I touched on this topic years ago but now am finding myself having made a real shift. Rather than think round trip I always — at least with Delta — want one-way bookings. Let me explain why.
Most times, Delta domestic tickets, either in dollars or SkyPennies currency, are going to price out the same with two one-way trips as they would one round trip. This is not always the case but at least in my travels I rarely find a discount in a round trip booking.
Beyond this I am ending up with more and more American Express cards like the card_name and card_name as well as the Hilton Honors Aspire American Express Card that offer me yearly credits for airlines incidentals. (Terms apply, enrollment requirement.) When you use a Delta gift card of any amount (even just $1.00) and then pay for a ticket with the cards it does trigger the credit and booking a one-way ticket many times allows me to use two cards with credits on a single trip.
Another reason I love one-way bookings is for when the mighty Delta schedule change comes a calling. It is so much simpler to fix and or modify a one-way booking than a round trip and, for what it’s worth, I seem to have much greater flexibly “messing” with one-way changes than round trip tickets when it comes to interactions with live Delta reps.
I also love one-ways for the flexibility to mix and match paid tickets with award tickets on a single trip, that is, the ability to say book SkyPenny award for the outbound and a paid return home (or clearly the other way around).
Now I am not focusing on two one-ways vs. a round trip to score more SkyPennies under the 20 minutes or 2500 points Delta bags guarantee as it applies equally if you book a round trip or two one-ways (but I bet you were thinking about this – right?)!
I am also doing the same thing with American Airlines, BTW, so it is not just a Delta thing. With American, they do not let you change many awards but they do let you cancel and get your points back (most times) and thus it is simpler to cancel only one-way than a round trip ticket when I want to make changes or get a lower fare or better flight times.
I am curious if I am the only one doing this by default whereas before I would always book round trip. Are you doing this as well? Let me know. – René
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