Travel Related

Delta CONFIRMS no more mixed awards but has in reality not implemented changes (yet).

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.


virgin atlantic upper class cabing delta points blog

Sorry for taking so long to post this but I was in the air all day yesterday coming back from Sweden on Virgin Atlantic, upper class LEVEL 1 award naturally, and there was no wifi on board then connecting to a CRJ200 also with no wifi on-board.

This is a follow up post with confirmation from my post Monday about Delta’s latest attempted destruction of the SkyMiles program for those of us who are striving to spend as few points each trip as possible. Several of my bloggers have chimed in on this and why it is not that bad but they are missing the mark. First the info from Delta. The below quotes are from Delta company spokesman Anthony Black.

“When only Main Cabin is available on a flight segment due to aircraft configuration, that does not break the fare.”

There is good news and bad news from his first bit. The good news is simply that Delta, when you have to connect with any kind of Delta or non Delta partner aircraft that has  ONLY  coach seats you will be able to mix and match coach and business class seats to still remain at whenever the lowest level award common denominator you found despite the wording on Delta.com saying you cannot do this, that is:

“Can I combine cabin types and/or Award levels in a single Award Ticket?
No. SkyMiles members do not have the ability to combine Main Cabin, First, Business and Delta One™ Class into one round-trip Award Ticket.” – Delta.com

Now the bad news (if and when Delta puts this into practice, more on that in a bit). Let’s say your airport IS served by a jet with some kind of Delta or Delta connection jet with “first class” seats, then you will, according to this, have to have matching cabin service for your trip and have it price correctly. That is, you need all business class or all coach i.e. you can not mix and match or combine cabin types into one single award.

Maybe this will be more clear with some additional information from Delta:

‘When we [Delta] moved to ITA shopping last November as part of changes to the 2015 SkyMiles program, we aligned with the revenue shopping rules that align your outbound Class of Service request with your return Class of Service (if outbound trip is in the premium cabin, the return must be in the premium cabin.) This was due to technical constraints. Now with the introduction of one-way award tickets, if the customer wishes to fly the outbound in Main Cabin, and the return in Premium Cabin, they must book as two separate tickets (but it will price out the same.)”

So what many of the bloggers are saying this mean is that you will simply book two one way tickets, one of them coach and the other way another ticket in business class. The problem, as they point out, is you end up paying MUCH higher fees doing it this way compared to one round trip starting in the USA. But let’s dig deeper, if implemented, why this will make it much harder for us to find LEVEL 1 seats.

We already know, and maybe some of Delta’s change in wording is due to my posts exposing this, that if you do not find LEVEL 1 space on Delta (i.e. LEVEL 2-5) and then add a Delta partner (only bookable LEVEL 1) it will price it as two one way tickets. That is A-B breaks out pricing as a one-way ticket and B-C as yet another one-way ticket and then spits out your total. If this happens on a round trip ticket you are basically paying for 4 one way tickets all rolled into one. Here are two examples from Atlanta to Prague, text and screen shots (one-way business class less than 24 hr stopover):

Delta LEVEL 1 business to Europe 62,500
Partner LEVEL 1 business Europe to another city 25,000
Total price for the ticket is 62,500 SkyMiles.

62-5k award 625+25k (1)
62-5k award 625+25k (2)
62-5k award 625+25k (3)

Delta LEVEL 2 business to Europe 80,000
Partner LEVEL 1 business Europe to another city 25,000
Total price for the ticket is 105,500 SkyMiles.

105k award 80k+25k (1)
105k award 80k+25k (2)
105k award 80k+25k (3)

But let’s once again look at the wording and the change on Delta.com that says:

“Can I combine cabin types and/or Award levels in a single Award Ticket?
No. SkyMiles members do not have the ability to combine Main Cabin, First, Business and Delta One™ Class into one round-trip Award Ticket.” – Delta.com

To me this is saying, and I could be wrong as it sure has not been implemented (yet), that if we find (on a jet that HAS business class seats on the jet):

Delta LEVEL 1 coach ticket 12,500
Delta LEVEL 1 business to Europe 62,500
Partner LEVEL 1 business Europe to another city 25,000
Total price for ticket is ???

According to the new wording on Delta.com this one-way should price out at a total of 75,000 Skymiles that is the coach ticket plus the business class ticket since we cannot combine coach and business into one ticket.

But is this the case right now? Here is what I have found (again as of today 10JUNE15)

1) Delta has not yet implemented the changes to NO combined cabin awards
2) Delta reps CAN book business class out and coach back correctly
3) You must call as you can not book most of this on Delta.com

So there are the important bits and let’s look at them one by one and see what is what.

