Jeffrey R. emails his frustration with an ongoing Delta award booking issue — that Skymiles simply prices awards incorrectly and it’s nearly impossible to get an agent to fix matters.
I’ve written for years about this issue, that some connections that are both (a) legal/permissible and (b) have award availability will not price at the right amount of miles per the published award chart.
Classic examples used to be New York – Los Angeles via Las Vegas which would always price as two separate awards. And getting Delta domestic flights available at the lowest award level included in an Air Tahiti Nui partner award was rarely possible — again, Delta would price as two awards.
There are real improvements (and real non-improvements) at Skymiles, with one-way awards now available and a much more functional award search tool. They’ve introduced completely new award charts and altered award pricing to no longer include free stopovers.
So a ton of work has been done, which led to hopes that they’d fix some of their basic problems along the way.
This reader’s frustration is with trying to use Delta Skymiles for travel from South Florida to Hawaii.
The award chart to honolulu top tier business class shows max of 90,000 each way from PBI. So should be no more than 180,000 RT. Pricing on some actual flight shows 235,000 miles RT and in all cases way above the new 2015 award chart shown max. Agents on phone try to tell me it is the small language in Terms that allows Delta to charge this excess on this routing. I finally found one supervisor after over ten tries and hours on phone over several days who priced me at 160,000 business RT for the flights I wanted where pricing engine shows still 235,000. I grabbed it. But pricing totally broken. Disgraceful.
Per the award chart this should never be more expensive than 180,000 miles roundtrip in first class.
And yet here’s a quick search showing West Palm Beach – Honolulu at 207,500 miles roundtrip.
The point here is that despite having a new 5-tier pricing chart, and doing quite a bit of work on their award search functionality, Delta will still price awards more expensively than their published pricing allows.
- This isn’t a case of violating stopover rules, e.g. with connections greater than 4 hours, or other unpublished rules (double connections are permitted and price appropriately at other times).
- This isn’t the case of ‘forcing’ connections. These are suggested by Delta.com.
And Delta agents are really really difficult to work with, they do not understand award rules or pricing and will suggest that whatever the computer presents is correct. Finding an agent who recognizes the problem, and is willing to and knows how to do something about it, is a Hurculean task.
I’ve priced a single award as expensively as 720,000 miles roundtrip in the past. I had hoped Delta would have fixed this, but they have not.
This is a known issue at Delta which has persisted for years. It’s been raised personally with Jeff Robertson in years past. The response was that fixes are too expensive for them to implement. But lack of fixes cause members to be overcharged for awards, so it has appeared that Delta views this as a feature rather than a bug.