Delta’s Absurd and ILLOGICAL One-Way Award Pricing

Cranky Flier points out the absurdity of Delta’s one-way awards. Delta doesn’t offer one-way awards for less than the roundtrip price, they just price the award as a roundtrip at double the mileage cost of the segment you choose.

So if only ‘medium’ awards are available for a simple domestic one-way flight, that’s 20,000 miles one-way so 40,000 miles roundtrip. And the one-way domestic segment is 40,000 miles.

Note that if only high is available, then the one-way would be 60,000 miles. Now, a one-way award with last seat availability in domestic coach on United or American would be 25,000 miles. See the difference?

But as Cranky points out, if you needed last seat availability on Delta (60,000 miles for a one-way) you’d just book last seat availability outbound, and pick a random return flight that was available at the ‘low’ (i.e. “standard” or “normal”) level and it would price as 30,000 (outbound) + 12,500 (return) = 42,500.. for a savings of 17,500 miles. Still more than American or United (duh) but much less expensive.

Now that United and American offer one-way awards, one would think that Delta would need to offer them (at half the roundtrip pricing) as well. But then you’d think they’d need to offer reasonable access to premium cabin international award seats, too, and y’all know how that has worked out…

One more reason why Skypesos are worth so much less than other currencies.

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. Surely Delta’s best-in-class loyalty program will offer one-way awards for half price in the near future. (Maybe that’s just wishful thinking…)

    Doing so would GREATLY increase the value of their miles for me. Of course, the reason they don’t offer them is that they don’t want to give decent value for anyone’s miles, so I guess I can just dream on.

  2. I love how you all are complaining about free travel. You all sound pathetic. Grow up and understand that complaining doesn’t solve anything and if you want something you should pay for it and complaining about free stuff, well, leave that up to the democrats of the world ( wonder who that will piss off).

  3. I used to chase Delta miles (and all miles equally). Now I focus primarily on American and Continental miles… American has always been relatively strong and Continental currency has become strong this past year… See! They show that airline miles DO have the potential to get better, although that doesn’t happen often.

  4. Sean,

    It isn’t about getting something for free – it’s about the whole makeup of the product. I travel significantly for work and leisure. The frequent flier program is an integral part of the product. This is what the airlines market to and how they attept to differentiate their product. Without it I would seriously reconsider the money I spend on travel and the travel portion of my job.

    You all can appreciate that, right?

  5. If you think the awards “one-way” travel is bad, take a look at buying a ticket. For instance between U.S. and Europe, a one-way ticket usually is priced much higher than a complete round trip. So Delta thinks it makes sense to have customers buying round trips and simply not showing up to check in for the return flight???

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