What Type of Schedule Change Allows For a Skymiles Award to be changed fee-free

Discussion in 'Delta Air Lines | SkyMiles' started by beofotch, Apr 1, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. beofotch
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    beofotch Silver Member

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    Hello,

    In September my girlfriend and I have 2 Business Skymiles Awards from Charlotte, NC to Kuala Lumpur with a stopover in Shanghai on the way back. It was hard enough finding these seats at the LOW 120,000 redemption rate back in October but we were successful.

    The routing is decent but not ideal, especially the $440 in fuel surcharges for each ticket (thanks to Malaysian Air YQ). I would like to make some changes to the ticket but don't want to pay the $150 Award Ticket Change fee.

    Delta.com shows a "schedule change" notification and says my ticket my be eligible for a fee-free change. However, the schedule change is only a change in flight numbers. What do you think the chances are there will be a chance sometime between now and September which will predicate a fee-free change. What kind of change beyond a flight number change is required?

    The flights are:

    CLT - MSP - LAX - TPE - KUL (Destination) - PVG (Stopover) - JFK - ATL - CLT

    All is in C or F except the JFK - ATL. Ideally I'd like to get from CLT - LAX via the Delta Premium Business service JFK - LAX. Also on the return I'd prefer the JFK - CLT direct, even if in coach, rather than having to connect in ATL. The return as PVG - DTW - CLT would also be preferred, but that wasn't available for Low when I was searching for flights.

    So ultimately, what "trigger" will let me change this flight without a fee and how likely is that "trigger" to happen in the coming months?

    Best regards,

    Beofotch
     
  2. DeltaExpert
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    DeltaExpert Gold Member

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    60+ minutes in flight departure/arrival/connection time has been my experience.
     
  3. TravelerRob
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    TravelerRob Silver Member

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    I'm not sure if 60 minutes is the magic number or not...but a simple change in flight number is definitely not enough to warrant a re-issue with the changes you want for free. Sorry.

    However, I would say there's a fantastic chance of something going goofy in scheduling with the amount of flights you have in your itinerary so there's a good chance you'll be able to make some changes. Keep in mind that even if a schedule change occurs and you get to change your flights, DL is very unlikely to change your entire ticket! They will probably only let you change the segments that the schedule has affected. So while it could make your outbound or return better for you, chances are very low you can change both at the same time without a schedule change affecting both.

    -RM
     
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  4. Exiled in Express
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    Exiled in Express Gold Member

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    Agent roulette is your friend. I was able to redeposit after a 35 minute change with the legitimate argument it was going to cut into the reason for the trip. I also sincerely proposed an alternate but ridiculous routing prior to asking for the redeposit.
     
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  5. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    My post from earlier seems to have disappeared here:

    I think it's 90 or 120 minutes change in arrival or departure, but elites have more leeway, call again if you don't like the answer.
     
  6. K F

    K F Silver Member

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    Hi, this is my first post and I'd like to share my recent experience with schedule changes on Delta. 10 days ago, I booked my first ever international award flight(wow, that was an adventure) for travel on June 10-19 from:

    CVG-JFK-LHR(stopover?)-AMS-CDG(destination?)-ORD-CVG--I don't quite understand stopovers bookings yet...

    It was for 75,000 miles and $170 in fees. I had very long layovers in JFK(5.5 hours) and ORD(7+ hours) and was hoping that they would be changed since reading Troy's boardingarea.com blog about booking whatever segments you need and hoping that the schedule changes so you can book the one's you want. Well only a week after booking my schedule was changed. The CVG-JFK segment was changed by only 5mins. departure and 30mins. arrival. I called Delta International and the CSR initally said that wouldn't qualify for a change because it had to be 15mins. difference. I played along. I asked her about my ORD-CVG segment that was moved up 3.5 hours and she said that could be changed. I asked her to change the CDG-CVG segment to a better time and she did without any problems. Then I asked her about the 15 mins. rule and she said that qualifies on arrival or departure changes so I told her the CVG-JFK arrival was over 15mins. and she said that was correct so I could in fact change that. I don't think she wanted to do it for me though, but she changed my outbound from CVG-LHR without any extra fees. I asked about upgrades, but I think that was a long shot.

    In short, you might have good luck with Delta International and get the 15mins. window I did as well as segments changed that weren't affected by the time change, but as always, YMMV.

