Travel Related

The many ways Delta will “play” with the price of your ticket – some reminders!

Google+ Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr
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.


photo copy of money burning skymiles delta points blog

I say “play” as there are reasons for all of the things I am talking about and none of them are against the law, but they can affect how much you spend so please be aware. So many times the things I blog about affect me as a Delta flyer and so I write about them and these have all happened to me. Let’s get started.

delta fare change at final purcahse

1) The price jump at purchase. I had a post about this and even the Washington Post quoted me in a piece. It is frustrating that Delta IT cannot fix this, but as comments have shown, until they do, just call Delta and let them give you the price shown PRE price jump. They will and do and keep in mind they can see each and every click you make on


2) The ETV price jump. This is one I just don’t get and it can be somewhat random and frustrating. There is a FT thread recently talking about just this. What’s this? If you go to book a ticket on and don’t start from your “My Delta” page and tell you are going to use a voucher, there can be times you get a lower price NOT using a voucher vs the SAME FLIGHTS using a voucher. So, always check the price first without the voucher selected and then go back and make sure the price is the same with the voucher. Worst case, again, call Delta and have them waive any booking fees for the call as it is Delta.dumb’s fault yet again.

bogof del rez card

3) The BOGOF price jump. I really hate this one. Now I love my AMEX 1st / business class BOGOF certs from my Delta AMEX Reserve “Airline Travel Card” but the thing is this – like with the ETV issue – if you look for a business class ticket without the cert you will most times get a lower price than with the cert in the SAME FARE CLASS (sorta). Uh what and why sorta? Most normal people think if you see some fare class letter and you later see that same letter again it is the same. Well in the insane crazy world of airline fares not so much. Some fares can be an “UP” fare. What is that you ask? It is not “really” a business class fare but a coach fare “UP-ed” to a business fare. I could go on but it would make your head hurt and I don’t want to do that today. Just know an “UP” fare is not the same as the AMEX BOGOF cert fares that are not “UP” fares but the real fare (sigh). Still confused? Follow the theme here and call Delta if you find a lower fare and have them match it with the cert!

dca-rsw via kayak

4) The all coach vs split IT issue price jump. The Delta price match guarantee is just wonderful if you could ever find the EXACT same fare at another site for less. The problem is, like we see from point 3, you can never really know if what you are seeing in black and white really “IS” the same fare class as they may just say it is not the same and then what can you do. But back to point 4 and that is the fact that on you can only search for coach or 1st / business; you cannot search for a split ticket of coach and 1st. But, as you can see in the linked post, Kayak can. And at times it is CHEAPER to book part 1st and part coach. Sad that cannot do what can do. Maybe they can add another bag fee for us to get enough money to buy Kayak and plug in their software to “enhance” our customer airline search on

delta-com showing how many seats in what price bucket or fare class

5) The search for more that 1 seat price jump. This one really upsets me but like the rest I just am kinda “used to” doing these things as I know the Delta system and how to work around the ways they try to “game us”. Yeah, we try to game them so I guess it’s fair they game us back? Back on point. You see if only 1 seat is open in some fare class, and you search for 2, what do you think happens? My brain says you get one at the lower price and one at the higher price. That is not Delta math; you get two seats at the higher price. So, you need to always search for 1 seat, then 2 seats and so on for your family. If you need to, put up with two PNRs or itineraries if the price is worth it to you. Or, as is the growing theme here, call Delta and get them to adjust the price for your family to the lower price it should be.

delta showing award ticket for 32500 miles

6) Award jump at final page. This one is not about paying cash but points. Most DeltaPoints readers know and have looked at the Essentials Tab and know how to search and FIND low level seats for their award flights. But, there are times when you do that and put the 25k legs all into one trip and the price jumps to 32.5k when you can clearly show it should be 25k total all-in. Take screen shots and then, yes, sorry, call Delta to get them to force the 25k award. Oh, and make sure they do not charge you phone fees as it is not your fault DELTA.dumb does not work right.

I think this hits them all and continues my theme this week about reminders. Please be sure to be careful not to let Delta “play” with the final price of your ticket – get the best price you can.- René
Editorial Note: This content is not provided by American Express. 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 American Express.

Barclaycard Arrival+™
World MasterCard®
Earn 2x miles
on All Purchases

. .

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. They must have taken these regular practices from the Kohl’s school of business. Ridiculous.

