Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Airlines and Mileage Programs > Delta Air Lines | SkyMiles
Reload this Page >

The Definitive "How To Search for Low Tier Business Awards"

The Definitive "How To Search for Low Tier Business Awards"

Old Dec 17, 12, 6:49 am
  #1501  
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: MSP
Programs: AA EXP, DL PM (FO soon), A3 Gold, TK Classic Plus, SPG Plat, HH Gold, Hyatt Diamond, National EE
Posts: 1,003
Originally Posted by michael_v View Post
I was able to find DTW-CDG 7/3, DUB-DTW 7/10/13 for 4 seats in coach, but nothing more. It is very hard to find AF during the peak summer season. The only hidden gem left would be AZ, but since they don't fly to your airports, it would be nightmare to find DL connecting flights at low level. I would advise you to go to *A and use DL for something else.
Starting from DTW there's hope. I checked a few routes and there were generally a handful of options to fly at least 4 people together. Likely you could piece something together.

It all comes down to how much you want to work the DL option. It's likely doable, but will take some coaxing.
mattsteg is offline  
Old Dec 17, 12, 4:36 pm
  #1502  
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Programs: Whatever's Cheapest, Accruing Miles, Redeeming for Premium Cabins, Not Chasing Status Unnecessarily
Posts: 2,250
yes i put in 5 into UA's engine and 2 novel TATL flights came in outbound and 3 novel TATL flights came back inbound

I think I will try for 5 J tix on *A one way and 5 J tix on oneworld the other way.
aubreyfromwheaton is offline  
Old Dec 17, 12, 6:21 pm
  #1503  
In memoriam
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Near Jacksonville FL
Posts: 3,987
Originally Posted by Happy View Post
...However it has proven very convoluted to get to ARN...
We flew JAX/ARN in September. On UA/CO. Because it had flat bed seats on the TATL segment - and DL didn't (or maybe DL didn't have service to ARN at all - can't remember). Don't know if you have miles/points on UA/CO. I got one free BF - one paid. The freebie wasn't cheap - but wasn't super expensive either. Ditto with the paid ticket. So if you can do UA/CO - you might take a look.

BTW - we loved Stockholm. Very lovely city to visit. Robyn
robyng is offline  
Old Dec 17, 12, 6:27 pm
  #1504  
In memoriam
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Near Jacksonville FL
Posts: 3,987
Is This Thread Only About Europe?

If not - people might take a look at this when it comes to Asia:

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/delta...ets-japan.html

Robyn
robyng is offline  
Old Dec 18, 12, 6:35 pm
  #1505  
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 36
trying to get to bahia brazil leaving the us on feb 19th and returning on mar 2. figured the best way i could do this is via atl to bsb and then take a connecting flight from there. i search low tier awards and the best i could find was 200,000. i currently have 176,000. any suggestions? best,
flyingmdinnyc is offline  
Old Dec 18, 12, 7:30 pm
  #1506  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Florida
Posts: 27,941
Originally Posted by robyng View Post
We flew JAX/ARN in September. On UA/CO. Because it had flat bed seats on the TATL segment - and DL didn't (or maybe DL didn't have service to ARN at all - can't remember). Don't know if you have miles/points on UA/CO. I got one free BF - one paid. The freebie wasn't cheap - but wasn't super expensive either. Ditto with the paid ticket. So if you can do UA/CO - you might take a look.

BTW - we loved Stockholm. Very lovely city to visit. Robyn
Already booked AZ MIA-FCO-CDG-ARN, beautiful leather flat bed seat. Return from Moscow with stopover at AMS. Done deal. Posted the itinerary in Successful low level award 2 days ago already.

Have 4 times UA miles than DL miles but I want to burn DL miles and preserve our UA miles. Much easier to get DL miles than to get UA miles at least that is in our case any way.

No need to buy any paid ticket with the mile piles we have in each program - AA, UA, AS, BA. Good for front cabin travel for the next 4 years. DL balance is no longer meaningful. Will replenish it ONLY if DL does not devalue its program next Spring as anticipated.
Happy is offline  
Old Dec 18, 12, 8:14 pm
  #1507  
In memoriam
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Near Jacksonville FL
Posts: 3,987
I guess it all depends how you like to travel - and how far and how many hours you're willing to go out of your way. What is your total flight time from Miami to Stockholm? And I assume you wouldn't be flying home from Moscow unless you wanted to include it as part of your trip - right? Robyn
robyng is offline  
Old Dec 18, 12, 9:34 pm
  #1508  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Ann Arbor
Programs: *wood Gold, HHonors Gold , National Emerald Exec, Delta Silver
Posts: 2,603
Originally Posted by robyng View Post
I guess it all depends how you like to travel - and how far and how many hours you're willing to go out of your way. What is your total flight time from Miami to Stockholm? And I assume you wouldn't be flying home from Moscow unless you wanted to include it as part of your trip - right? Robyn
I was complaining about one of the legs of a low award I booked to New Zealand using Delta miles to Frugal Travel Guy over the phone. We are friends.

