Delta: Europe for 21,000 Miles Each Way. Discounted Awards in Economy and Business Class

Delta Points produces examples of Delta offering Europe roundtrips for 42,000 miles in economy and 106,000 miles in business class.

That’s 30% and 15% off the ‘low’ or ‘level 1’ award price (or at least what low or level 1 used to be when Delta published award prices).

However I cannot replicate this, which leads me to wonder whether this is being offered to Delta’s elites only.

My search for just one passenger in economy at the same times (Atlanta – Dusseldorf) doesn’t yield anything less than the usual 60,000 miles.

Similarly, the lowest Atlanta – Amsterdam one-way pricing for business class comes up at the ‘regular’ 62,500 miles for this non-elite SkyMiles member.

Before getting too excited over Delta awards at 106,000 miles roundtrip in business class remember that this is mostly great ‘for Delta’ and that:

  • Delta adds fuel surcharges to awards originating in Europe, so you need to book roundtrips so that your full ticket originates in the US.

  • American’s “normal price” is 100,000 miles roundtrip (although American’s transatlantic availability, outside of British Airways which incurs fuel surcharges, isn’t great).

  • United charges 57,500 miles each way for travel on its own flights all the time, with generally better availability than Delta offers.

  • Aeroplan’s regular price for US-Western Europe is 45,000 miles including on Star Alliance partners. Here’s how to book Aeroplan awards without fuel surcharges.

So while a handful of routes, on certain dates, for fewer miles (perhaps only for elites) is a good thing, it’s not something to be super-excited about in the grand scheme of things.

If you’re able to find discounted awards, Delta Points finds them Atlanta – Dusseldorf and Atlanta – Amsterdam, it’s a good use of SkyMiles and could even be a reason to transfer American Express points into SkyMiles.

But this unicorn is hardly a redeeming offering for the program. Instead, that this seems exciting is what the 43rd US President called “the soft bigotry of low expectations.”

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. I’m not actually surprised by this at all. The price of fuel has come way down and so have transatlantic fares — especially will be the case when the off season hits.

    I actually gave up an off-peak AAdvantage Economy redemption — which this approximates — as there was a schedule change and I would receive all miles and taxes paid without any penalty and I did so when I compared what the booking of almost the same itinerary would be if I paid for same out of pocket and using a 2 cents per mile cost analysis. It came out to be about the same and I earned FF miles in my AA account for the distance to be flown — not sure how much longer that will last!

    In any event, it was a bit of a wash on AA, but I will earn miles and I did have to meet a threshold spend on a new credit card, so the factors militated in favor of my re-booking.

    However, had I had no plans and virtually useless Delta miles, well, I guess I would jump at this redemption possibility!!!

  2. @ Gary — There are some even lower business class awards, like MSP-AMS for 87,000 miles r/t. It is nice that Delta is lowering some award prices, but I find the whole thing deeply disturbing, because we all know what comes next…

  3. FYI I recently booked 4 European flights from JFK to Madrid next Spring for 34,000 Avios RT plus $179 in taxes each ticket. These were originally my British Airways Avios from signing up a couple years ago for the BA Visa with a 100,000 mile sign-up bonus. I transferred to Iberia Plus Avios to avoid BA’s ridiculous taxes, and was pleasantly surprised to find off-peak rates for only 34,000 miles RT in coach. The tickets were running $1280 each for cash…. that’s the best value to Europe I think I have ever seen. Thanks for originally telling me about the BA Visa Gary!

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