Today only (Wed, Oct 3), Delta is running a flash sale for tickets booked with Skymiles. Specified city pairs are on sale, some for as low as 10,000 Skymiles round-trip. You must book today. The travel period for domestic flights is October 24 through March 7, 2019. 21-day advance purchase required. There are also a handful of international deals from Atlanta to Mexico/Caribbean/Central & South America, plus a route from Salt Lake City to Los Cabos, Mexico.
The link to the Delta “Skymiles Deals” page can be found here:
Details & Analysis
Lately, Delta has been running flash Skymiles sales each Wednesday. If you’re looking for award travel within the next few months on Delta, right now it’s worth waiting until the next Wednesday to see what you can find on Delta’s weekly flash sales.
Delta announces its flash sales by listing specific city pairs; however, even if your city pair is not listed, you’ll want to check the rates on flash sale day. Delta seems to make other unadvertised city pairs available at discounted rates as well. (Of course, since Delta doesn’t publish an award chart, it can be hard to tell what’s a sale and what’s not, but that’s a story for another day.)
The most important detail of this Delta Skymiles flash sale is that it is today only. There may be another flash sale next Wednesday, but if you want these rates, don’t wait until even tomorrow. Here are other important details for US domestic flights in this flash sale:
- Main Cabin only (noting that we see some Comfort Plus awards available for very reasonable upsell rates)
- Fares start at 10,000 miles round-trip (plus taxes and fees, usually $5.60 each way)
- Round-trip purchase required
- Travel period: October 24, 2018, through March 7, 2019
- Advance purchase requirement: 21 days
- Minimum stay: Friday (although we see good sale rates that are available without Friday stays, so be sure to check)
The international flights in this fare sale have a different travel period, from January 15 through April 15, 2019. International flights have a Saturday minimum stay requirement (again, this may not be enforced across the board, so check even if you won’t have a Saturday night stay).
Here are the advertised domestic US city pairs for this sale, along with the sale prices for each:
And here are the seven international city pairs that are advertised:
Value-wise, our baseline value for Delta Skymiles is 1.2 cents per point. Be sure to check the mileage price against the cash price for a ticket, even during this flash sale, to make sure you’re getting decent value for your Skymiles.
Remember that Amex Membership Rewards (MR) points transfer to Delta Skymiles at a 1:1 ratio. Transfers may be made in increments of 1,000. Transfer times are quick if not instant. One downside to transferring MR points to Delta is that you will be hit with an “excise tax offset fee” of $0.60 per 1,000 Skymiles. That’s not a whole lot, but be sure to keep it in mind in comparing value if you’re thinking of transferring MR points to take advantage of this flash sale (or any other award booking on Delta).
Testing Out the Delta Skymiles Flash Sale
When we see advertised sales like this, we like to do a test of what the sale would look like in practice. For this sale, we picked the Austin (AUS) to Boston (BOS) city pair, for a long weekend, Thursday, December 6, to Sunday, December 9. One reason we chose this route was that the advertised round-trip price of 10,000 Skymiles looked very attractive for a trip of that length.
Here’s what we found:
First, here is the matrix of surrounding dates, including our selected dates of December 6-9. Note that many surrounding dates are also available for 10,000 or 11,000 Skymiles round-trip. In this example, it looks like trips with a Friday night stay are 10,000 Skymiles, whereas trips without the required Friday night stay are 11,000. Taxes and fees total $11.20 for these non-stop round-trip flights.
We went on through to set up a flight itinerary for our chosen dates of December 6-9. Sure enough, the non-stop flights priced out at 10,000 Skymiles plus $11.20. It looks like Delta has only one non-stop flight per day between AUS and BOS, so you’d be flying the AUS-BOS leg in early morning and the return BOS-AUS leg in late evening. Another thing to note is that Delta Comfort Plus seating is available for an additional 1,000 Skymiles per direction, or 2,000 total round-trip. At our valuation of 1.2 cents per Skymile, that’s only an additional $12 or so each direction, which I would do in a heartbeat for the extra legroom alone.
We also checked to see what the cash price would be for these flights, to compare value. The all-in cash price is $210.40. In this case, we’d be paying 10,000 Skymiles to save $199.20 ($210.40 minus $11.20), so we’d be getting almost 2 cents per Skymile. That’s very good value for our Skymiles, even on this relatively inexpensive flight. (Also note that Delta is selling Comfort Plus for $88 round-trip, so the extra 2,000 Skymiles for Comfort Plus is well-spent in comparison!)
We also checked the AUS-BOS route for other travel dates, to see how they compared. We learned that the flash sale rates are not available over the Thanksgiving or Christmas holidays. Here is a pricing matrix for flights around Christmas (we selected December 22-26 as our preferred travel dates):
We also checked the pricing calendar for early 2019. The screenshot below is for President’s Day weekend, Friday, February 15, through Monday, February 18. Although we didn’t see the lowest flash sale prices for this holiday weekend, we were pleased to find award flights available at what appeared to be a reasonable price of 14,500 Skymiles. (Note, however, that this price is “with stops.” We did not dig further to see what the connections would look like. We note, though, that the price is 14,500 Skymiles for non-stop flights if you were to depart on Thursday, February 14, instead of Friday the 15th).
Other City Pairs
Finally, we ran one other quick test to see what the price would be for a city pair that is not advertised in the sale. For this test, we used our original December 6-9 weekend and chose Dallas as our departure city rather than Austin. For DFW-BOS, we found prices that were a few thousand Skymiles higher than the advertised sale route of AUS-BOS. Prices ranged from 15,000 to 17,000 Skymiles, depending on the exact dates. Always check these prices against cash fares, but these seemed like they could also represent good value.
Are you booking flights with Skymiles in the Delta flash sale? Where are you going? Or if you’ve booked with Delta flash sales in the past, how was your experience? Please share with us and other Middle Age Miles readers in the Comments!
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