His reply was if I didn't like the connection, I could always hand over $15,000 per ticket and get whatever I want!
Bikeguy is offline  
Old Dec 19, 12, 7:23 am
  #1509  
In memoriam
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Near Jacksonville FL
Posts: 3,987
Originally Posted by Bikeguy View Post
I was complaining about one of the legs of a low award I booked to New Zealand using Delta miles to Frugal Travel Guy over the phone. We are friends.

His reply was if I didn't like the connection, I could always hand over $15,000 per ticket and get whatever I want!
Well - there's sometimes a middle ground. I could only get 1 low BF ticket on my preferred route JAX/NRT (1 stop with very easy connection in Atlanta). The other priced out at high. I didn't have enough miles - so I bought 90k miles from AMEX for $2250. The ticket itself would have cost about $10k (less if I priced the JAX/ATL and ATL/NRT legs separately). So that was a good deal for me. (And - if I can get the second ticket a lot cheaper between now and September - I can get some of the miles back if I pay the $150 change fee.)

It's all a personal cost/benefit analysis IMO. Robyn
robyng is offline  
Old Dec 19, 12, 4:22 pm
  #1510  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Florida
Posts: 27,941
Originally Posted by robyng View Post
I guess it all depends how you like to travel - and how far and how many hours you're willing to go out of your way. What is your total flight time from Miami to Stockholm? And I assume you wouldn't be flying home from Moscow unless you wanted to include it as part of your trip - right? Robyn
Before you start to comment on others itineraries, you may want to READ the map and understand other's intended trips first. There is a surface sector between ARN and SVO. And yes, why would we start our inbound portion from SVO if we have no intention to visit Moscow? Such an elementary question...

To answer the other elementary questions:

1) The ONLY direct flight is JFK-ARN on DL metal which is at 300K miles level...

2) Anybody has half a brain would not pay the 300K price because there are DL JFK-CPH available and a flight between CPH-ARN can be bought on Norwegian is below 50 euro, everyday during Jul / Aug. Even AMS-ARN is only 80 euro on Norwegian.

3) This also mean even if I am brain-dead and willing to pay that absurd price -
we would need to travel MIA-JFK, and in order not to risk missing flight, we would need to get to JFK a night before. That would mean at least one night stay at JFK.

4) In case you do not know, there is NO good option for an airport hotel in JFK - so you would need to take the train/metro to the city... (not to mention the high cost of NYC hotel.

5) Oh, there is yet another small details, as everybody already knows well, the DL domestic hop is almost never at low level... So the moment you attach a mid-level domestic hop to the International itinerary, your low level TATL goes out of the window and suddenly you are looking at a 200K level.

May be you have no ideas of the above little details why people choose their itineraries not based on the direct flights and time needed to travel? Because you always seem to only judge an itinerary being convenient only by the time you fly.

In our case, the direct JFK-ARN would actually cost us much more time (how about a good 14 to 16 hours?) due to the overnight at JFK, and far more cost due to A) overnight hotel at JFK at least on the outbound. B) Either pay 200K or pay additional to get a separate ticket MIA-JFK-MIA to cover our going and coming MIA-JFK in order to go TATL.

So what is the problem / issue you see for the direct flight MIA-FCO? No forced overnight at JFK and only a few hours late to get us to ARN while we enjoy lounges at every layover, have much better business class seat on AZ than on DL?

For your rant on your difficulty to get to Japan, may I suggest you look at OneWorld option? But of course you so look down on AA miles in our previous discussions over a year ago, I gather you never care to collect any AA miles because it is so inconvenience for you to fly out of Jacksonville...

A week or so ago in my curious search of CX First availability to HKG I actually saw several JL F / J availability going to Japan from BOS and ORD... but again you would need AA miles or BA Avios to do that (BA Avios would cost you an arm and a leg both in Avios and Cash but of course you sure can afford it.)

125K AA miles, AA F and JL F suite all the way, all legs included, about $60 in taxes. Free to change everything from dates to routing except the Origin and Destination. I dont see what is not to like.

For an additional 10K you could go CX F to HKG.

