According to Delta’s website: “Round-the-World Award Tickets will not be issued on or after January 1, 2015.” (Hat Tip Delta Points)

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I called Delta at 800-323-2323 to ask about booking a RTW award, and the agent said that it was just announced today to representatives that RTW awards would no longer be bookable starting January 1, 2015. She said it was a short communique announcing their demise.

I mused aloud, “I wonder why,” to see if she had any insight into the thinking. She didn’t, replying with “I wonder too.”

Delta RTW awards are a specialty of the MileValue Award Booking Service, and a good value since they were untouched by last year’s double devaluation of the Delta chart.

I”ll give a brief rundown of the rules and prices for Delta RTW awards, so that you can book or plan one before the January 1, 2015 ticketing deadline.

  • What are the rules for a Delta RTW award?

Delta RTW awards cost 180,000 miles in economy and 280,000 miles in business. As usual, you cannot book three-cabin first class award tickets with Delta miles. In addition to the miles, you are responsible for government taxes plus fuel surcharges for flights on these Delta partners.

  1. To book, call 800-323-2323 and ask the SkyMiles reservation agent to connect you to the Round-the-World desk, which is open from 7 AM to 11 PM ET.
  2. You are limited to 16 segments on a RTW award. An open jaw counts as a segment.
  3. You can only use SkyTeam partners on Delta RTW awards. Award space on non-SkyTeam Delta partners like Virgin Australia cannot be used.
  4. You must use Saver award space on all segments.
  5. Your award must have 3-6 stops plus open jaws.
  6. Your award must cross the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
  7. Your stopover cities must be in order, traveling east or west. Look up the longitude of each airport where you want to have a stopover greater than 24 hours (ie, not just a layover) and make sure that you are traveling east between stopover cities for the entire trip or west between stopover cities the entire trip.
  8. The same rule applies to the points of an open jaw. If you’re on a Delta RTW award that is traveling east, your open jaw needs to end east of where it began.
  9. Changes and cancellations are $150 just like with other SkyMiles tickets, and these fees are waived for Platinum and Diamond elites.

The MileValue Award Booking Service will be happy to help you book a Delta RTW award before January 1, 2015. Since individual award flights can be booked about 11 months in advance, this award can include travel until about December 1, 2015.

Losing Delta RTW awards is a minor blow, on the heels of Delta’s recent announcement that limits transfers of Membership Rewards and Starpoints to Delta in 2015. But I’ve never booked myself a Delta RTW award and had no plans to. The award isn’t quite the value that American Airlines RTW awards were when they were killed off in April.

As RTW award options die, the best deal will be to book big trips as a series of one way awards and specifically to find incredible sweet spots for awards between different international regions.

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