-CDG-DTW / stop over / DTW-MIA ( open jaw)
[free trip is the middle part the Detroit to Florida & back]
Ticket 2 – ( open jaw ) MIA-DTW / stop over / DTW-SLC-DTW

Ticket 1 cost 100,000 points low level business
Free trip cost nothing
Ticket 2 cost 45,000 points low level business

So do we see what we have done? The first trip you had your Paris vacation and came home. Then stopped, and a few months later went to Florida. End of ticket one. Your next ticket you went skiing. But, before that, you flew home from Florida on the open jaw part, stopped, and then a few months later went on that ski trip. End of ticket two. Clear?

The kool part of this is you are basically getting a free business class trip for ZERO extra miles. Yes this will take work and planning and TIME. But what is 45,000 Skymiles worth to you? Try and play with this and see the value of Skymiles – René
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Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

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57 comments

  1. It depends. I did not want to make the post too hard to understand so did not go deep into details. Any SINGLE trip is limited to 331 days with DL. So, as long as the open jaw part ends in Miami 330 days or less after you begin your trip you should be good. – Rene

  2. I was trying the following, but both tickets were pricing out at 50k instead of 25k. When searching each segment separately I was able to find low level availability on all legs, any ideas?

    Ticket #1
    Fri, March 2nd, 2012
    IND -> LGA: 5988
    Sun, March 4th, 2012
    LGA -> IND: 5989
    Fri, August 17th, 2012
    IND -> SLC: 1235

    Ticket #2
    Tue, August 21th, 2012
    SLC -> IND: 1228
    Fri, November 2st, 2012
    IND -> SAN: 1235 / 2378
    Mon, November 5th, 2012
    SAN -> IND: 2378 / 1228

  3. Hi Rene. I love this blog and i love our airline. Made it to PM this year from GM and was wondering if you know when they are going to give the bonus of 50k miles for getting to PM (25K if i matched my GM from last year). They don’t seem to know a whole lot even atthe PM desk/corporate customer care. I did choose SWU’s and just like what most bloggers here complain about, the M fares internationally are almost full fare, and K fare to HNL is also costly. Thanks!

  4. @ Rob keep in mind the rule that the open jaw can NOT be the longest let. Your ind-slc is LONGER than IND-LGA so it does not work. You would have to go IND-SLC-IND and then add IND-LGA clear? – Rene

  5. But would this work from a non-hub? For example:

    Trip1:
    CAE->ATL->CDG
    CDG->ATL->CAE (stopover)
    CAE->ATL->MIA (open jaw)

    Trip2:
    MIA->ATL->CAE (stopover)
    CAE->ATL->SLC
    SLC->ATL->CAE

    Since CAE isn’t a valid routing CDG-MIA, I’m not sure this would work…

  6. @Rene I tried that but got the same results (only tried the first ticket)…

    Sat. Feb 11
    IND -> SLC: 3820 / 855
    Mon. Feb 13
    SLC -> IND: 4444
    Fri. Jun 15
    IND -> LGA: 5988

    Could this just be an example of Delta’s engine pricing the award incorrectly and a phone call may be able to get it for 25k instead of 50k?

  7. @Aleks – there are 1000 ways to bust this. I was testing routes with a medallion rep and had a Moscow leg that busted it by 55k ( crazy number I know ) and when we dumped that and went to another city it priced fine in her system.

  8. Thanks for breaking this down Rene – I love it when you make it easy for us to understand all of Delta’s perks – great post!

  9. @Rob: You need to adhere to the routing rules, which domestically specify the connecting points. Since IND isn’t a valid connecting point between LGA and SLC, you won’t be able to take a stopover there. Domestic stopovers are generally going to be restricted to hub airports.

  10. @Aleks: International routings are MPM-based, and interestingly enough, your proposed CDG-ATL-CAE-ATL-MIA routing fits within the CDG-MIA MPM. I’ve recently seen some revenue fares constructed that allow retrainsiting a hub like this (twice through ATL), but most people have not had success with it on award bookings. If you’ve only got service from one hub, you’re likely going to have fewer options, but if you’ve got two or more, things look a bit better.

