Delta Award Sale: Europe From 20,000 Miles Roundtrip, No Fuel Surcharges

Delta is running a European award sale for redemption starting with August travel and running through fall, starting at 20,000 miles roundtrip (and roundtrip travel is required).

For instance,

  • New York JFK – Madrid, 20,000 miles
  • New York JFK or Boston – London Heathrow, 22,000 miles
  • Los Angeles – London Heathrow, 26,000 miles
  • Portland, Seattle, or Miami – London, 28,000 miles
  • New York JFK – Zurich, 30,000 miles

There are any number of other eligible routes pricing between 20,000 and 38,000 miles roundtrip.

No Mas Coach stumbled on a Delta award sale, discounting coach redemptions to Europe and outlined a bunch of cities where the sale is on.

Then ThePointsGuy.com picked it up, adding a bunch of links to credit card applications whose bonuses won’t ever post in time to take advantage of this sale. Frequent Miler’s Nick Reyes highlighted it as well.

And there’s no question that 20,000 mile roundtrip redemptions between the US and Europe are better than 40,000 or 50,000 mile redemptions for the same flights, however what no one has pointed out is that it’s still a bad deal for flights that are selling at deep deep discount prices to begin with.

Let’s look at an award I picked out at random for New York JFK – Madrid that’s pricing out at 20,000 miles and $51.13 in taxes roundtrip:

The cheapest fare to buy those exact flights? $330.83. Using this fare as a basis for comparison, 20,000 miles are saving you $279.70. Put another way this sale gives you 1.4 cents per mile.

If you were going to use Delta miles to Europe in coach anyway for travel this fall, now is a good time to make that redemption. American Express Membership Rewards points transfer to Delta, and I suppose you can do that, but I want to get much better value out of my Membership Rewards points than this.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. @ Gary — The hypocrisy of you calling out TPG for credit card links is quite remarkable.

    I consider 1.4 com to be a decent Delta redemption.

  2. This is actually a “problem” that I’ve been having the last couple years. I’ve set out to burn more miles because my balances are really higher than they should be, but then fares have been so cheap recently that it has very rarely made sense to use miles. It’s making me consider if I need to drop my point valuations.

  3. I booked a 100K mile ticket from
    IAH-RAK. AF economy outbound and business on the way back. That’s a decent use for about a $2.5K ticket.

  4. Check the Delta One availability Gary. 80k with multiple seats available per flight. Yesterday i booked 3 of us from PHX to AMS next summer for 240k skymiles on an excellent 1 stop route (2.5 hr layover in MSP). Obviously more than AAs 57.5k but their availability is laughable unless you want a 2 stop 32 hr trip with BA surcharges, and slightly more than UAs 70k, again try finding more than 1 or 2 seats on a reasonable itinerary. The great thing is the number of seats per flight available. I’ve seen 6+ bookable on the same flight. Tough to find much better from the West coast.

  5. @Gary writes

    “it’s still a bad deal”

    No it’s not. I’m pretty much out of the Delta and AmEx game so don’t have my own intrinsic value estimates, but back in January of this year (1/31/19) this very blog (with a post under “Gary Leff”) estimates the value of a Delta mile to be 1.1 cents. Other blogs are putting it at 1.2-1.3 cents.

    So getting a real value of 1.4 c/mile for a Delta mile is delivering a better return than your baseline value. By that definition, this “sale” (quoting you) is actually a good deal, no? It’s certainly not a bad deal.

    IF you think this is a bad deal, then you need to revise upward your valuation of a Delta mile, which I think is hard to credibly do. It *is* fair to say that transferring AmEx miles may not be a *great* deal, but really, you’re conflating two different things. (Even then, because a vast majority of AmEx’s transfer partners are foreign carriers, most people probably only transfer to Delta. Even the hallowed SQ isn’t the deal it used to be, and SQ redemptions are of less utility if you don’t live near an SQ served airport.)

  6. @Gene, TPG deserves to be mocked and criticized mercilessly ever since he sold his soul to Marriott. He’s nothing more than a paid shill at this point.

    Well done, Gary!

  7. Agree about TPG.

    Anyway, when I checked JFK/LHR R/T on Delta for November dates, they showed a fuel surcharge. When I went to use my CSR (Chase) points, the cost was an extra thousand miles, but no fuel surcharges. Seems that using Chase points is better deal, not to mention I’ll earn Delta miles.

    Thoughts? Am I crazy.

  8. To be clear I do not have a problem with writing about the rewards cards relevant to earning this-or-that points! I was tracing the history of this deal, where it was found, where it was later publicized, and the value add at each step of the way.

  9. @Gary Leff

    So no thoughts on *your* value add being wrong? You usually do pretty well in this space, but you chose not to respond to my comment — your recently valued a delta point at 1.1 cpp, and then went on to claim that a redemption valued at 1.4 cpp is a “bad deal”. On what planet? Seems to me it would be a great deal. That’s especially true given that many of Delta’s “enhanced” ways of redeeming points are at valuations close to 1 cpp. If you could resolve this inconsistency, it would be appreciated.

    Again, there’s a difference between *Delta* redemptions, and “AmEx* transfers. Your post conflates the two, intentional or not.

  10. @Dan I don’t think this is an exceptional deal, I explained that it can work for some. My value add in this post is modest, I’m not breaking news, just tampering some of the enthusiasm by comparing the deal to paid rates. I was happy to just let your comment stand.

  11. For the record I would never redeem at 1.4c. So I agree with Gary that it’s a terrible deal. I acknowledge that some people may only fly coach and have difficulty finding better these days, but then if they earned those miles through spend they would have been better off with a cash back card.

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