Update: Air France/KLM Business Class Awards Now Bookable With Delta

Apr 4, 2012

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As I wrote about recently, for nearly the past month Delta was not able to book Air France and KLM business class awards. This created a variety of issues, including the inability for Delta to process business class upgrades even when they were available for those who paid more for upgrade eligible fares.

However, it seems that “glitch” is now fixed as I was able to do several dummy bookings online on both Air France and KLM business class.

Delta SkyMiles are hard to use because Delta.com is broken. For finding partner award space, I use ExpertFlyer, which allows me to search for it quickly, week by week, route by route. For a primer, check out my guide on using ExpertFlyer for award availability. You can also use Airfrance.us to search for classic award availability, though the interface isn’t as easy to use, though it does have a month-long search calendar that is generally reliable. I highlight that method in this post on Delta.com quirks and how to get around them.

To test out the bookability of Air France/KLM awards, I used ExpertFlyer to find O class availability and then plugged in that information on Delta.com. In this case it would be KLM nonstop from Chicago to Amsterdam and on the return Amsterdam-Paris-Chicago on Air France.

Expertflyer.com -> Awards & Upgrades -> KLM -> Business- Classic Award O Class. Bingo- 2 seats available

 

Delta.com -> Plug in city pairs and dates, business class, award ticket- search (If you have a complex award you will need to use the multi-city search engine)
100,000 mile awards (lowest level possible) show up- success!
Never believe your eyes until you actually checkout.. often you'll get "We're sorry, that itinerary is no longer available". In this case the award priced out and was ready to book.

While I’m glad this availability is back, I’m still suspicious of potential upcoming changes to the program. I hope Delta realizes that their customers want valuable awards at competitive levels. Lately I have been redeeming tons of Chase Ultimate Rewards points with United and the website and award availability is shockingly better than Delta- they have almost all 27 Star Alliance partner airline award availability online so if you are flexible you can almost always patch together a low level award. And even using American miles are wildly easier than Delta – even though AA.com doesn’t show most partners, they have great availability at low levels, especially on amazing partners like Cathay Pacific – even in first class. Delta blocks the booking of any international first class award on SkyTeam partners like Korean Airlines.

I have a feeling any new changes would be under the auspices of “making miles easier to use” when in fact they should really focus on their current sad state of affairs relating to IT and online award search availability (like this near month long “glitch”) instead of devaluing the program.

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