Delta Eliminates Stopovers On Award Tickets Without Notice!

Earlier I wrote a post entitled “Has Delta Silently Changed Award Ticket Rules?”

In it I explained Delta’s rules for longhaul award tickets — historically they’ve permitted one stopover and one open jaw on a roundtrip award ticket.

However, I noted how as of recently, itineraries with both an open jaw and a stopover were no longer pricing as before, but instead were pricing as the cumulative total of two award tickets — in this case they were pricing at 175,000 miles rather than 125,000 miles.

My conclusion was that Delta was only allowing a stopover or an open jaw on award tickets.

Well, it’s actually much worse than that, and I can’t believe I missed it.

Delta

Delta has eliminated free stopovers on SkyMiles award tickets

It seems that Delta has simply eliminated stopovers on award tickets altogether. For example, take the below very simple roundtrip award ticket between New York and Rome, with a stopover in London on the way out.

In the past it would have priced at 125,000 SkyMiles roundtrip in business class, but instead it now prices at 175,000 SkyMiles in business class, which is the cumulative cost of a transatlantic roundtrip and an intra-Europe roundtrip.

Delta-Stopover-Policy

So yep, Delta has eliminated stopovers on award tickets without notice. Not only that, but they haven’t even updated their website to reflect that stopovers aren’t allowed anymore. The SkyMiles Membership Guide says the following about stopovers:

One stopover is allowed per roundtrip Award Ticket under certain circumstances. A stopover is defined as a stay of more than 4 hours between domestic flights and more than 24 hours between domestic and international or all international flights. The destination city is not considered a stopover. A stopover is allowed, provided there are no more than two connections between the origin and destination including any connections that are made while traveling to/from the stopover point. The stopover city must be located on a valid routing.

Why did Delta eliminate stopovers?

Since we’re talking about Delta, I think “because they can” is the most likely answer.

But to expand slightly on that, my guess is that this is actually in preparation for the 2015 SkyMiles program. They’ll be introducing one-way awards for half the cost of a roundtrip, though haven’t revealed details beyond that.

Now it seems pretty evident that we’re getting one-way awards at the expense of stopovers on award tickets. It’s still a net win, but to make this change without notice — and without even updating your terms first — is ridiculous.

How do you feel about Delta eliminating stopovers on SkyMiles award tickets without notice?

Comments

  1. Thankfully most flyers can vote with their wallet and move to another program but it sucks for people that live in ATL or other Delta hubs because they really have no choice.

  2. Yikes! Was this verified through with the award reservation department? I am hoping this is just a glitch in their award pricing program – hopefully soon to be fixed. Maybe I’m a dreamer….

  3. When I first noticed it, I called Delta Platinum line and begged them to check with the international desk and re-issue desk (not sure if they are the correct names), but I was thinking exactly the same thing: I need someone that actually understood the rules to verify.

    Unfortunately, I think I tried 3 different agents and they all came back with the same story after some hold, saying it’s priced correctly with the stopover in there.

    I guess I never got anyone from Chisholm though. Wish I could find an agent who realize something has changed at the minimum.

  4. @ Denise — I can hardly count on SkyMiles reservations to know their partner airlines, let alone know the rules, so no, I haven’t verified it with any department at Delta. That being said, all awards I’ve priced have had the same issue, and I doubt it’s a coincidence with the introduction of 2015 SkyMiles imminent.

  5. I was upset after your first post, but this is even worse. The trip I was literally planning to book in two weeks when the schedule opens has now gone up in smoke. Seems like I had the right idea to flee SkyMiles…but apparently I wasn’t fast enough.

    Delta could have done this January 1 with hardly anyone being upset as part of SkyMiles 2015 and one way awards, but to do it before and with no notice is just wrong!

  6. Do you think United will follow since it has seemed to copy Delta’s moves lately? But maybe if it is like your hypothesis about the introduction of one-way awards, United already offers those.

  7. Don’t worry, your fellow douchbag BA blogger Delta Points will explain to us that’s it’s actually an improvement.

  8. Not sure about this… my friend just booked LAX-ICN-SYD round trip with a stopover at ICN yesterday. Priced out as a free stopover. Is it possible it’s still allowed on some routes? FWIW he booked over the phone.

