Solid Delta Award Sale for Winter Travel


Delta has an award sale for economy awards booked by November 3, 2014 and flown between December 3, 2014 and February 18, 2015 within the United States, Caribbean, and Americas.

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The discounts are nice, especially to Southern South America (Chile, Argentina, Brazil):

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There are a ton of restrictions:

  • Blackout dates: December 19 through December 24, 2014, December 26, 2014 through January 5, 2015, January 16, 2015, January 19, 2015, February 13, 2015 and February 16, 2015
  • Blackout cities: Caracas, Venezuela; Cancun, Mexico; and Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
  • Minimum Stay: Tickets to/from Brazil, Argentina, and Chile require a 7-day minimum stay.

Notably I don’t see a restriction that you must fly Delta metal, so the same deal may be available on awards on Alaska Airlines, AeroMexico, and Aerolineas Argentinas, the three key Delta partners in these regions.

  • What are the best deals?
  • What about stopovers and free one ways?
  • Where can you search the relevant Delta partners?
  • What is the award space picture on Delta flights?
  • Why would I consider flying a Standard (ie not a Saver) award during this sale?

The best percentage discounts on Saver awards are on awards within the continental United States and to Southern South America at about 16%.

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But don’t sleep on those Standard awards either. Delta notoriously releases very little Saver award space. But with this promotion, a Standard award is only 32,000 miles roundtrip within the United States, which isn’t terrible when that’s 32,000 Delta miles, which I generally find to be the least valuable.

Even better, if you book one way with Saver award space and one way with Standard award space, the price will average. (You’ll pay half of 21,000 + 32,000.) That makes a roundtrip only 26,500 miles, which isn’t half bad when one direction has Standard award space only.

Screen Shot 2014-10-30 at 8.14.44 PMScreen Shot 2014-10-30 at 8.14.49 PMAward Space to South America

Award space to Southern South America on the routes I checked was terrible, which is a shame because their summer is a lovely time to visit.

Green = Saver, Yellow = Standard, Blue = Peak on all charts

Here is Atlanta to Buenos Aires in December.

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There are opportunities to fly one way in Saver and return in Standard, which prices at a reasonable 72,500 miles, which is half the Saver discounted price plus the normal Standard price. (Only reasonable because these are Delta miles. I’d hate to burn that many AA or US Airways miles for economy.)

Screen Shot 2014-10-30 at 7.51.14 PMScreen Shot 2014-10-30 at 7.51.08 PM

Here is Atlanta to Santiago in February. You see the same pattern of little Saver space.

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You can book a one week roudntrip for 50,000 miles.

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Screen Shot 2014-10-30 at 7.55.07 PM Searching Delta Partners

The terms do not say anywhere that you have to fly Delta flights to get these discounts. I can’t shake the feeling that you DO have to fly only Delta flights, but it doesn’t say that.

Please leave a comment if you try to book a partner at the sale price.

Stopovers, Free One Ways

Stopovers are still possible on Delta awards, even domestic awards.

Here are all the routing rules for Delta awards with regards to stopovers, open jaws, and free one ways.

Bottom Line

You have a few days to book cheaper Delta awards in the western hemisphere for winter travel.

Hat Tip View from the Wing

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  1. Seems like a kind of circular reasoning – “I’m willing to spend more for an award on Delta because the points are less valuable because it costs more of them for an award on Delta.” But maybe that’s the only reasoning possible with this airline, so I guess the sale is a good thing for some.

    I think I’ll wait until the new year when one ways are possible. Then I might be able to find one leg on Delta and the other on a carrier with a more useful program.

    • Not circular..

      If delta normally worth 0.01/point and united 0.02/point, then a sale that values points at 0.015 is a great use of delta points but a bad use of anything else.

      • Yep. This is my reasoning. Delta miles worth 1.2 cents. United around 1.5. American 1.8. US Airways 1.9. So I’m willing to spend more Delta miles than other types of miles for a trip.

        But DaveS is also right that I am being a bit circular. Why do I value Delta miles less? One of the main reasons is less Saver award space (ie having to spend more miles for the same trip.)

          • Use them to go wherever you want. Just know that you may need to be VERY flexible with your dates to find Saver award space. I think there is good availability with partners to Europe and Africa.

  2. Trying to book an award but still getting around 70,000 miles standard award for round-trip from JFK to LAX although the dates are among the window they are indicating. any idea why?

    • That doesn’t make any sense. The peak price is only 60k roundtrip, so I can’t imagine how you are getting 70,000 miles as the price. What do you mean by “around” 70k? It makes me think you clicked Pay with Miles instead of doing an award search.


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