Delta Eliminating SkyMiles Stopovers In 2015

Well, I think we all saw this coming.

A few weeks ago, Delta changed their pricing engine to no longer allow stopovers on award tickets. Previously one stopover was allowed on a roundtrip, while using the new pricing engine, awards with stopovers priced cumulatively (meaning you were paying extra for your stopover).

The next day a Delta spokesperson explained that this was caused by a recent IT change at delta.com, and that no change had occurred in the award stopover policy. The spokesperson claimed that stopovers continue to be bookable by phone, though that’s not entirely true. Delta SkyMiles agents use the same pricing system that delta.com does, so in order to get a free stopover the agent has to manually price the award ticket. And that requires a lot of hanging up and calling again.

Reading between the lines, I think the implications were perfectly clear — Delta was starting to set up the IT for the 2015 SkyMiles program, and part of that was eliminating free stopovers on award tickets.

Delta-SkyMiles-2015

It looks like that’s now official. Delta made the following update to their SkyMiles terms and conditions (bolding mine):

For Award Travel booked prior to January 1, 2015, 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.

Stopovers will no longer be permitted for Award Travel booked on or after January 1, 2015.

Am I sad to see them eliminate stopovers on award tickets? Yes.

Do I wish they had announced that they’d eliminate stopovers the same time they announced they’d add one ways? Absolutely.

Am I surprised to see them announce the good news early and the bad news late? Nope.

All things considered, would I trade stopovers for the ability to book one way awards for half the cost of a roundtrip? Absolutely.

I also have to give Delta credit for rolling out a new SkyMilesaward calendar, which makes searching award space online almost infinitely easier.

Delta-SkyMiles-Award-Calendar-5

Anyway, if you want to book a roundtrip SkyMiles award ticket with a stopover, make sure you do so by December 31, 2014.

Which do you find more valuable: stopovers on roundtrip awards, or one way awards for half the cost of a roundtrip?

Comments

  1. I value one-ways at half the cost of a roundtrip more than a stopover on a roundtrip ticket. I’ve noticed from my own travels that I rarely use stopovers on award tickets.

  2. Stopovers are so much more valuable than one way tickets. You get to see two cities, or have two meetings for the price of one.
    And another one bites the dust.

  3. The proof is in the pudding….if one ways were more valuable than stopovers, they would have kept things as is.

  4. for me one ways are more valuable… sometimes there is not much availability and it helps being able to book an award with one alliance on the outbound and another one on the return.

  5. I was never able to price award tickets all the way to New Zealand before, but now they’re available (LAX to Wellington) for the same price as a LAX to Sydney award at 160,000 SkyMiles for biz on Virgin Australia. I’m going to play around with it and see if I can find any other changes. To get from Atlanta to Australia in biz typically cost 240,000 SkyMiles for whatever reason, but I was just now able to find that award for 160,000 with Korean Air via Seoul. It’s a longer trip, but it’s a way to go and you get to be in KE biz class on the A380.

    Still not able to price award tickets to Tahiti on Air Tahiti Nui.

  6. To be perfectly fair though, DL did give far more warning than AA did when they elimnate (NA) stopovers in April.

  7. Somehow, Alaska is able to offer both oneways and stopovers, so this is clearly just a cash (miles) grab. Domestic stopovers was one of the only reasons I would ever pay the medium/high price, nuts to that now.

  8. What is Delta’s motivation in eliminating stopovers on award tickets? How does a stopover cost the airline anything additional? It seems like a punitive de-facto devaluation of award miles to me.

  9. Just wait. The other shoe dropping will be when they announced that no award can have more than two connections each way.

    Honestly, it wouldn’t surprise me at all.

  10. They say a stopover is more than 4 hours. But what happens when there is more than 4 hours between connections? It happens. Please let us know about that.

  11. I imagine stopovers are used very infrequently by casual mile redeemers, so other than us vocal users, I have to imagine the one way awards are a net win for most SkyMiles users. It’s also worth noting that right now SkyMiles award to Europe and Australia is a millions times better than AA. Stopovers only help if you actually can book an award to the stopover location.

  12. US to Mauritius with a stopover in Europe. US to Asia with a stopover in Australia. Need I say more about which is more valuable, stopover or one-way?

  13. I saw this coming, but it’s very disappointing to see it confirmed. I definitely prefer the old SkyMiles award routing rules, especially with the award space availability that Skymiles is known for. If you can find low-level award space from your hometown to an intermediate point, and then from the intermediate point to your final destination a few days later, then it would be great to be able to book a stopover. In addition, I agree with deltahater’s comment and M’s comment.

    Also, like I said 12 days ago, I’m concerned that this will encourage United MileagePlus and Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan to end stopovers. I’m even concerned that writing this comment right now might influence them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *