Ideas for awesome Delta Vacations

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Kauai, Hawaii. The view behind me is the Na Pali coast as viewed from the trail that starts at the Pu’u O Kila Lookout at Koke State Park.

If you have Delta SkyMiles, this week (through Friday 9/6/19) is the time to spend those miles.  Delta Vacations has extended their incredible promotion in which miles are worth 2 cents each towards vacation packages.  In many cases this means that you can purchase airfare, lodging, and sometimes even rental car and activities for less than you would normally pay in miles for the flight alone!  Even better, you’ll earn miles for these flights!  To help you think through how you might want to spend your miles, I’ve detailed a few attractive itineraries including a family trip to Hawaii, a family spring break trip to Orlando, and a couple of romantic luxury getaways to Europe…

Vacation Booking Tips

Here are several tips to help find the best deal:

  • Browse to deltavacations.com to search for vacation packages.
  • Estimate required SkyMiles by taking the total cost of the trip, in pennies, and dividing by 2.  For example, a $1,600.80 trip costs 160,080 pennies and therefore would cost half that with miles: 80,040 SkyMiles.
  • The current promo ends Friday September 6th at 11:59pm ET.  Make sure to book before then!
  • After booking, you have until midnight the next day to cancel with no penalty.
  • The promo requires that the package includes at least 2 hotel nights, and Delta Vacations overall requires 3 nights in Europe and 4 nights in Australia or Asia.  Still, you can save a lot by booking fewer hotel nights than the entire length of your trip.  To do so, I recommend searching for the vacation online with hotel nights for the full span of the trip, and then put that vacation on hold.  Then call Delta Vacations to say that you want fewer hotel nights.  In some cases it is possible to find hotels that are so cheap that it can be worth booking the vacation with the cheap hotel even if you have no plans to stay in that hotel at all.
  • One way to find great airfare deals is with Google Flights (see this post for details).  Filter Google Flights to Sky Team flights to find fares that should be available through Delta Vacations.  Once you identify dates with cheap airfare, try those dates with Delta Vacations.  That’s how I found the relatively cheap Delta One (business class) flights to Europe in one of the examples below.

Winter Getaway to Hawaii

Example Price: 210,000 Delta SkyMiles (52.5K per person)

Example Trip Includes:

  • Family of 4 based in or near Detroit
  • Trip Dates: Feb 5-10, 2020
  • Flight: Detroit to Lihue, Kauai
  • Rental Car: Intermediate (Seats 5)
  • Lodging: 1 Bedroom Suite at the Aston at Poipu Kai Condominium

The above trip priced out on the Delta Vacations website at $4,184.96. With the current promo, you can purchase this with 209,248 Delta SkyMiles.  That comes to 52,312 miles per person.  For the same dates, a regular Delta award currently prices out at 62,000 miles for the flight alone.

I absolutely love Hawaii.  If you’ve been dragging your heels on booking a Hawaii vacation and you’re sitting on a bunch of SkyMiles, I highly recommend using this deal as an excuse to book it now!

Family Spring Break in Orlando (33K miles per person)

Image courtesy of universalorlando.com

Example Price: 132,000 Delta SkyMiles (33,000 per person)

Example Trip Includes:

  • Family of 4 based in or near Chicago
  • Trip Dates: Saturday Feb 29 to Thursday March 5, 2020
  • Flight: Chicago to Orlando
  • Rental Car: Intermediate (Seats 5)
  • Lodging: Westgate Lakes Resort & Spa Apartments
  • Activities: Universal Orlando 2-Day 2-Park Tickets for 4 People

The above trip priced out on the Delta Vacations website at $2,638.82.  With the current promo, you can purchase this with 131,941 Delta SkyMiles.  That’s a fantastic price if you consider that it includes airfare, 5 nights lodging at a 4 star resort, rental car, and 2-Day, 2-Park Universal Orlando Theme Park tickets!  I priced this out assuming 4 adults, but if you have kids under 12, the theme park tickets should be even cheaper.

Romantic European Luxury in Paris (123K miles per person)

Eiffel Tower, Paris

Example Price: 246,000 Delta SkyMiles (123,000 per person)

Example Trip Includes:

  • Couple based in or near Los Angeles
  • Trip Dates: April 8th to 15th 2020
  • Flight: LAX to CDG (Paris) nonstop Air France Business Class
  • Lodging: Hyatt Regency Paris Etoile with Eiffel Tower view

The above trip, with Air France business class lie-flat seating, priced out on the Delta Vacations website at $4,922.66 for two people.  With the current promo, you can purchase this with 246,133 Delta SkyMiles, or just over 123,000 miles per person.  That’s an incredible price if you consider that it includes business class airfare and 6 nights lodging.  Delta usually charges far more miles for the flight alone.

Romantic European Luxury in Spain (130K miles per person)

Image courtesy of Spain’s official tourism website

Example Price: 260,000 Delta SkyMiles (130,000 per person)

Example Trip Includes:

  • Couple based in or near New York City
  • Trip Dates: May 23 to 30th 2020
  • Flight: JFK to AGP (Malaga, Spain) non-stop with lie-flat Delta One seats
  • Lodging: Higueron Hotel Malaga, Curio Collection by Hilton – Adults Only

The above trip, with business class lie-flat seating, priced out on the Delta Vacations website at $5,188.55 for two people.  With the current promo, you can purchase this with 259,428 Delta SkyMiles, or just under 130,000 miles per person.  That’s a great price if you consider that it includes business class airfare and 6 nights lodging.  Delta usually charges considerably more miles for the flight alone.

Create your vacation

The examples above are just that: examples.  I was able to price them out as shown at the time of writing, but prices change all the time so I can’t promise that you’ll find similar deals.  Best bet is to use the above examples for inspiration.  Where do you want to go and when?  Use Google Flights filtered to Sky Team flights to find great prices, then try to put together an awesome vacation on the Delta Vacations website.

Hotel considerations

It’s worth noting that while the flight will earn miles, the hotel portion will not earn hotel points.  Worse, if you have elite status, the hotel is not obliged to honor elite benefits.  That said, I’ve had luck quite a few times adding my hotel loyalty number to reservations like these after booking.  In each case, the hotel did give me elite benefits, but I still did not earn points or elite nights towards next year’s status.  One option, instead, is to book the cheapest possible hotel with no intent to stay there, and then call and reduce the price further by reducing the number of hotel nights to the bare minimum.  You would then have to book lodging separately, but you could still benefit from a great SkyMiles price on airfare.

Flight upgrades

Sometimes vacation packages book airfare as non-published fares.  This is great for saving money, but it means that these tickets are not upgradeable with miles or with even with global upgrade certificates.

Extras

Also note that it’s often possible to add extras such as amusement park tickets or airport transfers to the vacation package.  If the prices aren’t too bad, this can be worth doing since those extras can also benefit from the current deal in which SkyMiles are worth 2 cents each towards the package.

Good luck, and let us know if you find an amazing vacation…

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