It is amazing how frustrating all of this is as it really is just stupid. They are telling us we can no longer combine cabins of service but we, in fact, still can. I called Delta and found a flight from SBN-DTW that ONLY had coach seats in LEVEL 1 (business seats are 32,500) and then, still on Delta metal, LEVEL 1 business DTW to LHR (that is South Bend to Detroit to London, England one-way). The Delta rep priced it out correctly at just 62,500 as it should a.k.a.:

Delta LEVEL 1 coach ticket 12,500
Delta LEVEL 1 business to Europe 62,500
Total price for the round trip ticket is 62,500 SkyMiles.

And this is historically how it has always worked and did not price as two tickets. It has been a great way, when you had to, to put up with a domestic leg in coach but have the important part, that is the long, over the ocean leg in business class. Again, this is what is happening right now but the wording says NO.

The next one is what is basically stated from the Delta rep, that is, you CAN book, not on Delta.com but if you call, Delta business class one-way and coach back and it will price correctly. That is, for example Atlanta to Amsterdam business class out and coach back:

Delta LEVEL 1 business to Europe 62,500
Delta LEVEL 1 coach from Europe 30,000
Total price for the ticket is 92,500 SkyMiles.

one way dtw to lhr biz
lhr to dtw in coach on delta

And I can confirm this does work and the phone reps CAN book this for now. The importance of doing this as a round trip vs. two one-way tickets is that the fees on a round trip starting in the USA are MUCH lower than booking two separate one-way awards.

The last point, as already touched on is that you cannot book this yourself on Delta.com. You need to call a Delta rep to book this for you as a mixed award ticket. And, you absolutely MUST have the now hidden Delta award charts at hand so you can do the math to see if you are getting the lowest price possible. Please always strive to LEVEL 1 awards only. If you can’t find them, please see THIS post for help.

So are we in the clear then? Was all of this just “crying wolf”? No, as the wording on Delta.com has changed – even if it is very confusing and unclear. They are saying NO but, for now, are not implementing the NO and that is really great news (for now since they probably just have not figured out how to do it yet). My guess is it is on the way or they can just change the wording back to what it was before and we can pretend this never happened! 😉

I want to share one last really funny bit of info that was included from Delta. They told me:

“From a shopping perspective First and Business (Delta One) are one and the same “premium cabin”. – bold mine

I have to say it is nice, at least from a pricing point, that Delta agrees that it only has two cabins of service, that is, coach and business class, and not 5 different choices. – René

.
PS – Don’t forget about the 60,000 point limited time Delta AMEX offer!
.

Gold Delta SkyMiles®
Credit Card from American Express®
Click HERE for more info

 

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.

10 Comments

  1. Don in ATL Reply

    DL IT is the pits. Really. Their system is archaic, so maybe the problem is that there is not a good infrastructure to work with. Personally, I think we have given up a lot just to get one way award tickets. Knowing what I now know, I would go back to the old awards (with no one ways, but more possibilities) in a heartbeat. I think we lost stopovers on RT’s because of the one way awards.

    I hope you enjoyed your Virgin experience, especially The Clubhouse in London. It’s my favorite airline lounge. Looking forward to you reporting on your experience there, Rene.

  2. Pingback: Devaluation: Delta Eliminates Some Mixed Cabin Awards | MileValue

  3. James in MO Reply

    Another reason to defect to American. You can do mixed tickets there (for money) and their web site makes it very easy to do so.

    • @James in MO – At Delta we pride ourselves on a hopelessly busted award page. It builds character to struggle to find award seats under 750,000 round trip! 😉

  4. I haven’t found a low level ticket in so long I’ve forgotten what that is! I would tell you what I have had to use for the last 3 “free” tickets I got from delta but you’d be mad at me so I won’t. I will say one was last minute because of a family medical incident and I was appalled at what it took . . .

  5. P.S. I think part of the problem is that delta has devalued so much that each frequent flyer has his own pet peeve as to what devaluation hurt the most; thus we can’t mount a full scale assault on just one devaluation to give back to us!

  6. Pingback: The Delta Mixed Award Kerfluffle - Something Caught My Eye - MJ on Travel

  7. Chris nailed it. I can’t keep track and am at a loss as to what I am most pissed about. Even as an ATL hub captive, I’m going to find ways to use other airlines. DL is just so hateful to loyal customers.

  8. Pingback: Did e-mail last week from the new Delta Vice President of Customer Engagement & Loyalty make you giggle? What e-mail did you get? - Delta PointsDelta Points

  9. Pingback: Delta Points June Newsletter - Delta PointsDelta Points

Write A Comment

BoardingArea