Earlier today I wrote about how Delta charges you extra miles for award tickets even when saver space is available on all your flights.
It’s not a secret. In fact, Delta actually spells this out on their website. They won’t publish an award chart, but they’ll tell you why they may not price two segments that have the lowest available inventory at the lowest level when booked together.
Delta has actually practiced this with revenue bookings to some extend since 2006.
But as they’ve moved award booking to be more like revenue booking, they’ve extended the practice to awards. The idea is that they want to price tickets in miles like they do in cash. They don’t want you to be able to find space and piece together segments in order to get good value with your miles relative to what you’d have to pay in cash.
So for some of the cheapest flights they’ll charge as little as 5000 miles one-way. But they won’t let you book ‘expensive’ flights for 12,500 miles even when the individual segments have low level award space available.
I think it’s pretty clear we’ll see the end of the 25,000 mile roundtrip on expensive routes as well. And in order to do this, they need to prevent you from piecing together individual flight segments and redeeming them for 25,000 miles roundtrip. Award pricing then is based on route and market price and not just availability on a single segment.
This doesn’t explain when Delta.com prices a single award ticket at 720,000 miles. Or when they charge double or triple miles for a simple domestic one-way. There are other actual problems with Delta award pricing, to be sure. But in this case, it’s an actual ‘feature’ of their system rather than a glitch.