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

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

Old Aug 9, 10, 3:45 am
  #151  
 
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Booked another low business class ticket

I finally finished the last of my Delta miles today. It was a sweet moment to get the last business class ticket at the lowest mileage level after searching around for hours. Thanks to this thread again.

In the end, I find it quite interesting how Delta wants to play this game. It goes counter to every cost analysis they might have put together to minimize the interaction with a live Delta agent. The approach I had taken was just book the ticket at a slightly higher mileage from whichever gateway that was available. Then check every now and then and keep modifying the reservation to include extra legs and optimize the routing. The end result is making changes until almost the day of travel. After 2 dozen such changes one gets the itinerary they want. I think they might start charging for changing award tickets for a Diamond member.

Once I did argue about the obscene amount of miles they required but found it was futile and was better to constantly re-issue the ticket based on availability.
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Old Aug 9, 10, 6:32 pm
  #152  
 
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[QUOTE=TravellingMan;14446540]The approach I had taken was just book the ticket at a slightly higher mileage from whichever gateway that was available. Then check every now and then and keep modifying the reservation to include extra legs and optimize the routing. The end result is making changes until almost the day of travel. After 2 dozen such changes one gets the itinerary they want. I think they might start charging for changing award tickets for a Diamond member.
[QUOTE]

Interesting.
I have been doing the same thing to reduce the number of stops in my itineraries. Booking whatever is available at low level, even if it has 3 or more stops, then checking for the low levels on more direct flights and re-issuing.
I was not sure however if adding legs would work as well. Can they modify origins or destination by adding legs without cancelling the original flight? I hear that when an award is redeposited, it does not mean that it will be made available for re-booking at same low miles levels. I was thus afraid of loosing my main low award flight when trying to add a leg. Your post suggests that it's not the case, right?
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Old Aug 10, 10, 4:43 am
  #153  
 
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I was not sure however if adding legs would work as well. Can they modify origins or destination by adding legs without cancelling the original flight? I hear that when an award is redeposited, it does not mean that it will be made available for re-booking at same low miles levels. I was thus afraid of loosing my main low award flight when trying to add a leg. Your post suggests that it's not the case, right?


I have had no difficulty in adding legs to existing award tickets. I have found legs from "home airport" to the Delta hubs sometimes take it over the top in terms of mileage requirements. I have just booked it from the lowest cost point and added the "offending" legs on a later date. No one has so far told me I will lose the original legs.

Once I had the mileage requirement jump from 120K to 175K just because the last leg from MSP - DEN was not available. I tried to reason with them that it is going to cost all of us time and money and why not call revenue department to release one seat in the N/W class. They flatly refused and I got it reissued later, when it opened up.
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Old Aug 11, 10, 3:57 pm
  #154  
 
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I'm currently Gold and looking to book a ticket for my daughter (for January), and I know there is a re-deposit fee for Gold Members, but if my current flying pattern continues, I'll have Plat by end of Sept/early October, can I then change the itinerary (after reaching Plat) for Free or is it based on status at time of original booking?
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Old Aug 12, 10, 5:58 pm
  #155  
 
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Originally Posted by 3Cforme View Post
Both Air France and Alitalia award inventory searches are supported by ExpertFlyer. CDG-FCO-PMO in coach is showing available on many dates in May 2011.
.

well. bad news.
the expert flyer o inventory on air france and the corresponding on AZ no longer corresponds to what is available for skymiles redemption. i recently tried this from cdg- ath - o availability on expertflyer , but not on the delta website or on the phone .
expertflyer confirmed to me the bad news . couldnt book it even though there was o availability , since they did not let delta have the inventory.
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Old Aug 12, 10, 9:11 pm
  #156  
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I would pay for the FCO-PMO flight, maybe CDG-PMO flight, if DL just had low BE award inventory from SFO-CDG or SFO-FCO.

It keeps showing a SFO-SEA-CDG route for $100k but when you try to book it, says one of the flights sold out. Then you search again and it comes up again.

It's been like this for a couple of weeks. Maybe a sign that eventually that inventory will be available.
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Old Aug 13, 10, 8:38 am
  #157  
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Originally Posted by wco81 View Post
I would pay for the FCO-PMO flight, maybe CDG-PMO flight, if DL just had low BE award inventory from SFO-CDG or SFO-FCO.

It keeps showing a SFO-SEA-CDG route for $100k but when you try to book it, says one of the flights sold out. Then you search again and it comes up again.
There are 10 dates in May 2011 with Business awards on the AF non-stop LAX-CDG. Grab an Alaska flight SJC-LAX (Horizon-operated means coach). IME you won't be able to book this mixed-class between O+D/partner itin online - it wants to route SJC-SLC-LAX to give you First.

