Success booking SkyMiles award tickets

Discussion in 'Delta Air Lines | SkyMiles' started by mtkeller, Jun 26, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. mtkeller
    Original Member

    mtkeller Silver Member

    Messages:
    1,029
    Likes Received:
    1,205
    Status Points:
    910
    Seems that it'd be good to have a place where people can report award tickets they've successfully booked, keeping it separate from the guide to booking award tickets. I'll start with my recent acquisition.

    Wanting to get to Australia for a conference (and then some time enjoying the country and maybe New Zealand, too), I realized that nearly 24 hours of flying from the UK in coach was not going to work out well for me. I contemplated paying for J (KE, BA, and QF offered things in my price range) or flying Y to LAX and upgrading an M fare from there. However, as I worked out a budget, I realized I wanted more money to spend down under and turned to my pile of SkyPesos.

    Initially, I figured this was a lost cause, since I'm trying to go to MEL and back from SYD in December, which is not exactly low season there. However, I pulled up EF and almost instantly confirmed that I could do AMS-CAN-MEL//SYD-CAN-AMS on CZ and that there were KL segments that could link up with them to get me to/from AMS. (There's TONS of CZ availability in biz on those segments, if anyone's interested.) Bolstered by this fact and uncertain about how much I really wanted to fly CZ, I also selected some KE and MH segments (providing one-stop routings) to inquire with a DL rep about.

    Fired up Skype and called the GM line (not going to pay exorbitant amounts per minute to call the UK center from my mobile) and got an enthusiastic agent who was unaware there was even a partner who flew to MEL. (Clearly booking VA awards from LAX hasn't made it "mainstream" yet.) I let her know that KE, MH, and CZ would all get me there, and so she was happy to dig in. She did have to check the KE "blackout" dates (grrr, DL and your extending regional blackouts to systemwide), but I'd already taken a look at them and knew I could use KE outbound but not on the return. She was happy that I had flight numbers for what I wanted, fed them into the system, and DL's system confirmed the KE availability, pending KE coming back with a refusal. (The agent reported that she wasn't quite sure how long that would take, since she books so few KE awards due to blackout dates. She said the people she could check with were all away from their desks.) We then moved on to MH for the return, and that was fully confirmed about 19 minutes into the call (pretty much instantly after she requested).

    Final result:

    KE LHR-ICN-MEL, early December, Prestige class (sadly only the angled lie-flat at the moment)
    MH SYD-KUL-LHR, late December, business class

    150,000 SkyMiles plus $752.30 in taxes/fees ($326.80 of that is MH YQ, the rest really are taxes/government charges...no IOS)

    Just need to call and have them ticket it, now that KE has acknowledged and confirmed. (Can I just click the redeem now button on DL.dumb to do this? I asked @DeltaAssist if things were ready to ticket since the button now appears, and they said yes but mentioned calling.) Was thinking about looking into CZ on the return to ditch the YQ, but I figure I might not get to redeem on MH for much longer and work will cover the taxes/fees since it's less than half what I would have budgeted for a coach ticket.

    I'm very pleased with myself on this redemption. Would have been nice if I could have saved all the time with EF by checking KE and MH online, but I'll take what I can get for the moment.
     
    BeachMiles, rwoman and gleff like this.
  2. gleff
    Original Member

    gleff Co-founder

    Messages:
    3,616
    Likes Received:
    6,793
    Status Points:
    4,670
    Good on ya!

    I just wish there was a way to search Korean and Malaysian business class award availability online. KE is frustrating in that their website requires you to have miles in their frequent flyer program in order to search :( And of course you can't find their space on Expertflyer. MH will publish their coach space but not business :( Northwest's website used to show Korean space way back when, I'd love it if they brought that back...
     
    BeachMiles, rwoman and mtkeller like this.
  3. mtkeller
    Original Member

    mtkeller Silver Member

    Messages:
    1,029
    Likes Received:
    1,205
    Status Points:
    910
    I did sign up for an MH account and tried searching their website. It did show the ability to redeem MH miles for business class, and I was able to book on those flights, so maybe that's one way to check their availability. Not sure if it's 100%, however.
     
    BeachMiles likes this.
  4. NYBanker
    Original Member

    NYBanker Gold Member

    Messages:
    32,725
    Likes Received:
    191,901
    Status Points:
    20,020
    Thanks for setting up this thread!

    Good on you. Congratulations on booking this December J award!

