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 Delta.com 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 Delta.com (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?
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:
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).
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:
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:
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 Delta.com. 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 Delta.com!
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, Delta.com 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 Delta.com. – René
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