Examples on 5/9 or 5/11:

QX 2075 SJC 1520 LAX 1635
AF 69 LAX 1845 CDG 1415 + 1

Return (example) 5/19:

AF 306 CDG 1030 SEA 1150
AS 316 SEA 1555 SFO 1703

Last edited by 3Cforme; Aug 13, 10 at 2:43 pm
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Old Aug 13, 10, 5:24 pm
  #158  
 
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Originally Posted by JayRich View Post
I'll have Plat by end of Sept/early October, can I then change the itinerary (after reaching Plat) for Free or is it based on status at time of original booking?
The itinerary can be changed for free once you are platinum. It is not based on status at time of original booking. It is based on status at the moment of changing the ticket.
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Old Aug 17, 10, 11:49 am
  #159  
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Well not seeing any availability for low tier BE flights to Europe out of SFO.

I checked a couple of weeks out all the way to 320-330 days out, various random dates.

Even when I select two "Low" dates on the calendar, I get 150k for SFO-BCN in February, March or April and it's with some ridiculous layover, turning it into a 34-hour flight outbound.

I tried the one way coach searches to SFO-CDG and it's all coming out high, no BE awards in the search results.

Only time 100k awards have shown up was when SEA-CDG segment flashed up but when I try to book, it says one of the flights is sold out. I tried calling and they say it's a glitch in the system that that routing was shown in the first place.

I was going to stay with DL next year, because I anticipate at least one 10K MQM mileage boost bonus next year, possibly two.

But now, I'm going to look at fares on other airlines and start accumulating elsewhere. Might as well cancel the DL Amex too.
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Old Aug 20, 10, 7:24 pm
  #160  
 
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no AF available

Did i miss something or have I been away too long?

I just spent about 15 minutes using the economy/one way search method from SFO and LAX to CDG and I'm showing zero direct availability on AF at any award level for any month in the schedule.

Do i need to keep looking or is this the brave new world?
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Old Aug 20, 10, 7:30 pm
  #161  
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Originally Posted by bobgold View Post
Did i miss something or have I been away too long?

I just spent about 15 minutes using the economy/one way search method from SFO and LAX to CDG and I'm showing zero direct availability on AF at any award level for any month in the schedule.

Do i need to keep looking or is this the brave new world?
Yup, no availability that I could see, especially not on AF.

Maybe they figure they will just try to sell those seats until the last minute then maybe release them to awards.

Only problem is, there isn't availability a month or two out either.
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Old Aug 20, 10, 7:47 pm
  #162  
KVS
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Originally Posted by bobgold View Post
Did i miss something or have I been away too long?

I just spent about 15 minutes using the economy/one way search method from SFO and LAX to CDG and I'm showing zero direct availability on AF at any award level for any month in the schedule.

Do i need to keep looking or is this the brave new world?
DL is not currently displaying certain (long-haul?) AF awards on DL.com

So you need to use a better Tool to search for actual award availability and then call DL to book:

[KVS Availability Tool 5.7.4/Diamond - Sabre: Availability/FS/US]
Code:
LAX  Los Angeles Int'l CA US [KLAX]
CDG  Paris Charles De Gaulle FR [LFPG]
WED  01 Dec 2010

Carrier    Flight  From  Depart    To    Arrive    A/C  St  Availability
---------  ------  ----  --------  ----  --------  ---  --  ------------
AF         65      LAX   15:45     CDG   11:25     77W      O1 X0
AF         69      LAX   18:30     CDG   14:05     77W      O0 X9
[KVS Availability Tool 5.7.4/Diamond - DLM: Awards/SkyTeam]
Code:
LAX  Los Angeles Int'l CA US [KLAX]
CDG  Paris Charles De Gaulle FR [LFPG]
WED  01 Dec 2010 | 1 Seat

