Why NOW is the best time to consider booking summer Delta award tickets & mileage runs!

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delta award page for 2 from msp to ams summer 2017

Example of RT biz price MSP to AMS!

I love talking to those who always gripe about Delta award prices. Yes, they are often hard to find if you simply use Delta.com to look for them from A-B, but those of us “in the know” realize that the award engine is hopelessly busted and not a reliable place to search for the lowest priced award tickets. No, we know that the best way is to search leg by leg and then call (see Essentials E7 posts for how-to). We often have to put up with some strange routes but, this far out, that is not a bad thing. Let me explain that part and why NOW is the best time to book.

One of the best things about Delta (other than Woodford Reserve, Biscoffs, Wifi everywhere, ridiculous completion rates and so on) is what I call the “Mighty Schedule Change Rule” (see Essentials E8 posts for more). This thing is amazing and believe it or not, thanks to SNAPP, when reps push buttons amazing things can happen that they would have said no to before when they were not just doing what the screen says for them to do. The point is that you can now book the less than ideal trip for this summer despite the fact that the weird route connecting flight is the only way to find LEVEL 1 award prices and then wait and see if a schedule change occurs, that is very likely to happen before your flights, and then try to switch over to the perfect flights for no extra miles.

Yet another reason, in a list so long I cannot share them all today, are travel credits from high end cards for taxes and such. You may be considering, like me, canceling your Citi Prestige card since it last year decimated so many of the perks including the golf one. Well you still have time for a few more rounds this year as well as one more round of travel credit for things like award taxes and booking fees if you pay with the card. Even if you cancel the card that credit for your flight will not go away so now would be a smart time to burn it (as well as other cards to lock in the perk).

Now I know your time is valuable and I get that. But if you wait it will likely cost you a bunch more. My suggestion is to reach out to my good friend ADAM <-LINK and his team to help you book that perfect award trip this summer. For the modest fee he can help find you flights that will not cost you 2 or 3x the number of SkyMiles Delta says you should be paying.

Then we have the subject of mileage runs. I know it is January, but the panic of booking expensive flights or like many who missed the mark having to pay (until 14FEB17) just ridiculous prices directly to Delta for those needed MQMs, MQSs or MQDs is not good. The simple solution is to think about booking a run now. I will be posting a bunch more runs in the coming weeks on the mileage run page on the blog but once again if you need help from your own home town for a custom run reach out to ADAM for help.

Personally I have just about everything I want booked for the next 6-8 months. I follow my own advice. For me, I am also looking at what fun places I can go this fall when it comes to a mileage run or two. Plus, this far out, there will likely be massive schedule changes to allow me to gain even MORE MQMs for those flights as with each change I can likely tweak them for even more net yield.

Are we leaning yet? – René


  1. Exactly! And I hope we can find another Aeromexico 1st class run again like last year. I only wish I had booked two in a row last year!!

  2. Good reminder Rene. I’ve had a schedule change on every single booking over the past 12 months. Some small(10-20 minutes), some large(4-6 hours).
    But to your point, virtually ANY change opens the door for radical, usually very positive, changes. Recently, my 25 minute schedule change on my red-eye(which just wears me out nowadays) booked 25% cheaper than any other flight that day turned into a regular noon flight arriving at night.
    Add any sort of status and Delta reps can pull off almost anything.

  3. Nine months ago I booked eight runs for Jan 2017. LAX-MSP-ANC turns. I did four last week. Four more next week. All at the same low price as October and December elite mileage runs but with triple the upgrades because no one else is running.

  4. @Geoff – do you have luck with small schedule changes like 25min being accepted for major flight changes? I’ve gotten a lot of pushback even from the DM desk about less than 90min changes (though they’ll take 1 hour, or when the connecting time at LHR, e.g., got dropped to close to the min-connect time)?
    @Rene – in another post I think you mention 1hour as the limit, isn’t it officially 1.5hours for a schedule change to trigger full benefits?

  5. @rene – thanks. Looks like Tom in the 2015/10/04 post had the same issue of being told 90min by DL, but hopefully next time I can read them the DL.com text verbiage about 1 hour 🙂

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