  11. @Mitch Thanks for the info, that makes sense. I wonder if they still consider CVG a hub, perhaps I can use that as my stopover point.

  12. Hi Rene. It was a targeted promo done by Delta last March. For GM’s, if you match your status for 2011, you get 25k miles bonus. If you get to PM, you get 50K bonus. If you make it to DM you get 100k miles.

  13. @Mitch — thanks for your insight. That was just an example, since I live close to CAE and ATL seems to be my default connecting hub. I suppose DTW or JFK could be substituted in either direction for an actual booking, ex:

    CAE-ATL-CDG
    CDG-DTW-CAE (stopover)
    CAE-ATL-MIA (end open jaw)

    I just tried to price this out on Delta.com, but true to form, it crapped out after the first segment search, so I’m not sure how it would price out…

  14. I have been doing this for 3+ years but with such detailed information, I can almost guarantee you it won’t be around for much longer. We all know DL reads online forums/blogs and if this is too widespread, it WILL be killed. We already know DL’s track record in killing anything that remotely hints at “gaming the system.”

    Very unfortunate for this to be presented in such detail in public. It is best kept for private discussion and places like the Chicago seminars – where I in fact gave an hour-long seminar last October on this very topic.

  15. @Rob: This is where an ExpertFlyer subscription (or something that lets you see routing rules…I think it might be possible at the final stage of revenue ticket purchase to see terms and conditions and sometimes get routing rules, but you want to look at the expensive fares’ rules) comes in handy. NYC-CVG-SLC is showing as a valid routing, so give it a try stopping over there.

  16. >>the open jaw part of the trip must be shorter than the longest segment in the itinerary.

    Nothing to do with segments. Trust me, I have been doing this for 3 years.

  17. @ John – I do not agree with you. I, you, we, educate flyers. Not to “game” the system but to use it. Skymiles are hard to use. This is a perk. I want to help people use them! – Rene

  18. Can you keep this up on FT? It’s really helpful to many of us, and you shouldn’t be listening to the few who [complain] and moan about everything that doesn’t help them personally.

    Thanks

  19. @ John – txs for the help and the correction. So the open jaw can be the longest part of the trip? That is not what I have been told by medallion reps but they are often wrong.

  20. What you, me, we think is irrelevant. If DL thinks we are “gaming the system” that is what is important. They make and change the rules at will. I can see a rule change in the foreseeable future.

    Unfortunately I can’t comment any more on the specifics in a public forum like this.

  21. @Rachel – I am very disappointed that most at FT want it down. I will keep it up at the blog. Thanks for the support. Most want to keep things PVT. I do not agree. – I guess you will just have to come here to get the inside stuff – Rene 😉

  22. I have booked a ticket @ 25K

    AAA-BBB-AAA

    if there is low award @25K by doing a one-way search can I add it as stopover it to my existing ticket, so I have AAA-BBB-AAA-CCC (CCC is just a city 200 miles north of AAA so that should be fine as far as distance)

    I’m just wondering if it’s ok to do that or are they going to reprice the whole ticket now since AAA-BBB-AAA is now 60K.

  23. @ Gussomer – you would have to have it rebooked PM & DM would not pay a fee to change. If your current flight itinerary is still showing for the same miles, sure you can just add on the open jaw at the end if it is also showing for the same miles!

  24. Actually, Continental lets you do the same thing, but allows one more routing technique that is even better than Delta. And it is very easy to find.

  25. Do you have to call delta to do this? I tried doing multi trip itinerary and it didnt work. If you do call, how do you go about the routing?

  26. Regarding open jaws: As John says, it has NOTHING to do with segments (individual flights), it has to do with distance between the ends of the fare components. For example, let’s consider Ticket 1 from the post above. This is priced as DTW-CDG-MIA. What you need here is that the distance from DTW to MIA (the unflown portion, creating the open jaw) must be less than the distance from DTW to CDG (the outbound fare component) and less than the distance from CDG to MIA (the return fare component). It might seem weird to call DTW-MIA the “unflown portion” when you’re actually flying a DTW-MIA segment, but the pricing is treating CDG-DTW-MIA as a single fare component, as if you’d flown CDG-MIA nonstop.