Carrier    Flight  From  Depart    To    Arrive    A/C  St  Availability
---------  ------  ----  --------  ----  --------  ---  --  ------------
DL         2404    LAX   10:15     SLC   13:05     737  0   YX+ YM+
 -> DL     170     SLC   17:00     CDG   11:25 +1  767  0   CS+ YM+
DL         2204    LAX   13:10     SLC   16:01     757  0   FX+ YM+
 -> DL     170     SLC   17:00     CDG   11:25 +1  767  0   CS+ YM+
DL         1404    LAX   06:20     SLC   09:15     757  0   YX+ YM+
 -> DL     170     SLC   17:00     CDG   11:25 +1  767  0   CS+ YM+
DL/OO      4468    LAX   07:45     SLC   10:30          0   YX+ YM+
 -> DL     170     SLC   17:00     CDG   11:25 +1  767  0   CS+ YM+
DL/OO      4580    LAX   11:45     SLC   14:30          0   YX+ YM+
 -> DL     170     SLC   17:00     CDG   11:25 +1  767  0   CS+ YM+
DL         2268    LAX   00:45     MSP   06:21     320  0   FX+ YM+
 -> DL     220     MSP   15:40     CDG   07:25 +1  767  0   CM+ YM+
DL         2154    LAX   06:20     ATL   13:38     767  0   FX+ YM+
 -> DL     28      ATL   15:30     CDG   06:10 +1  767  0   CM+ YM+
DL         2154    LAX   06:20     ATL   13:38     767  0   FX+ YS+
 -> DL     22      ATL   20:40     CDG   11:15 +1  330  0   CM+ YS+
DL         2068    LAX   06:40     MSP   12:17     753  0   FX+ YM+
 -> DL     220     MSP   15:40     CDG   07:25 +1  767  0   CM+ YM+
DL         2014    LAX   07:10     CVG   14:30     320  0   FX+ YS+
 -> DL     44      CVG   15:55     CDG   06:10 +1  767  0   CM+ YS+
DL         16      LAX   07:50     ATL   15:10     767  0   CX+ YM+
 -> DL     22      ATL   20:40     CDG   11:15 +1  330  0   CM+ YM+
DL         1868    LAX   08:00     MSP   13:30     757  0   FX+ YM+
 -> DL     220     MSP   15:40     CDG   07:25 +1  767  0   CM+ YM+
DL         124     LAX   09:00     ATL   16:20     767  0   CX+ YS+
 -> DL     22      ATL   20:40     CDG   11:15 +1  330  0   CM+ YS+
DL         124     LAX   09:00     ATL   16:20     767  0   CX+ YM+
 -> DL     28      ATL   15:30 +1  CDG   06:10 +2  767  0   CM+ YM+
DL         101     LAX   10:25     ATL   17:44     757  0   CX+ YS+
 -> DL     22      ATL   20:40     CDG   11:15 +1  330  0   CM+ YS+
DL         101     LAX   10:25     ATL   17:44     757  0   CX+ YM+
 -> DL     28      ATL   15:30 +1  CDG   06:10 +2  767  0   CM+ YM+
DL         1968    LAX   10:30     MSP   16:02     737  0   FX+ YS+
 -> DL     220     MSP   15:40 +1  CDG   07:25 +2  767  0   CM+ YS+
DL         1814    LAX   10:55     CVG   18:06     737  0   FX+ YM+
 -> DL     44      CVG   15:55 +1  CDG   06:10 +2  767  0   CM+ YM+
DL         1754    LAX   12:00     ATL   19:19     767  0   FX+ YS+
 -> DL     22      ATL   20:40     CDG   11:15 +1  330  0   CM+ YS+
DL         1754    LAX   12:00     ATL   19:19     767  0   FX+ YM+
 -> DL     28      ATL   15:30 +1  CDG   06:10 +2  767  0   CM+ YM+
DL         2168    LAX   12:25     MSP   18:04     320  0   FX+ YS+
 -> DL     220     MSP   15:40 +1  CDG   07:25 +2  767  0   CM+ YS+
DL         152     LAX   13:00     ATL   20:21     330  0   CX+ YM+
 -> DL     28      ATL   15:30 +1  CDG   06:10 +2  767  0   CM+ YM+
DL         1554    LAX   14:25     ATL   21:51     757  0   FX+ YM+
 -> DL     28      ATL   15:30 +1  CDG   06:10 +2  767  0   CM+ YM+
DL         1554    LAX   14:25     ATL   21:51     757  0   FX+ YM+
 -> DL     22      ATL   20:40 +1  CDG   11:15 +2  330  0   CM+ YM+
DL         40      LAX   15:05     MSP   20:38     737  0   CX+ YS+
 -> DL     220     MSP   15:40 +1  CDG   07:25 +2  767  0   CM+ YS+
DL         1454    LAX   16:45     ATL   23:59     737  0   FX+ YM+
 -> DL     28      ATL   15:30 +1  CDG   06:10 +2  767  0   CM+ YM+
DL         1454    LAX   16:45     ATL   23:59     737  0   FX+ YM+
 -> DL     22      ATL   20:40 +1  CDG   11:15 +2  330  0   CM+ YM+
DL         1568    LAX   18:15     MSP   23:46     320  0   FX+ YS+
 -> DL     220     MSP   15:40 +1  CDG   07:25 +2  767  0   CM+ YS+
DL         2454    LAX   22:55     ATL   06:09 +1  767  0   FX+ YM+
 -> DL     28      ATL   15:30 +1  CDG   06:10 +2  767  0   CM+ YM+
