A RED LETTER day in Delta History – “T72” Award Redeposit & Reissue Rule Change! One year later

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

One year ago today, August 15th 2011, the T72 rule came down from our mother ship and was commented about almost 4000 times and viewed over 165,000+ on Flyer Talk . I am not trying to make you remember the pain of your “dentist” visit from last year, but to hold our beloved airline accountable. On the 9th of August, a now former Delta Social rep posted on Flyer Talk this:

During that review we determined that there are more than 1,000,000 award seats that were going unused at the 72 hour mark prior to departure. That is 3 days in which those seats could otherwise be sold or used for other SkyMiles members who truly intend to sit in the seat and travel.

As a result, we’re updating this policy once more. So, effective August 15, 2011, SkyMiles members who wish to cancel or make changes to their award ticket now need to do so at least 72 hours before their flight departure (for changes, this applies to each flight segment – outbound and return). This change will make those seats available to other members and ultimately increase award availability. Miles for tickets cancelled within 72 hours will be nonrefundable. Taxes and fees for award travel cancelled within 72 hours will be refundable upon request. Same-day standby options will remain.

For changes or cancellations made at least 72 hours prior to departure, Diamond and Platinum Medallion members will continue to receive reissue and redeposit fee waivers. Reissue and redeposit fees will continue to apply for other members.

We will be sending out an email to customers with advance award travel booked later today – is being updated with this information as well.

Because it was a trending theme in last month’s thread, let’s address another issue head-on. We understand that extenuating circumstances do happen and our agents are equipped to review those situations on a case-by-case basis to determine if an exception is warranted. (Just do us a favor and try to make sure it’s not the 8th time your great uncle has passed away.)  – [BOLD MINE]

So have we seen, now one year later, a million more award seats available? You tell me. Now clearly I am just about as pro-pro, rah-rah, goDelta-goDelta as you can get and make no bones about it. I love Delta. They do a TON right. This is not one of them as well as award space. Early this year the computer “upgrades” did not go so well. Now changes are coming, slowly, and if implemented right, could make a big difference. But honestly Delta, how long do we have to wait?

So what is the current state of the T72 rule? Here is what the site says on the matter:

Changes for Award Travel Tickets

Changes to Award Ticket Travel must be made at least 72 hours prior to the departure time of the flight being changed. Award Tickets booked within 72 hours of departure are nonrefundable and cannot be redeposited or reissued unless prohibited by local law. No changes will be permitted to the originating of Award Tickets booked within 72 hours, however changes to the return are permitted if the return flight is not within 72 hours and the change is made at least 72 hours prior to the departure flight. Fees apply for any changes. Please visit for our current fee schedule. Changes to the return portion of an Award Ticket is permitted at least 72 hours prior to the departure flight. Taxes and fees will apply. Changes to Pay with Miles tickets are determined by the fare rules of the ticket purchased.

One big “WIN” that we did get by socially blasting and begging Delta was the adjustment to the return trip. The rule went from NO changes to return to sure, as long as at least 72 hrs there as well. Personally I feel, if the rule is to stand, just make it outbound. Once you are traveling, the ticket is NOT going “unused” and give us some flexibility here. My take would be just dump the NO change and make it a $150 FEE for everyone, including DM & PM if inside 72 hrs. It would prevent abuse but when we need it we can change!

Because this rule has “morphed” so many times, and we have the joy of our favorite game of “rep roulette“, many times you will not get the right answer or one that helps or hurts you. If you look carefully at the statement from the ex-Delta rep, you will see there are exceptions granted on a case by case basis. So like everything with our airline, if you don’t like the answer, hang up, call back, ask until you get the answer you like.

So now it is your turn, comment please what you think about T72. Has it changed the way you feel about our airline? [please keep it PG-13 as I will edit if I must]! I have even put up a poll so you can vote if you feel more award space is now open thanks in part to this rule. – René


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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

René de Lambert is a contributing writer and the founder of RenesPoints. He is an avid Delta and SkyTeam flyer who has held Delta’s top Diamond Medallion status for many years and flown millions of miles.


  1. The return portion can be changed inside of 72 hours. I recently changed my return portion of the trip from Europe within 24hrs. This was also confirmed by the Diamond desk.

  2. Dereck Robinson Reply


    I am also a very pro-Delta frequent flyer…however, I have noted that their award seats have drastically diminished over the past two years, including over the past year since they have instituted this new rule. The games Delta plays with award seats is just wrong and the partnerships with their partners is terrible. For instance, I called and looked online 331 days in advance last year to book my honeymoon flight for my now wife and I to go to Italy. I was willing to fly out of any of the three Washington DC airports, using Delta or any of their partners. The only seats they had available were in coach for 120,000 miles each, round trip, which I thought was absurd, especially when I went over to United’s site and was able to book 1 of Many flights from the DC area to and from Italy for the quoted 60K per person roundtrip. The story actually runs deeper than this with Delta…where I had to make numerous calls in order for them to call Alitalia to release Two seats on their Boston to Roma flight for us…when the plane was completely empty. All in all, I think it’s obvious that Delta tries to double if not triple the amount of miles they claim it takes to get a flight…in addition, they clearly penalize those for booking well in advance. My opinion is backed up again when I attempted to book two coach seats for my wife and I to Africa in February of next year, 331 days out. Delta wanted 225K in miles per coach seat, flying through AMS using KLM. Again, TERRIBLE. I ended up getting two seats on a United partner, one direction in business ofr only 85K per person. In turn, lucky for me I have United miles still…unlucky for me that my Delta miles continue to stack up and I don’t use them.

    It’s obvious that they don’t have the ability like other major airlines do with their partners to open seats up at a fair market value for frequent flyers. My worry is when I am no longer able to obtain Diamond Status in the upcoming years and I lose my ability to persuade Delta to do what’s right.

  3. I’m pro-DL Diamond, however, when they went to the 3-tier system, it was effectively award inflation. On most routes, medium seats are now much more common and “low” does not have anywhere near the availability it did in the old days. And their recent effort to make “lows” more available are laughable – when the results pop up, the lows frequently have 15+ hour layovers in Atlanta or another hub. Who wants to do that? Trying to find award seats for a family of 4 to Hawaii is harder than finding a needle in a haystack. I have been successful getting low award seats to various destinations using the strategies on this site and others, but it can be a very long and tedious effort. It doesn’t have to be that way: due to some AA credit card bonuses, I now have AA miles to use. I was shocked, absolutely shocked, to see their domestic and Caribbean availability – I could pretty much choose what I wanted at the Saver level. Unfortunately, AA and their partners don’t fit my current business travel routes very well, but if that changes then AA may start getting my business.

  4. Why does Delta ‘charge’ the same amount of miles whether the flight is roundtrip or oneway?

  5. jay silver Reply

    I used to love Delta and fly delta everywhere. When they started messing around with lack of Award trips, T72 hour games I gave up and took my business to United I got a couple of Chase Ink Bolds, and other United CC’s, moved all my spending over to there. Delta lost my loyalty, Delta lost my business, and Delta lost all the business I would use booking paid company flights on my Delta Amex cards.

    Delta just plain out Lost me.

  6. Katy hines Reply

    Delta is ready when you are…we love to fly and it shoes…wow the good ole days are gone.

    Delta has alienated so many paxs with the new rules. Lost of revenue willl come back to bite them.

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  8. Don George Reply

    There was a time a few years ago when I was Platinum on both CO and on DL. When I wanted to book Biz class to Europe, I would try both airlines (they were partners then so I could get reward travel on DL flights using CO miles). For the exact same DL flight on the exact same day, CO would ask me for 100K RT, and DL wanted 225K RT. Same plane, same day. This was not a one time occurrence. It was time after time after time. That’s when I learned that CO valued its elite members, and DL took its elite members for granted. Since then CO merged with UA so I don’t know what the story is now over there. But DL still seems to have a scarcity of BE seats to Europe at the lowest award level.

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