The Definitive Guide to Booking a SkyMiles Award

Discussion in 'Delta Air Lines | SkyMiles' started by The Points Guy, Feb 4, 2011.  |  Print Topic


Are SkyMiles are the most difficult miles to use for awards?

  1. Yes

  2. No

  1. gleff
    • Original Member

    gleff Co-founder

    Almost as good (though not as good) as IAD-CDG on AF is IAH-AMS on KL (the Privatair flight).
  2. mtkeller
    • Original Member

    mtkeller Silver Member

    Do we know anything about including domestic Australia or Australia-New Zealand flights on DL awards? I have a J award LHR-ICN-MEL//SYD-KUL-LHR, and I've realized that while I have an open jaw, I don't have a stopover. Thus, if there's inventory (once I make PM and can change for free), I'd be interested in tacking on a DJ flight to get from MEL to my next destination. Presumably this can be done using the DL or VA flight number if one has a TPAC DL or VA flight into Australia, but could it be added on when I'm in on KE and out on MH?
  3. chewy3
    • Original Member

    chewy3 Silver Member

    Does anyone have recent experience booking VA? I can't find a single seat using VA's website (haven't tried calling DL).
    jmrich1432 likes this.
  4. mtkeller
    • Original Member

    mtkeller Silver Member

    thepointsguy wrote a post about this today. Seems the trick is to searching is looking from Oz to the US (more work) and then calling DL.
  5. jmrich1432
    • Original Member

    jmrich1432 Silver Member

    I've used their site to find availability before and I haven't had a problem finding anything just searching normally (US-OZ). As long as you have a Velocity account you should be seeing awards available just about every day, although they're not always "low" awards (VA calls them "reward" seats). I did several searches this way after reading your post and no "reward" seats came up. Didn't try searching Oz-Us. Let us know if it works! Good luck!
  6. MSPeconomist
    • Original Member

    MSPeconomist Gold Member


    See the thread I started about information on the search/select flights screens getting the day of arrival wrong; this seems to be corrected on the itinerary, but it can cause you to avoid some routings because you erroneously think that it's giving you some crazy physically impossible connection that leaves before you arrive.

    HND has better availability at low than flights into NRT, at least for BE. There are overnight connections (HND to NRT) offered to other Asian destinations. The bad news is that the HND flight (now only from LAX; DTW was suspended) has downgraded the aircraft, from the 777 to an A330, which is still nice but doesn't have flat bed seats, although it does have "nose-to-tail" AVOD with decent screens.

    Search separately for HND and NRT. Searching TYO can result in an error message that there are no flights (WRONG!) from USA gateways to Tokyo, suggesting that you call DL for partner availability.

    It once was easiest to find seats on connections through PDX. Now LAX seems to have the most award inventory, especially at low.

    If you must do an overnight connection, try searching by segments to pick the best timing for you. Personally, if I must spend 9 hours, I would rather it be 15 so that I can get a full night's sleep.
  7. mtkeller
    • Original Member

    mtkeller Silver Member

    It seems DL.dumb refuses to properly handled generic city codes for most award bookings. LON often doesn't do the right thing (LHR, LGW, and LCY) for award, although it works right for revenue. Not sure about other common ones like NYC and WAS.
  8. MightyTravels

    MightyTravels Silver Member

    So I could not resist adding todays experience:

    Me: Second leg of flight (my award booking is) AMS-SEZ
    Agent: Yes I have availability on Emirates.
    Me: But Emirates is no Delta partner anymore and it's not listed on the website.
    Agent: Oh yes it is, otherwise I could not see it.
    Me: Ok lets use it...

    We completed teh itinerary and she put me on hold to price (took 10 minutes for a price?) and she said 400k miles plus fees. I said that's too much and my call went on with the same agent.

    Me: Oh this Emirates booking is interesting, can you check availability SFO-DXB using Skymiles in March?
    Agent: Ok found your requested dates in F.
    Me: OK how many miles is that?
    Agent: Oh no sir - Emirates tickets CAN NOT BE BOOKED with miles since Emirates is no Delta partner.....Oh really?

    Very friendly but absolutely clueless service.
  9. commander flatus

    commander flatus Active Member

    This is maddening. Did I understand that there are some people out there that do your award booking on your behalf for a fee? If there are, and they read this, PM me. I never fully understood how infuriating this process is until I tried booking award seats. HOLY COW!!!
  10. mtkeller
    • Original Member

    mtkeller Silver Member

    If you post some info on what you're trying to do (origin, destination(s), time of year), we might be able to give you some tips for free. It's not as hard as some make it out to be, but it's not as easy as on most other carriers.
  11. commander flatus

    commander flatus Active Member

    trying to go from msy to bkk in october for about 12-14 days. flexible on dates. would rather fly on delta or korean, but am ok with almost anything other than coach.

    actually, flexible on destinations - anything around SE Asia - Cambodia, Vietnam, whatever. I can spend a couple days and pay my own way to BKK and back from there. Biz class on Thai is pretty reasonable around Asia....

