Award Booking Delta Airlines

Delta Award Space is better than you think – much better

tl;dr – there’s a ton of Delta award space but our community’s bias against Delta is probably preventing us from realizing that. All searches were for FOUR people ONE way.

Whenever I’m poking around the blogosphere, there’s one airline that consistently gets hated on: Delta. Now I definitely agree they don’t make the most customer friendly moves – hiding award charts, hidden devaluations, etc. Still, they get way more flak than I think they deserve, and only get positive press every once in awhile when there is an award fare sale (BTW that sale extends to some business class fares as well if you’re interested).

Well, I was looking into a long weekend in Europe for my wife and myself this fall, and guess who consistently had the best award space? Delta Delta Delta. I don’t see AA or UA releasing that kind of space.

But before we get to the fall, let’s take a look at this summer. I wrote a few months ago about how Delta had a ton of award space to Europe for Summer 2016 that we used to book tickets to London. Over the past couple of weeks, I decided to take a look and see what’s changed since then, so I did a search for four seats (that’s right, four, for those families out there!) to see what turned up.

Here’s Boston to London in July in coach – it looks as good as it did when I checked in August 2015:

Economy award space for four BOS-LHR

Economy award space for four BOS-LHR

Hmm. Well, that’s probably a fluke because it’s coach, what about in business class?

In business class, too
In business class, too

That’s FOUR seats. Four saver award seats per flight – both economy and business. Now some of those business class days are on Virgin Atlantic, but still. People love writing WIDE OPEN in their headlines – those two screen shots are wide open if you ask me. This is no fluke, take a look at the calendar for October:



These screenshots are getting boring, so you’ll have to trust me: the return award space is just as good. Okay fine, one screenshot:

Remember this space is for four people
Remember this space is for four people
Four people!

How about Detroit to London in coach for four in July?


Business class?

Detroit to London in J
Detroit to London in J

Return in business?


Let’s try JFK-CDG:

Not as great, but still pretty good
Not as great, but still pretty good

How about JFK-CDG in the fall?


In business?


OK, so that one isn’t as good, but remember I’m searching for four people.

So I did one final test, LAX-LHR. If there was saver level space in business class I was going to be truly amazed. Unfortunately, Delta’s generous award space had finally met its mark:


Still, the award space is decent in coach:


And remember, if you really want to go in business, you can always find your way to one of those East Coast cities and go from there. Routes worth looking are anything from Boston, anything TO Amsterdam/London – I found good space on most of those routes through the end of the schedule (minus the obvious stuff like Christmas).

Why this matters

OK, so I have my hand fulls at home so don’t have the time to screenshot for days. But this award space is a big deal if you ask me. It means that the demise of Delta awards has been majorly overstated in the blogosphere. I cannot remember finding that much award space on either UA or AA. And remember, UA already devalued and AA is about to devalue – so it’s not like Delta’s prices are that expensive relatively anymore. People keep calling them Skypesos – but I just don’t see it. I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!

crazy pills

Also, the ability to find four award seats is clutch for families. And Delta mile earning isn’t going to be affected by the Chase 5/24 crackdown.

Even if you don’t have Delta miles, there are other ways to book this space. One idea that I saw the other day on View from the Wing was using 80,000 Korean Air miles to fly roundtrip in business class. The fuel surcharges and fees are not a joke: I called and it was ~$1000 in business class (just look for “YR” when using ITA Matrix), but its an option. You could think of it as buying a $1000 coach ticket and using 80,000 miles to upgrade to business (it’s not for everyone). Heck, even Alaska still pairs with Delta sort of still! All of that saver award space (30K coach 62.5K business each way) should be bookable with partners.

Final Thoughts

People keep hating on Delta, but I just don’t get it. I don’t care how customer unfriendly you are – if you open up award space for my family to take a trip to Europe in the middle of the summer, I’m going to forgive a lot of your missteps. So next time you’re looking to go to Europe – poke around on the Delta website. You won’t believe what happens next!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!




Just an average joe trying to fly his family for less

14 thoughts on “Delta Award Space is better than you think – much better

  1. Did you actually try booking one of these? I recently al,oat lost my mind when the site kept showing availability but after entering all the information (including credit card) and hitting purchase it told me that “the fare just sold out”. Then I looked again and it was still there. Called Delta and all,of a sudden a 62.5k ticket cost 400k…….. At this point I would call before actually booking anything (or worse transferring points over)

    1. I just booked three tickets of BOS-LHR space today in business class. I’ve had that frustration before (years ago) – sucks to hear that is still happening. I totally agree, when I am transferring miles over I always call even if I have to pay the fee – it’s not worth the risk. I would test more but I’m out of miles!

  2. With skycurrency, the hardest part is not the TATL leg. Its the domestic legs. This is great for those living in hubs but for everyone else, good luck. Yes you can book positioning flights but the schedule, availability and fear of irrop are significant downsides. Or you can pay the 30k to add the overpriced domestic DL segment, IF you can get it to show up on the still limited website. Coz it aint fun if you have to call for a manual ticket…

    And yet, it truly is one of the better options for Europe. This is why I call Europe the red headed stepchild of redemption.

  3. I was so excited when I read your post, so I went on the DL website. But of course, I get something different. Am I doing something wrong?? 🙁
    P.S. I was going to attach a pic of the screen shot, but I don’t see a way to do that. But basically, I put the same exact data (cities, dates, class of service – everything). And it is more than double the number of miles that you posted…. Any ideas? Thanks!

        1. Maria and I worked it out via e-mail. I was searching one ways, you are likely searching roundtrip. So it’s the correct price (60 K coach RT, 125K business RT). 30K coach roundtrip would be a REAL steal

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