Fares and Routing

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  1. I just booked seats from PIT to CDG for October and got what I thought was a pretty good price for a non stop at $952/person. I am Diamond and my husband is Gold. I always start pricing inquiries with 1 passenger and then go to 2 passengers to book for my husband and myself. Imagine my surprise to find that the pricing dropped to $839/person! Is this the new “norm’? I followed your advice and took emergency row seats and will wait to see what happens.

    • @Helen – Really? This is shocking and interesting. I will have to do some testing. Thanks!

  2. Hi Rene,

    I have about $300 in a delta bank but am finding hard to fina locations from Boston to fly to without checking every city. Is there a list of their routes out of Boston? Delta is no help by phone or online.


  3. Hi Rene,

    Is there a handy chart, table, or other resource that explains the rules of each fare class, including refundability and changes? I am not looking for an MQM earnings chart (that’s easily found). The closest thing I’ve found is this chart which at least shows upgradeability, but it still does not explain changeability.



  4. Every time (not exaggerating) I attempt to book a round trip flight on Delta — say, DTW/MCO departing at 10:00 a.m. — it lists a price for outgoing of $430 (for example). However, when I attempt to select the corresponding (10:00 a.m.) return flight, the price skyrockets to above $500. This increase, over four tickets, adds up. To get the $430 price, I have to fly at like 6:00 a.m. on the return flight.

    Why does Delta price things this way? It’s bizarre.

    Thanks in advance for your insight.

    • @John – This is very std. They want to sell the off-times at lower prices.

  5. Hi Rene,

    I found JFK/LAX r/t in D1 to travel in a fall weekend for $20,426.20 while main cabin is $348.20. Think it’s a tech issue with the website or that aircraft has a shower class? I have a screenshot if you wanna blog an entry about it…

  6. Trying to book a roundtrip flight for me and my wife in Business. Using Deltas website and book with miles and 5 week search option found several flights for 60K. But when you click on the flight the only option offered is 92,500K! I tried 6 different days that the site told me was 60K, all were 92.5K. Is this kinda “bait and switch” pricing the norm?

  7. If I booke separate one-way ticket on delta
    e.g., LAX-BOS and BOS-SEA.
    If the the delay of the first leg make me missing the second one, will Delta be responsible for that?


    • @Norman – By the letter of the COC or the contract of carriage you are responsible. In practice, if you are willing to wait (maybe a long time) they will get you BOS-SEA at some point at no extra charge.

  8. I am flying from DCA to Seoul. Do you suggest flying a Delta jets from DCA to DTW to Seoul or taking Alaska Air to Seattle and then Korea Air from Seattle to Seoul?

    I would prefer to take Korea Air from IAD to Seoul, but $4500 is out of budget.

    • @BG – Depends on what product you like most and where you are buying the ticket and who you are crediting the points to. Example, Korean will yield zero points unless booked on Delta.com as code share.

  9. Thanks @Rene. I have learned that Delta does not award any MQMs when flying on Korean Air, no matter if it’s ticketed on Delta.

    Also, there are no upgrades available using GU or miles on any Delta flights to Seoul (ICN) from DTW or JFK. However, there looks to be at least 8 first class seats for sale on the DTW to ICN flight and 12 on the JFK to ICN.

    Will Delta fly with the seat empty instead of upgrading a Million Miler Diamond passenger? Is there any change of getting an upgrade at the gate or am I going to be in the back for 14 hours?

  10. Hi Rene!

    I just SDC in F on a companion ticket from a non-stop to a layover in atl and the agent charged me $8 a ticket extra in taxes because of the layover- I have never seen this before. Have you? Is the correct? Strange.

    • @Max – That does happen. There can be different fee’s for connections. I am shocked they did it one a companion fare! Well done.

  11. Jeremy Houser Reply

    Hey Rene, I need your help on what I should do. My flight (mileage run) was cancelled yesterday due to inclement weather. Delta did offer me a voucher. Because of this cancellation, I will be approximately 500 MQM short to reach platinum status for ’17. I have a flight tomorrow from IND – ATL. I called delta in an attempt to get rerouted (either MSP or DTW) for MQM purposes only. Initially I was told it could be done – they were going to waive the transfer fee and use the voucher so I would only have to pay $200+ for the change. However, the first agent couldn’t do it manually, and once I was transfer to another agent she couldn’t even find the flight(s) that would work with my schedule; the first agent did. I have to leave after 3:00pm and the second agent latest flight was 12pm. Is there anything I can do or suck the bullet and stay gold for ’17. I dont’ want to pay $695 to buy 1000 MQM. Help me please!

