As a followup to my post on how to successfully book premium cabin international awards with Delta miles, I’d like to welcome deltagoldflyer to blogging, his first contribution at the new Delta Points blog is about using schedule changes to your advantage.
Probably more than any other airline I’ve worked with, Delta is accomodating when schedule changes happen in advance even on award tickets.
United will sometimes open up seats on their own flights, but only when there are no other reward options, if something happens to your flights and any alternative using award inventory exists, they’ll expect you to use it. Continental has always been pretty good when an award ticket falls apart, enough perseverence and on more than once occasion I’ve seen them open up reward seats on their own aircraft when only revenue seats are available.
But Delta is pretty good about even proactively offering revenue inventory when an award flight schedule changes, a flight is cancelled, or an award you’ve booked becomes otherwise-impossible. And deltagoldflyer says you can make this flexibility work for you.
That far out, and with regional airline partners, schedules change all the time! Once that happens and you can not make your connection the “miles requirement” for your frequent flyer ticket goes out the window. Then, we can simply ask for the flights that would have cost 245,000…
His suggestion is when booking an award far in advance, go out of your way for crazy routings with short connecting times. Then there’s a good chance that schedule changes will make at least one of your connections ‘illegal’ (too short), and you can simply call up and ask for the more direct routing you would have originally preferred, even though it wasn’t ever available as an award.
This is only going to work for routes on Delta flights, they won’t be able to be as forthcoming with revenue seats on partners. But once you have a ticket between two cities and they change up schedules on you such that you’re no longer going to be expected to be able to connect, they’ll accomodate you on whatever schedules do work most of the time.
It’s a bit of a risky game, schedule changes could happen that increase your connecting time rather than decreasing it, so it’s not a guarantee. But always watch those schedules and when connections become a problem, use them to your advantage to improve your award.