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Delta is making some pretty big changes to its Skymiles award program starting in 2015. The main change is that earning miles on flights will be based on the cost of the ticket, rather than by the actual number of miles flown, but there are a few others as well. As we get towards the end of 2014, they have been slowly rolling out the changes. First we saw the improvement of their award calendar search pages, and then the release of their new award chart.
Overall the award chart changes aren’t too terrible, though we won’t know for sure until we know how much availability Delta will release in the lowest “Level 1” category.
Changes to Delta stopovers and one-way awards
Probably the biggest net-positive for the 2015 Delta Skymiles changes is the addition of one-way award. Delta is the only major airline that I can think of that does not allow you to book a one-way award, instead charging the full round-trip price even if you only fly one-way
That will change (for the better) in 2015 as you will now be able to book one-way awards at half the round-trip amount.
The big negative is that you will no longer be able to book a stopover on Delta award flights. Delta is not alone in this as American does also not allow stopovers, though it is a big blow. United for example offers a free stopover on a roundtrip international flight, and Lufthansa offers 2 stopovers AND 2 open-jaws! British Airways offers UNLIMITED stopovers, even on one-way flights!
Elimination of Stopovers
Delta has updated the terms and conditions of their Skymiles program to say:
For Award Travel booked prior to January 1, 2015, one stopover is allowed per roundtrip Award Ticket under certain circumstances. A stopover is defined as a stay of more than 4 hours between domestic flights and more than 24 hours between domestic and international or all international flights. The destination city is not considered a stopover. A stopover is allowed, provided there are no more than two connections between the origin and destination including any connections that are made while traveling to/from the stopover point. The stopover city must be located on a valid routing.
Stopovers will no longer be permitted for Award Travel booked on or after January 1, 2015.
So if you want a stopover on Delta, better book it soon! Though since you can only get one even now if there are no more than 2 connections, it’s pretty hard to wrangle, unless you live in (or are traveling to) a Delta hub.
Hopefully the addition of one-ways makes it up for you!!