Delta, this year, is bragging up how great it is that you can, at long last, book more and more Skyteam partners on their amazing award booking page. Some of my fellow BA bloggers have naively even fallen for this farce and done pro-ish Delta posts saying it is a step in the right direction. Hogwash! Complete hogwash! Why?
First off, I have already posted this year how unless you can find all Delta Level 1 space, when using Delta partners and Delta, you are going to end up paying for more than one ticket and possibly even 2 or 3 if you have a longish layover. With Delta hiding the award charts it is hard for someone to compare prices and understand they are over paying for an award (it’s good we can still find the charts here on the blog).
Also, before we go too far, let’s do some real quick award pricing math so you can be clear on just what you are seeing. Delta partner space must exist at Level 1 pricing or it is not there for us as SkyMiles members. Then the math is simple. Say you have two segments to get to the USA from Europe. That is Level 1 + Level 1 = Level 1 award. That is, as long as your connection is less than 24 hours you do not stopover and you only pay for one FULL ticket. So, a one-way business class ticket at Level 1 would look like this: 25,000 + 62,500 = 62,500. Now if you STOP OVER, under the horrid new 2015 rules, you then pay for each segment so it would be 87,500. But check this shameless test out.
If we search for seats (one-way business class) from Amsterdam to London this August we find 100% wide open space every day at Level 1 award pricing (nice, right). It is all KLM since Delta does not fly this route. And what if we check from London on to Atlanta for the same month.
Now this is sweet also, much due to Delta’s partner Virgin Atlantic (finding Level 1 on Delta metal just about anywhere over the Atlantic this summer is almost impossible). So since we know Level 1 space is open, what if we search Delta.dumb for seats from Amsterdam all the way to Atlanta. What should it look like? Let’s see.
Huh. Why is this and why the price changes? One of the reasons is Delta routes you up to Manchester instead of London. Either way, if we go to the “Mulit-City” page on Delta.com it should work with what we found – right? Wrong! Last year it was simple and quick, once you did the work, to just type in leg by leg and Delta.com would spit out the correct ticket for the correct amount of miles. Sure it took some effort but it worked. Today you simply get the following:
Or, in many ways even worse than an error, once in a while it does pop up and work but it over charges you for two tickets, that is, rather than pricing correctly at 62,500 for the trip it spits out 87,500 for the two segments (even when staying inside the rules of no stopovers).
This truly shameless move by Delta is just one more in a long line of shameless moves with the SkyMiles program in 2015 and we know they love to play with prices. But going back to my opening tweet screen shot, if you can find a good rep, they CAN still plug in what you find and Delta.dumb computers will, for them, spit out the correctly priced ticket most times. In my case the rep even thanked me for doing the hard work to find the ticket for him. I was happy to help as I am not about to let Delta take advantage of me and over charge me for my hard earned $kyRubles! – René