  12. Rene, I am going to try to use the wonderful schedule change rule but, before I call, I have a question. We booked sdf-aus round trip separately because husband had to book through his company travel agency. After booking, we combined to one reservation. I used 65000 of his ff miles (don’t be mad at me!) to fly first class out and comfort+ back because the layover time was only 38 minutes out (didn’t think I could be in the back of the plane given such a short layover time) and it was priced out at only 5000 more miles than flying c+ both ways. Now, delta has changed us to the 8 a.m. flight and we have a 2 1/2 hour layover in Atlanta. Husband is a platinum so I went online to price flying in c+ so I can reclaim some of those 65000 miles; but, a new ticket prices at 57,500 miles so hardly worth changing. Is it reasonable to call delta and ask them to change my seats and refund some miles? Is it reasonable to call delta and ask to be put on another flight with a refund of some miles? Do I ask delta to move my husbands flight to the flight time we prefer and then suck it up and use 57500 miles to match his flight? Thanks!

    • @Sarah – Confused. No, very confused. Not sure how you combined into one unless canceled both and reissued as one new ticket. If now at a lower amount, under schedule change rule, yes you should be able to get difference back. I would. Well I would not have used the point that way but that is another issue 😉

  13. Sorry, if it was confusing. We have two tickets, one purchased and one using 65000 miles. I originally called to get our seats beside each other on the return flight because they were both in c+ so maybe I was wrong in saying they were put in one prn. I know you would not have used the miles that way but we have more miles than we will ever use. What I understand from your response is that I should call and get my ticket changed to all c+ and request that I be credited the difference of the miles. What is a reasonable amount of miles to request back if the miles required if I booked a new ticket now are substantially different than when I originally booked the ticket?

    • @Sarah – Ah (I think). The only way you can get miles back is if the current price is lower than the booked price. Then, with schedule change rule in hand, wave all fees and re-book at current lower price (if it is lower now).

  14. Robert Davis Reply


    I will be working TDY in PHX for the next 6-12 months. I am based in ATL. Is there any fare difference booking PHX-ATL vs ATL-PHX? Welcome any tips/tricks as well… will be a road warrior for the foreseeable future.


    • @Robert – If you care more about the fare than perks and such you can always leave the FF off and consider: https://skiplagged.com/
      Just know the airlines HATE this and there can be issues if they catch you dumping segments too much.

  15. HI, Rene –

    I tried to book a one-way flight from HAV to MSP on 4/27, but the trip via ATL prices out in a higher fare class (econ K) when booked as one trip than when booked as two trips (HAV – ATL, ATL – MSP (econ L)). Two agents have told me that this is normal, that when legs are combined into one ticket that the fare code may change. I have never seen this before, and one agent admitted that today was the first time she’d see it when booking a flight for someone else out of JFK. Any idea what’s up? I want a single ticket, but hate to pay for the privilege.

  16. Rene – some useful routing information you may wish to explore and share. It illustrates the risk of splitting itineraries. Basics – RT DTW-CPT-DTW.

    1. After some searching, I found that YUL has best prices to CPT. Using Delta Vacations, I was able to score YUL-AMS-CPT-AMS-YUL in comfort + on KLM for $1100, including Holiday Inn in Cape Town! 19,292 MQM earned.

    2. I positioned DTW-JFK-YUL-DTW on award ticket for 37K, and got to see new grandson in Brooklyn. To do this, I had two PRNs – one from Delta Vacations for YUK-CPT-YUL, and another for DTW-JFK-YUL-DTW. My JFK-YUL was canceled one hour before departure due to weather and they rebooked me on another carrier through Quebec that would misconnect. Because of different PRNs, the Delta computer could not figure out how to rebook to make my connection. I was waitlisted on the next JFK-YUL by the JFK SkyClub rep, but it was iffy. My Diamond status put me at the top of the list of other non-revenue tickets, but still no guarantee. A long call to the Diamond desk and after two handoffs, I finally got a supervisor who would re-book me JFK-AMS nonstop to make my original AMS-CPT connection.

