Quick info: Delta is running an award sale for flights between the US and Europe. Flight must take place between October 20 and February 29, 2016 and must be booked by this Friday (August 21). The original Quick Deal about this award can be found here: Delta award sale to Europe! Round trip business for 87K; economy for 42K.
It’s ironic that in my post, The truth about Delta, I criticized Delta’s rewards program (while praising their operations and elite program), but now I’m writing a post about getting great value from Delta SkyMiles. The key is that Delta’s award sale is about to end, so if you have the miles and the inclination to go to Europe during the fall or winter, I recommend jumping on it right away. The sale ends on Friday, August 21. By my calculations, that means you have until tomorrow (assuming you’re reading this on Thursday).
To me, the award sale is exciting stuff. Business class in all of Delta’s transatlantic flights features true lie-flat seats, direct aisle access, good food (in my opinion), and a good selection of inflight entertainment options. If I had a choice I’d prefer the reverse herringbone seats found on some US Airways transatlantic flights, but Delta’s seats are good enough (and their food is significantly better).
The discounted rates are only half of the attraction. The real key is that Delta has opened up a surprising amount of award space on their own flights. It’s common to find saver level awards on Air France and Virgin Atlantic, but Delta’s own flights tend to be less available. I was able to easily book three people in business class for 87,000 miles round-trip on nonstop Delta flights from Detroit to Paris for the dates spanning my son’s school mid-winter break. It’s usually almost impossible to find three business class award tickets for a popular travel time like this, but I found plenty of availability.
To be clear: award availability varies tremendously by route. I can’t promise that you’ll find what you want, but one way to increase your odds is to search for awards to various European destinations one by one. Check Delta’s interactive route map to find options.
Travel within Europe tends to be inexpensive. So, my strategy is to get to Europe cheaply with miles (done!) and then arrange our within-Europe travel separately. Maybe we’ll spend a few days in Paris, then go on by plane or train to Portugal. Or, maybe, Italy. Or Greece. Or Spain. Or… we have plenty of time to decide.
Now I’m off to look for awards for Thanksgiving break…