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Is booking w/ miles internationally always comparatively bad on Delta?

Is booking w/ miles internationally always comparatively bad on Delta?

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Old Dec 16, 18, 12:03 pm
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Is booking w/ miles internationally always comparatively bad on Delta?

Every time I book with miles to fly internationally, let's say asia, United has super savers from 70k to regular of 175k using miles, but delta's is perhaps 1 very bad flight at 100k and goes to 300k. It seems that delta points just aren't worth as much. Am I missing something? I feel like I'm stupid here.
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Old Dec 16, 18, 12:17 pm
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Originally Posted by Brian Chen View Post
Every time I book with miles to fly internationally, let's say asia, United has super savers from 70k to regular of 175k using miles, but delta's is perhaps 1 very bad flight at 100k and goes to 300k. It seems that delta points just aren't worth as much. Am I missing something? I feel like I'm stupid here.
You aren't missing anything - DL isn't known for great mileage redemption rates and the miles aren't worth as much. Not having a published award chart doesn't help though some FTers (such as LBJ) know where to find the details on redemption rates. The unicorns for Delta are out there though often require a lot of searching and sometimes significant flexibility. Partner redemptions can still offer some value when you can find them. With DL, I've found sometimes the best way to redeem miles is with flights that aren't to/from North America but rather solely partner redemptions such as Asia to Europe or Australia to Asia.

That said, I recently used some UA miles for a redemption (used them to book an LH flight - China to Italy) and found great mileage availability for Asia to Europe (lots of options, including decent options) and also found good options for North America to Asia. However, the options between North America and Europe (on UA or partners) were very poor. In a wide range of dates I only found one UA redemption at the Saver rate which was an LHR-EWR flight. Some partner options at the Saver rate but they were terribly timed flights or required significant backtracking and while less important domestically, none of the flights booked into F on UA for the domestic hop unless I wanted to pay the higher rate instead of the Saver rate.

My anecdotal experience.
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Old Dec 16, 18, 12:42 pm
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I have found UA to have some outstanding redemption levels on their and their partner metals. Great schedules as well. On DL I have to hunt to find anything reasonable. Even on SJC-SLC and back an F seat is a ridiculous amount.
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Old Dec 16, 18, 12:42 pm
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A quick check of JFK-PEK pointed to some business awards at 74K each way, CSVR740. One needs to know the redemption advance purchase and r/t rules -- LBJ does. The sky is the upper limit.

How are you accruing significant DL miles?
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Old Dec 16, 18, 12:57 pm
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I have a relative that puts almost 100% of his spend on Delta cards. I keep trying to tell him how stupid it is, but he will not listen.

It hurts.
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Old Dec 16, 18, 12:58 pm
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DL sometimes has very significant award sales. They are short, only a couple of days, and for specific time periods, but they can save you a significant number of miles. Being able to redeposit miles for free (DM), I usually book 300-330 days out and then improve on the number of miles to be used when attractive sales come along. I typically am able to get 2-3 cents per mile this way, and am satisfied with that.
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Old Dec 16, 18, 2:04 pm
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Originally Posted by PHXflier View Post
DL sometimes has very significant award sales. They are short, only a couple of days, and for specific time periods, but they can save you a significant number of miles. Being able to redeposit miles for free (DM), I usually book 300-330 days out and then improve on the number of miles to be used when attractive sales come along. I typically am able to get 2-3 cents per mile this way, and am satisfied with that.
The recent 98K Delta One RT to Europe including suites offered up to 10 cents per mile (against what was probably a full fare on some routes)

But this sale might happen 2x annually max, unfortunately
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Old Dec 16, 18, 2:57 pm
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The best values are those that avoid DL metal (all partner) and those not involving N. American flights. The other issue is when mixing partner and DL metal on an award. If the DL flight isn't at the lowest "saver" level you end up needing a separate award for it.

Just booked five recent 90k J awards between OZ/NZ and Europe. Great value as tickets would be $ 5k-$10k in cost.
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Old Dec 16, 18, 4:22 pm
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I always see how horrible delta redemption rates are but if you're willing to search, and fly in coach or Priority select I'm yet to find many better redemptions for carrier specific miles. I.e. I usually fly small regional airports in the SE US to Japan and Seoul for 50k-70k miles. I understand that you can fly ANA business from large cities to Tokyo for 80k MR but I think that there is a lot of value in delta miles especially for people like myself who spend 25k a year on the card to get MQD waiver.
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Old Dec 16, 18, 4:51 pm
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Most of the awards these days seem to be nuts - especially if on the a350.

We did snag some 32k RT JFK-Zurich in coach recently. Could not tied our home airport in, so will fly SW to JFK, and DL on another sale back to BNA for 11k I think?

Though we have done many Biz flights and prefer it, the prices are way too high. Getting the two side seats on a 767 will work.. no middle issues.
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Old Dec 17, 18, 12:37 am
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Originally Posted by Brian Chen View Post
Every time I book with miles to fly internationally, let's say asia, United has super savers from 70k to regular of 175k using miles, but delta's is perhaps 1 very bad flight at 100k and goes to 300k. It seems that delta points just aren't worth as much. Am I missing something? I feel like I'm stupid here.
That's the way it is with DL. Endless devaluations one after another, and most of the time the worst value - often by far. DL has been continually cutting capacity and loading up its planes full, so it plainly feels it has no reason to make any reasonable awards available.

AA is not much better (for AA's own flights, and for BA and others there's the sky-high surcharges).

UA is, by far, the best value for award redemptions and where the customer gets treated the best of any major US airline.
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Old Dec 17, 18, 12:44 am
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Originally Posted by RealHJ View Post
AA is not much better (for AA's own flights, and for BA and others there's the sky-high surcharges).
Not "for BA and others," only for BA. Surcharges on Iberia are relatively modest; and AA does not collect any surcharges on any of its other partners.
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Old Dec 17, 18, 2:25 am
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Originally Posted by guv1976 View Post
Not "for BA and others," only for BA. Surcharges on Iberia are relatively modest; and AA does not collect any surcharges on any of its other partners.
Burning my last AA miles, ticket would've cost $750 in YQ if I booked on BA. There's a reason they always had availability . Service sucked in J (F is still decent) and ridiculous YQ.
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Old Dec 17, 18, 10:12 am
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Interesting thanks for the color. That makes my MR points less valuation than my UR points as well. I guess I'll be shifting spending.
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Old Dec 17, 18, 11:47 am
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Originally Posted by guv1976 View Post
Not "for BA and others," only for BA. Surcharges on Iberia are relatively modest; and AA does not collect any surcharges on any of its other partners.
Ah, thanks for the info. That's not so bad then, so AA miles then just not very usable for AA flights (next to no normal availability) or BA (high YQ), but otherwise OK (though others like JL you have to book within few minutes of release to have any hope of getting).

I thought AA was like LH where there are high YQs on many/most airlines (e.g. even on OZ flights LH M&M will charge $200~$250 per non-regional segment, so you are looking at about $1000 YQ for a 2 flights each way round trip, while ~$50 with UA for the very same flights).
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