    3. First time experiencing new AMS arrivals on Concourse E. My usual trips to/through AMS are to/from USA or European destinations. Easy-peasy to transfer to inter-European or even Asia, India, and Cape Town bound flights. NOT SO on the return. All inbound to AMS from “less secure airports” enter on new upper-deck Concourse E where you walk endlessly to a huge hand-baggage scanning center where all electronics, liquids, shoes, belts, etc. must be separated, regardless of whether connecting flight is European, US. Canadian, etc. You then emerge into the familiar lower deck Concourse E, where you can (if Diamond or business class) enter the KLM lounge. Before proceeding to a US-bound flight, you can get your “interview” outside the KLM lounge or at the E1 or D1 gates at the entrance to the concourses. Flying to Canada does not require this.

    4. Here’s the bugger – 65 minutes to change inbound AMS-YUL on KL to outbound YUL-DTW on Delta. YUL website states for “international – US transfers, proceed via a connecting flights corridor, avoiding Canadian customs…You will have to go through U.S. customs.” Well, you can do this ONLY if you are on Air Canada connecting to Star Alliance (aka United). ALL others must exit through Canadian immigration and customs on the arrivals level of YUL, go upstairs to departure level, and trek the entire airport to far corner US flights security entrance, just like every other passenger departing Montreal. No single person at KLM, YUL, Canadian border, etc. seems to know the proper procedure, as I was handed off to no fewer than 5 people trying to help. Fortunately, I have NEXUS and Global Entry, so the only line I waited in was the Canadian customs check where you hand in your card saying I have no booze or cigarettes.

    So, be careful when traveling internationally on more than one PNR record. Allow several hours to transfer, especially during summer when weather delays are more common. Do not hesitate to call, scream, HUCB, flash that Diamond card, and anything else to get bureaucrats to see you as a human and bypass their computer constraints to take care of the customer. I used two of my Delta “Job Well Done” certificates in person and on the phone to thank those who went above and beyond.

  17. Rene:

    Planning a trip to Zurich next winter and did a fare search (JFK to ZRH, 3/4 to 3/13) and found a basic economy fare almost $300 lower than main cabin ($416 vs $704)!! Never seen such a big spread … and never see basic economy on International flights. I’m assuming that even as a diamond I will not be able to get into C+ with the basic economy fare … if I could get into C+ (or use one of my global upgrades), I’d take the $300 savings in a heartbeat (I may still do it anyway).

    • @Preston – The same nasty rules apply to all C+ fares including international ones.

  18. Andre Allard Reply

    Hi René

    I am planing a trip from YUL to LAS in October to attend NBAA, Delta is having some very good fare so I will probably book with them.

    I hate to travel in sardine class witch is economy basic at Delta. I wonder witch of economy premium, Business or first class is the better deal with Delta taking account the i like extra room for my legs.

    Thank you

    • @Andre – Domestic you have business or what Delta calls 1st class. It is a good business class product. Comfort+ is 5% better than the rest of coach as it is the SAME seat with a tiny bit more leg room and maybe more recline or pitch. Not worth it IMO. Exit row is just as good for space or better but no free drinks. Hope this helps!

  19. Hi Rene,

    I am looking at booking a ticket from LAX-DTW-BWI in first class (A Fare). Would I be able to SDC that to LAX-JFK-BWI space available? The fare rules seem to rule it out:


    • @Kyle – It seems clear that jfk-lax/sfo is blocked. IE they are blocking all of the D1 routes.

  20. Rene,
    I am a DM 1M SLC captive. In order to get a (very) cheap fare to London, we (wife and I) are repositioning to LAS (cheap award ticket). Our repositioning flight is a separate ticket from our LAS-LHR ticket. Delta changed our return schedule (thanks for the warning). They put us on a flight that prevents us from making our LAS-SLC flight after arriving in LAS. There is an option for us to change to a flight that goes LHR-CDG-SLC-LAS. That would work for our LAS connection. My question: since SLC is our first domestic airport, we get our luggage. What are the risks for us to get our bags and walk out of the airport since SLC is our home airport? I’ve seen some discussion here about ‘segment dumping’; not sure how (or if) it applies here. Thanks for your help.

    • @Clay – Since all the flights are Delta they tend to be accommodating. Call and make sure you have enough time to get luggage and make next flight. Worst case you may be stuck if you are late but Delta will, likely at no charge, allow you to change to other flights. Just don’t expect them to shell out for food or rooms etc if they day is LONG like a day or so before they can get you out.

  21. Hi Rene,
    Just purchased a round-trip ticket on Priceline.com JRK-LHR, outbound on the Delta, return on Virgin. I have two other travelers on my itinerary.
    Called in and asked about upgrading to C+ based on my platinum medallion status (yes, I know I would need to split the reservation), and the rep and supervisor started getting very angry and going off about how I should have purchased from them and not purchased a “bulk fare.” They actually ended up hanging up on me when I pushed a little asking for a clearer explanation, a first for a conversation with the Elite Member Line.
    Do you have any idea what’s going on here? I’ve booked through priceline many times in the past and never encountered this issue.

    • @Julian – Just HUCB. You get bad reps now and then. Many have no clue about rules etc.

  22. My MR takes me through ATL, when a travel waiver is now allowed with regards to what was hurricane Irma and I do not know yet if original flight SFO-ATL will be cancelled on 9/12.
    If I change the routing voluntarily, will I be able to get original routing MQM mileage credit ?

    • @Genise – If ticket is reissued and you fly that you get THAT route credit. So, look for a longer better route maybe via JFK?

  23. Santastico Reply

    JetBlue announced they will start flying to MSP from BOS. Would be interested to see how Delta will react to a better airline finally competing with them at MSP.

  24. Santastico Reply

    Rene: Would like to get your expertise to help me understand this. My company books all my flights to Europe on paid business class and I only fly Delta (or Skyteam) since it works better for my hub at MSP. I usually fly MSP-LHR-MSP on Delta. I have been noticing that the travel agency is now getting me the same MSP-LHR-MSP on Virgin. Let me clarify, these are the same flights, same Delta planes, same seats but instead of booking with a DL number they book with VS number. I know this influences my MQD and probably the total mileage I get so I asked them to book using DL flight numbers. Well, guess what? When quoted using DL flight numbers the itinerary comes at more than $3k more expensive if quoted using VS flight numbers. Why??? I know Delta is greedy but I cannot understand why the huge difference to fly on the same flight, plane, seat. Tks!!!

    • @Santastico – Again sorry for delay in answer. Was on a transatlantic ship with horrid SAT wifi. As to your question, the delta partner 49% co-ownership is strange. While not 100% sure on this one my guess is has to do with “protecting” the published prices on the DL flights for $DAL reporting? There is always a reason with Delta and normally it is a game in some way.

  25. Rene, Happy New Year. I am a long time reader, and yes I tried going back through the [previous threads, but for the life of me I cannot remember the web address of the search engine best used for searching flight costs across multiple days/weeks. I just can’t remember it!! Thanks!

  26. Adam Cohen Reply

    Quick ?. I recently bought open jaw segments (W) for the family FLL (ATL)BCN then DUB(ATL)FLL this summer. I see good availability for snagging Delta 1 (x2) for the ATL-BCN segment. I can swing this with Skymiles/Amex points. If i do this, what happens to the original (eg, W class) tix? I know they are non refundable, but would I lose all of their value? I am (lowly) SM member; no status, but Tix were bought on the Delta/Amex card. I cannot locate the actual fare rules for the ticket in question. Any/all assistance appreciated in advance. Thank you

    • @Adam – A bit confused what you have purchased or done with points. If you paid for W fare and cancel you get the total fare back less fees etc. I would look for schedule change to get no fee cancel. If you paid to “upgrade” to C+ that fee would be gone but base fare can come back to you.

  27. Hi Renee, Love your webpage! I’m looking to go from PDX to ATL in Sept, the lowest RT price is about $600. I was looking at prices from PDX to MCO with layovers in ATL both ways, it’s about $488. I know Delta has rules about not completing routes, is there a way I can get the lower fare to MCO and just use the PDX to ATL portion? Thanks.

    • @Jeff – If you fly only one way and are all carry-on then sure you can do that. It is called hidden city ticket. If you do it too many times Delta will not like you. Also, if something goes wrong, you may be rerouted to where you do not want to go! 😉

  28. Hi Rene,

    I’m looking at doing an award booking from MSP to HND round trip. The current price is 104k point, unfortunate as it used to be 60k. When looking at flights out of Chicago with a layover in MSP then direct to HND the flight is 60k points. Can I skip the first leg (Chicago – MSP), get on in MSP and fly to Tokyo? I asked Delta and one agent said no and the other agent said to call a few days prior to let them know that I’ll be driving to the connecting city and it should be a problem. Have you had experience with this? On the return leg, I’m not as concerned as I’ll get off the plane, collect my bags, go through customs and leave.

    Thank you for your advice. I have been following your blog for years! RIP Delta Points 🙂


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