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Delta now offers awards within the United States for as little as 10,000 miles one way in economy. Previously the minimum price for a domestic award was 12,500 miles (or at least I think it was, since Delta doesn’t have an award chart anymore.) From the press release:

New One-Way Award tickets beginning as low as 10,000 miles plus taxes and fees, available through Dec. 31, 2015 for travel in select U.S., Mexican and Caribbean markets. Customers can now fly to several popular Award destinations with a 21-day minimum advance purchase.

That’s excellent news, though note that the sale is only temporary. The cheapest awards for domestic travel in 2016 price out at 12,500 miles. For instance, here is Atlanta to New Orleans, one of the routes with 10,000 mile awards in 2015.

Screen Shot 2015-03-10 at 6.48.08 PM

Note that the 10,000 mile days abruptly end on December 31 and are replaced in January 2016 with 12,500 mile days.

But my biggest question is what routes are on sale for 10,000 miles? Delta, taciturn as ever, doesn’t say. I did some digging, and I’m still not sure.

What Routes Are on Sale?

United has a similar offer. It offers 10,000 mile domestic awards for itineraries 700 miles or less.

Screen Shot 2015-03-10 at 3.03.36 PM

For instance, Houston to Atlanta is 10,000 United miles at the Saver level because it just under 700 miles in the air.Screen Shot 2015-03-10 at 3.03.50 PM So, I thought, maybe Delta’s 10,000 mile awards are also under a set distance. I searched award prices on a bunch of close-ish awards from Atlanta to check my theory.

Screen Shot 2015-03-10 at 6.43.08 PM

Here were the results:

  • Charleston, WV (363 miles flown): 12,500 SkyMiles
  • Cincinnati (373 miles flown): 12,500 SkyMiles
  • Tampa (406 miles flown): 10,000 SkyMiles
  • New Orleans (425 miles flown): 10,000 SkyMiles
  • Indianapolis (432 miles flown): 12,500 SkyMiles
  • Baton Rouge, LA (448 miles flown): 10,000 SkyMiles
  • Little Rock, AR (453 miles flown): 12,500 SkyMiles
  • Richmond (481 miles flown): 12,500 SkyMiles
  • St. Louis (484 miles flown): 12,500 SkyMiles
  • Pittsburgh (526 miles flown): 12,500 SkyMiles
  • Chicago (606 miles flown): 12,500 SkyMiles
  • Houston (689 miles flown): 12,500 SkyMiles

So the sale is not distance-based, at least not strictly so.

Can you fly from one city on that list to another via Atlanta for 10,000 miles if both cost 10,000 miles from Atlanta?

Yes! You can fly from one city on the 10,000 mile list from Atlanta to another on the 10,000 mile list for the same 10,000 SkyMiles. For instance, Tampa to New Orleans–both on the 10,000 mile list from Atlanta–is 10,000 SkyMiles.

Screen Shot 2015-03-10 at 6.53.41 PMSo maybe the sale works like this: certain cities are selected and domestic awards to/from those cities at the Saver level all cost 10,000 miles. That would mean all awards to/from Tampa were 10,000 miles.

That’s not the case! You cannot fly from a 10,000 mile city to a 12,500 mile city for 10,000 miles. Such an award costs 12,500 miles. Tampa (on the 10,000 mile list from Atlanta) to Little Rock (on the 12,500 mile list from Atlanta) is 12,500 SkyMiles.

Screen Shot 2015-03-10 at 7.09.48 PM

With all this data, the sale must work like this:

Certain city pairs determined by Delta will cost 10,000 SkyMiles one way for awards flown by December 31, 2015. Delta hasn’t listed those city pairs. You can combine city pairs that are on the 10,000 mile list, so if A <-> B and B <-> C are on the list, A-B-C costs 10,000 miles also.

Got it?

The question remains: which city pairs cost 10,000 miles? Let us know the ones you find in the comments, especially if they are awards to Mexico and the Caribbean


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