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Using SkyMiles on SkyTeam & Other Partners Master Thread

Using SkyMiles on SkyTeam & Other Partners Master Thread

Old Jan 15, 15, 11:50 am
  #181  
 
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Regarding dynamic DL low-level availability and mixing with Skyteam partners, I'm seeing the following as an example:

If I search ATL-KRK, ATL-AMS on DL and AMS-KRK on KL, it's going to price ATL-AMS as not low-level. However, if I just search ATL-AMS, it'll show as low-level, O inventory. What I'm doing is booking ATL-AMS in O, then calling delta up to put in the O AMS-KRK segment, thus circumnavigating their dynamic availability.
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Old Jan 15, 15, 12:02 pm
  #182  
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Originally Posted by durberville View Post
Regarding dynamic DL low-level availability and mixing with Skyteam partners, I'm seeing the following as an example:

If I search ATL-KRK, ATL-AMS on DL and AMS-KRK on KL, it's going to price ATL-AMS as not low-level. However, if I just search ATL-AMS, it'll show as low-level, O inventory. What I'm doing is booking ATL-AMS in O, then calling delta up to put in the O AMS-KRK segment, thus circumnavigating their dynamic availability.
Were you able to actually get DL to do this? When I attempted to do something similar, the phone agents and int'l reissue still priced it out as the through fare at the higher level (and with additive pricing).
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Old Jan 15, 15, 1:19 pm
  #183  
 
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Originally Posted by gooselee View Post
Were you able to actually get DL to do this? When I attempted to do something similar, the phone agents and int'l reissue still priced it out as the through fare at the higher level (and with additive pricing).
If it's additive pricing then it's not an actual through fare; the two are mutually exclusive of each other. If it's a through fare it would be a single price for AAA DL X/ BBB DL CCC until you get to your destination, be it at the level that the individual segments are available at or an inflated higher price.

It would be really good to find out is this just a bug (knowing how much DL is against any and all types of QA), or is truly married segment logic now in play for award bookings, and to get an actual detailed award routing rules from DL... not going to happen, I know, but we can dream, can't we?

Even trying to write up and sum up new DL award routing rules would be difficult, as it's so hard to know what is working how it's supposed and what is not, ever since the downgrade to the even more inconsistent and buggy new reservations system. For example, connecting flights on other airlines (or at least KE) now will not show up in any search if there is a direct Delta flight on the route; before it always used to show. Does that mean that where there is a direct DL flight you can't book connecting SkyTeam flights anymore (forced to book most direct flight if DL flies the route)? There are so many questions like that which are unanswered, and it's a monumental task to gather enough data from user experience to try to build some sort of a model of how it works... if only DL would do what most other airlines do and document its actual award routing rules.

I suspect - this is just pure speculation - that the "married segment logic" in play now is using some formula and pricing flights to always be at or above a certain minimal threshold of $0.xx per mile that you are allowed to get. Reason for this belief: up until January 1st, DL would always have, at 331 days out, one (and never more than one) normal award level seat in Y and one low seat in J on practically all flights (all that I checked), and then when it was booked the rest would be at either the double or quadruple level. As of January 1st, that is no longer so and on many flights (but not all) there is not a single normal level award seat in Y or J to be had often for many weeks and months in a row, sometimes seemingly never. So, not only did the award pricing go up even for the normal level, the availability was greatly reduced also. But, that is so for some and not all flights. When I've compared that to fares it appears that lower priced flights now have more normal level awards available, while higher priced flights have now not even a single normal level award seat (or at best may be one normal award seat sprinkled in once per quarter on some random day), even at 331 days out (or any point thereafter). That would seem to imply that now there is some logic that sets the award availability based on the currently available revenue fares, and that while it's not exactly a set amount of miles for $1 (or set $0.0x per mile), that it's getting much closer to that... which would certainly make sense if SkyMiles 2015 is the final step in EOS (End of SkyMiles), before in 2016 it becomes SkyPennies and the award price is matched in miles:$ (with perhaps, one would hope at least, a few tiers, so that higher up elites get a better value per mile in redemptions). 2015 being the final stepping point to that and making the flock of sheep (sorry, "valued Delta frequent fliers") get gradually adjusted to the award cost being closely tied to, if not exactly indexed to, the current revenue fare. A lot more data would need to be gathered and charted to either support or dismiss this assertion, however. This is just what both makes logical sense given Delta's ultimate goal of EOS (End of SkyMiles [as we know it]), the five award tiers, and award pricing that now is much closer aligned to revenue pricing than ever before, such as no longer always offering at least one normal level seat, now getting away with all that.

Last edited by RealHJ; Jan 15, 15 at 1:32 pm Reason: last paragraph edit
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Old Jan 15, 15, 1:23 pm
  #184  
 
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Originally Posted by durberville View Post
Regarding dynamic DL low-level availability and mixing with Skyteam partners, I'm seeing the following as an example:

If I search ATL-KRK, ATL-AMS on DL and AMS-KRK on KL, it's going to price ATL-AMS as not low-level. However, if I just search ATL-AMS, it'll show as low-level, O inventory. What I'm doing is booking ATL-AMS in O, then calling delta up to put in the O AMS-KRK segment, thus circumnavigating their dynamic availability.
Originally Posted by gooselee View Post
Were you able to actually get DL to do this? When I attempted to do something similar, the phone agents and int'l reissue still priced it out as the through fare at the higher level (and with additive pricing).
If this works, that's how I'll have to book my US - BEG vacation. I can see low on various TATL routes, most notably on VA via LHR, but searching for my actual itin ONLY sends me via DTW-FCO DL flight an lowest price I get is 105K in J.
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Old Jan 15, 15, 1:35 pm
  #185  
 
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Originally Posted by akcae View Post
If this works, that's how I'll have to book my US - BEG vacation. I can see low on various TATL routes, most notably on VA via LHR, but searching for my actual itin ONLY sends me via DTW-FCO DL flight an lowest price I get is 105K in J.
That is just what I've been seeing. If DL flies on a route direct, that the newly downgraded dumbed down reservations system will no longer display, in any type of search, alternate available (and lower price) routing over other SkyTeam or partner airlines, such as VA via LHR in your case here. It remains to be seen is award routing now severely restricted, with a heavy bias for DL "most direct routing" flights, or is it just that the online award search was made even more useless than before and that other valid SkyTeam+partner routings, which price out as less, are still available by phone.
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Old Jan 15, 15, 2:30 pm
  #186  
 
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Originally Posted by RealHJ View Post
That is just what I've been seeing. If DL flies on a route direct, that the newly downgraded dumbed down reservations system will no longer display, in any type of search, alternate available (and lower price) routing over other SkyTeam or partner airlines, such as VA via LHR in your case here. It remains to be seen is award routing now severely restricted, with a heavy bias for DL "most direct routing" flights, or is it just that the online award search was made even more useless than before and that other valid SkyTeam+partner routings, which price out as less, are still available by phone.
Last summer, I had no problem pricing out CAE-ATL-BRU-FCO- BEG (with a sub-24hr layover in FCO overnight) at low level. Most routes to BRU on DL or even *A seem to have J wide open for 3+ pax. This year, any direct one-way search ONLY gives CAE-ATL-DTW-FCO-BEG (with an impossible 55min layover in FCO!) at 105K pp.

Any multi-city attempts I've made (even replicating the same dumb routing the calendar gives me) blows up telling me that flights I'm looking for aren't operated that day!
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Old Jan 15, 15, 3:03 pm
  #187  
 
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Originally Posted by akcae View Post
Last summer, I had no problem pricing out CAE-ATL-BRU-FCO- BEG (with a sub-24hr layover in FCO overnight) at low level. Most routes to BRU on DL or even *A seem to have J wide open for 3+ pax. This year, any direct one-way search ONLY gives CAE-ATL-DTW-FCO-BEG (with an impossible 55min layover in FCO!) at 105K pp.

Any multi-city attempts I've made (even replicating the same dumb routing the calendar gives me) blows up telling me that flights I'm looking for aren't operated that day!
Don't bother with multi-city on delta.com, it is broken since 1/1/2015.
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Old Jan 15, 15, 3:49 pm
  #188  
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Originally Posted by RealHJ View Post
If it's additive pricing then it's not an actual through fare; the two are mutually exclusive of each other. If it's a through fare it would be a single price for AAA DL X/ BBB DL CCC until you get to your destination, be it at the level that the individual segments are available at or an inflated higher price.

