Why I paid 65,000 miles for a domestic flight


A couple of weeks ago I described how I was able to book two first class tickets for less than the price of one coach ticket.  I thought it might have been an isolated glitch, but readers found a number of other cases where this was possible. The trick is that you need the companion certificate issued to Delta Reserve cardholders.

After I booked two of us into first class for $724.80 all-in (using my companion certificate), I wasn’t done.  There would be three of us traveling for the holidays and we’d like to be on the same flight.  I figured that the quoted $810 price for economy had to be an error.  I decided to wait and see if the price came down.

The next day, I checked again, but found that the price had gone up.  It would now cost me $887 for the same flight!  Unperturbed, I setup a Google Flights alert.  Google will let me know when the price goes down.  Two weeks later, I see that the price went up again.  As I write this, Google tells me that the new price is $926.  This is for a 3 hour domestic flight!  Crazy.

Maybe I’m being overoptimistic, but I still think the price will come down.  But, to hedge my bets, I booked myself an award ticket for the flight.  Delta demanded 65,000 miles for the round-trip flight, in coach.  That’s a ridiculously high price for a domestic economy ticket, but I paid it.  I want to travel with my family after all.

Thanks to having high level elite status with Delta, I can cancel or change awards for free until 72 hours before the flight.  So, until then, I’ll continue to watch for prices to go down.  If prices drop far enough, I’ll book the paid flight and cancel the award.  Or, even better, if award prices drop, I’ll re-book with the lower award price.

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