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Update 11/17/14: To book a stopover on an international award, you need to call Delta because the functionality has been removed from the website. I speculate that starting 1/1/15, Delta awards will not allow stopovers.

One Mile at a Time reports that Delta has stealthily eliminated stopovers on awards.

That’s not quite correct, but something very fishy is going on. Here’s how I know it is not true.

Screen Shot 2014-10-28 at 11.04.43 AM

Above is a roundtrip award from Washington DC to Los Angeles. On the outbound, there is a one week stopover in Minneapolis. The award prices at 25,000 miles + $16.80, which is the same miles as it would cost without the stopover in Minneapolis–hence a free stopover. (This is $5.60 extra in taxes than if you didn’t stop in MSP.)

Screen Shot 2014-10-28 at 11.04.53 AM

But he does a larger point that many awards are not pricing with a free stopover when they should.

  • A look at the evidence
  • Delta’s explanation
  • What’s the deal?

Example

Here’s a simple award that should price at 70,000 miles in economy with a free stopover.

Seattle to Seoul roundtrip, with a stopover in Tokyo on the return
Seattle to Seoul roundtrip, with a stopover in Tokyo on the return

Instead delta.com priced it at 85,000 miles today.

Screen Shot 2014-10-28 at 10.36.26 AMScreen Shot 2014-10-28 at 10.36.32 AMThat is 35,000 miles for each long leg and 15,000 miles for Seoul to Tokyo, which is the one way price of each segment (assuming you booked a roundtrip award.)

But we should get a free stopover, so it should just price as 70,000 miles roundtrip as if Tokyo were just a layover.

I called Delta and tried to book the same flights. The agent confidently quoted 85,000 miles. When I inquired why that was the price, the wheels started to fall off. She cited:

  • flying Korean (“Partners always price at the Saver level, ma’am.”
  • the stopover (“We get a free stopover, ma’am.”)
  • availability (“That’s all Saver award space, ma’am.”)
  • that’s just the price (“A roundtrip to Northern Asia in economy is 70,000 miles according to the chart, ma’am.”)

So she went to the rate desk, and came back with the explanation that I was exceeding the maximum permitted mileage (MPM.)

This is, of course, bogus.

I am flying Seattle to Seoul direct, so there is zero chance that exceeds MPM. A return via Tokyo is fairly direct and is under 5,600 miles. MPM for Seoul to Seattle is over 5,700 according to her.

So I have no clarity on why I am not getting a free stopover on this routing, and no one seems to know. It’s almost like Delta eliminated the free stopover in their computer without telling us, the agents, or the rates desk.

Similar international dummy bookings got me the same results.

Right now, it looks to me like international awards are not being allowed a free stopover but domestic awards are.

Because even Delta agents don’t seem to know that stopovers have been eliminated, I am hoping this is a glitch. I will reach out to Delta for further clarification.

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