Buried deep in the award chart devaluation that Delta announced last August, they also quietly stopped allowing holds on award tickets as of September 9, 2013. If there’s one airline where award holds are useful it’s Delta, because you’re simultaneously dealing with one of the industry’s worst online award search tools and the industry’s worst mileage award booking agents. Only some space shows up online while agents can’t see other space over the phone, so it tends to turn into a bit of a cluster*#$%, to put it mildly. Instead they now allow you to cancel or change your award within 24 hours at no cost, which is better than nothing, I suppose.
Anyway, Milevalue just shared a pretty simple trick for holding Delta SkyMiles award tickets.
Just start the process of making an award booking as you usually would. Once you’re quoted a price in miles just hit “Continue.”
On the next page you’ll be prompted to enter passenger information, so do that as you usually would.
Hit “Continue” once again, and you’ll be brought to the final purchase page where you can confirm the award. At this point you’d usually scroll all the way to the bottom of the page and click “Redeem Award,” which you’re not going to do in this case.
Instead scroll to the top of the page and click “Delta,” right above the “Verify & Redeem” text. This will take you back to the home page of delta.com.
Once there you’ll see the flight you were booking under the “My Trips” section.
There will be a confirmation number and a “Redeem Now” button, though at that point the itinerary is on hold for a couple of hours, and you can book either online or by phone.
So this definitely isn’t as useful as it used to be. You used to be able to hold SkyMiles awards when you didn’t have enough miles in your account. In this case you need enough miles in your account or else you won’t even be able to get to the “Verify & Redeem” page, because instead the previous page will have this message:
Still, I can see this being useful under some circumstances. If I have to book a SkyMiles award over the phone (due to travel on partner airlines that don’t show on delta.com) I’d rather already have something on hold so that the passenger name and some segments are in there. Then they should be able to pretty easily add the segments that you want over the phone and then ticket the award.
It’s ultimately not that much more useful than just ticketing a placeholder itinerary online and then calling within 24 hours to modify it for free, but hey, it’s another option at least.