  2. I am wondering with ETV (and maybe others) that the price jump is caused by the system caching the first search you made. For instance. I am pricing multiple routing options on a normal ticket and after an hour decided to go back and choose the best option of price and convenience. Mind you I have not reserved or had them hold the tickets I was reviewing, yet, the original price for the route/times has jumped when I go back to actually book the ticket. After playing with this over the years, there seems to be about a ~2 hour hold on tickets you have researched for the fare class/seat you were looking at. After 2 hours or so the system releases the seat back to the system and I can find it and book it. My personal guess having been in IT and DB installations most of my life is that the seat is ‘reserved’ so that while you are in the booking process someone can’t disappear your seat just before you purchase it. Essentially it is record locked for a time to prevent other forms of frustration. Have you tried in some of these cases waiting a few hours before trying to find the same fare again? Just an idea. I know that if I call Delta when this happens they can almost always get the price I was originally quoted, but they can never explain why I could not get it.

  3. AlohaDaveKennedy Reply

    DELTA.dumb does not work right?

    Wrong – everything in that rigged casino is working just as intended.

  4. I think that as soon as the .dumb TLD is available, you should just get delta.dumb 😉

  5. FlyingChief Reply

    Another way that I experienced this week. I priced a trip on for a regular purchase. I then remembered that I had a credit to use, so I left that itinerary, went to the Credits page, selected the credit I wanted to use and proceeded from there. This time only half the flight choices showed up and the best price jumped from $900 to $2,600. I called right away and got a rep in SLC on the DM line. She was able to book me on the flights I wanted at the original price. She also said there is a known “problem” with booking from the Credits page. The reps know about it and can fix it easily, but you would never know there was a problem unless you had priced an itinerary before your tried to apply the credit.

  6. Young_Tho®ough Reply

    On the skymiles redemption is there any justification for the segment costs? It would appear that when two 25K one ways are put together sometimes they price as a 20K + 12.5K. I’m not sure if this specific to when the fare are classed as low/med/high.

    Is 20K then considered med? and 12.5K considered low for one way.

    What I have difficulty with online is the connecting in non-hub airports and maintaining 12.5K for the one way and 25K for the RT. Example: ATL-MSY-LAX-MSY-ATL.

    If each of those 4 legs show as 25K 1ways shouldn’t the 4 leg trip still be available at 25K (considering stopover limits are met, etc)??

    • @Young_Tho®ough – several 25k legs should, as long as you don’t say exceed the max connection times, all price out as one 25k ticket when all done but with the current broken award site we do what we can do. The new site for next year I so hope will be better. Also, I think more will book 1 way awards than round trips (but not always due to other issue I will blog about later).

  7. So much for delta honesty integrity and respect. is simply untrustworthy and ergo so is delta. Rene, is there nothing customers can do to force delta to fix the known problems with this system?

    • @john – some of them Delta does not feel is a problem. some, like the skymiles issues, will go away next year (we hope). others like the ability to only book coach or biz maybe they will look into. for now, we work around them as best we can.

  8. I always follow your advice from essentials tab about checking each leg for the 25000 fare first and then trying to pick those legs when I put the whole trip together. It’s frustrating that I have to go to such lengths but, thanks, delta.dumb, that’s what you make me do.

    Same thing with booking hotel nights. We’re going to NYC and Monday night was cheaper than Tuesday night plus I had enough points for a free night. I now have three separate reservations for a four night stay. I just hope I don’t have to check in and out every night!

  9. wow, this sure puts things in perspective! I guess is actually a pretty great website! In all seriousness I love that you can use the back and forward buttons on, without messing up your session. is simply the worst. And award search? aaaargh!

  10. Pingback: The guessing "games" on the JFK elite upgrades to LAX/SFO/SEA continues! - Delta Points - Delta Points

  11. Pingback: Why did Delta remove the 2015 frequent flyer award chart? Could this be why? - Delta PointsDelta Points

  12. Pingback: When will Delta fix the "hidden" 1st class seat maps on (or is this a new "enhancement") - Delta PointsDelta Points

  13. Pingback: Is it really smart for an airline to make passengers despise the airline? Let's review the #KeepDescending Delta & SkyMiles devaluations over the past few years. - Delta PointsDelta Points

  14. Pingback: Always, always, always remember Delta computers work against you - not for you when booking an award tickets. - Delta PointsDelta Points

Write A Comment