New Low for Delta Mileage Redemption

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Old Jun 12, 19, 6:34 am
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New Low for Delta Mileage Redemption

I have come across a new low for Delta when it comes to redeeming miles.

Delta is apparently making Business Class seats available on their own metal to partners, but not available to Skymiles members. There are a number of flights I am trying to book that are not available at Delta.com (using normal mileage rates) but are available through Virgin & FlyingBlue.

Never mind the fact that the other partners redemption rates are cheaper at baseline -- I have to burn some DL miles.

That is pretty shameful DL - you're making seats available to partners, but not to your own customers
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Old Jun 12, 19, 6:54 am
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Any examples of these?

I've found that often when I find DL flights available for fewer VS miles, the extra fees/surcharges incurred from the VS booking are obscene. Then again, DL sometimes wants to charge 320k or more RDM for a RT TATL so maybe it ends up comparable to pay 160k VS RDM + $1600?
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Old Jun 12, 19, 6:56 am
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What would be their motivation for doing this?
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Old Jun 12, 19, 7:04 am
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Originally Posted by gooselee View Post
Any examples of these?

I've found that often when I find DL flights available for fewer VS miles, the extra fees/surcharges incurred from the VS booking are obscene. Then again, DL sometimes wants to charge 320k or more RDM for a RT TATL so maybe it ends up comparable to pay 160k VS RDM + $1600?
Correct -- routing I'm looking at is MIA-TLV in business class. This should be pricing at 105,000 on Delta (vs. 82,500 on Virgin or 72,000 on AF).

Seats however are unavailable with delta (available at the high 500,000 miles), but show up on all the partners.



Originally Posted by ajeleonard View Post
What would be their motivation for doing this?
​​​​​​​No clue
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Old Jun 12, 19, 7:07 am
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Originally Posted by FlyAO2 View Post
Correct -- routing I'm looking at is MIA-TLV in business class. This should be pricing at 105,000 on Delta (vs. 82,500 on Virgin or 72,000 on AF).

Seats however are unavailable with delta (available at the high 500,000 miles), but show up on all the partners.





​​​​​​​No clue
Do the Delta seats show up on the partners?

And then of course there's the difference between "showing up" and "booking". I have often found cheap partner options on DL.com only to find you can't actually book them because apparently they don't really exist!
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Old Jun 12, 19, 7:13 am
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Originally Posted by Orange County Commuter View Post
Do the Delta seats show up on the partners?

And then of course there's the difference between "showing up" and "booking". I have often found cheap partner options on DL.com only to find you can't actually book them because apparently they don't really exist!
Yes they show up on the partners websites. The seats are also available on expertflyer.com and I booked the seat already with a partner.

There is no user error here
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Old Jun 12, 19, 7:20 am
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Originally Posted by FlyAO2 View Post
Correct -- routing I'm looking at is MIA-TLV in business class. This should be pricing at 105,000 on Delta (vs. 82,500 on Virgin or 72,000 on AF).

Seats however are unavailable with delta (available at the high 500,000 miles), but show up on all the partners.
So - small nit. But what you're actually saying is that the seats are indeed available via DL, just not at a price you're willing to pay. What are the taxes/fees for each option? My point was that I do find DL to charge much higher RDM at times, but usually booking via partners costs so much in taxes/fees that it's almost more worthwhile to just buy the ticket in cash.

Also, based on the "should be" pricing it sounds like you're trying to book a one-way ticket. Another thing I've noticed is that DL awards sometimes enforce RT pricing rules now, so a one-way award could cost nearly as much or more than a RT. Not sure if the RT differential is still that big.

Finally, what you're saying is probably true to some extent as well. VS redemptions in particular tend to produce good value occasionally if the taxes/fees stay reasonable and the booking actually sticks. Completely guessing here - but perhaps since VS RDM can be used for a number of partners outside of SkyTeam, the JV wants to encourage the spending of VS miles within VS/DL rather than having to pay outside of the JV and alliance or something.
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Old Jun 12, 19, 7:22 am
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Originally Posted by FlyAO2 View Post
Correct -- routing I'm looking at is MIA-TLV in business class.
What is the actual routing? MIA-FCO-TLV? MIA-CDG-TLV? MIA-LHR-TLV?

