It’s sad does NOT show you the lowest award prices and yes Point-to-Point booking still works!

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no level 1 biz awards to be found

Not a single LEVEL 1 award to be found!

Let me start by telling you Delta does a great many things VERY well. The one thing they do REALLY bad is awards. Not the product or service but the abysmal booking page and beyond maddening booking rules and sad IT behind it. You must, I mean must, as a Delta flyer, know and understand that Delta.dumb is your enemy. It will NOT help you but instead try to fleece you of your points.

Some bloggers will tell you point-to-point booking is no longer possible with SkyMiles and to just trust what or reps tell you. Well, if you are not willing to put in the time to learn (see E7 posts) then the simple answer is using ADAM to help you save a boat load of points. Either way works. Allow me to illustrate.

Notice the very simple search I did last night (or what should be a stupidly simple search) from Atlanta to Amsterdam on (the best source for an accurate view of Delta prices” – they say). Also, as you look at the above chart, keep in mind the hidden Delta award charts tell us the lowest non-sale award in business class one-way should cost just 62,500 SkyMiles.

Let’s say you want to fly on August the 9th to get a quick trip to Europe in before the new school year starts. After all, you have been flying all year long and spending tons of money on Delta, how about they reward you, and your family, with a nice business class trip to Europe before the fall grind begins. But notice there are not many good awards when you search. But when you click on the 9th, what do you think will happen?

the price when you click on delta-dumb

Is this the best you can find?

I guess 80,000 points is not “that” bad of a deal considering what it would cost to buy a ticket. Please never think this way. Remember your points have value and you should protect them just like cash. Take a look at this:

atl to man

Limited Level 1 but better than first search!

man to ams

Wide open KLM business space – sweet!

Remember the hidden award charts show 62,500 should be a Level 1 business class award from the USA to Europe all in, including a connection as long as it is less than a 24 hour stop (more than that becomes a stopover and a second ticket under current rules).

price setment only atl to ams

man to ams leg price

62.5+25=62.5 when working right!

If we search point to point, that is, first Atlanta to Manchester England (ok not amazing but better than 80k total) and then Manchester to Amsterdam (oh look wide open at level 1) we see 62,500 + 25,000 but the key part here is two partner awards, both at the lowest level, in a legal routing should not cost more than the total price of 62,500. And guess what happens when you call and ask for these two flights:

final ticket 1

final ticket 2

Oh look, 62.5 award better than 80k award!

If you are smart enough to search leg by leg or point to point as I have preached for years and years you are, in fact, able to book a ticket at the correct price, that is, should be not any of the silly wrong prices Delta.dumb shows you. You may even have the Delta rep commend you for finding such a great price! Can you accomplish this simple task online as you could before? Yeah, no:

this worked in the past - would be to simple if it worked

How hard can this be?

delta-dumb says no

Oh, I guess really hard.

There is so much to take from this little demonstration. The first is clearly that it is shameful that Delta’s award search page displays such bad results. The next is that you should question any number you see on Also, vital if you value your points, it never hurts to search for yourself and then call and see what is possible. Heck even just click on dates that display BIG numbers and  see if they change  when you do actually select a date and choose “sort by price” on!

Lastly, is this also the current situation with domestic awards and Delta? Can this still work, as it has in the past, after all the latest destructive changes with SNAP coming to full effect lately? Maybe not and if this is the case it is really bad news for us. I have not had the chance to fully test this so I will save this one for another post down the road. However, I can report that when Delta has “sale awards” that is sub-Level 1 awards, and you try to stitch those together with a normal Level 1 award it can cause problems and even skilled reps cannot seem to be able to work around them.

Know this everyone, when it comes to SkyMiles, is not your friend and it is getting worse. Don’t let them fleece your hard earned points you have collected either via flying (a bad way to earn points) or via other means like credit card bonus deals (a smart way to earn points). You have to be wise and smart enough to work to find the cheapest awards you can and that is NOT via simple search on – René


my new delta amex biz card

I just got this card – did you? 🙂



  1. yeah I think it only works with partner awards as well. When it comes to DL metal, it’s all dynamic/5 level/additive/married segment pricing.

  2. @Jerry – It is without question getting worse. Even reps are getting angry when they can flat out see two lowest level awards and they can not ticket them correctly anymore. Thanks Delta. 🙁

  3. Semi-related comment, just for anyone considering going to AMS from ATL via MAN. On the way there, when you check your bag with Vir.Atl. in Atlanta, the bag is checked through to AMS, even though you will be changing over to KLM in MAN. That is NOT the case on the way home. KLM will NOT check a bag through if another airline is involved. So, your bag is only checked to MAN (or, in my case, the return trip was via LHR, so even worse). I had to pick up my bag, go through customs, and re-check the bag at the Vir. Atlantic desk. It is insane and very time consuming. This would be a real disaster with a close connection.

    KLM “explained” to me that, while other airlines may trust THEM, they do not trust other airlines, and are not willing to be “liable” in case the bag does not arrive. Geez.

  4. Booking an single segment one way last minute award I found all main cabin at 25k or more C+ at 27k and a few first class at 25k. The pricing deamons seem to always be at work with no rime or reason.

  5. YO!
    Yes, I’ve used your taught tricks to look up for better awards. And look at the coincidence, today I was looking for NYC-AMS in july and guess what! The DL.dumb site WORKED FOR ONCE!

    Shown a couple 3-5 day stays at 60k miles roundtrip.

    I just frek’in can’t believe. Excuse my language, but I feel like I’m in luck. Seriously. It NEVER works.

    FYI, the 60k level 1 award (r/t economy) is via MAN (VS)

  6. Hi, the horrors of award booking are well-known to me, but I am wondering, do the phone agents know there is Level 1 award availability and can see it? If not, without the “existence” of an award chart what is there that I can point to that can convince them that it exists when doing point to point searching?

  7. @Ryan – Not only can they see it, they can see the sub codes for Level 1, 2 etc they did show in the past but now ALSO hide from us. Ask them. Grrrr

  8. Wow! Thanks for this post. I used the tips you’ve demonstrated for point to point search to get to lowest level award ticket. I did just that (yes, needed patience, time and a good delta rep). I was able to book an ATL to DEL routing through LHR outgoing and returning via CDG…all on the flights that I wanted! Thank you, Thank you so much for your blogs and tips for Delta and Skymiles!!

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