My alternate title for this post was Delta dynamic award pricing is ridiculous, but it felt too click-baity. But that IS how I feel after searching for Delta awards over the last few days. While there has been much weeping and gnashing of teeth about Delta’s dynamic award pricing (rightfully so), you can actually still find a lot of value in Delta awards. In this post, I’ll share some of the valuable itineraries I’ve found. I’ll also share some thoughts on why dynamic award pricing still drives me nuts. Things can be two things (copyright: @totalsoccershow), and Delta dynamic award pricing is BOTH super valuable in the right circumstances and super annoying!
Update: the prices may or may not be due to this sale? I’m inclined to hope not, because I saw some of these prices a week ago and the flights I searched don’t even fall into the sale dates, but we’ll see.
Update 2: I don’t think it’s just the sale, still seeing same prices on 7/20
Valuable award itineraries to Europe
I’ve long said that Delta can provide a lot of value from the East coast to Europe. While that remains the case, business class award space is harder to come by which is disappointing. Still, you can find Virgin Atlantic business class seats for 75K each way, which I can live with.
Now, take a look at some of these round trip itineraries that Delta dynamic award pricing spit out. Note: when I started looking for these, I was looking for actual dates that I want to fly. I did eventually start cherry picking, but overall my point is that these exist!
Double note! I have no idea whether Delta is running an unadvertised sale right now, but if it is, the prices are still dynamic.
JFK-LHR RT (38,000 miles per person)
BOS-LHR RT (50,000 miles per person)
LAX-LHR RT (36,000 miles per person)
Now, the reason this makes Delta dynamic award pricing look good? Under the old “award chart” all these flights would have cost 60K RT per person. So even though there’s no award chart, the dynamic pricing is in consumer’s favor.
The non-basic economy cost of the BOS-LHR RT I searched was about $850, so it’s pretty good value.
— Dustin (@wallerswallet) July 17, 2018
Follow him too, lol.
The best deals are with roundtrip award pricing
An interesting thing I found was that the best deals with Delta’s dynamic award pricing come when you search for roundtrip or multi city itineraries. Let’s take a look at some of the one way legs from the above searches.
This particular itinerary actually shows why I find dynamic pricing ridiculous. The one way flight costs 105,000 miles vs. the round trip containing the exact same segment that cost 50,000! Delta, I swear. I left the VS flights in there just so you can note that those prices never change.
Anyway, that flight from LAX isn’t as crazy, just 35K one way. But still, 35K one way vs. 36K RT, pretty weird!
What’s going on here?
I have no idea – Delta’s dynamic award pricing doesn’t seem to make much sense. It really does look like cash pricing – you almost never save money using cash one way internationally. But the value is still pretty great. If for some reason you needed to book that LAX-LHR one way flight, you could pay the 35K miles and $5.60 or the cash price: $2425. I wish I was making this stuff up!
Why Delta dynamic award pricing still drives me nuts
While it’s all well and good to have these good deals out there, Delta dynamic award pricing still drives me nuts. Almost literally, because knowing that there are things like 30K RT deals out there will drive me insane when I’m looking for awards. I’m currently looking at an itinerary that’s pricing out at 56K RT – 4000 less than Delta’s old award chart. But it feels bad man because I know 38K RT itineraries exist! Ahhh…Delta dynamic award pricing personally just adds to my analysis paralysis.
But what can you do. At least I know there is value to be had, and like when I book cash tickets, my plan is to book something I’m happy with and not look back.
Don’t overlook Delta awards
My main takeaway from today’s searches is I can’t overlook Delta’s awards, especially if I’m okay with coach flights (which I’m happy to take to Europe). There’s just too much value to be had there. Anything under 60K RT to Europe feels good, and Delta has a LOT of options that fit that bill, at least out of my searches today.
If you find similar values or find nothing good, please, leave a comment and let me know. I don’t have the time to search for awards for fun like I used to, so I’m happy to be corrected if I’m off base! This post is just working off what I found today, which, frankly, was pretty exciting to me personally. Delta dynamic award pricing is ridiculous!