  9. How soon do you think United will follow?

    Stopovers have been long gone on AA…

    Definitely taking a big portion of the fun out of award tickets!

  10. Since AA doesn’t allow stopovers and all rewards are really just one-ways, DL is just getting in sync with AA. UA is best with stopover and open jaw, but then again their rewards are the highest.

  11. Dang, re-price just happened this evening, within the last 2 or 3 hours. Created a 70k economy round trip itinerary with ICN/GMP stopover (co-terminal). Tried to buy online. Error said to call them. No reference number. They recreated the itinerary and said it cost 100k. Repriced it online. Exact same itinerary, now 100k!

    There goes the stopover…

  12. I find this really disgusting. No notice, no communication. The stopover and open jaw was the one redeeming quality of this crappy program. It’s going to be the wave of the future, sadly.

  13. Do we know for sure that oneway partner awards are coming. I didn’t think that Delta had announced that or at what cost ie. Half price of a round trip or 60% or ???

  14. Any possibility that this might be a system glitch caused by one-way redemption rule starting from 1st Jan?
    Hope so but think this is final and totally BS.

  15. For what it’s worth, after ONE HOUR of talking on the phone, I did manage to get them to allow me a stopover on my award ticket. Took three managers (and I am a Platinum member)… so if you get the right person… H.U.C.A

  16. I’ve told Lucky before on this, but AA’s award system seems to ALLOW stop over even on ONE way award.

    At least I managed to do it on an one way for 2 next year. with a stop over in Tokyo.

    This tells me that at least their reservation system is able to ticket a stop over without a problem.

    Here is the itin (with sensitive stuff blurred out) http://oi61.tinypic.com/25eur69.jpg
    62.5k miles each, I booked two seats.

    I did this with two agents, one to do the initial booking (SEA->LAX->NRT/HND->OKA) without stop over, the second agent I called and changed the routing (SEA->ORD->NRT) and date on to Tokyo and was she was able to leave my Okinawa leg alone.

  17. Seems a bit premature to assume this isn’t just a glitch. I would think they would have update the website if intentional. I guess we will see…

  18. Does this change include partner flights on virgin australia and virgin atlantic? Those are the only redemptions I’d do for Skymiles.

  19. This figures. On Sunday, after about 3 hours of work I was able to piece together a summer trip with a layover and open jaw. Was planning to book yesterday and last night I checked and all 3 legs were still showing available at the low level. I then built a multi-leg itinerary and #$%& me, 175k is now required.

    I’m hoping this is a glitch.

    From Delta’s perspective however, with a few exceptions any open jaw in a foreign country would be on partner airlines, thus I’m sure it costs Delta more money. In fact, I might venture to guess that it may well cost them more for the one segment on a partner airline then for the international segments on their own metal. I see why they may want to go this route, but if this recent development isn’t some sort of IT glitch their method of execution is deplorable.

  20. Yup just did a intra-Euro flight with Stopover and Open Jaw now cost 60k instead of 30k! What a disappointment!

    FCO-CDG(so)-AMS(d)-ATH(oj)

  21. Just tried a couple of times with no luck. Saved up for almost 2 years, wanting to go to DPS with a stopover in ICN for 140k. System priced out at 210k, due to stopover. Spoon fed the flights to phone reps, and even spoke to a supervisor in SLC. Supervisor told me that the stopover broke up the fare, which is bs. When I argued that I was complying with all stopover rules, which are still posted on the website, essentially I was told that since the system priced it out that way, the system must be right. No appeal or reconsideration allowed. Worn down, I finally gave up on my stopover.
    As others have said, if notice had been given, this would be a nonissue, but I feel like I got hosed for my loyalty. Now to find another program… AA, maybe?

  22. This article needs an update. Delta announced that it was a bug, and you can still book one ways if you call over the phone. That being said, it seems like it might be in anticipation of changes to come in 2015, so it seems likely they’ll eliminate one ways in the near future.

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