DL         2454    LAX   22:55     ATL   06:09 +1  767  0   FX+ YM+
 -> DL     22      ATL   20:40 +1  CDG   11:15 +2  330  0   CM+ YM+
DL         1914    LAX   23:35     CVG   06:45 +1  320  0   FX+ YM+
 -> DL     44      CVG   15:55 +1  CDG   06:10 +2  767  0   CM+ YM+
DL         2354    LAX   23:55     ATL   07:09 +1  767  0   FX+ YM+
 -> DL     28      ATL   15:30 +1  CDG   06:10 +2  767  0   CM+ YM+
DL         2354    LAX   23:55     ATL   07:09 +1  767  0   FX+ YM+
 -> DL     22      ATL   20:40 +1  CDG   11:15 +2  330  0   CM+ YM+
DL/OO      4553    LAX   06:20     LAS   07:30          0   FX+ YM+
 -> DL     220     LAS   09:10     CDG   07:25 +1       1   CM+ YM+
DL/OO      4626    LAX   08:20     LAS   09:30          0   FX+ YM+
 -> DL     220     LAS   09:10 +1  CDG   07:25 +2       1   CM+ YM+
DL         1061    LAX   09:55     MCO   17:43     737  0   FX+ YM+
 -> DL     28      MCO   12:30 +1  CDG   06:10 +2       1   CM+ YM+
DL/OO      4916    LAX   11:15     LAS   12:23          0   FX+
 -> DL     220     LAS   09:10 +1  CDG   07:25 +2       1   CM+
DL/OO      4922    LAX   14:30     LAS   15:40          0   FX+ YM+
 -> DL     220     LAS   09:10 +1  CDG   07:25 +2       1   CM+ YM+
DL/OO      4834    LAX   17:50     LAS   19:00          0   FX+ YM+
 -> DL     220     LAS   09:10 +1  CDG   07:25 +2       1   CM+ YM+
DL/OO      4611    LAX   19:30     LAS   20:40          0   FX+ YM+
 -> DL     220     LAS   09:10 +1  CDG   07:25 +2       1   CM+ YM+
DL         1063    LAX   22:50     MCO   06:34 +1  737  0   FX+ YM+
 -> DL     28      MCO   12:30 +1  CDG   06:10 +2       1   CM+ YM+
DL         2204    LAX   13:10     SLC   16:01     757  0   FX+
 -> DL     2085    SLC   09:45 +1  MSP   13:25 +1  320  0   FM+
 -> DL     220     MSP   15:40 +1  CDG   07:25 +2  767  0   CM+
DL         2004    LAX   16:20     SLC   19:05     757  0   FX+
 -> DL     2085    SLC   09:45 +1  MSP   13:25 +1  320  0   FM+
 -> DL     220     MSP   15:40 +1  CDG   07:25 +2  767  0   CM+
DL         2404    LAX   10:15     SLC   13:05     737  0   YS+
 -> DL     1074    SLC   13:55     MSP   17:33     M90  0   YS+
 -> DL     220     MSP   15:40 +1  CDG   07:25 +2  767  0   YS+
DL         2404    LAX   10:15     SLC   13:05     737  0   YS+
 -> DL     2085    SLC   09:45 +1  MSP   13:25 +1  320  0   YS+
 -> DL     220     MSP   15:40 +1  CDG   07:25 +2  767  0   YS+
DL         2404    LAX   10:15     SLC   13:05     737  0   YM+
 -> DL     1208    SLC   13:55     CVG   19:21     320  0   YM+
 -> DL     44      CVG   15:55 +1  CDG   06:10 +2  767  0   YM+
DL         2404    LAX   10:15     SLC   13:05     737  0   YM+
 -> DL/OO  3296    SLC   19:45     MSP   23:22          0   YM+
 -> DL     220     MSP   15:40 +1  CDG   07:25 +2  767  0   YM+
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Old Aug 21, 10, 3:55 pm
  #163  
 
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WOW--getting low miles award flights on Delta seems way too much work.
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Old Aug 23, 10, 4:01 pm
  #164  
 
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Originally Posted by TravellingMan View Post
The approach I had taken was just book the ticket at a slightly higher mileage from whichever gateway that was available. Then check every now and then and keep modifying the reservation to include extra legs and optimize the routing. The end result is making changes until almost the day of travel. After 2 dozen such changes one gets the itinerary they want.
This is exactly how I always book DL award. IME, although DL's availability is generally bad, it has the best availability of any US airline within 2 weeks of departure. I rarely had a problem finding low level award for the dates and routes I wanted.
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Old Aug 27, 10, 7:58 pm
  #165  
 
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Blug--is that good experience primarily out of PHX?
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