Delta Isn’t Eliminating Mixed Cabin Awards (Sort Of)

Yesterday I posted about the concerning change to the FAQs of the Delta SkyMiles program.

The change Delta made regarding mixed cabin awards

Sometime over the past year the FAQs were changed from this:

CAN I COMBINE CABIN TYPES AND/OR AWARD LEVELS IN A SINGLE AWARD TICKET?

Yes. SkyMiles members have the ability to combine Economy, First, Business and BusinessElite® Class into one round-trip Award Ticket.

To this:

CAN I COMBINE CABIN TYPES AND/OR AWARD LEVELS IN A SINGLE AWARD TICKET?

No. SkyMiles members do not have the ability to combine Main Cabin, First, Business and Delta One™ Class into one round-trip Award Ticket.

When I first read that, my assumption was that this meant you couldn’t mix classes of service on a single award. For example, Avianca’s LifeMiles program has such a rule, which is quite ridiculous. With LifeMiles you can’t mix economy and business class on a single award. In other words, if you live in a city with only regional jet service, you can’t book that flight in conjunction with a first/business class flight, assuming the flight doesn’t have a premium cabin as well.

I did also note, however, that if that was Delta’s intention, it wasn’t being enforced yet. It could have just been that they were considering it in the future, and figured they’d surprise and delight us by not enforcing the policy yet. 😉

SkyMiles-4

What did Delta really mean with this change?

While (in my opinion) very poorly worded, the change was actually much simpler than the above, per Live and Let’s Fly.

As we all know, at the beginning of the year Delta SkyMiles introduced one-way awards for half the price of roundtrips, which was an exciting change (that was unfortunately about the only positive change to the program, though).

What the above is referring to is simply that on a single award you can’t book one direction in business class and one direction in economy class, for example. You can continue to book one direction in business class as one award, and then one direction in economy class as a separate award. Or for any given one-way award you can mix cabins, but you’ll just pay the cost for the highest class of service you’re flying.

Mostly this was just a back-end change with the 2015 SkyMiles changes.

When no mixed cabin roundtrip awards can be costly

Is there any downside to booking tickets as one-ways rather than a roundtrip? In the case of redeeming Delta SkyMiles, there can be.

Delta has carrier imposed surcharges for award tickets originating in Europe. So for example, if you book a roundtrip award from New York to Paris, you’ll only pay the standard taxes and fees, which come out to ~$128 roundtrip:

SkyMiles-1

Meanwhile if you book them as one-ways, you’ll still pay the same number of miles, but you’ll pay quite a bit more in fees, as you can see based on the return cost:

SkyMiles-2

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This change can make a difference, though this particular rule has been the case since the beginning of the year.

Bottom line

Ultimately it’s good news that Delta doesn’t plan on instituting this change, and really that this is just an update in terms to reflect the changes made earlier in the year.

Comments

  1. They need to drop that surcharge for Europe origination. They should add a requirement for a US address or something like that if they are concerned about cannibalizing Flying Blue.

  2. I guess, some people guessed this was Delta’s intent in yesterday’s comments. So not horrible but ex-Europe charge is quite ridiculous still.

  3. Besides the surcharge issue there’s also the matter of award change/cancellation fees. Two awards means paying the fee twice if you need to cancel the whole trip, for example.

  4. @Christian: Surprised that an award is available and delighted when it doesn’t take all the miles in your account to book it? 😉

  5. And yet, not true. I’ve booked TWO award trips to Europe this year for travel this year. Each round trip flies to Europe in business class and returns main cabin. Not two one ways, and no huge surcharge from Europe. A single trip with two classes of service. Had to call customer service to do it, but no problem at all.

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