Welcome to a weekly feature on the Eye of the Flyer blog. Each week this series covers in a “rookie” way either a Delta or travel related theme and attempts to break down to a basic level each topic. You can read up on all the previous posts HERE. Now on to this week’s feature.
I am about to make your head explode. Today’s post will be hard, so please read it over and over before you start to ask questions!
I have received a bunch of e-mail’s about how I got 25,000 point tickets when Delta.com would only show 40,000 point Skymiles tickets. How did I do it? Also, why do I not book tickets for others? Let me put this last one to an end right away. Most would NEVER put up with what I do to get low level seats or trust that Delta is so messed up that change will come before my/your trip. Plus, with my many full time jobs, I have no time to book award tickets for others.
But I again digress Let’s get back to the topic of today’s post. Look at the Delta route map at the top of this post. Does it make your head hurt? GOOD! It should. Our airline flies so many places that with time and work you should always be able to find low level seats to where you want to go. YES I said it. You can always get low level seats if you are willing to put up with overnights if these can be had! (I agree that spending points at hotels can offset the benefits of low vs. mid but I bank on schedule change).
So let’s get down and dirty. Look at this:
Nothing but 40k search one way from PHX to SBN. So, most would say that there are NO 25k seats right?!
But look when I use the multi leg search and look from PHX-MEM-MSP-SBN
Well then! Just look what happens when I plug all these in and let Delta.com price them out.
Well what do you know. There are IN FACT 25k low level seats if I am willing to add just ONE MORE leg to this trip. So it is not impossible to find these seats with work.
So just how did I do this? I told you I would blow your mind with this post and it really had no place as a rookie post, but you need to get this. You need to understand the Delta route map above. Why? As you can clearly see, the direct search route would have cost me a ton! But, look at this.
To find the seats, I start by searching all the low level routes from PHX. I need to look and find all the possible routes OUT of PHX. No matter how many legs it takes I want to see any flights, on the date I want, that I can see low level seats on out of PHX to where ever Delta flies.
So that is step one. Then, from that point, I look at all those airports, and try to get home. If I can find low level, I am done. Plug them in and book. But what if I can NOT find it all the way home to SBN? Then I keep looking. Here is how I keep looking. I looked for all the possible routes, from all the Delta airports, to SBN on low level. Then, once I have that in hand, I now have the starting point and the ending point. Now, I need to find the middle leg, connect my low-level connection cities to complete the trip. I was able to find a direct leg but I would have been fine adding a double connection if that was what it took.
Again as you can see from the photos above, by plugging in PHX-MEM-MSP-SBN at Delta.com, I am able to find the low level seats I want for my return at low level award points.
Keep in mind this is only part of the way. This is the return trip for me from my mileage run (being dyslexic I seem to work backwards). I must now do the same for the outbound part of my trip. Then, once I have the outbound AND the return legs, and I can test them all and both of them show “one way” low level, then I can try plugging them all into the mulit-leg itinerary and hope when I get to the end they will all price as low level. For me, I was able to do just that.
Here again is why understating all the Delta rules will help. You can overnight (I had to do this), you can open jaw, layovers etc. etc! As long as the total of all the legs do price out at 25k you should be good to go.
For me, for now, I will have to overnight, at this point, on the outbound and that will cost me 3k SPG points for the extra night. But, I expect a schedule change will happen before that so I can pick better routes and not have to overnight. But, worst case, 25k Delta plus 3k SPG for the overnight is still cheaper to me than 40,000 Delta points!
I hope all of this is clear as I have really attempted to make this as simple as possible considering ALL the routes Delta flies! If not, ask away – René
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