For once the Delta website worked (mostly) how I wanted it to work. I am in Hungary right now speaking at a conference, but up until last week it was unclear exactly how I would get here. Well that’s not entirely true. I knew I would be arriving by an airplane, but the problem was that I had only booked flights from New York’s JFK Airport to Budapest. I had not yet figured out how I would be getting between New York and Minneapolis.
Why did I only book a flight from NYC to BUD in the first place? Because when booking award tickets, especially with Delta, I’ve found that it’s always best to book your overseas flights first. This is often done to lock in a low level business class award ticket from the US to Europe at only 100,000 Delta Skymiles, which is much more affordable than a peak Delta award, which may cost as much as 325,000 Skymiles. There’s no way I would pay that much for a ticket!
Usually it is not the overseas flight that costs so many Skymiles, because if you fly on a Delta partner airline the cost is always at the saver award level of 100k miles (this will be raised to 125k miles on June 1, 2014). It’s actually the domestic flight that raises the prices of Delta award tickets to astronomical levels, so if the MSP-JFK flight is not at a saver award level I will wait to book that flight in hope that costs eventually come down. (If this sounds complicated, that’s because it is! Delta’s website is notoriously awful for redeeming miles).
In my case, adding a round trip flight from MSP to JFK on my original itinerary would have cost an extra ~70,000 miles each way (priced this way for a peak domestic ticket + saver Europe ticket), which is not a good use of miles.
This meant I had three options to make this flight work:
- Pay for a flight to NYC in cash and keep the original itinerary
- Pay the extra miles in order to get the flight on a single ticket
- Try to find another way to get to Budapest using the same number of miles