<snip>

2015 being the final stepping point to that and making the flock of sheep (sorry, "valued Delta frequent fliers") get gradually adjusted to the award cost being closely tied to, if not exactly indexed to, the current revenue fare.
No offense, but I'm beginning to suspect that you need to use a different airline for your travels. You clearly don't seem to be getting the right value out of DL to be flying them so much that you maintain DM, and you don't seem to like their product anymore either.

See my post here (http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/delta...l#post24107271) on how additive pricing plus through fare/married segment logic is functioning on award tickets post 1/1/15. The two are NOT mutually exclusive, and that is a big problem for people trying to piece together award itineraries. The married segments/through fare logic forces the award level of some segments into a higher category. At the same time additive pricing for award flights causes the DL pricing systems to essentially charge twice for what is in actuality a single trip/direction.

Here's how it works:
- AAA-BBB alone is available at Tier 1
- BBB-CCC alone is available at Tier 1
- AAA-CCC (connecting in BBB) is priced at Tier 2
- BBB-CCC is on a partner, which cannot sell at Tier 2
- System has to sell AAA-BBB at Tier 2, then separately sell BBB-CCC at Tier 1 (additive pricing). But the only reason it's selling AAA-BBB at Tier 2 is because of the BBB-CCC connection (married segment). Otherwise AAA-BBB would sell at Tier 1.

In terms of availability, I just booked TATL flights 8 months in advance and easily found low awards (and many partner awards) for 2 seats in J. Yes, I had to search a bit and be flexible with dates/times, but to say that they are not available at all is simply not true. Perhaps they are not available on certain markets - I'll admit that I was only looking at TATL flights and know nothing of TPAC. Lastly, I highly doubt that there is a direct linkage to currently-available cash prices. At the time I booked my flights for 125k RT per person, paying cash for the same O/D on the same dates would have run over $7k each at minimum. Paying cash for the exact flights I selected was pricing just shy of $10k.

All that to say, I firmly agree with that last sentence of yours I quoted above. I strongly believe that we are moving in the direction of straight PWM for all awards. So, I'm thankful that I was able to spend 125k miles today on a ticket that in a couple years will likely cost me closer to 1M miles.

Spend 'em while you've got 'em, folks.
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Old Jan 15, 15, 5:43 pm
  #189  
 
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Originally Posted by gooselee View Post
No offense, but I'm beginning to suspect that you need to use a different airline for your travels. You clearly don't seem to be getting the right value out of DL to be flying them so much that you maintain DM, and you don't seem to like their product anymore either.

See my post here (http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/delta...l#post24107271) on how additive pricing plus through fare/married segment logic is functioning on award tickets post 1/1/15. The two are NOT mutually exclusive, and that is a big problem for people trying to piece together award itineraries. The married segments/through fare logic forces the award level of some segments into a higher category. At the same time additive pricing for award flights causes the DL pricing systems to essentially charge twice for what is in actuality a single trip/direction.

Here's how it works:
- AAA-BBB alone is available at Tier 1
- BBB-CCC alone is available at Tier 1
- AAA-CCC (connecting in BBB) is priced at Tier 2
- BBB-CCC is on a partner, which cannot sell at Tier 2
- System has to sell AAA-BBB at Tier 2, then separately sell BBB-CCC at Tier 1 (additive pricing). But the only reason it's selling AAA-BBB at Tier 2 is because of the BBB-CCC connection (married segment). Otherwise AAA-BBB would sell at Tier 1.

In terms of availability, I just booked TATL flights 8 months in advance and easily found low awards (and many partner awards) for 2 seats in J. Yes, I had to search a bit and be flexible with dates/times, but to say that they are not available at all is simply not true. Perhaps they are not available on certain markets - I'll admit that I was only looking at TATL flights and know nothing of TPAC. Lastly, I highly doubt that there is a direct linkage to currently-available cash prices. At the time I booked my flights for 125k RT per person, paying cash for the same O/D on the same dates would have run over $7k each at minimum. Paying cash for the exact flights I selected was pricing just shy of $10k.

All that to say, I firmly agree with that last sentence of yours I quoted above. I strongly believe that we are moving in the direction of straight PWM for all awards. So, I'm thankful that I was able to spend 125k miles today on a ticket that in a couple years will likely cost me closer to 1M miles.

