Earlier I showed that Delta was charging more for some awards than their published maximum ‘level 5’ prices.
Delta’s award pricing engine has long been broken, charging more for an award than their published pricing suggests should be required.
In the example I gave, the driver of the issue was just internationally configured aircraft which Delta intended to charge more for. They hadn’t published their award chart correctly. And after I wrote the post they promptly fixed the issue (by increasing the maximum price their award chart allows them to charge, natch), without comment.
But my point that Delta’s pricing engine is broken, and charges more than their published award chart allows, remains.
- This has mostly been, in the past, for partner awards. Some partners and some routes (that were otherwise ‘legal’) would never let you add domestic Delta flights to an award without charging a separate award for those. They would price the flights ‘additively’ instead of including them in the award you were paying for.
- Some routes this would occur when flying Delta, domestically. ‘Legal’ routes would somehow just not price correctly.
- And finding a Delta agent who knew how to or would override the computer was a near-impossibility.
Reader Mike gives an example in the comments where Delta clearly appears to be overcharging for awards — where their pricing engine comes up with award prices that are greater than the maximum mileage cost shown on their award chart.
Last night I was looking at redeeming miles for trips later this year. I was searching one-way First Class awards, which should price out at 55,000 miles maximum according to Delta.com. Here’s how they priced out:
XNA-ATL-LAS: 100,000 one-way
XNA-ATL-SNA: 100,000 one-way
XNA-ATL-MSP-LAS: 142,500 one-way
Indeed, the most Delta should charge for a one-way first class award that isn’t one of their premium flights is 55,000 miles. That’s the top price in their new five-tier redemption chart.
And yet a quick search on a random date shows Delta.com returning several options that are nearly twice as high as the five tier reward chart. Perhaps we should begin talking about Delta’s 10-tier chart?
Here’s Tier 10 pricing — again, a one-way first class domestic award.
Note that these aren’t itineraries that I am ‘forcing’ from Delta. It’s not the legal open jaw that I once got Delta.com to price for 720,000 miles. These are a series of itineraries suggested by Delta’s website.
Moreover, you can see the connecting time for each flight is less than 4 hours, so there’s no stopover involved that should ‘break the fare’ and cause a higher price.
These are my ‘quick search’ (first try) 100,000 mile one-ways. Mike’s 142,500 mile one-way domestic itinerary would be tier 15, I imagine.