Finally, the reason why this thread is heavily skewed to awards to Europe, is because it is much easier to find premium cabin seats to Europe using DL miles, at least up to 2 months ago before AF changed its policy. While using DL miles to Asia you would have to 1) dodge KE's embargo dates which are A Lot. 2) pay YQ on all the DL Chinese partners. 3) It is much more difficult to find low level award on DL metal to Asia then to Europe.

Know your programs' strength and weakness and use them to your advantage instead of insisting you only want a single program based on some really narrow-view or outdated perceptions - that is that much I can say.

Last edited by Happy; Dec 19, 12 at 4:45 pm
Happy is offline  
Old Dec 19, 12, 4:41 pm
  #1511  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Florida
Posts: 27,941
Originally Posted by aubreyfromwheaton View Post
yes i put in 5 into UA's engine and 2 novel TATL flights came in outbound and 3 novel TATL flights came back inbound

I think I will try for 5 J tix on *A one way and 5 J tix on oneworld the other way.
Your 5 J tix on oneworld may prove to be high cost due to BA YQ.
Happy is offline  
Old Dec 19, 12, 6:51 pm
  #1512  
In memoriam
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Near Jacksonville FL
Posts: 3,987
Originally Posted by Happy View Post
Before you start to comment on others itineraries, you may want to READ the map and understand other's intended trips first. There is a surface sector between ARN and SVO. And yes, why would we start our inbound portion from SVO if we have no intention to visit Moscow? Such an elementary question...

To answer the other elementary questions:

1) The ONLY direct flight is JFK-ARN on DL metal which is at 300K miles level...

2) Anybody has half a brain would not pay the 300K price because there are DL JFK-CPH available and a flight between CPH-ARN can be bought on Norwegian is below 50 euro, everyday during Jul / Aug. Even AMS-ARN is only 80 euro on Norwegian.

3) This also mean even if I am brain-dead and willing to pay that absurd price -
we would need to travel MIA-JFK, and in order not to risk missing flight, we would need to get to JFK a night before. That would mean at least one night stay at JFK.

4) In case you do not know, there is NO good option for an airport hotel in JFK - so you would need to take the train/metro to the city... (not to mention the high cost of NYC hotel.

5) Oh, there is yet another small details, as everybody already knows well, the DL domestic hop is almost never at low level... So the moment you attach a mid-level domestic hop to the International itinerary, your low level TATL goes out of the window and suddenly you are looking at a 200K level.

May be you have no ideas of the above little details why people choose their itineraries not based on the direct flights and time needed to travel? Because you always seem to only judge an itinerary being convenient only by the time you fly.

In our case, the direct JFK-ARN would actually cost us much more time (how about a good 14 to 16 hours?) due to the overnight at JFK, and far more cost due to A) overnight hotel at JFK at least on the outbound. B) Either pay 200K or pay additional to get a separate ticket MIA-JFK-MIA to cover our going and coming MIA-JFK in order to go TATL.

So what is the problem / issue you see for the direct flight MIA-FCO? No forced overnight at JFK and only a few hours late to get us to ARN while we enjoy lounges at every layover, have much better business class seat on AZ than on DL?

For your rant on your difficulty to get to Japan, may I suggest you look at OneWorld option? But of course you so look down on AA miles in our previous discussions over a year ago, I gather you never care to collect any AA miles because it is so inconvenience for you to fly out of Jacksonville...

A week or so ago in my curious search of CX First availability to HKG I actually saw several JL F / J availability going to Japan from BOS and ORD... but again you would need AA miles or BA Avios to do that (BA Avios would cost you an arm and a leg both in Avios and Cash but of course you sure can afford it.)

125K AA miles, AA F and JL F suite all the way, all legs included, about $60 in taxes. Free to change everything from dates to routing except the Origin and Destination. I dont see what is not to like.

For an additional 10K you could go CX F to HKG.

Finally, the reason why this thread is heavily skewed to awards to Europe, is because it is much easier to find premium cabin seats to Europe using DL miles, at least up to 2 months ago before AF changed its policy. While using DL miles to Asia you would have to 1) dodge KE's embargo dates which are A Lot. 2) pay YQ on all the DL Chinese partners. 3) It is much more difficult to find low level award on DL metal to Asia then to Europe.

Know your programs' strength and weakness and use them to your advantage instead of insisting you only want a single program based on some really narrow-view or outdated perceptions - that is that much I can say.
Boy - such a long response to a simple question. When we flew JAX/ARN in September - the best option for us was UA (we maintain both DL and UA FF accounts - AA is apparently very useful flying out of MIA - but not very useful flying out of JAX). Hubbing through EWR. IIRC - we chose UA for that trip because the TATL flight had flat bed seats (the DL flight didn't).