Spend 'em while you've got 'em, folks.
As I've stated elsewhere, the last two years (2013, 2014) I've flown SkyTeam for about 30% of my flights, with DL being just may be 1/4 of that. So, I am not flying particularly much on DL (but still enough on ST with rollover to be DM for a few more years). Just when the schedules or routing is suitable. Unlike others here, I am not any airline or alliance bound. Anyhow, here the discussion is about Delta new award routing/pricing rules and how it impacts everyone; I haven't made any remarks about any impact on me, as frankly that is irrelevant to anyone else other than me, other than just what my observations and experiences have been in a more general way (and elsehwere I've never talked about anything affecting me personally or ever talked about what I like or don't like (actually personally I happen to like the new "streamlined" all on one plate J meal service that has been gradually rolled out shortly after DeltaOne was announced, as it lets me go to sleep sooner; I just know that most others would not, as most others seem to enjoy the way how it has been done until recently, and hence was reporting that for their info, so that others are not caught off guard by that significant service downgrade...sorry, "enhancement," how I and numerous others pax have been), but rather simply contributed information and experience that may be useful to others in order to make informed decisions, given how Delta likes to keep its passengers and customers in the dark about practically all the "enchancements" that it's doing in all the various areas, be it to award pricing or in-flight service levels).

Anyhow, thanks for your insight on how it's even worse than I feared and it's not just married segment logic but also additive pricing compounding to make things...truly ridiculous. That is very valuable insight and is truly a shame that it's so, with no official word or comment from Delta is that intentional or not (so we can only presume that it is). Many thanks to you as a brave pionner reporting on your experiences and finding, you likely being one of the few who didn't use up most of their miles by Dec 31, 2014 and instead is bravely trying to do so now despite the numerous obstacles that Delta throws your way.

From my observations it seems that now there is somewhat of, but not direct, linkage between Delta (obviously not other airline) award flight pricing and revenue pricing. May be not based on $ but fare classes? I haven't looked into it deep enough. But as we are likely moving to $0.0x per mile further massive devaluation, it only makes sense for Delta to start making its FFs used to yet higher and higher award prices gradually (just as most other "enhancements" have been gradual), so that when the final nail in the coffin known as EOS is struck it's doesn't come as a huge shock and is only somehwat worse how it was before (which is somewhat worse how it was some months ago, which, in turn, is somewhat worse how it was a year ago, and so on - i.e. a gradual yet certain devaluation taken in small steps, vs. all in one big go). I wouldn't be surprised if even the five award levels and how it's tuned to the revenue prices or fare classes (if it is at all, that is) will be gradually tightened up to be more and more tight...just like boiling a live lobster through gradually increasing the heat. But be it that way (yet) or no, it's likely that instead of there being a massive shock of many fold increase in award pricing all at once when it goes to 1 mile per $0.0x, that preceeding to that the five award levels will be used to more and more approximate what that'll be like, if Delta's execution of its previous "enhancements" is any guide.

Last edited by RealHJ; Jan 15, 15 at 5:51 pm Reason: fixed typo
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Old Jan 15, 15, 6:13 pm
  #190  
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Originally Posted by RealHJ View Post
Anyhow, thanks for your insight on how it's even worse than I feared and it's not just married segment logic but also additive pricing compounding to make things...truly ridiculous. That is very valuable insight and is truly a shame that it's so, with no official word or comment from Delta is that intentional or not (so we can only presume that it is). Many thanks to you as a brave pionner reporting on your experiences and finding, you likely being one of the few who didn't use up most of their miles by Dec 31, 2014 and instead is bravely trying to do so now despite the numerous obstacles that Delta throws your way.
So, look, I try to give folks the benefit of the doubt. Especially when reading text on an interwebs forum where I have no idea if you're a 12-year-old girl having a laugh or Richard Anderson himself. And especially now that I've had a hellacious day at work that I've chosen to cap off with four fingers of Woodford Double Oaked. Mmmm...I'd trade five vintage HOOUs and an RU seat on a ATL-LAX 76W if someone would get the guys in Versailles to start putting that stuff in a mini bottle.

For the record, I'm guessing you're somewhere in between those two (the 12 y.o. girl and the All-Too-Wise RA). .

