Surcharge Info on All Delta SkyMiles Partners

The Delta SkyMiles program has a lot of drawbacks. One of the most annoying is that it charges fuel surcharges on award redemptions on several of its partners. For this post, I've compiled a list of SkyMiles partners that fly to the US, and I've priced out a roundtrip award from the US to their hubs in either economy or business class.

Delta miles can't be used for three-cabin first class redemptions. Awards cost the roundtrip price whether you fly oneway or roundtrip.

I've noted which awards incur surcharges and how much those surcharges are.

United 20% Discount on Awards to Europe and Off Peak to Europe Round Up

United has announced a 20% discount on economy class awards to Europe from January 15 to March 13, 2013:

United and United Express operated flights
Booked between now and November 15
Roundtrip economy class awards for 48k miles.

I'll break this promo down and compare it to the discounted awards to Europe being offered by American and US Airways.

United

Roundtrip awards entirely on planes bearing United and United Express paint jobs between the continental US, Alaska, and Canada and Europe in economy class, flown between 1/15/13 and 3/13/13, and booked between now and 11/15/12 cost 48,000 United miles.

A System to Get to Europe with Delta SkyMiles

I use three steps to get to my European destination with Delta SkyMiles. For each direction:

Find transatlantic space.
Find domestic space within the US on Delta or Alaska from my home airport to the international gateway.
Find intra-European space to my destination.

Those steps are roughly in order of difficulty--though many times finding domestic space on Delta is impossible at the low-miles price.

Reader Question: Free Oneway on Delta

Alex writes:

I’m a huge fan of your free one-way series although it left me bitter at the very beginning when I realized how many great opportunities I missed by redeeming my miles incorrectly. But I’m trying to fix it now. [Scott: I get a variation of this frequently.

Getting to Tahiti with Delta Miles

See last week's post on getting to French Polynesia with American miles.

This post will be about getting to French Polynesia–Tahiti, Bora Bora, and more–with Delta SkyMiles. This is an award I get asked to book frequently through my Award Booking Service, and I wanted to share some free tips.

French Polynesia is a French-speaking “overseas country” controlled by France. It is south of Hawaii and east of Australia. The main tourist spots are Tahiti, Bora Bora, and Mo’orea. People go to French Polynesia for the absolutely stunning beach-and-island landscape.

Free Giveaway Friday, Delta Surcharge Relief, & Platinum Card non-News

1. Your Platinum Card's Membership Rewards will drop in value for Pay With Points redemptions on February 15, 2013 from 1.25 cents to 1 cent. This is pretty close to not being newsworthy, since Pay With Points is a bad deal at 1.25 cents. I'd rather transfer to Avios, Hawaiian Airlines, or even top off a Delta account before buying a cash ticket with Membership Rewards.

The Points Guy reports that you can call AMEX to cancel your Platinum card until December 30 at 800-525-3355 and receive a prorated refund of the $450 annual fee.

Forum Buzz: Another New Prepaid Card Option, Delta Not Checking Bags to Destination

Prepaids are All the Rage--Add Another to the List (if You Live in New England)

Word on the street is that miles and points aficionados may be interested in prepaid debit cards. See How Much is Bluebird Really Worth? and my Bluebird Calculator.

The players involved have included the NetSpend card, Mio card, Wells Fargo prepaid card, US Bank and Nationwide Visa Buxx cards, and the American Express Prepaid card.

Delta Still Not Charging Surcharges on Virgin Australia Awards and Space to Australia over Christmas

This is based on a classic post from bengalimilesguru.com that Scott has edited, updated, and expanded, so it is current as of publication.

Reader Maya sent me an article from One Mile at A Time where Lucky broke the news that Delta is currently not charging high fuel surcharge fees for travel with Virgin Australia!

West Coast to Hawaii for under $300 Roundtrip All In

Delta is selling Alaska Airlines direct flights from San Diego to Maui roundtrip for $297. And American, United, and Delta are all getting in on the sub-$370 party from Los Angeles to Hawaii roundtrip.

There have recently been a ton of great deals to Hawaii. I'm not sure the cause of the sales--tourism to Hawaii is way up this year--but I've taken advantage and been trying to get everyone else to take advantage.

How to Avoid the Phone Fee on Award Bookings

The legacy carriers--United, US Airways, Delta, American--all charge a fee if you ticket your award by phone instead of online. Here's your guide to avoiding those phone fees:

United

United charges $25 per passenger if you book by phone. They will not waive this phone fee just because a booking could not be completed online. That's frustrating because many multi-city and free-oneway awards can't be booked online. They generate error messages despite being within the routing rules.

Here's how you avoid the phone fee with United:

First, search for and reserve any United flight.