    P.S. Is 75,000 skymiles in June a good deal for this trip in economy or should I have tried to find 100,000 miles business class seats with Air France? I worked on it for days learning the system and this was my first international booking ever so any points from the experts is much appreciated!
     
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  7. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    First of all, welcome to MP.

    You were very lucky to get an agent citing a 15 minute rule for changes. Most of us find that the threshold is more like an hour or two unless an illegal connection is involved, although if you have a good argument or elite status, you'll probably be treated better.

    Upgrades on domestic segments happen based on availability at your regular window, after all elites of the same level with tickets paid by money have been upgraded.

    The choice between 75K for coach or 100K for business using AF and a different routing is a personal one. I don't like the 2-3-2 seating in affaires class on some AF aircraft, nor do I like IAD with its people movers. You're nevertheless lucky to get an award ticket you like to got to London and Paris in June.
     
  8. DeltaExpert
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    DeltaExpert Gold Member

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    Welcome to MilePoint! If you have any Delta questions, feel free to post them in this forum.
     
  9. K F

    K F Silver Member

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    I'm constantly learning more and more with this forum, but I'm not sure I'm understanding stopovers as well as I would like. For all the experts out there, I have a couple questions for you:

    1. If I'm flying from US-Europe-US on Delta, what's the criteria for adding a stopover? (i.e.,can I add a stopover just in europe, only us, or any country for that matter?)
    2. Can I pick any date for the stopover or does there have to be "low" availability?
    3. I'm mostly interested in using the stopover for a free one way award on a later flight, how do I go about adding this to my itinerary and can any segment be added?
    4. Who enjoys lists besides me?

    I appreciate any clarification and knowledge crumbs the great one's can spare!
     
  10. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    1. You can generally add a stopover anywhere you want, either on the outward portion between origin and destination or on the return between your destination and your origin (assuming not open jaw here). You must use a legal routing, so that you generally can't go far out of your way or backtrack significantly.

    2. The miles charged for your award ticket will depend on whether low seats are available on each segment. Even one short flight at medium can greatly increase the miles required for your ticket.

    3. I'm afraid I don't understand the question. If you're planning to fly home--destination--home (call it a stopover)--another location, this is likely to be a problem and not be allowed.

    4. 42

    Note also that most DL agents say that the computer's calculation of the required miles is definitive. Usually you find the segments and availability that you want and either piece it together on delta.dumb or call and have an agent do it on their computer system, which can involve an additional fee if the ticket is purchased with a phone agent.
     
  11. cfischer
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    cfischer Silver Member

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    60 minutes has been the consistent rule for me. The only times I have been able to argue was very early morning or late night departures/arrivials where I claimed (rightfully!) that I'd miss my last public transportation or couldn't make a flight that early. Both recent cases were about a 40 minute change, but I convinced the agent that 6 a.m. or 6.40 a.m. makes quite a difference. The agent needs to get some sort of a waiver to process such changes, but it can be done. A 1h30 change last weekend was resolved w/o any questions.
     
  12. K F

    K F Silver Member

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    Thank you for your thorough response. Here's a quote from thepointsguy.com webpage about Delta stopovers to clarify what I was hoping to do for a "free" one way award added on to the end of a trip:

    Skymiles allows a stopover and an open jaw. So you can plan something like US to Athens, Greece (destination) then take a cruise to Istanbul and then fly Istanbul to Paris (stop for as long as you want) and then continue home to the US. Just like I recommended with British Airways miles, this can allow you to add on a free leg. Say you wanted to go Atlanta-Paris-Atlanta. You could book that and then add on an Atlanta-LAX for a future date since that would count as your stopover. Just remember, all routings have to be valid, so you can’t do something crazy like Paris-Seattle (stop)-Miami because Seattle isn’t a valid connection point between Paris and Miami.

    By this explanation I believe I can add on a stopover over in my supposed destination city and call it a stopover for as long as I want then add another leg like the example above. Care to shed some light for a rookie?
     
  13. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    There are supposedly rules about the open jaw portion being shorter than the distance flown in one direction (shortest or longest leg? I'm not sure) which might kick in because when you ultimately end in a city different from your origin, it's an open jaw on the back side. However, as I said above, and the points guy seems to emphasize, you must use valid/legal routings, which prevent some types of creativity.

    Please report back on what you are and are not permitted to do.
     
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