Why Delta Going One Way on Awards is a Huge Deal


Right now, you pay the same price for a roundtrip award and a one way award booked with Delta miles. Obviously, under current rules, booking a one way award is foolish.

Starting January 1, 2015, we will be able to book one way Delta awards for half the price of roundtrips. (We lose the ability to book stopovers on Delta awards the same day.)

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To me the ability to book one way awards is especially valuable with Delta miles.

  • Why?

The knock on Delta miles has long been that there just isn’t much Saver award space available.

I actually think that point is way overblown. There is fantastic international award space available on Delta’s SkyTeam and other partners. The problem is really just getting to the international gateway city at the Saver level on Delta flights, which doesn’t affect people who already live in big SkyTeam cities like New York, Atlanta, Detroit, Minneapolis, Los Angeles, and Seattle.

But I do agree that it is harder to redeem Delta miles between point A and point B than it is to redeem United and American miles.

This is compounded by the fact that you shouldn’t redeem Delta miles from point A to point B. You need to redeem them from point A to point B back to point A because of roundtrip pricing on all Delta awards. That can be really hard to do at the Saver level.

Frequently I’ve looked to book myself a Delta award and found Saver availability one direction on a suitable date but Standard or Peak availability in the other direction. That means I would scrap the whole award. I didn’t want to redeem a roundtrip award with one direction at the Standard or Peak price, and I really didn’t want to book a one way Delta award.

But in 37 days, we can book that one way Saver award with Delta miles and book the way home with United or American Airlines miles. I’ll finally get to draw down my Delta balance.

The bottom line is that Delta miles benefit the most from gaining the ability to book awards one way because space is the toughest to find at the Saver level for both directions of a roundtrip award.

Whether United awards are required to be booked as roundtrips or allowed as one ways isn’t as huge of a difference because space is better with United miles. But these are Delta miles. Being able to book one way awards instead of waiting and waiting for the perfect time to book a roundtrip award at the Saver level makes a huge difference.

A huge enough difference that I am not too bummed about losing stopovers on Delta awards. I’m just excited to be able to use my Delta miles for one way awards. Is it January 1 yet?

Also see:

5 Best Products to Book One Way with SkyMiles

Virgin Australia Business Class One Way for 80k Miles Starting 1/1/15


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  1. It’s not Jan. 1 yet, but not living in a Delta hub city I can’t wait either. Look at it mathematically. If there’s a one in 20 chance you’ll find a seat one way on Delta that works for you, then to get the round trip, the chances are 1 in 400, or practically impossible. After Jan. 1, if seats are available one way, I can work down my Delta balance by using that carrier in one direction and a carrier with a legitimate program (AA, UA, AS, WN) in the other direction. The loss of stopovers is no big deal in my case since if it’s one in 400 for me to find a simple itinerary with a seat available, it’s one in 8,000 to find one with a stopover.

  2. I wouldn’t say that Seattle is “a big SkyTeam city”. It is a pretty big Delta city but the only other SkyTeam airline that flies to Seattle is Korean to Seoul. Seattle is a much bigger Star Alliance city with service on Luthansa, EVA, Asiana, ANA, and Air Canada in addition to United.

  3. The (huge) downside is that they haven’t mentioned adjusting one-way ticket prices to compensate. So if you book a one-way award, the one-way paid return can actually cost more than a paid round trip.

    • I am envisioning booking two one way awards. One with Delta miles and one with AA or United miles. I am not envisioning booking a cash ticket one way.

  4. I am right there with you Scott. I am planning on booking a one way business class to Europe in Jan using Skymiles and the other way using United.

    • Awesome. I want to book one way with Delta miles from USA to Europe in March. Then maybe return in August with Delta or another type of miles.

  5. re Delta one-way awards. I know it’s all over the net about DL’s new one-way award tables but is anyone concerned about the statement at the top of each award table :-
    “Award mileage shown is each-way based on a required round-trip or multi-leg Award Ticket purchase.”? Do we have clarification / confirmation that one-ways are indeed available on a stand-alone basis?


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