First Award Ticket - MSP-MRU Tips?

Discussion in 'Delta Air Lines | SkyMiles' started by jhan83, Feb 12, 2014.  |  Print Topic

  1. jhan83

    jhan83 New Member

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    Hi all,

    I'm new to (posting on) MilePoint, and about to book my first award trip. Before converting my MR to Delta, I was hoping for a sanity check on what I'd like to do:

    My goal is MSP-MRU this summer with a stopover in Paris on one leg. Am I correct that 2 tickets in coach will be 160k SkyMiles plus taxes, etc? Are there any routing rules I should be aware of?

    I know I'll need to search segment by segment to find availability and call in to book, but would love any other tips, tricks, etc you might be willing to share.

    Thanks so much!
     
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  2. iolaire
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    iolaire Gold Member

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    Do your searches before you transfer the points. There is no need to transfer the points if you are not going to get the tickets. Remember that you can fly other Sky Team airlines, so for example you might prefer to fly Air France from the US rather than Delta. I'm not fully familiar with Delta but I think you might need to search somewhere else for Air France availability, i.e. the AF website, create a Flying Blue account if needed so you can search. Finally you should realize that you might be late to book summer travel, (Coach tickets might be easier to find) the best availability on many airlines is far in advance, say 330 days out, or a few days before travel.
     
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  3. jhan83

    jhan83 New Member

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    Thanks iolaire - great advice on waiting to transfer points and checking Air France for the transatlantic segment. I've been using the KLM site some, and thanks to some flexibility in dates availability looks doable. Do you know much about routing rules? i.e. if I can stop in Europe on the way to Africa without raising points price, if I can have additional connections in US/Europe, etc?
     
  4. iolaire
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    iolaire Gold Member

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    No, but maybe some random blog posts will be a help (unless you already checked them)?
    http://boardingarea.com/onemileatatime/2013/02/16/stopover-rules-on-award-tickets/
    http://thepointsguy.com/2011/06/max...sfers-and-open-jaw-ticketing-on-delta-awards/
    http://milevalue.com/the-coolest-thing-you-cant-do-with-130k-delta-miles/
    http://hackmytrip.com/2013/01/delta-award-open-jaw/
     
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  5. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    I did this a couple of years back. Availability through Montreal can be good. I'll add more later
     
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  6. jhan83

    jhan83 New Member

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    mattsteg - great suggestion on Montreal! Flights out are wide open. A little more challenging doing CDG-US in August so far though... I'll have to keep searching!
     
  7. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    IF you're not very familiar with the DL FF program, maybe you shouldn't give advice about it. Your post is fundamentally wrong is several places and the OP would be ill served by taking your advice.

    AF award availability shown on the AF website generally isn't available for DL miles. DL and AF haven't been getting along very well recently, and it's very hard to find AF award space. The only useful things the OP can learn by looking at the AF website would be basic information about flights schedules and aircraft and the elimination of flights that have no award space for AF miles as possibilities for award tickets paid with DL miles.

    If you combine (necessarily) low AF availability with medium or high segments using DL, the pricing tends to be additive, so you pay more miles and essentially purchase one low award ticket plus another award ticket at medium or high.

    DL doesn't necessarily release its award inventory 330 days out. Revenue Management releases award seats whenever they decide to do so. Often availability gets much better very close to the travel dates (maybe two weeks out).
     
  8. jhan83

    jhan83 New Member

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    So even if I find low level availability on KLM site for Air France flights (MSP-CDG, CDG-MRU, etc), Delta might not be able to book them? If that's true, how do I find availability? Do I need to search fare classes on ExpertFlyer, or will I run into the same issue there?
     
  9. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    ABSOLUTELY NOT; this is true. There is very very little award availability on AF/KLM long haul flights for DL miles.

    EF says that what they show for AD/KLM is inventory availability to partners, but it doesn't always work. Sometimes award inventory shows on delta.dumb, but you usually must call DL. On my most recent ticket, I was trying to upgrade a KLM intraEU segment and it required a supervisor to call several times to beg KLM to release the upgrade space (one seat only) to DL. It was clearly showing as available on DL's computer system.

    BTW, your chances are much better for the DL operated MSP-CDG nonstop than for the later AF operated flight.
     
  10. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    This is the flight we took outbound (the AF-operated flight did not exist at the time). On the return we routed through YUL to visit friends. AF had/has a lot of capacity into YUL, and availability MSP-YUL was decent. This was pre-snit, but YUL is still somewhere I would check sooner rather than later for partner availability. I would say to use the delta site to verify availability - I was able to book the entire 7-segment award msp-cdg,ory-run,mru-cdg(stop)-yul-msp online. The AF site can be a reasonable place to start with a better calendar, but the DL site is worth checking (although still not reliable). I haven't booked an award to europe in a couple of years (been heading west instead) but it should be possible to make things happen. Our itinerary I put together in a couple of hours on a whim.

    On the way out we had ~1 day inParis. On the return we stopped for a few days. We also overnighted in YUL to visit friends. The unwritten one stop >24 hours + one OJ rule applies.

    Check the CDG-CVG flight for availability as well.

    MRU is a decent beach destination. RUN can be a much more "off the grid" sort of experience and has some really nice scenery/hiking if that interests you. Many people will not speak english.
     
  11. jhan83

    jhan83 New Member

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    Thanks mattsteg. I started checking segments on Delta, and have found workable space for everything except the CDG-US segment... Apparently awards out of France late July/early August are a tough thing to find!

    I still have my open jaw available though... Maybe I'll look into nearby airports, see another city, and use Avios/take the train.

    Thanks for the tip on RUN! MRU is for a wedding though so we'll be sticking with that this time around. I appreciate all the help!
     
  12. iolaire
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    iolaire Gold Member

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  13. gregm

    gregm Gold Member

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  14. jhan83

    jhan83 New Member

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  15. gregm

    gregm Gold Member

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    I don't always believe that award calendar. I recently searched for an award ticket and couldn't find ANY low mileage level awards (I forget the new Delta names for the award levels) I called in and was able to get what I wanted. That was the only time, however, I had an issue with that calendar.
     

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