Delta SkyMiles 2015: Agonized, Tantalized and Analyzed — Part 2: Hub by Hub in Maps and Details

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Part 1: Delta SkyMiles 2015: Agonized, Tantalized and Analyzed Part One — What You Really Need to Know!

A few months ago, I wrote two posts about much improved Delta SkyMiles international business class award availability, but they weren’t  without a few shortcomings. First, I only checked flights out of New York City. Second, I only checked flights to Europe. And third, I was only paying attention to the flights that had roundtrip availability because I couldn’t imagine that this availability would last until 2015 when one-way travel on Delta would become available. And yet, here we are! One-way flights are here, and availability is still spectacular, well, for most parts.

Crazy-Good Delta Award Business Class Availability to Europe Next Summer

Delta Business Award Availability Next Summer Is Still Blowing Me Away!

So, in this installment, I intend to get out of my NYC shell and check Delta SkyMiles international business class availability from all Delta hubs in the US for the next summer. Since I’m not a bot and thus can’t cover everything, here are my standards (just because I should have some, I’ve heard).

Here is what I consider to be a perfect combination.

  • Flights must be nonstop.
  • Business Class awards must be available during…
  • Summertime travel, which is notoriously difficult to book for a business class award to Europe (I’ve chosen dates between July 19 and August 22, 2015).
  • At least 5 flights should be available within a 5-week window.
  • At least two or more seats should be bookable on the same flight.

Tall order you say? We’ll see.

Of course, there are shortcomings to this process, but there are shortcomings to everything. At some point, you have to choose your methodology and stick with it. Also, it goes without saying that these findings are far from absolute. Award availability is totally fluid, and when you do your own search, you can find a completely different picture.

Still, availability has been good for a few months, and not only that, it has become better (for JFK, that is). Hopefully, it is not going to be killed overnight.

Map Color Coding:

  • Excellent non-stop business class availability (at least 5 departures in a 5-week period) for at least two people.
  • Good non-stop business class availability (at least 3 departures) for at least two people, or excellent availability for 1 person.
  • Limited non-stop business class availability (1-2 departures) for at least two people in both directions, or good availability for 1 person.
  • No non-stop availability for two people, might have some availability for one person or for a flight with stops.

And don’t worry. If you don’t get my color coding, I’ll explain anyway. You’re covered. 🙂

New York – JFK (enlarge) 

Delta New York

Delta SkyMiles Award Availability to Europe from New York – JFK

Comments:

There is excellent non-stop business class award availability for two people in both directions to the following cities:

  • LHR (London)
  • MAN (Manchester)
  • BRU (Brussels)
  • FRA (Frankfurt)
  • ZRH (Zurich)
  • MAD (Madrid)
  • SVO (Moscow)
  • KEF (Rejkyavik)
  • MXP (Milan)

There is good availability for two people in both directions to the following cities:

  • CPH (Copenhagen)
  • AGP (Malaga, Spain)
  • PSA (Pisa)
  • VCE (Venice)
  • PRG (Prague)
  • BCN (Barcelona)
  • ATH (Athens)

There is limited availability for two people in both directions, but good availability for one person to the following cities:

  • AMS (Amsterdam)
  • CDG (Paris)
  • FCO (Rome)
  • DUB (Dublin)
  • ARN (Stockholm)
  • IST (Istanbul)

There is no availability for two people and very limited availability for one person to:

  • NCE (Nice)

Other International Destinations

  • TLV (Tel Aviv): Couldn’t find non-stop availability at the time of search, but plenty of availability with a layover.
  • NRT (Tokyo): Ditto.
  • CRU (Sao Paulo): Excellent outbound availability for two people, none on return.
  • BOG (Bogata): Excellent availability in both directions.
  • DKR (Dakar): Ditto.

Note: London is also served by Virgin Atlantic, whose Upper Class product is reportedly superior to Delta. Virgin Atlantic flies between London and the following cities in the US: New York (JFK), Newark (EWR), Atlanta (ATL), Los Angeles (LAX) and Washington, DC. Delta has good to excellent award availability on Virgin Atlantic (except Seattle), so this is your chance to sample Virgin Atlantic product without paying insanely ridiculous fuel surcharges for the privilege.

UPDATE: thanks to readers ShoNuffHarlem and walterj for alerting me to VS flights from Miami (MIA) and Chicago (ORD) “with connecting flights to Edinburgh and other Scotland cities” (in summer).

vIRGIN aTL

New York – EWR

There are three international flights out of Newark.

  • AMS: Limited outbound availability for two people, excellent on return. Excellent outbound availability for one person.
  • LHR (starts on March 29, 2015): Excellent availability in both directions.
  • CDG: Good availability in both directions.

Boston – BOS

There is excellent non-stop business class availability for two people in both directions to the following cities:

  • AMS
  • LHR

There is good non-stop business class availability for two people in both directions to the following cities:

  • CDG

Atlanta – ATL  (enlarge)

Delta Atlanta

Delta SkyMiles Award Availability to Europe from Atlanta – ATL

Comments:

There is excellent non-stop business class availability for two people in both directions for the following cities:

  • MAN
  • LHR
  • ZRH

There is excellent outbound availability for two people to the following city:

  • FRA

There is good availability for two people in both directions to the following cities:

  • BRU
  • MAD
  • CDG
  • STR

There is limited availability for two people (but good to excellent availability for one person) in both directions to the following cities:

  • AMS
  • MUC
  • FCO
  • VCE
  • MXP
  • PRG

There is no outbound availability for two people (but excellent availability for one person) to the following cities:

  • DUB (limited availability for two people on the inbound)
  • BCN (good availability for two people on the inbound)

Other International Destinations

  • GRU: Excellent outbound availability for two people, good on return.
  • GIG (Rio de Janeiro): Good outbound availability for two people, none on return.
  • DXB (Dubai): Excellent outbound availability for two people, none on return.
  • EZE (Buenos Aires): Limited outbound availability for two people, none on return.
  • SCL (Santiago de Chile): No non-stop availability at the time of the search, but plenty of availability with a layover.
  • NRT: Ditto.

