Delta Backing Off its 3 Week Advance Purchase Requirement for Saver Awards

At the beginning of February Delta appeared to impose a three week advance purchase requirement in order to redeem awards at the saver level.

Domestic economy class awards at 12,500 miles one-way simply didn’t exist on most routes for travel within 21 days.

  • When you’d find space at this price, it was usually on partner Alaska
  • Exceptions were for some very low load factor routes like subsidized ‘Essential Air Service’ routes
  • And a handful of anomalies.

It really does seem Delta is backing off of this (HT: Reader Marc L.).

Now, saver award availability is still shockingly bad. But it does seem to exist, at least on some routes — and many more routes than a month ago.

These are not cherry picked, merely the first few routes I happened to pull up.

Here’s an award calendar showing dates where non-stop space is available Atlanta – Orlando. Plenty of days where 12,500 mile seats are open.

There are a handful of days open on Los Angeles – Las Vegas (it’s absurd that there aren’t more).

Here’s a search for Detroit – San Jose, largely involving connections via Salt Lake City.

Space isn’t available within 3 weeks on all routes, however — no 12,500 mile seats appear on the Delta award calendar for Atlanta – Los Angeles within 3 weeks. Whether this is a continuation of the 21 day advance purchase requirement policy, or just awful award availability, is difficult to say.

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, 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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  1. So now I’m suppose to feel good about Delta?

    Not even Obama the next time he walks on water, could repair that bridge.

  2. I saw this earlier today when searching for a trip a week from now. Delta doesn’t charge a fee for last-minute booking, so a saver award is a real deal.

  3. ssshhh, Delta has somehow (I’m sure it’s purely accidental) overlooked that added profit center of charging ~$80 fee for “last minute” booking of awards like the other guys… I have little doubt it’s only a matter of when, then they can proudly boast they’ve further enhanced the Delta experience!

  4. ATL-LAX availability is horrid year round and well in advance. This is definitely not because it’s close in. It’s because those planes are nearly all full and DL just doesn’t release much, if any, low space in them.

  5. I never book round trips as my job requires last minute travel. So I always use one way mileage awards either on American or United (and pay the last minute fee)–rarely am I unable to find flight availability within 48-72 hours on those two airlines. Just my experience. *I don’t “do” ATL.

  6. Well, everything must be okay with Delta now, after all, the guru douchbag DeltaPoints is back to saying what an amazing airline they are, and gracing us with pics of his latest domestic mileage run (can you even call it a mileage run with Delta?). The only thing that can #keepdecending further than Delta itself is his pathetic blog.

  7. @Robert – What’s really pathetic is you leaving the exact same comment (literally word for word) with a totally unwarranted personal insult, on two separate posts.

  8. I’ve given up on using miles for domestic/Canada flights to major cities. Even at the lowest levels it seems a waste of miles that can be put to better use–other than BA miles AND Rapid rewards.
    RR’s acquired by buying things seems the best way to get to major cities ( 2 boxes of pears for a net of $48 from 800flowers generated 2 one-ways from LAS-LAX as well as 18 really good pears).
    When dealing with domestic travel awards on every other airline, I feel like Ashton Kutcher in “Dude, Where’s My Car?” I’m in front of the -drive in window at the Chinese take -out restaurant and a disembodied voice keeps asking ,”And then…..and then, and then, and then and then and then and then and then….”

  9. @Brian: I don’t believe I called out a personal name (you stated I made “a personal attack”) in my comment, unless his name is actually DeltaPoints…but then again his “mother ship” may have allowed that, based on the huge amount of misinformation he has professed about the airline since he started blogging on their behalf on BA.

  10. @Robert – If you don’t think calling someone is a douchebag is a personal attack (regardless of whether or not you use their actual, legal name), then I don’t know what planet you’re living on.

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