FARE WAR: American and Delta Offering $1550 Business Class Roundtrips to Rio and Sao Paulo

American and Delta appear to be in a fare war that will not last long. These are not mistake fares, but deep discount business class fares that each airline is aiming at the others’ hub markets.

They’re 21 day advance purchase fares require departure Tuesday through Saturday and return Saturday through Wednesday. The American and US Airways fares allow travel through December 15, while Delta appears to allow travel through end of schedule.These fares require return no earlier than 7 days from departure.

You can fly American from:

  • Atlanta
  • Detroit
  • Minneapolis

You can fly Delta from:

  • Dallas
  • Los Angeles
  • Miami
  • Philadelphia
  • Phoenix

Interestingly, Charlotte is not included — and neither is New York which is a significant market for both airlines. (Los Angeles is significant for both as well, yet it’s included in the Delta fare. And I guess American realizes what the rest of us now do, too, that Cincinnati is no longer a hub and Salt Lake isn’t a ‘real’ hub. But come on, American, where’s the Seattle fare?)

Here’s a calendar of availability for May on American out of Atlanta:

And an American Sao Paulo itinerary from Atlanta:

These American flights to and from South America appear to be on unreconfigured 777-200s meaning angled business class but upgradable (with eVIP upgrades or miles and cash co-pay) to lie flat first.

    You Can Upgrade Business Class “I” Fares With Miles/Cash or eVIP to American’s Flagship First Class

These American fares book into ‘I’ and qualify for the 2015 premium cabin bonus miles for discounted business class.

Here’s a sample Delta LAX itinerary:

These discounted itineraries will, of course, only earn mileage based on the fare with Delta.

(HT: FCF via Matt)

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 InsideFlyer.com, 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 »

More articles by Gary Leff »


  1. […] American probably had their parameters in place to match any fare where revenue is greater than marginal cost which is “different than how they’d behave in normal times.” In a non-pandemic era, if American thought the fare was intentional instead of a mistake, they might retaliate with a low fare in a Delta market. Delta drops fares out of Dallas, American drops fares out of Atlanta. And we’ve seen these two airlines do that with Brazil business class fares before. […]


  1. Gary, you can get 77W MIA-GRU, you just have to dig around. I found some dates in August for AA233, AA995 and AA929, all are 77W and have A space also.

  2. Looked on Delta from today until the end of the year and there is NOT a single day which the price is less than $3K for a round trip on business class from MSP.

  3. I am seeing on Orbitz lower fares out of SEA, but with 2 connections… lowest showing is $1,030 on a united/ac routing…

  4. Thanks for the info–not as attractive as DCA-PVG–a little over 9000 miles from ATL-RIO (as compared to 16000 for PVG) and the 7 night stay is a bit confining.

  5. I found the Delta $1548 from LAX but not sure how to find the one free stopover permitted. There is 24 hours in ATL but are there other places you can stop at?
    Thanks for any guidance!

  6. If we flew DL, can we credit the flights to AS? There is a lot of seat out of PHX, which I was surpised..

  7. Why is it obvious that these are not mistake fares? What if it were $550 instead of $1550, couldn’t that also be categorized as a “deep discount”?

  8. @Stannis these are not mistake fares because the AA fares are only out of Delta hubs and the Delta fares — offered at the same time and price — are offered only out of AA hubs. Two airlines with the same fare at the same time and valid only out of each others’ hubs is the classic definition of a fare war and an impossible coincidence for a mistake.

  9. @silver springer – yes, well, when the benchmark of comparison is a $450 business class fare to asia few things will look as attractive 🙂

  10. If you’re going to bother detailing AA’s South American product, while not also mention that DL offers flat beds in business class? After all, you frequently write that “business class is all about the seat,” and Delta’s seat is better.

    Also, I don’t understand how SLC isn’t a “real” hub when Delta offers 229 peak-day departures to 85 nonstop destinations. And though Delta has reduced its CVG flying dramatically, it still offers more flights and destinations from that airport than from SEA.

  11. @Mark S I think you misunderstand me on SLC. 😉 As for ‘why bother’ detailing the South America product of AA I find the AA offer far more interesting because they don’t have revenue requirements for status, they don’t inhibit earning on cheaper fares, and they even provide a mileage boost because it’s a premium fare.

    I write what’s interesting to me. And noting that AA has an inferior business product seemed worth mentioning.

  12. Gary I think you need to be more open when it comes to deals like this, the reason why I asked my question was simple, DL was offering the $1500 fare out of PHX, AA was not, I don’t plan on crediting my miles to DL but to AS. I wish DL wasn’t flying a 767-400 but the seats are far better then what AA has. But to honest if I could get AA fare for the same, I would book it through AA.

  13. @Gary — I’ll concede that VFTW is a blog subject to your whims, and of course you’re free to write about topics that interest you. I read VFTW every day, so much of the content interests me, too. That said, your failure to note that DL’s hard product is better than AA’s seems especially biased in light of your “seat über alles” stance on international business class. Differences between the airlines’ frequent flier programs are another matter entirely.

    As for the SLC comment, may I assume sarcasm?

  14. I got Aero Mexico 787 for same price and thus avoiding those hideous, old, menacing American airlines with their crappy 767’s and their even more crappy MD80/70’s. AM very good.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *