No Notice Devaluation at Delta: No More International Award Stopovers?

lancexfang emailed me about an issue this afternoon that seems to be new today with Delta. (He also pointed me to the Flyertalk thread he started.)

Delta international awards have allowed one stopover and one open jaw.

In other words, you could fly Atlanta – Paris (stop for several day) – Prague (destination) and then return home to Atlanta. That’s an example of a stopover.

You could also return from, say, Warsaw or from Paris. Then you would have a stopover as before and an open jaw, returning from a city other than the one you arrive into.

Today Delta seems to be still allowing open jaws — but pricing stopovers at an extra mileage cost.

Delta’s price for North America – Europe in business class is 125,000 miles.

Here’s a sample itinerary where all flights have saver business class award space available. It’s got a stopover in Paris on the way to Prague.

It costs 175,000 miles — which is an an extra 50,000 miles. Coincidentally, 50,000 points is what Delta charges for a business class roundtrip within Europe.

Delta doesn’t offer one-way awards (they won’t start pricing one-ways at half the cost of roundtrip until January 1). So they appear to be pricing this as US – Europe roundtrip plus a Europe one-way in business class for the stopover.

If we remove the stopover, and just leave it as an open jaw.. into Paris, back from Prague, so we’re just removing Paris-Prague from the itinerary, it prices properly at 125,000 miles.

Delta doesn’t appear to be pricing US-Europe awards correctly, stopovers are costing extra. It’s either an unannounced devaluation (no more stopovers on these awards permitted), or an IT glitch — the pricing engine just isn’t working properly.

At this point we don’t know which it is. I certainly find ‘problem with the pricing engine’ a plausible scenario because Delta’s pricing engine hasn’t worked properly, and has been full of errors, for years. This would just be a new error.

Developing… but as I review this two thoughts come to mind.

  • Why do these errors always work against our favor (at least with Delta)? They’ve known for years that their systems are charging members extra miles, but don’t do anything about it and certainly don’t refund those miles. I’ve not had great luck for instance including saver domestic award space in conjunction with Air Tahiti Nui awards, Delta usually wants extra miles for what should be included free.
  • Looking at the Delta award chart for travel from Europe, I’m reminded that we still don’t know Delta’s award charts for most of the world will look like next year. When Delta was shamed into releasing their 2015 award charts earlier this year, they did so only for travel to and from the US. Europe and other regions have simply said this over the past 7+ months:

    Updated charts will be published here later this year for Award Tickets booked on or after January 1, 2015.

    Of course it took them years to ever publish worldwide award charts before, so secret award charts are nothing new in the Skymiles programs.

Update: One Mile at a Time writes about this as well and doesn’t think it’s an IT issue.

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. What % of members in any given year actually use the stopover feature?

    Though reckon the intent was to get rid of stopover AND open jaw on the same itinerary. Not get rid of stopover alone or open jaw alone.

    But the coding is what it is…

  2. Just imagine how many comments that douchbag Delta Points will have to block from his blog when this hits!

  3. Isn’t there someone at Delta one of you bloggers can reach out to to get an “official” statement of what is going on (that is, whether this is a change now or just an IT issue or whether it is actually supposed to take effect on Jan 1, 2015). Just yesterday I tried to book an international flight using a stopover and open jaw and it was pricing like 325K for Business class even though Sunday during my initial research it was pricing at 160K!!!! So before I waste any more time talking to useless agents it would be great to find out what is really going on so we don’t have to speculate!

  4. As you say, rarely is there ever good news when it comes to SkyMiles. I’m so happy that I burned most of my account on 4 biz tickets to Oz earlier this year. The majority of those miles were earned butt-in-seat on biz trips. So far in 2014 I have avoided booking rev flights on DL. Our 12 year Platinum/Diamond relationship is over.

  5. Jenny: There is someone at Delta in their PR and Social Media department that Gary can reach out to. But I suspect because of the tone of his (IMHO great) coverage of the SkyPeso program, I suspect (don’t know) that Gary is at the bottom of the list to receive a call back. The one person at DL who was good about engaging customers and bloggers alike no matter the subject went to AAnother airline.

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