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Booked Delta First To Hawaii At 75k Level And New SoundTrack

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One rule I have when booking an award ticket with Delta is to never give up. Don’t stop believing you can find an award at the low level. As a result of my booking approach, I believe the following song is a fitting soundtrack to this story of booking an award to Hawaii from Atlanta in Delta First Class at the low level. Consider the soundtrack below as you read my success story of booking a low level First Class award using Delta SkypesosMiles.

I never stopped believing and now have a low level award in Delta First Class that only required 75,000 Delta SkyMiles and $5 per ticket.

Searched Delta From Atlanta to Lihue, Kauai

My first search was from Atlanta to Lihue, Kauai. I knew there were no direct flights and a very small chance of low availability, but I had to start here first. I couldn’t find any low availability, only flights that required 135,000 SkyMiles or higher.

You must remain flexible when booking a Delta award, so I looked at the award calendar to find low level award availability, no dice. Again, only mid level award space available for the month I was looking for a flight.

Illustrative Example Of Availability Calendar

Searched Other Delta Hubs to Lihue, Kauai and Honolulu, Hawaii

The next few searches I began to search for any combination on Delta metal that came to mind. I searched to any airport in Hawaii from all of Delta’s hubs. Again, only mid level award availability was displayed on Delta’s website.

Now I knew it was time to get creative.

Booked A First Pass At An Award Itinerary

I pulled up Alaska Airlines (Delta Partner) route map and began searching expert flyer for flights to Lihue on routes that Alaska serves. After a few searches, I was able to locate a flight from the west coast to Lihue in First Class using Delta SkyMiles at the low award level. Score! <sarcasm on>My loyalty finally pays off!!!!<sarcasm off>

I did it. I found a low level Delta award in First Class from the mainland to Hawaii. Only one problem for this Delta Elite. The flight is not on Delta metal.

Delta has received my loyalty, yet I was left frustrated when trying to redeem miles on any day for a period of 4-5 months. The only way I could get an award ticket at the low level with Delta was to get creative and “find” availability with Delta or a partner.

My First pass at an itinerary is complete. The First Class award ticket has us flying from San Jose, California direct to Lihue, Kauai on Alaska Airlines in a Boeing 737.

Now the fun part begins. This is where the soundtrack comes into play. Get creative and don’t stop believing.

Get creative with your award routing from the east coast to the west coast. Build in as many segments that it takes (within routing rules) to get you to the west coast at the low award level.

Don’t stop believing until the award search results in low level award availability.

Bottom Line

Delta is notoriously stingy with their First Class award availability from the east coast to the west coast and even more so with their award availability to and from Hawaii. But if you spend a little time, and don’t stop believing, you may be able to engineer an award ticket at the low level. Even if your first or second low level award itinerary isn’t desirable, you can always book it and hope for a schedule change that will allow you to re-book onto a more desirable routing.

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About the Author

About the author: The Weekly Flyer is writes about travel from a business traveler perspective. He travels the world every week accumulating points and miles along the way. Feel free to reach me at theweeklyflyer@gmail.com

{ 11 comments… add one }

  • colleen September 16, 2012, 7:12 pm
  • James Kunz September 16, 2012, 7:13 pm

    Hey so what did your routing end up being? ATL-DTW-MSP-SJC-LIH?

  • The Weekly Flyer September 16, 2012, 7:33 pm

    Hi Colleen – Thanks :) i hope my disdain for these types of bookings showed in the post.

    Hi James – Is still very fluid. All right now is the the Alaska flights. Delta agent wouldn’t let me have a 5 hour layover in DTW for a DTW to SFO flight. Then the 30 miles between SJC and SFO threw the ticket because it is considere an open jaw and I would have to hae another open jaw on the return. This is such a messed up process. I wonder what the employees have to go through to get a ticket?

  • colleen September 16, 2012, 7:42 pm

    I thought the SJC/SFO issue would be addressed via the “all airports” clause. Not so? It’s an open jaw?

  • The Weekly Flyer September 16, 2012, 7:48 pm

    Hi Colleen – The first person I spoke with had no clue, in general. Then I got a supervisor, and it was my return that was giving me an isue and by this time the DTW to SFO direct was gone (likely in inventory blackhole as the last guy pulled it to price the ticket). I’m booked and now I can modify/add over next few months until I can get from east coast – since I’m a Platinum I can reissue tickets for free. But I’m sure the Alaska flights on the ticket will also be an issue, we’ll see.

  • Matt September 16, 2012, 8:17 pm

    Impressive if this is a recent booking, as I imagine all of the FI bookings have really eaten into AS availability to Hawaii. I managed to book my parents on to one of those ex-MSP – by my quick check one of the last 2-3 options left in February that would work with the fare rules…

    Hawaii’s a strange place for me – close and cheap enough (plus with non-premium equipment on most routes) that I feel strange about redeeming miles for it, but far enough away and expensive enough from my market (MSP, where everything’s expensive) that buying the ticket doesn’t make great sense. It just seems like that uneasy middle ground for me, especially with limited time. An awesome destination, perversely simultaneously slightly too easy and too difficult to get to.

  • Ryan September 16, 2012, 8:25 pm

    HAHAHAHAHAHH Love the music

  • Matthew September 17, 2012, 10:24 am

    Just had a very similar situation for a client–with five tickets! God bless AS for all the award space ex-SJC and OAK.

    I tried to add an ATL-SFO but even though SFO and SJC are co-terminal and I met the layover requirements (not too long…), DL refused to price it as one award. And I tried multiple times. Think 12 calls…

  • theweeklyflyer September 17, 2012, 11:01 am

    Hi Matthew – My biggest issue with this ticket is Delta giving me grief for domestic flights with a layover of greater than 4 hours. Since the SJC>LIH flight leaves first thing in the morning and arrives late at night, this rules out getting in night before or leaving day after arriving back into SJC.

    Alaska has a lot more availability out there than Delta does in F class from what I’m seeing on the LIH route.

  • AAdvantage Geek September 17, 2012, 11:16 am

    Have you checked AAvailability with any other AAirlines? :-D

  • The Weekly Flyer September 17, 2012, 12:05 pm

    Hi Aadvantage Geek. Yes, and there is good AAvailability. It requires a double connect from ATL to DFW and on the LAX, but it is there and is quite tempting.

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