And lest I take any credit I'm not due, I didn't purposely hold off until 1/1/2015 to start booking award tickets - it just so happened that a good friend got engaged over the holidays, decided to have her wedding abroad, and thus drove my need to book some flights to a certain location at a certain time or year. I'm glad that my circumstance has resulted in good information for others here. I have, of course, booked other awards for other reasons prior to this year, though none as complex. Overall, I haven't really had major issues with DL awards...yet.

All that said, I'll leave it with three points:

1. I may not fully agree with the way you've approached sharing your experiences here, but I do appreciate you sharing those experiences when you acknowledge that they are, as you say, your own experiences.

2. If I compare the overall award booking experience I had in 2014 vs. my one and only experience so far in 2015...I have to say it's a wash. It was in fact significantly easier to find low-level availability for long-haul flights in 2015 (on my specific routes and dates) than on any of my award redemptions in 2014, but that was tempered by the inability to easily add-on low-level positioning flights, as well as the inability to do stopovers. Still, with multiple tickets and a couple backflips, I have the itinerary to/from Europe I want for 150k miles per person and a $150 positioning flight that wasn't worth spending miles on. It's not the rock-bottom 125k, but still better, or at worst on par with, the 162.5k that was common for a mixed low/mid itinerary in the past. Do I wish I could've gotten the whole thing at 125k? Of course. Am I really going to be upset with paying 150k? Can't say I'll lose sleep over it.

3. I 100% agree with you that married segment + additive pricing is, as you say, truly ridiculous. The married segment I can perhaps understand - DL is trying to sell to a certain O/D market, and whether we like it or not, demand dictates price, whether in miles, dollars, rupees, or fried chitlins. But additive pricing...that's just poor form, and if they claim it's because DL IT can't handle the mixed itinerary, that's just a shoddy excuse for greed. On the flip side, extra motivation for me to go out of my way to find only Tier 1 awards or use exclusively partner metal for redemptions. Lucky for me, doing so is not too difficult out of ATL since I have minimal connections to contend with.
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Old Jan 20, 15, 8:46 am
  #191  
 
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Just booked for October: FLL-JFK-ICN-MNL-ICN-DTW-FLL for two, 140K each in BE. JFK-ICN on KE, ICN-DTW on DL metal.

I was surprised lots of low availability on partners, but almost none on DL. Most DL only flights were 245K+ !!!! I was amazed I got the TPAC coming back on DL for low

$85 taxes, including Korean Poverty Eradication tax!
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Old Jan 20, 15, 1:28 pm
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Originally Posted by mikepa View Post
Just booked for October: FLL-JFK-ICN-MNL-ICN-DTW-FLL for two, 140K each in BE. JFK-ICN on KE, ICN-DTW on DL metal.

I was surprised lots of low availability on partners, but almost none on DL. Most DL only flights were 245K+ !!!! I was amazed I got the TPAC coming back on DL for low

$85 taxes, including Korean Poverty Eradication tax!
Did you search for FLL-MNL r/t and got that routing, or did you find a way to force it online or with an agent?
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Old Jan 20, 15, 4:15 pm
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Originally Posted by akcae View Post
Did you search for FLL-MNL r/t and got that routing, or did you find a way to force it online or with an agent?
Just did it on-line asking for FLL-MNL RT. I was quite surprised it as well as it did.
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Old Jan 20, 15, 4:50 pm
  #194  
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Originally Posted by mikepa View Post
Originally Posted by akcae View Post
Did you search for FLL-MNL r/t and got that routing, or did you find a way to force it online or with an agent?
Just did it on-line asking for FLL-MNL RT. I was quite surprised it as well as it did.
Thanks for sharing. The pattern I'm beginning to see is that phone agents can no longer force award tickets to price at anything other than what is presented on DL.com...
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Old Jan 20, 15, 6:06 pm
  #195  
 
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Originally Posted by gooselee View Post
Thanks for sharing. The pattern I'm beginning to see is that phone agents can no longer force award tickets to price at anything other than what is presented on DL.com...
It's been like that for a few years, with escalation to properly reprice mispricing tickets (e.g. often DL + AS mix additive pricing when it shouldn't be so, for example, back in 2012-2014 I mean) getting more and more difficult and more and more restricted to who can do it w/in DL. It seems that now, while still possible, there are fewer than ever agents empowered to do so. Would that be an accurate statement here?
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