Tip: Search Delta round trip for international deals


In a recent week in review around the web, I highlighted a post from The Lazy Traveler’s Handbook about Delta award flights that seemed important enough to warranty a separate quick tip here: if you’re looking for international awards on Delta, search round trip for better deals (sometimes). While I generally look for award flights one-way to get a sense of availability in a particular direction, Delta’s dynamic pricing can mean that a round trip is sometimes cheaper than a one-way.

Europe economy class example

As an example, our own Stephen Pepper will be flying to Amsterdam next year and noticed this phenomenon. If you search for economy class one-way flights from New York to Amsterdam next March, you’ll find daily almost availability for 37,000 miles one way.

However, if you instead search round trip and set the flexible calendar to show 5 weeks at a time, you’ll see that you could fly round route for 34,000 miles round trip instead. You’ll save three thousand miles by booking round trip.

You might also note that March 7th, 8th, and 9th showed up at 105,000 miles when searching one-way – but those dates showed round trip rates for 42K, 46K, or 68K.

Of course, this won’t always be true. One-ways from New York to Cancun around the same time are coming up at 6,000 SkyMiles.

Round trips, while still a solid deal, aren’t cheaper than 6K.

Of course, 11K round trip to Mexico still sounds pretty amazing.

Of note: I did not see the same phenomenon on business class flights.

At any rate, it’s worth looking up round trip flights to see if they might make more sense. In Stephen Pepper’s case, the flights he booked would have been $1,132.31. He concedes that Basic Economy flights with baggage fees could have been purchased for $550. That means the 34K round trip to Amsterdam was worth around 1.46 cents per point ($550 – $54.72 = $495.28 / 34K). That’s not a bad redemption value for Delta, especially if you’re interested in conserving cash and using miles rather than waiting for miles to devalue.

Of course, keep your eye out for airfare sales as we’ve seen some for round trip basic economy flights to Europe from the high $200’s round trip. Depending on where you’re looking to go, a cash ticket might make more sense — but to make an accurate comparison, search round trip Delta awards instead of one-way.

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