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Yesterday I posted “Not April Fools: Delta Has the Best Award Space to Asia I’ve Ever Seen.

I showed screen shots of how incredibly available–every day for months–Saver award space was on Delta flights from the west coast to Asia. And I said: “Delta currently has some of the best award space I’ve ever seen on any airline on international routes on almost all of its west-coast-to-Asia routes for all of 2014.”

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100% Saver availability is the best I’ve ever seen.

What I didn’t say is that all the screen shots were for one-passenger searches. Almost no Delta flights from the west coast to Asia have two Saver award seats in business or economy.

The omission inspired Gary Leff to write Delta Is Great for Award Availability If You Don’t Like Your Spouse. The post is a bit “glass half empty” for my taste, trying to find problems related to award availability instead of solutions.

Let me offer two solutions to the problem:

Problem: Delta flights from the west coast to Asia only have one Saver award seat per cabin on most days in 2014. That isn’t great for couples traveling together.

Solution #1: Book one economy roundtrip and one business class roundtrip on the same flights. Or you can even book one roundtrip with a business outbound and economy return and one roundtrip with an economy outbound and business class return.

Solution #2: Collect miles that can book routes with incredible award space for 2+ people to Asia.

Full glass-half-full details on both solutions after the jump!

Solution #1: Book one economy roundtrip and one business class roundtrip on the same flights.

Gary mentions booking one award at the Saver level and one at the Standard level:

You can of course book one ticket at the low award price and a second at the medium (more expensive) level where that’s available.

For travel June 1, 2014 or later, that would run you 380k Delta miles for two roundtrips in business class from the US to Northern Asia–140k for one at the Saver level and 240k for one at the Standard level.

I’d propose a different way to get a couple on the same flights: book one economy roundtrip and one business class roundtrip on the same flights.

That would cost 190k miles for travel before June 1 and 210k miles for travel after June 1.

To more equitably divide the business class time, you can even book one roundtrip with an outbound in business and return in economy and the other roundtrip with the opposite cabins. That way you both get one long leg in a flat bed. Such mix-and-match roundtrips are 95k/105k miles for travel before/after June 1.

To book a mix-and-match award, perform a one-passenger search and select that your dates are flexible to bring up the award calendar.

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Set one calendar to Economy and the other to First/Business.

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Select your flights, and you should–assuming no errors from–come to a screen charging you half the roundtrip economy price plus half the roundtrip business class price.

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Put the first mix-and-match on hold with the hold trick that MileValue broke last week, and repeat the process with the second mix-and-match award, selecting the same flights but opposite cabins as the first award.

This solution is not for you if you need to sit next to your companion.

This solution also will give one of you lounge access each direction, but not the other since international business class awards include lounge access. Maybe one person can sneak out a little food. 😉

For me, neither of these inconveniences is very problematic. If they’re deal breakers for you, consider solution #2.

Solution #2: Collect miles that can book routes with incredible award space for 2+ people to Asia.

Eleven days ago, Bill wrote about fantastic business and first class award space on Air China flights, a fantastic product bookable with United miles. He showed amazing award space for up to four people in the same cabin on the same flight.

Here’s the current award space from San Francisco to Beijing for two people on direct flights with United miles. Almost every day in September and October has 2+ seats in business or first class on a direct flight, and most days have the same for economy class.

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Space is abundant in business class and first class on the Air China flight and wide open on the United flight too.

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Last year, I wrote about fantastic business class award space from the US to Taiwan and beyond on EVA Airlines with United miles.

This July and August–though not this Spring–award space is wide open on EVA flights from Los Angeles to Taipei for two passengers in economy and business class.

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Tahsir reviewed the business class, and it looks to be one of the very best in the world.

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How about with American Airlines miles?

Chicago to Shanghai has great space in First Class for a couple that can depart Tuesday through Thursday.

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The Shanghai to Chicago flight has even more widely available First Class space for a couple. I reviewed American Airlines First Class here. It was plenty comfortable for me to catch a lot of sleep, though I wouldn’t describe it as a truly aspirational product.

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Getting the Miles

Flights in this post are bookable with Delta, American, United, and US Airways miles. Depending on the route that caught your eye, go check The Best Cards to Earn United, American, Delta, US Airways, Alaska, Southwest, and British Airways Miles.


I’m sorry for omitting that the fantastic west-coast-to-Asia award space on Delta flights for all of 2014 in economy and business class is for one passenger per cabin per flight only. If you mainly travel solo like I do, you can completely ignore this post and have your pick of the litter on Delta flights from the west coast to Asia.

Gary was right to point out my omission.

If you usually travel with a companion, I have two solutions to the Delta space problem:

  1. Travel on the same flights in different cabins.
  2. Collect miles for flights that do have incredible award space for two passengers in the same cabin like the three mentioned in this post.

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