    Though not easy to verify, it's not inconceivable that you are the first person ever to redeem DL miles for awards on such a routing. You might be the last, too, with MH joining OW!

    This made me laugh on a number of fronts. I'd picture 90% of telephone agents rolling their eyes at your booking requests.

    Further, that agents wouldn't know of any service options to MEL (a city of 4mm people) is pretty poor. Essentially every mainline Asian carrier services MEL (I can't think of one that doesn't). While I think people on the international desk should know service options to all major international cities (as I do for most cities), clearly they're not getting a lot of requests for this or they probably would know it.
     
    BeachMiles likes this.
  5. mtkeller
    Original Member

    mtkeller Silver Member

    Messages:
    1,029
    Likes Received:
    1,205
    Status Points:
    910
    I can't imagine they get many requests to book SkyMiles trips originating from outside North America, let alone between Europe and Oceania. This agent probably did roll her eyes while putting on her enthusiastic voice. I should have looked to see what LAX-SYD is pricing out at on DL.dumb in terms of SkyPesos for those dates. I'm betting it's high only.

    I called the general GM desk and the first agent I talked to helped me, so no international desk involved. It is kind of astounding that the agent had no ideas. One would think even an agent struggling to find a clue might have started with "Hmmm, let's see about SYD and then look for a SYD-MEL domestic flight on VA."
     
    BeachMiles likes this.
  6. monitor
    Original Member

    monitor Gold Member

    Messages:
    4,458
    Likes Received:
    7,660
    Status Points:
    6,770
    It was quite easy to book a "low" 100K award for next April on AF EWR-CDG-EWR. The agent (Chisholm) was unable to book a continuation in France in O so I let her give up even though I knew that there was plenty of X coach seats available. I have not yet made up my mind where I will be heading home from on that trip and when I do, then I will probably need to tell an agent what really is available since business and coach make little difference intra-Europe.
     
    BeachMiles and traveller99 like this.
  7. NYBanker
    Original Member

    NYBanker Gold Member

    Messages:
    32,725
    Likes Received:
    191,901
    Status Points:
    20,020
    Cool!
     
    BeachMiles likes this.
  8. beofotch
    Original Member

    beofotch Silver Member

    Messages:
    60
    Likes Received:
    57
    Status Points:
    225
    I once booked a SkyMiles Award for 150,000 in J GVA - AMS - KUL - AKL and back on KL/MH
     
    BeachMiles likes this.
  9. dayone
    Original Member

    dayone Silver Member

    Messages:
    579
    Likes Received:
    824
    Status Points:
    795
    It's not uncommon to find good J availability on VA. The service is very nice.
     
    BeachMiles likes this.
  10. mtkeller
    Original Member

    mtkeller Silver Member

    Messages:
    1,029
    Likes Received:
    1,205
    Status Points:
    910
    I figured TATL availability to LAX was going to be rubbish at that time of year, and I wanted to avoid transiting the US for tax purposes. I did consider VA on AUH-SYD, which VA operates on its own metal 3x weekly, but I couldn't find AF/KL availability to AUH on my dates.
     
    bez7 and rwoman like this.
  11. JSpira
    Original Member

    JSpira Silver Member

    Messages:
    422
    Likes Received:
    687
    Status Points:
    625
    I have a 48-hour hold on the following for 150,000 miles (in roughly 5 weeks). All flights except for BRE->AMS are BE.

    How did I do?

    LGA -> ATL DL 781
    ATL -> STR DL 116

    BRE -> AMS KL 1750
    AMS -> ERW DL 57
    __________________
     
    BeachMiles likes this.
  12. rwoman
    Original Member

    rwoman Gold Member

    Messages:
    5,617
    Likes Received:
    13,489
    Status Points:
    11,070
    Ah, the plague of staying out of the US for tax purposes... :D I have 7 days left for the rest of the year....lol
     
    BeachMiles and mtkeller like this.
  13. mtkeller
    Original Member

    mtkeller Silver Member

    Messages:
    1,029
    Likes Received:
    1,205
    Status Points:
    910
    I'm good for 2011, but unless I get a job in the UK, I'll be moving back to the US in mid-2012 and using the second half of 2011 as part of my 330 days for my 2012 taxes. Throw in the variability of needing to go back for job interviews in winter/spring 2012, and I'm counting days very carefully!
     