Just wondering how you're getting the Delta price, and which carrier is operating each segment of your routing. I believe partner/low level from US-North Africa is 95K, and US-Middle East is 85K. Where are you getting 105K and 500K from? Are you pricing each segment separately and adding the mileage together?

Or, if its partners, have you had a DL rep successfully put them on one ticket together and price it as a MIA-TLV through fare?
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Old Jun 12, 19, 7:25 am
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Originally Posted by gooselee View Post
So - small nit. But what you're actually saying is that the seats are indeed available via DL, just not at a price you're willing to pay. What are the taxes/fees for each option? My point was that I do find DL to charge much higher RDM at times, but usually booking via partners costs so much in taxes/fees that it's almost more worthwhile to just buy the ticket in cash.

Also, based on the "should be" pricing it sounds like you're trying to book a one-way ticket. Another thing I've noticed is that DL awards sometimes enforce RT pricing rules now, so a one-way award could cost nearly as much or more than a RT. Not sure if the RT differential is still that big.

Finally, what you're saying is probably true to some extent as well. VS redemptions in particular tend to produce good value occasionally if the taxes/fees stay reasonable and the booking actually sticks. Completely guessing here - but perhaps since VS RDM can be used for a number of partners outside of SkyTeam, the JV wants to encourage the spending of VS miles within VS/DL rather than having to pay outside of the JV and alliance or something.
Seats are always available at Delta, but at different levels. A flight can be made available at O (low pricing) or OJ (highest pricing). It is not that I'm not "willing" to pay the higher miles, it is that DL is forcing it's customer to pay OJ pricing when O pricing is available to other partners.

Taxes are $5.60 at DL & Virgin. $11.20 on AF since there are 2 flights and that's how they price it. (MIA-JFK, JFK-TLV)
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Old Jun 12, 19, 7:26 am
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Originally Posted by btonkid12345 View Post
What is the actual routing? MIA-FCO-TLV? MIA-CDG-TLV? MIA-LHR-TLV?

Just wondering how you're getting the Delta price, and which carrier is operating each segment of your routing. I believe partner/low level from US-North Africa is 95K, and US-Middle East is 85K. Where are you getting 105K and 500K from? Are you pricing each segment separately and adding the mileage together?

Or, if its partners, have you had a DL rep successfully put them on one ticket together and price it as a MIA-TLV through fare?
Routing is all DL Metal.... Pricing out as MIA-TLV, but flights are MIA-JFK and JFK-TLV.

DL used to charge 85K for US to Middle East on low J, got upgraded to 105K now. The 500K was actually 415,000
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Old Jun 12, 19, 7:33 am
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Originally Posted by FlyAO2 View Post
Routing is all DL Metal.... Pricing out as MIA-TLV, but flights are MIA-JFK and JFK-TLV.

DL used to charge 85K for US to Middle East on low J, got upgraded to 105K now. The 500K was actually 415,000
What was your mileage redemption on the partner site and taxes/fees?
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Old Jun 12, 19, 7:37 am
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The DL CSV1050 awards have a 90-day advance purchase requirement. If the flights are closer than 90 days in, there is no way to redeem awards at that level.
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Old Jun 12, 19, 7:42 am
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Originally Posted by xliioper View Post
The DL CSV1050 awards have a 90-day advance purchase requirement. If the flights are closer than 90 days in, there is no way to redeem awards at that level.
This is the answer for the MIA-TLV routing.


Not the answer though for the return though which is in September
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Last edited by FlyAO2; Jun 12, 19 at 7:48 am
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Old Jun 12, 19, 8:19 am
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This has been true for a long time. It's depressing, but not news.

I generally use Delta SkyMiles to purchase partner J tickets, and I use partner miles (via credit cards or the limited accrual I do with them) to purchase Delta tickets.

Delta views miles as revenue. And they (unfortunately) do revenue management on miles just like they do on regular paid fares.
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Old Jun 12, 19, 9:44 am
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Ahh, yeah - that's a gap for sure. Mystical world of RM, I guess.

Glad you were able to get it booked through the partner already.

If anything, I think this is just added evidence that award pricing has gone fully dynamic now. There are a few buckets we can decipher from the fare codes but not a given that the lowest awards will ever exist for certain routes/dates/etc. There are still lots of sweet spots in DL awards IME (some partner J tickets, short haul domestic coach, etc.); but all the more reason to diversify your mileage banks.
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