Why would you have to overnight at JFK for a flight to Europe? In my experience - most flights to Europe leave pretty late in the afternoon. OTOH - perhaps DL has very limited service to JFK out of MIA - and the flight(s) available leave you with very tight connections. Or perhaps your search for low level reward tickets only returned bad connection options (I got a lot of those in my searching - overnights here there and everywhere). We only did one of those overnight things once - at EWR on our first trip to Tokyo (on CO). And not to save miles/money. The flight left at about 9:30 am. I agree that it's a real PITA and I'd never do it again. I am much happier going JAX/ATL/NRT. Note that the DL service to NRT seems to be pretty good now. And there was at least one "low" seat available on every flight I looked at. A second seat is problematic. Except at the highest level. Still - there are lots of people with lots of miles. And it's not hard to get a mile advance/buy extra miles on AMEX.

I agree that - most of the time - if you add a domestic flight to an international hub - you will pay a pretty big premium in terms of miles. For example - adding JAX/ATL to ATL/NRT would usually turn a "low" trip from 120k miles into 182.5k miles. However I lucked out one day - and found JAX/ATL/NRT for 120k. The DL agent told me I was lucky - that it was very unusual. OTOH - the price for a domestic flight between JAX/ATL isn't that much. Would probably be worth paying the cash instead of all those extra miles.

I honestly don't like using 2 airlines on trips - even if they're partners. Because - if things get screwed up - I want to be able to point a finger at a single responsible party.

And I'm not complaining about JAX/NRT at all. I think it's a good deal getting 2 easy convenient BF tickets for a total of $2250 plus minimal fees/taxes.

I hope you enjoy Stockholm. We had a great time there. I recommend this if you like museums:

http://www.visitstockholm.com/en/stockholmcard/

Robyn
robyng is offline  
Old Dec 20, 12, 11:02 am
  #1513  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Ann Arbor
Programs: *wood Gold, HHonors Gold , National Emerald Exec, Delta Silver
Posts: 2,603
Originally Posted by robyng View Post
The DL agent told me I was lucky - that it was very unusual.
I think they sat that to anyone that ever finds low availability on a domestic segment!
Bikeguy is offline  
Old Dec 20, 12, 5:13 pm
  #1514  
In memoriam
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Near Jacksonville FL
Posts: 3,987
Originally Posted by Bikeguy View Post
I think they sat that to anyone that ever finds low availability on a domestic segment!
Maybe . Still - it is nice to know that I got at least one ticket at rock bottom price.

FWIW - I was thinking yesterday that it's good to book everything on one airline and - if at all possible - on one reward ticket. Just a few days after I booked this trip for September 2013 - the ATL/NRT flight was changed to about an hour earlier. Making our 1.5 hour connection time from JAX in ATL 26 minutes <yikes>. Had I been on a different airline - or even a separate paid or reward ticket on DL - I probably would have had to pay some kind of change fee on the JAX/ATL part of our flight. Since the whole booking was on RT DL reward tickets - DL just moved us to an earlier flight out of JAX. No problems. I think everything is a constant cost/benefit analysis in terms of time/money/aggravation. At my age - I have less time - more money - and don't need any aggravation .

BTW - at least on DL - do you happen to know whether it is normal for DL to add an originating airport to international hub mileage surcharge on flights in terms of miles? That seemed to be what I came up with for the most part in my search - except for this one 120k ticket out of my home airport. In all honesty - I only book these tickets once every year or two - and not necessarily on the same airline. So I can't remember my last DL booking.

Finally - one thing I forgot to mention yesterday. A person can run into problems in terms of checking baggage fees/checking bags through if he or she is booking a BF flight out of a hub - but buying the local gateway to hub and return portion separately. Assuming you don't have a credit card or something else that allows you to check luggage for free. I don't know how it works on DL - but on our last trip on UA - you got 3 free bags on BF. We only travel with 2 checked bags. So - as long as we had one RT ticket out of our local airport - we were good to go. Robyn

P.S. I assume just about everyone here caught today's article in the WSJ about frequent flyer stuff.
robyng is offline  
Old Dec 21, 12, 12:03 pm
  #1515  
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Salt Lake City, UT
Posts: 2,823
Originally Posted by robyng View Post
Just a few days after I booked this trip for September 2013 - the ATL/NRT flight was changed to about an hour earlier. Making our 1.5 hour connection time from JAX in ATL 26 minutes <yikes>. Had I been on a different airline - or even a separate paid or reward ticket on DL - I probably would have had to pay some kind of change fee on the JAX/ATL part of our flight.
If you were on a separate paid or reward ticket, my guess would be that you wouldn't have had 1.5 hour layover in the first place.

But I do get what you are saying and am trying to avoid separate PNRs too.
michael_v is online now  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: