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:
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:
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.