People have different opinions when it comes to booking award tickets with frequent flyer miles. I, for one, love booking award tickets and enjoy the challenge that comes with doing so. Booking award tickets are like puzzles to me and I love solving them. Other people hate booking award tickets, consider them too much of a hassle, or even go so far as to believing their frequent flyer miles are completely worthless. I’ve decided to put a guide together for those of you who fall in between – people who want to book award tickets themselves but feel like they need some pointers. This guide will assume some basic knowledge, namely, that you know how to log in to your frequent flyer account and check your mileage balance. Other than that, the guide is here to help you through the process – hope you find it useful! Feel free to refer to the index at the bottom of the page for other entries.
Skyteam award space is really annoying to find. Like, really annoying. So annoying that most people avoid it and that I got annoyed doing research for this post (okay, that was more due to computer issues). But the reality is, Skyteam has some great coverage route-wise, especially in Asia. Remember to search Wikipedia for a list of Skyteam partners or just click here.
The other reality is, while I do not have an affiliate credit link to trumpet, Delta’s program has definitely gained in relative value over the past year. Wish I had written about that when I thought of it instead of when the rest of the blogosphere started writing about it because of the current 50K credit card offers (which are good offers in my opinion, for the record). But I digress.
So I spent a couple hours this morning playing around with Air France’s Flying Blue award search tool and have learned some things about searching Skyteam award space.
Searching for award space
I covered most of this when I spoke about searching for Garuda space, but I’ll just do a quick recap here. First, you’ll need a Flying Blue account: you can sign up for Air France here or for KLM here, you just need one. Secondly you are just going to want to find “Book an award ticket” or “Book a flight with miles” or equivalent under the Flying Blue page and then just input your cities and search. Remember it’s best practice to search for one way segments. Be sure to add a second passenger if you are searching for more than one seat. Finally, make sure you check that your dates are flexible, this way Flying Blue will give you an entire month’s worth of award space.
A few notes about your results. The lowest priced itinerary miles wise will be highlighted in green. The reason why there are different prices is because this search engine will also show you results on Air France and KLM which are priced at the higher “flex” rate. In general you only want the low level awards, called “classic” awards in Flying Blue.
Another thing to bear in mind is all partner space showing available using Flying Blue’s search engine should be bookable using miles from any of the other Skyteam airlines. Partner award space only shows up when it’s at the lowest award level, and generally in alliances that low level award space is bookable by any partner. So if I see an economy classic award from Boston to Paris on the Flying Blue award search, I can book that using Delta Skymiles, or Korean Skypass miles, or Alitalia, etc. The only exception is first class flights on partners are not bookable using Delta Skymiles and first class flights on Air France are not bookable by any partners.
Third, I don’t know if it’s just me, but I found the award search to be glitchy at times. Like when I clicked on a date I’d get a “technical difficulties” message and couldn’t see the flights. I think the calendar is correct though, there should be flights on that date, you just might have to call to find them.
Can _____’s award space be found on Flying Blue’s award search?
This is what I spent the bulk of my morning doing. Here are my results, although if you have had a different experience, please let me know!
Aeroflot – Yes, but only intra-Europe (couldn’t find a JFK-SVO flight that I KNEW had economy space)
Aerolineas Argentinas – Yes
Aeromexico – Yes
Air Europa – Yes
Air France – Yes
Alitalia – Yes
China Airlines – No
China Eastern – Yes
China Southern – No
Czech Airlines – Yes
Delta Airlines – Yes
Garuda Indonesia – Yes
Kenya Airways – Yes
KLM – Yes
Korean Air – Yes
Middle East – No
Saudia – Yes
Tarom – Yes
Vietnam Airlines – Yes
Xiamen Airlines – No
As you can see, you can find almost all Skyteam partner award space on Flying Blue!
If you’re searching for Skyteam award space, your best bet is to use Air France or KLM’s Flying Blue award search tool. It’s not the best, but you can get a calendar view and almost all Skyteam carriers are covered. While I don’t always recommend actually redeeming via Flying Blue, the award search tool is free and can get you where you need to go. Sooner or later I will tackle delta.com, which, yikes… Until then!