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Award Close-In Booking Minimums (Domestic)

Award Close-In Booking Minimums (Domestic)

Old Jan 11, 15, 1:51 am
  #1  
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Award Close-In Booking Minimums (Domestic)

Within 3 days ND minimum 20k
Within 14 days NL minimum 17.5k
Over 14 days N allowed 12.5k

Within 1 month RL minimum 32.5k
Over 1 month R allowed 25k

Can anyone show a new ticket that proves this wrong?

I checked IND-BOS, MSP-MCI, LAX-LAS and even with only a handful of seats gone they want these minimums.


Edit:
This seems to be a work in progress on DL's end, with some routes having availability (e.g. ORD-MSP, LAX-LAS), and others not (e.g. IND-BOS). Regardless, when thinking about holding out on a purchase, check for these windowing patterns in prices for the routes you're after. Also note that partner redemptions are not impacted.

Last edited by paul21; Feb 20, 15 at 3:47 am
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Old Jan 11, 15, 9:25 am
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Excellent observation.
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Old Jan 11, 15, 9:33 am
  #3  
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First search I tried: SEA-SLC. Flights tomorrow and Tuesday for 12.5k (N).
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Old Jan 11, 15, 9:38 am
  #4  
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Originally Posted by javabytes View Post
First search I tried: SEA-SLC. Flights tomorrow and Tuesday for 12.5k (N).
Those are actually W awards on AS metal. The limitation OP refers to apparently applies to DL metal flights.
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Old Jan 11, 15, 9:41 am
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Originally Posted by LBJ View Post
Those are actually W awards on AS metal. The limitation OP refers to apparently applies to DL metal flights.
Ahh yes, good call. Time for more coffee.
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Old Jan 11, 15, 10:07 am
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Here's a 3 day, 14 day example:


Seats on most flights (Tues/Sat) are looking like this:




So the official devaluation here is that close-in bookings now have a penalty of 7.5k miles each way for 3-day, 5k miles for 14 day, and award tickets booked in a class lower than ND are no longer eligible for same-day confirmed changes.
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Old Jan 11, 15, 10:14 am
  #7  
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This is an interesting find by the OP.

Can anybody find:

- a city pair with published fares within three days of purchase booking into deeply discounted buckets (say TXVE)?

- specific dates that show availability for those fares?

I went looking at the 3 day or less mark, trying a few pairs where DL has LCC competitors, and didn't find anything less than an L fare in a dozen pairs.

It would be dynamite to see if award redemption level linked consistently to availability in fare buckets across city pairs (or ticket price, or something else observable).
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Old Jan 11, 15, 10:19 am
  #8  
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Have you looked at MSP-MSW/ORD? I haven't checked recently, but IME in the past it was easy to find $59-62 one way fares very close to the travel date at non peak times.
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Old Jan 11, 15, 10:22 am
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Originally Posted by 3Cforme View Post
This is an interesting find by the OP.

Can anybody find:

- a city pair with published fares within three days of purchase booking into deeply discounted buckets (say TXVE)?

- specific dates that show availability for those fares?
IND-AGS books into T, still wants 20k for this Tuesday (3-day), ticket cost $172 AI
LAX-DFW books into X, still wants 20k "" "", ticket cost $135 AI
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Old Jan 17, 15, 11:05 pm
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I don't understand how more people aren't pissed about this. Delta advertises their award levels and indicates they are subject to capacity controls. Nowhere does Delta indicate that their award levels are subject to close in minimums. However, they are doing just that by advertising certain award pricing levels that are impossible to obtain when booked too close to departure date. This is no different than if an airline were to offer a sale fare for travel within 7 days but makes zero seats available on any domestic route. Beyond that, Delta makes no mention of this close in "fee" under their award ticket & service fees. Although the fee is mileage based rather than dollar based, it should be published under their award fees as such. At the very least what Delta has done here is unethical. Beyond that, I would think think there could be some regulatory or legal issues in how they have implemented this. Perhaps it's time for a quick note to the DOT.
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Old Jan 18, 15, 12:29 am
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delta does not care what people think. people who spend a lot of money will earn so many skymiles that they dont care about the low level. people wont dont spend muhc money on delta.... frankly, delta dont give sh*t about those losers.
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Old Jan 18, 15, 8:58 pm
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Originally Posted by jdschwartz78 View Post
I don't understand how more people aren't pissed about this. Delta advertises their award levels and indicates they are subject to capacity controls. Nowhere does Delta indicate that their award levels are subject to close in minimums. However, they are doing just that by advertising certain award pricing levels that are impossible to obtain when booked too close to departure date. This is no different than if an airline were to offer a sale fare for travel within 7 days but makes zero seats available on any domestic route. Beyond that, Delta makes no mention of this close in "fee" under their award ticket & service fees. Although the fee is mileage based rather than dollar based, it should be published under their award fees as such. At the very least what Delta has done here is unethical. Beyond that, I would think think there could be some regulatory or legal issues in how they have implemented this. Perhaps it's time for a quick note to the DOT.

^
Another dis-incentive to give DL any loyalty whatsoever. This move is a sneaky, anti-customer move, that was not previously disclosed/announced.
Delta = Death by a thousand cuts. An airline NOT to be trusted.
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Old Jan 20, 15, 8:46 am
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It looks like this is evolving (for the worse right now), and more route-dependent.

For LAX-DFW (and others, competitive)
Within 3 days ND -> 9 days ND (20k)
Within 14 -> 17 days NL (17.5k)
Over 14 -> 17 days N (12.5k)

For IND-BOS (nonstop, non-competitive)
Within 7 days NS (25k)
Within 14 days ND (20k)
Within 21 days NL (17.5k)
21 days + N (12.5k)
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Old Jan 20, 15, 10:44 am
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From Delta's perspective, I have no idea why they would want to stop me from booking my occasional same-day spur of the moment Wednesday-night flight from Seattle to Vegas, on a plane that would otherwise fly with 5+ empty FC seats and tons of open space in coach, for 25k miles. But here we are.

At least partner flights still book at the low value. Once again, the 2015 SkyMiles program makes flights on Alaska metal more attractive. For a program designed to make flying Delta more rewarding, it's sure encouraging me to spend more time flirting with their competitors...
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Old Jan 20, 15, 11:33 am
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Originally Posted by 3Cforme View Post
It would be dynamite to see if award redemption level linked consistently to availability in fare buckets across city pairs (or ticket price, or something else observable).
Indeed. I have seen indications of such possible linkage (and have posted about it last week), but haven't had the time to gather enough data to have enough evidence to assert any firmer claims. Whereas until Jan 1 always at 331 days out there would be one (but never more than one) normal O and X seat on all DL flights until it's booked, now on the flights I've been checking at least (int'l flights out of HNL), normal award availability is practically eliminiated and no O or X exist anymore at all on DL itself (some legacy remains before Oct 31, but none for Nov 1 or later), OL and XL being the lowest, generally on very few specific days with also lower revenue fares, with only OD and XD and above being available for the majority of flights (>70%), even at 331 days out, and at any point inbetween. The other flights on which O and X still remain seem to be priced lower and closer to the price of the normal award level in miles x~200 or below, while flights where normal award availability is all but eliminated are generally priced higher proportionally to the mileage award cost.

This would make sense, since as I said last week, 2015 is likely a stepping stone towards EOS (End of SkyMiles), Delta's obvious short term goal (judging by its past job postings on the now-in-place Polaris reservations system and how extremely buggy and non-functional it is for awards in this transition state, likely so as it won't be that way for long), and 2016 may see a move to a segment-based (a la Avios) and directly linked to revenue ($0.xx per mile) change of Sky"Miles" into SkyPennies. It would make sense to now, with the greater granularity of five award levels, to roughly tie it to fares, or revenue fare classes at least, to make pax gradually more and more used to awards that closer and closer follow the revenue pricing (which means big mark-ups on O, of course). It's still far from exact linkage, but I wouldn't be surprised if over the course of the year it's tightened up to be more and more closer linkagage of award levels/prices to revenue fare classes/prices.
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