    BeachMiles, bez7 and MSPeconomist like this.
  14. mtkeller
    Original Member

    mtkeller Silver Member

    Messages:
    1,029
    Likes Received:
    1,205
    Status Points:
    910
    Looks like low one way and medium the other. Do you know which was which? If you're PM or above, keep an eye on availability on the medium segment. If it comes in as low, call in and see about having it repriced. If you're not PM or DM, they should be able to do it, but at the cost of a $150 change fee. Looks like your TATLs are going to be on the old 767s. Not the J product I'd seek out, but certainly better than sitting in Y on those birds.
     
    MSPeconomist and JSpira like this.
  15. JSpira
    Original Member

    JSpira Silver Member

    Messages:
    422
    Likes Received:
    687
    Status Points:
    625
    Thanks, that's roughly what I was thinking but wasn't sure.

    I know but I chose based on routing and total flight time - not my first choice in terms of seating either.
     
    BeachMiles and mtkeller like this.
  16. mtkeller
    Original Member

    mtkeller Silver Member

    Messages:
    1,029
    Likes Received:
    1,205
    Status Points:
    910
    Totally understandable. I bit some extra YQ on my recent redemption to do MH on SYD-KUL-LHR rather than lower YQ on CZ for SYD-CAN-AMS, then KL for AMS-LHR. (Could have done a domestic Chinese flight to get on KL metal for China-AMS, which would have further cut the YQ, since it wouldn't be charged on KL but is on CZ.) I decided to do this in part because of MH's reputation, but more because I'm flying for 20+ hours, and I'd really rather minimize the connections and take flights at times I liked.
     
    bez7 and JSpira like this.
  17. MSPeconomist
    Original Member

    MSPeconomist Gold Member

    Messages:
    58,563
    Likes Received:
    98,528
    Status Points:
    20,020
    Been there and done that. The good news is that next year is a leap year.
     
    BeachMiles and rwoman like this.
  18. jrp2

    jrp2 Gold Member

    Messages:
    1,373
    Likes Received:
    2,654
    Status Points:
    1,470
    I recently booked two ATL-MIA-LHR r/t in B/E for 100k each for travel in September.
     
    BeachMiles and Gargoyle like this.
  19. I have had luck booking skymiles awards as well on partners TATL and TPAC with domestic legs on DL. Typically though it's the DL legs that give me lots of grief.
     
    BeachMiles likes this.
  20. JSpira
    Original Member

    JSpira Silver Member

    Messages:
    422
    Likes Received:
    687
    Status Points:
    625
    I changed my flight plans slightly.

    I am now on KLM 644 to AMS (with angled lie flat seats on the 747-400 COMBI - big improvement over the old-style BE seats on the 767-300ER). Then I continue to STR, also on KLM. The return remains the same.

    The good news is that my cost went down to 100.000 miles!
     
    BeachMiles, mtkeller and MSPeconomist like this.
  21. MSPeconomist
    Original Member

    MSPeconomist Gold Member

    Messages:
    58,563
    Likes Received:
    98,528
    Status Points:
    20,020
    Very good! Congrats.
     
    BeachMiles and JSpira like this.
  22. jackplum
    Original Member

    jackplum Gold Member

    Messages:
    1,222
    Likes Received:
    3,212
    Status Points:
    1,970
    Two BE JFK-DUB LHR-JFK in August for 100k each
    Two BE JFK-MAD MAD-JFK in August for 100k each

    After using 1.2 million miles in the last two years, I now have a grand total of just over 700 miles!
    Time to start paying for flights
     
    BeachMiles and Gargoyle like this.
  23. rwoman
    Original Member

    rwoman Gold Member

    Messages:
    5,617
    Likes Received:
    13,489
    Status Points:
    11,070
    sweeeeeeeeeeeeeet...I will use all I can get!
     
    BeachMiles likes this.
  24. MSPeconomist
    Original Member

    MSPeconomist Gold Member

    Messages:
    58,563
    Likes Received:
    98,528
    Status Points:
    20,020
    It mattered to me one year: the rule said (at least at that time) 330 days in a consecutive twelve month period.

    Welcome back home from Kabul, I assume.
     
    BeachMiles and rwoman like this.
  25. rwoman
    Original Member

    rwoman Gold Member

    Messages:
    5,617
    Likes Received:
    13,489
    Status Points:
    11,070
    Yes, I am home...time to go to bed since I've been up for nearly 24 hours...ick....
     

Share This Page