  27. To the naysayers who think this should be private, this has been well known for years and has been posted in public settings numerous times. These are the specific terms of the program…just like AA allows a domestic hub stop over on an international award ticket. Stop overs have long been part of award travel…and while this might have been presented privately previously, it’s been long known since well before 3 years.

    To quote a famous FT’er…”Do a search!”

  28. @NYBanker: I think the concern is that Delta’s published terms say you get a stopover OR an open jaw (and have said that for years). Therefore (not me), some believe if too many people start incorporating both a stopover AND an open jaw in their award tickets, Delta will decide to enforce the letter of the law. Personally, I think their IT department is too inept to figure out how to do it, and so we’re not at much risk.

  29. I just tried a dummy booking CDG-JFK/ stop-over/JFK-FLL using multi-city after specifically checking each segment pricing at low (see itinerary here: http://goo.gl/S7Opd) and it prices at 200k miles, appears to be two separate tickets. Can this not be done on the website?

  30. I did search leg by leg, both were at low, then finally did a multi-city award and it priced at 200k miles? Ah, think the problem was I chose First class on the JFK-FLL segment; it prices correctly at 100k miles now with that domestic segment in coach. Cool!

  31. Kewl! 🙂 So, to clarify, a BE or Business international award at 100k doesn’t let you add on a domestic First segment? It has to be in coach?

  32. I’ve been playing around with and it seems the catch is the open jaw must be a domestic award. For example here are how the following low level biz awards price out (also note all segments are non-stops on AF and AS so won’t show up on DL for award travel unless there is low level biz availability):

    SEA-CDG-ZRH, ZRH-CDG-SEA + SEA-IAH = 100K (should have failed segment length test since SEA-IAH is longer than CDG-ZRH)
    SEA-CDG-ZRH, ZRH-CDG-SEA + SEA-HNL = 110K (hawaii adds 10K)
    SEA-CDG-ZRH, ZRH-CDG-SEA + SEA-MEX = 160K (only difference from first two above is SEA-MEX is non-domestic)

    I’d agree with Mike, it doesn’t seem like segment length has anything to do with it.

  33. Oops, meant to say John (not Mike). BTW, I also tested SEA-PVR as the open jaw (true non-stop, unlike SEA-MEX which is a direct flight) and it priced out just like SEA-MEX. So for me at least, the only way I can make this work is by making the open jaw domestic.

  34. @HikerT: The problem with ZRH-CDG-SEA-MEX is that it violates the MPM for ZRH-MEX. If you tried stopping over in SLC (ZRH-CDG-SLC-MEX), it would be a perfectly legal open jaw since the routing is legal for ZRH-MEX. I’ve priced out JFK-LHR//DXB-JFK open jaws perfectly legally, and people do a ton of open jaws within Europe, taking LCCs, trains, boats, etc. to get from one side of the open jaw to the other. The keys are to respect the routing rules (MPM for international) and that when you consider the three ends of your fare components in an open jaw, the unflown portion must be shortest.

  35. Hi Rene, does Delta allow stopover and/or open jaw on domestic US award tickets (free or with additional miles)? I have two examples, 1st is MIA-LAX(destination)-ATL(stopover)-MIA, 2nd is MIA-LAX(des.)-ATL(openjaw). Could you please tell me which one is ok for delta, or both/neither?

  36. Thanks Rene! That may be a huge advantage over other airlines. Beside the trip I mentioned, I was planning a trip from MIA/FLL to HNL/OGG in 2013 Xmas, maybe add a stopover at LAX. I haven’t book any DL award tickets before so how about DL availability to Hawaii from Florida in winter time. Seats seems not released yet. Any advice will be appreciated 🙂

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