Finding low level awards using Delta SkyMiles can be very tricky, especially in a premium cabin.
- Delta has removed their award charts off of their website, so you can’t reference this to book awards. You must trust the website.
- Delta has removed mixed-cabin awards, where if Business or Economy isn’t available on the entire trip, you won’t be able to ticket the reservation.
Prior to Delta removing their award charts, we knew that 62,500 SkyMiles was the cheapest one-way Business Class fare you could find to Europe. For a round-trip, this was 125,000 SkyMiles, 25,000 more miles than American AAdvantage charges its members for the same trip.
There’s several tricky things when using SkyMiles to Europe:
- Tickets must be in Business Class, since you cannot use Delta awards on First Class.
- Tickets on Delta metal tend to be much higher than awards on partners. Partner awards always price out at the lowest level.
Let’s say I want to fly from New York (JFK) to Nice, France, a gorgeous destination on the French Riviera (if you haven’t been there, you’re missing out). Delta operates a daily non-stop flight from JFK to NCE. If you want it, it will cost you 147,500 SkyMiles each-way, an astronomical price, though, to be honest, not something unusual on this flight, which is consistently oversold. Any sane miles and points user would avoid paying this high of a cost. I’ve taken this flight before; it’s convenient, though is consistently crowded (very crowded).
Alternatively, you can fly Aeroflot for 62,500 miles each-way, the lowest pricing for a Business Class seat. I’ve reviewed Aeroflot’s inflight product before, both international and domestic, and its quite competitive for what’s out there. Over the water, you’ll get an angled flat Business seat, though with decent catering and friendly service. Once in Europe, you’ll experience a US-Domestic-First like product, with 2×2 seating, and pretty good meal service. While some have hesitations flying Aeroflot due to safety, I found my experience to be the same of any other Western carrier. Going to Nice, you’ll travel JFK to SVO, then connect onward to NCE, for more than half the miles Delta wanted on a non-stop flight.
You’ll find this trend pretty much across the board for using SkyMiles to Europe. If you want to fly somewhere, and Air France, Alitalia or Delta doesn’t have award availability, look at Aeroflot…chances are, its there.
From the US, Aeroflot has several gateways:
- Los Angeles (1x)
- Miami (1x)
- Washington DC (1x)
- New York (2x)
Two of these cities are major Delta hubs, which means you can connect onward if you need to. From New York, there’s two daily flights to Moscow, one on an A330 and the other on a 777.
Searching for Aeroflot availability can be done on Delta’s website, and also on ExpertFlyer, where you’ll be looking for the “O” fare code.
Looking ahead at a random date in July, the afternoon flight has 3 Business Class award seats, which is pretty decent. While the evening flight doesn’t have any for this date, there are plenty of others that do, so it’s an option to consider, especially traveling with 2 or more people.
Have you ever flown Aeroflot before?
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