My Very Frustrating Delta Airlines Award Booking Fail

Delta AirlinesKim and I have been throwing around some ideas for a while now about where we should go over the summer.

Last summer, the Michael W Travels family spent 5 Weeks in the Pacific. This year we’re looking at a four-week trip since we also have two shorter trips earlier in the summer.

I thought I found a very good Delta Airlines awards flight redemption. However, when I went to book the flight, I ran into some problems.

Over the summer, we’re looking to go to the Caucasus and some East European countries.

I found a flight using my Delta Airlines miles from New York (JFK) to Baku, Azerbaijan. The award came to 32,500 SkyMiles per person + tax, which was a bit pricey at $176.10 per person.

After searching for over a week, I kept seeing 4 seats available at this price. There were also other flight times available as well (and some pricier awards available). All flights for the trip would be with Aeroflot, a Delta partner airline.

I went to book the flight, putting in all of our personal information. (I was around 300 miles short of the amount needed to book the award so I transferred 1,000 Amex Membership Rewards to Delta.) I was even able to put in my credit card details. Then, when I hit submit and after a brief pause, an error message came up saying the flight was no longer available.

Initially I assumed that due to cookies, the flights were still showing as available but they had gone away. However, when I cleared the cookies and searched in an incognito browser, I still saw the flights coming up as available.

I decided to try inputting our info one last time, which did not work so I then decided to call Delta Airlines.

When I explained the situation to the rep, she did a search for me. I gave her the flight numbers I wanted and she too saw flight availability. When she tried to book (I think they go to another system on the computer), Aeroflot showed no availability!

I was told that Aeroflot’s system had not communicated to Delta that the flights were no longer available. The problem with this excuse is that the availability we could all see at was for many flights, even on various days!

This issue seemed like more than a communication problem.

I mentioned that I transferred points from Amex to book this Delta flight and it wasn’t right that award space showed on the website, yet it wasn’t available to book. The rep apologized and pretty much ignored anything else I asked or said.

Due to the lack of response, I asked for a supervisor. He did a search for me too and saw all of the flights like I saw. (I also had him do a search for the way home, also on Aeroflot). When he checked the Aeroflot system, he saw no availability!

He told me that this was strange but there was no way to override the system to book our award. I also mentioned how I transferred points and he said unless they were from another Delta account, there was nothing he could do about this.

My last idea was that he call Aeroflot customer support. He told me that there was nobody to call and that they didn’t respond to messages from Delta! OK, great…

In the end, I got nowhere and wasted a lot of time for nothing.

It seems like if you’re planning to book a partner award flight with SkyMiles, you might see award space which does not exist. If you’re transferring points specifically for a redemption- pray and hope for the best!

Talk about a frustrating fail.

Have you ever had a similar issue when trying to book an award flight with a Delta Airlines partner?

Now, back to the drawing board…

10 thoughts on “My Very Frustrating Delta Airlines Award Booking Fail

  1. Dustin Evans- Youd think that Delta would remove the airline from award searches! Problem is- that would make sense.

    Emily- That makes me feel a little better!

    Ryan- I rarely book with Delta and was initially impressed by the ease and amount of award availability. This outcome more what I should’ve expected.

  2. This is very common on many carriers. Especially Deltas Chinese partners showing phantom award availability. Skymiles is the one of the many reasons why you shouldn’t deal with this airline. Even as a Diamond , they never offered me other solutions when these things happened, and they happen often. Also , unlike UA/AA Delta has strict rules about selling award seats on direct flights. Many times on European carriers and on CI, I find an award seat but it’s only available if you are using it as a connection

    Skymiles will disappoint time after time again.

  3. Given that Aeroflot threatened last week to stop flying to the US and it seems incredibly likely that there will be at least some operational shutdown of flights to the US this summer I would say you got lucky. Now you can make other plans that don’t involve having all your flights cancelled.

  4. This same thing happened to me but in Asia. Kept saying flight just sold out or something to that effect. But I tried a week before the date every day and a week after the date multiple flights and airlines and I wanted but it just kept saying “ just sold out” right after I hit book. hmmm. When I chatted with the delta support rep. She said they can’t even book award space on Shanghai Airlines. But it was showing up as available in my searches.

  5. Donato- Good points and sad, isn’t it. (Maybe pathetic is a better word!)

    Lance- Interesting rationale but I think it’s more due to a broken system based on conversations with Rene (Rene’s Points).

    Hina Patel- Sorry to hear that you had this same, crappy experience. I’m sure there are many coming across this issue!

  6. Yes! This happened to me last year when I tried to book a flight to Mumbai. The Delta site showed the partner as Jet Airways with an amazing price. When I called the Delta line for assistance, I got the same response……Nothing they could do. A huge waste of my time……

  7. This is probably due to the current tit for tat regarding Russian sanctions resulting from the 2016 election meddling. Aeroflot has threatened to stop serving US destinations. Yet another political mess… so much winning.

  8. Let’s just say Delta is quick to offer anything that costs them nothing. When you get down to details Delta will never deliver.
    This reminds me of Delta AMEX companion certificates. They are not valid on flights which have low fares because the fare classes are excluded. Conversely, they are not valid on high fare classes, because DL realizes they can get revenue for those seats.
    I have my Delta card for years but only once in a decade was I able to use my certificate.

  9. Delta can oversell at same award price on their metal (if they fly where you want to go) in this case when is showing false space. Call back and ask for Supervisor or International reissue to fix.

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