Detroit – DTW

  • LHR: Excellent non-stop business class availability for two people in both directions. 
  • FCO: Good to excellent non-stop business class availability for two people in both directions.
  • FRA: Good non-stop business class availability for two people in both directions.
  • CDG: Ditto.
  • AMS: Limited outbound availability for two people, excellent on return.

Other International Destinations

  • GRU: Excellent outbound availability for two people, limited on return.
  • NGO (Nagoya): Excellent outbound availability for two people, none on return.
  • PEK (Beijing): No availability for two people, but plenty for one person.
  • ICN (Seoul): Ditto
  • PVG (Shanghai): No availability for two people, and limited availability for one person.

Cincinnati – CVG

  • CDG: Good non-stop business class availability for two people in both directions.

Minneapolis/St Paul – MSP

  • LHR: Good non-stop business class availability for two people in both directions.
  • AMS: Limited on the outbound, good on the inbound; excellent availability for one person.
  • CDG: Limited in both directions; excellent availability for one person.

Other International Destinations:

  • NRT: No availability for two people, but plenty for one person.

Salt Lake City – SLC

  • AMS: Excellent non-stop business class availability for two people in both directions.
  • CDG: No availability for two people, but plenty for one person.

Los Angeles – LAX

  • LHR: Excellent non-stop business class availability for two people in both directions.

Other International Destinations:

  • HND (Tokyo): No availability for two people, but plenty for one person.
  • SYD: Excellent non-stop business class availability for two people in both directions.

Note: This is your chance to fly to Sydney and beyond on Virgin Avstralia with no fuel surcharges. There is an UNRELENTING availability in both directions from March until late November (which is the end of the Delta SkyMiles calendar at this point).

Sydney calendar

Sydney to LAX calendar

Sydney

If Virgin Australia is too boring to you (LOL) or you want to test other products, break your trip with the famed Korean Air business class product, although you are going to have to pay a whopping $28 extra in taxes.

But, what the hell! Splurge.

Sydney by KE

Virgin Australia can also take you to New Zealand via Brisbane. This is the point where a stopover could be useful, sigh… Although, I do hear rumors that Delta CSRs have been allowing folks use stopovers for now. Can it be true?

New Zealand

Seattle- SEA

There appears to be a very poor Delta business class, nonstop award availability in  Europe from Seattle. I checked the entire 2015 and found not even one J class award to London at the Saver level. Quite ridiculous, I must say.

  • AMS:  No availability for nonstop flights.
  • CDG: Ditto
  • LHR: Ditto

Other International Destinations:

  • ICN: Appears to be the only bright spot. Excellent non-stop business class availability for two people in both directions.
  • PEC: No availability for two people, but plenty for one person.
  • NRT/HND: Ditto.
  • PVG: Ditto.
  • HKG: No availability for two people, some availability for one person.

So what’s your opinion? Better, worse, same? Share your thoughts here.

To Be Concluded: Delta SkyMiles 2015: Agonized, Tantalized and Analyzed — Part 3: SkyPesos and Stopovers

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18 Responses to Delta SkyMiles 2015: Agonized, Tantalized and Analyzed — Part 2: Hub by Hub in Maps and Details

  1. Kumar says:

    Great analysis, nicely presented and simple to understand. This series of articles on Delta are turning out to be great reading, Andy. Kudos.

  2. […] Please see if you can add partners flights where there is good availability. My full article is here. JFK A lot of roundtrip availability for TWO to the following cities (and more). LHR (plenty on […]

  3. Andy Shuman says:

    Thanks much, Kumar.

  4. […] Delta SkyMiles 2015: Agonized, Tantalized and Analyzed — Part 2: Hub by Hub in Maps and Details  –  The Lazy Traveler’s Handbook    The nice series continue, very helpful if you have Skypesos. […]

  5. […] Delta SkyMiles 2015: Agonized, Tantalized and Analyzed — Part TWO: Hub by Hub in Maps and Details […]

  6. […] be continued: Delta SkyMiles 2015: Agonized, Tantalized and Analyzed — Part 2: Hub by Hub in Maps and […]

  7. Great coverage! Now I’m contemplating if I should start accumulating Delta miles!!

  8. ShoNuffHarlem says:

    Uh, Miami has VA!

  9. walterj says:

    Enjoyed the article.
    Virgin Atlantic also has summer service from ORD with connecting flights to Edinburgh and other Scotland cities.

  10. […] $1,000 to get 50,000 MR points is fantastic, especially in connection with the newly discovered Delta SkyMiles Goodness and that 40% transfer bonus to British Airways Avios. Alas, I can’t get the Amex PRG card. […]

  11. […] reasons is that I don’t see a reason to spend 188,000 miles for a trip to Australia, while I can spend 160,000 for the same flight with Delta (and availability is excellent!). And second, I don’t see a viable option to rack up 200,000 […]

  12. […] Delta SkyMiles 2015: Agonized, Tantalized and Analyzed — Part 2: Hub by Hub in Maps and Details […]

  13. […] to check your own hub? See my detailed Delta hub analyses here: Delta SkyMiles 2015: Agonized, Tantalized and Analyzed — Part 2: hub by hub in Maps and […]

  14. […] posts ever, as was the “Agonized, Tantalized and Analyzed” series (here are parts One, Two, and […]

  15. […] Delta SkyMiles 2015: Agonized, Tantalized and Analyzed — Part TWO: Hub by Hub in Maps and Details […]

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