How to Book Free Stopovers Online: Delta Airlines

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A few days ago, I talked about how to book free stopovers online on United and American awards. This post is about booking free stopovers on Delta. Just as the other posts were preludes to booking free oneways online, tomorrow I will describe how to book free oneways on Delta awards. It will involve booking free stopovers online, so read this post carefully.

Delta is the only airline that allows free stopovers on domestic flights, so I’ll show an example of that. I’ve decided to fly Los Angeles to Atlanta roundtrip with a free stopover in Minneapolis on the outbound, so my first flight will be LAX-MSP. We have to find availability on that flight first.

Why do we have to find availability on LAX-MSP first when we were able to go straight to a multicity search for American and United stopovers? Because as you’ll see in a later screen shot, Delta doesn’t tell you what the price of each segment is when you search multicity. That means you need to find low level availability segment by segment before you search multicity.

After going to delta.com and beginning to type an airport into the search screen, this pops up:

I’ve highlighted several things. First, you should select One-way at this point. (I’ve highlighted Multi-city, so you know where it is later, but right now we want One-way.)

Next I’ve typed in the airports for my first segment, LAX-MSP, and the date. After checking the Book SkyMiles Award Ticket, I clicked More Booking Options. (More Booking Options was where Fewer Booking Options is on this screen.)

After clicking More Booking Options, I checked My Dates are Flexible, which will bring us to a calendar screen, so we can quickly select a date with low level availability. Click Find Flights, and you’ll be taken here:

Green days indicates the availability of the cheapest awards, so select a green day, and click Find Flights. I’ve highlighted where to click to toggle between Economy award space and First/Business award space in case you want to fly up front.

After selecting a green day, you’ll be taken to a screen that lists all the possible routings or the first portion of your itinerary, listed from fewest miles needed to most. The top of my screen looked like this:

 

When looking at the screen, it’s important to remember that Delta charges the same amount for a roundtrip or a oneway award ticket. So a domestic oneway at low level availability costs 25,000 miles, not 12,500 like you might have expected to see. For my final itinerary to cost 25,000 miles, I need all my segments to have low level prices of 25,000 miles.

At this stage, I note whenthe flight I want departs because I’ll need to select it on a later screen.

Now that I’ve found low level availability for LAX-MSP and noted the time and date of the flight, it is time to do the same for MSP-ATL and ATL-LAX. The process is the exact same, so I won’t go through it.

Once I’ve found low level availability on all three segments and noted the flight times and dates, it’s time to put it all together. On the flight search screen on the Delta homepage, select Multi-city. (You can refer to the first screen shot in this post if you can’t find the Multi-city link.) The Multi-city search screen looks like this:

Check the Book SkyMiles Award Ticket box, type in your airports and dates you’ve found, and click Find Flights to be taken to the next screen where you’ll see why we had to search segment by segment earlier:

The problem with doing a multicity search is that it shows all the possible itineraries without their miles price. That’s why we found low level availability searching segment by segment. We’ll take that info and find the same flights here.

For instance I’ve highlighted the flight I found earlier with low level availability from LAX-MSP.

Select the appropriate flight for each segment–the flights you found to have low level availability on your other searches. After selecting all three segments, you’ll come to this screen:

Success! My Los Angeles to Atlanta roundtrip has a free stopover in Minneapolis. The award priced at the normal rountrip coach award price of 25,000 miles.

Using a stopover on a Delta award can be a very valuable addition to the award. But we’re not done yet. Tomorrow we’ll use our expertise at booking free stopovers at Delta.com to tack on free oneways to our Delta awards.

So check back tomorrow and follow @milevalue on twitter. Following me is especially valuable since one of the ways to enter my giveaway of a $67 AA gift card is to be a follower of mine.

Bonus

Can you get the private offer of the SkyMiles credit card with 45k bonus miles? Find out in three steps.

1. Go to CARDMATCH and enter in your personal data.

2. Click on Exclusive Offers if the opportunity presents itself.

3. Apply?

After meeting the minimum spending requirement you’d have 50,000 Delta miles–enough for two roundtrips within the continental US. I probably wouldn’t apply for this card though if I wanted to use the miles that way though.

SkyMiles are best for trips to Australia, Asia, Tahiti, Africa, and Europe. To get to any of these places, you’ll need a few more SkyMiles, which are easy to come by by way of 1:1 transfers from Membership Rewards.

I would certainly apply for this card if I didn’t have a SkyMiles card already. While Delta miles are tougher to use than American, United, and US Airways miles, that doesn’t mean they should be ignored.

Here is the full offer that I can glean from my friend’s offer page:

Gold Delta SkyMiles Personal Card

  • The SkyMiles personal card comes with 45,000 total bonus Delta miles–25k on first purchase and 20k more after $5,000 in purchases in the first six months.
  • You earn one SkyMile per dollar on all spending plus 2 per dollar on Delta purchases
  • You get a free checked bag for you and up to eight companions on Delta flights
  • Zone 1 Boarding
  • 20% off onboard purchases
  • There is no annual fee the first year, then $95 thereafter.

What are the chances CARDMATCH will offer you the SkyMiles offer?

I’m not sure, and please report your data point in the comments. I didn’t get the increased offer (although I currently have a Delta SkyMiles card). My first friend didn’t get the offer. My second friend did.

It only takes about twenty seconds to find out if you are targeted for the 45k SkyMiles offer, so you might as well find out.

8 Responses to How to Book Free Stopovers Online: Delta Airlines

  1. That is sweet as long as you can find low awards. Plus, Delta tends to open last minute low awards. Of cause, Avios is another good option for last minute award ticket.

    • Exactly. If you have complete flexibility, which I do in some cases, you can find the space, but sometimes it seems like you need complete flexibility to find a low level on Delta. I think I mentioned in one post that are literally 0 low awards between LAX and HNL for the next 330 days on Delta.

  2. Do each of the segments have to be nonstop in order for this to work?

    I have found green days for a BOS-IAH-LAX-BOS itinerary, but it keeps pricing at 37,500. I did separate searches to identify green level availability for each BOS-IAH, IAH-LAX, and LAX-BOS, and it shows as 3 different segments when I go to price the award.

    However, a couple of the segments have short layovers (a couple hours max) at other airports. Is that causing it not to price at 25,000? If so, then it seems the free stopover can only be taken a Delta hub (or at least only between 2 nonstop flights).

    • Have you read “Free Oneways on Delta”? It addresses this topic. You need to take a valid routing according to Delta’s rules. You cannot route through Houston from Boston to LA on Delta on a paid ticket, so you can’t do it on an award.

  3. Pingback: Free Oneways on Delta Awards | milevalue.com

  4. Did the Delta stopover prices change recently? I followed the steps listed for:
    LAX-SFO (flight 4607)
    SFO-BOS (flights 854 & 1722)
    BOS-LAX (flights 3471 & 21833)
    yet I always get the price for 37,500 instead of 25,000.

    When choosing each one-way route, I made sure that the fares listed were the cheapest @ 25,000 miles, yet when I compile them into a multi-city route, it always shows up as 37,500 total. Do each of these flights have to be non-stop?

    Thanks!

  5. This is super helpful – thanks for breaking it down. Might want to remove the bonus offer since it’s no longer valid.

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