    appreciate any input....
  12. redtailshark

    redtailshark Silver Member

    Mwahaha! Now you know why DL calls themselves

    *best in class*
  13. DeltaExpert
    • Original Member

    DeltaExpert Gold Member

    This is now to possible and it is 21,000 miles I believe for a $100 AMEX Gift Card.
    Mike1625 likes this.
  14. Mike1625
    • Original Member

    Mike1625 Silver Member

    Yep, Delta took this one away. Because my miles are worth more than $0.0045 each. Plus, delta also made my miles a little more valueable, since I can now get free medallion upgrades on award tickets (I know this didn't just happen, but it is still a postive factor to consider)
    I love Flying Delta and being medallion on Delta, but every time I need to book an award ticket, I end up using AA or Star Alliance miles.
    DeltaExpert likes this.
  15. samgovol

    samgovol Active Member

    I keep reading about a stopover that delta will allow during award travel. How do u book a stopover online...when I add an extra city on the multi leg portion of the website it just seems to add up to extra miles??
  16. commander flatus

    commander flatus Active Member

    just as a follow up to my earlier query, i actually wound up easily finding msy-atl-mad-atl-msy all in first/biz elite for 100k/each. lotsa availability in october 2012. only the atl-msy is in econ. i can live with that.
    second choice for a freebie international trip, but i'm happy.
  17. mtkeller
    • Original Member

    mtkeller Silver Member

    Please give a specific example (cities, not necessarily dates) so we can try to figure out what's happening. Multi-city should do the trick, but if you're doing something that creates more than one stopover, you will get additive behavior, for example.
  18. redtailshark

    redtailshark Silver Member

    I see silence on this issue from DL apologists. No wonder. Because....

    DL have D ri L led you. Now and forever.

    Everyone has just discovered this exact same issue....DL SM stopover awards are now pricing at a (x = greater than 1) multiple of the standard rtn/oj itins. Sometimes x >>> 1.

    At this point, I don't even need to tell you.

    You all know what it is.
  19. Mountain Trader
    • Original Member

    Mountain Trader Silver Member

    Growing thread on FT on this. Reports are that not only is calling stopovers an additional segment but reps over the phone are quoting same saying "That's what the computer says".

    I think we'd all like Delta to tell us how we can book awards with stopovers at no additional miles, which I beliee is what is stated in the Skymiles terms and conditions.
  20. huge

    huge Active Member

    I'm trying to put together two biz awards from SEA-Italy in late March/early April. Ideally they would be SEA-AMS-FLR-CDG-SEA, all non-stops, with stopovers in both AMS and CDG, but I understand that 2 stopovers would add to the miles needed (it seems like it always adds 45K, but I haven't tested thoroughly). So it may be best to book an open jaw, like SEA-AMS-FLR//CDG-SEA, and figure that getting from Italy to Paris will just be part of the adventure.

    I'm getting low-mile seats on the CDG-SEA return, but I can't find anything for SEA-AMS before March 29 (which is *too* late in march). I even tried reversing the stopovers and searching for SEA-CDG instead, with no luck. I wonder if I'm running into a problem with the fact that the flights I want (SEA-AMS or SEA-CDG) are codeshared with Delta and the partners (KL & AZ), so the lower-mile seats just aren't there.

    Can anyone with more tools (or experience, or brains) at their disposal confirm that there are no low-mile biz award seats available in non-stop SEA-CDG or SEA-AMS in the period 3/15 - 3/27?

    (or of course if you have any other tips/advice for me, that would be great too...)
  21. gleff
    • Original Member

    gleff Co-founder

    First, use the site to search

    Second, since you're starting in Seattle, just find flights from other international gateways... LAX has good availability to Paris, so does Texas,and Chicago.

    Then find Alaska Airlines flights to those gateway cities.

    Delta miles can be used for Alaska Airlines and Air France, find the available flights and then call to get the award set up.
    rwoman likes this.
  22. JohnnieD
    • Original Member

    JohnnieD Silver Member

    Help!! Just got off the phone with Delta rep and was told (after 18 mins wait) that Korean Air has blackout dates from YYZ as Jul 14 to Aug 26 and they cant book a YYZ>HKG trip in early August. I just looked up on Korean's website and the blackout dates "North America to Asia,Korea are May 18 to Jul 1 !!!!! How do I get delta to see the right blackout dates????????????
  23. mtkeller
    • Original Member

    mtkeller Silver Member

    If any KE flight is blacked out, DL will have all KE flights blacked out, so no KE for you.
  24. JohnnieD
    • Original Member

    JohnnieD Silver Member

    I'm beginning to see KE as an unbookable 'partner'.
  25. gleff
    • Original Member

    gleff Co-founder

    No they're bookable. But the fault here lies with DL and not with KE, as Delta blocks space that KE doesn't ask them to..
    mtkeller likes this.

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