Award Booking Delta Airlines International Travel Travel Planning

Delta Skymiles are not Useless

Delta gets a bad rap, and rightfully so. Delta miles are difficult to use, they switched to a revenue based system first, etc. etc. yada yada yada. Despite all that, I’ve been bullish on Delta miles and stockpiling for the past year or so with the specific goal in mind of getting three business class seats to Europe for summer 2016. This post is living proof that all is not lost with the Delta program, no matter how bad things have seemed. And I’m not even talking about the award sale that’s been going on (which is pretty great too!). Delta Skymiles are not useless!

A bit of quick background – I’ve always been keenly aware that Boston is a great place to live if you have Delta miles. BOS-AMS and BOS-LHR are routes that often have business class availability. While BOS-AMS tends to have more availability, BOS-LHR makes up for this with the fact that there are two frequencies: one Delta operated flight and one Virgin Atlantic operated flight. Virgin Atlantic has been historically pretty decent about award space.

My goal had always been to get a family of four to Europe in business class for summer 2016. Planning wise, I made a few changes – I’ve decided to be a little less adventurous with a 3.5 and 1 year old in tow next year. What that meant is finding flights that are more convenient, and paying more for them if necessary.

Bottom line: 62.5K per person might not sound amazing for a 7 hour TATL flight in business class, but that’s what we’re booking. On top of that, we’re leaning towards visiting Scotland (haven’t booked a return yet), which means we’ll eat the UK departure tax. Still, shorter flights with two kids and being able to converse in our native tongue is probably gonna win out over “maximizing” our miles and money on this trip. And if Disney World is a total bust I’ll even eat the cancellation fees if I need to.

I ended up booking 3 business class seats on Delta’s direct flight. I really wanted to fly Virgin Atlantic, but ultimately decided on Delta because

  1. Booking infant in arms tickets with Delta partners can sometimes get annoying (I’ll deal with that when plans firm up more), and
  2. The Virgin Atlantic flight leaves at 9:50 PM so I think leaving at 7:10 PM will be better for the kids.

Of course, that might totally backfire if the kids are overstimulated and don’t sleep on the plane, which is a distinct possibility but a gamble that I’ll take.

So here’s what I’ve noticed. There are at least four seats in business class on a bunch of flights from Boston to LHR/AMS. I’ve attached a bunch of screenshots below in case you don’t believe me. I even did two searches out of JFK – not as good, but still pretty good. There are still four seats on the flight that I booked three seats on, which means there were at least 7. I guess typing that out loud makes me wonder if it’s some sort of glitch, but you know what, Delta doesn’t have an award chart so who knows. Regardless, if you’re on the east coast thinking of traveling to Europe next summer in business – Delta might not be the worst currency to have. At least at this 11 month out kind of moment. Oh and economy has a ton of space too, if that suits your needs better.

P.S. – I got tired of screenshotting, but DTW looked pretty good too and I even found five days in July with seats to London from LAX.

May and June for 4 ppl
May and June for 4 ppl
Through end of schedule for four
Through end of schedule for four
Hey, Amsterdam for four looks pretty good too
Hey, Amsterdam for four looks pretty good too
There's even space from JFK
There’s even space from JFK
And if you search for only two people - even better
And if you search for only two people – even better
Just an average joe trying to fly his family for less

3 thoughts on “Delta Skymiles are not Useless”

  1. Thank you for this post, indeed Delta miles are great for such use. Every program has some good benefits, my favourite use of delta miles is on KLM on JFK-AMS route. They have good availability and getting 2 (or even 4) seats in premium cabin for 125k/person is a good way to spend these miles.



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