Why purchase a Delta dometic M fare

Discussion in 'Delta Air Lines | SkyMiles' started by snapper, May 28, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. snapper
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    snapper Active Member

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    I was just wondering what purpose the M fare serves for domestic travel?

    I know it's usually the cheapest option for international travel to pair with a SWU but since there are cheaper fares that can be paired with SWU for domestic I was wondering what an M fare brings to the table domestically

    The two perks of an M fare that I am aware of are that it brings in 1.5 MQM multiplier and can be upgraded with miles or SWU
    Unlike Y/B it is non-refundable right?

    The underlying reason I ask is that I am looking at a one-way ticket, MCO-MSP, that is $175 in L and $275 in M and would contemplate springing for the MQM bonus if it were refundable or had other benefits.
     
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  2. mersk862
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    mersk862 Gold Member

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    50% bonus is what has done it for me. If it's a transcon trip and the M is only $50 more than the lowest fare, I'll buy up to grab the extra MQMs.
     
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  3. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    In addition to the 150% MQMs, you get higher upgrade priority. In some cases, there's a M-UP fare in the market, so that you would get the upgrade instantly.

    I've used M fares at times when it was the cheapest one-way available, for example to combine with a good international award ticket where the domestic connecting flights were not available. In one case, paying $395 for M MSP-LAX in order to get a 140,000 mile TPAC award in SQ IFC was worth it to me and it was better to purchase M in one direction than to purchase a MSP-LAX RT at the cheapest available fare. I had FC guaranteed in one direction as part of my award ticket and the M fare made me confident of the upgrade happening (and it did, at my DM window with no problem).

    IMO it's always a good idea to compare the prices of different fare classes as sometimes the difference can be small and well worth the additional money, just as it's a good idea to check the A fares before purchasing all but the cheapest coach tickets.
     
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  4. Indiana Delta Diamond
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    Indiana Delta Diamond Silver Member

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    Any fare class could be refundable depending upon the rules. I have had L fares that are refundable.
     
  5. snapper
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    snapper Active Member

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    I checked the fare rules using expertflyer and I couldn't find any mention of refundability - either if it was allowed or not.

    Is there another way to find out if the fare is refundable? I assume the one I am looking at is not since when I searched on Delta and selected 'Refundable Flights Only' and only Y and B fares came up. The dates I am looking for are either 11/27 or 11/28 MCO-MSP
     
  6. snapper
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    snapper Active Member

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    Ah, I think I found it in the "Voluntary Changes" section. If the section doesn't mention a change fee of $150 then I assume the fare is refundable?
     
  7. BamaGirl
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    BamaGirl Silver Member

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    A lot of times when I request M or above, the only thing the site will offer me is the P (or F) fare. I wonder if M is being phased out in some markets.
     
  8. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    I've seem only P or A fares offered by delta.dumb when they're cheaper than the requested fare class. However, then every flight shows as not in the class of service requested, which can be confusing, just as the flights marketed as domestic business class trigger this warning on for example an A fare making one think that one will be sitting in coach for a FC fare.
     
  9. NYBanker
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    NYBanker Gold Member

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    DL's fare codes vary widely depending on the market. There are very few blanket rules that apply to DL fare letters.

    Sometimes M is refundable, sometimes it isn't.

    On a recent trip of mine to FLL (from LGA), H (lower than M) was available as an H-UP fare (getting you a confirmed upgrade in the forward cabin), while M, at a higher price, did not provide for an upgrade. Both fares, for the route and dates I was traveling, were non-refundable. And, because I booked into P inventory with my H-UP, I got the 150% MQMs.

    For a while in 2003, DL ran Q-UP fares on a bunch of routes. They do this from time to time, though not often enough for my liking.

    One advantage of offering upgrades on lower lettered fares has to do with how DL structures corporate discount contracts. DL typically offers increasing discounts the higher up the fare letter scale you go. At one of my old companies, we had a deal where we got [27]% off F/A/J/D/I/Y/B, [20]% or so off of M and H, and [10]% on Q and K. Nothing for L, which was as low as it went at the time. Booking people into lower fare letters (even at higher fares), helps reduce discounts on heavy corporate routes.

    I recall back at the turn of the century, according to some posts on FT in 2002-03, even some Y fares on DL had a penalty for cancellation in a few specific markets.

    Last year, I once booked a non-refundable M fare as an experiment on JFK-LAX. This route is a "special" route for DL, in that they rarely (but not never) open upgrade inventory in advance of departure (an unadvertised "enhancement?"). The J (or D) fares were quite high at the time, and I was buying my ticket only one day prior to departure, so I thought I'd take advantage of an arbitrage on the non-refundability rules. While I was definitely going to fly in front, I thought of a way to try to save my company some money. Even though my ticket was not refundable, because I bought it less than 24 hours prior to departure, I could have used the courtesy period to cancel and get a refund. I bought a non-refundable one-way M ticket for $750 (over $1,000 savings from the D fare, IIRC). I'm a PM; about 45 minutes before departure, I asked at the club where I was on the upgrade list. I was 4th, with 8 seats open. So, I felt fine about making the upgrade (though obviously there was some risk of not clearing). And, indeed, I did clear at 25 minutes prior to departure.

    Had I been farther down the list (7th on the list?), I would have cancelled and re-booked the D fare.

    This is obviously an extreme approach, but for an airfare geek like me, it was a worthwhile experiment, and I saved my company +/- $1,000. YMMV.
     

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