When Delta Airlines switched up their frequent flyer program and instituted some changes (not all good, for sure), the one that I was most excited about was the addition of one way award tickets. There are a lot of times that people like to use one ways – whether it be for more advantageous schedules on other airlines, poor award availability one of the ways, fuel surcharges (Delta charges fuel surcharges on awards beginning in Europe) and more. But, that freedom of the one way did not extend to award tickets booked with Alaska Airlines on Delta Airlines.
No One Ways On Delta With Alaska – Still!
Alaska Airlines has the greatest variety of airlines/alliances on which you can book award tickets (and earn miles) and that makes their miles very valuable. Not only are there some great values to be had on partners like Emirates and Qantas but there are also award pass-through policies like American Airlines and their off-peak schedule (the off-peak pricing appears on Alaska just like it does on American).
Since they have the pass-through pricing with American and they previously did not allow one ways on Delta because of Delta’s policy of roundtrip award travel, when Delta switched to one way award options, I thought that would open the door to Alaska as well. While using Alaska miles for Delta is certainly not the best use of their miles, there certainly are some times when it is useful to do that (I burned the last of my Delta miles back in January and have not earned a single Delta mile since!).
Alaska puts it on Delta saying “Delta Air Lines does not offer a one-way award level. One-way Delta award bookings are charged the same number of miles as round-trip travel.” The truth is that Delta does offer one-way award travel now. And, Flying Blue (KLM/Air France) have long offered one-way award tickets on Delta flights at one-way pricing so Delta must not be allowing Alaska to offer the same thing (would be my guess, but those close to Alaska/Delta management would have better insight).
But, One Ways On Delta CAN Combine
If we were to continue the terms as written above by Alaska, we would see this “Delta flights, when used one-way in combination with Alaska Airlines or another partner airline to create a round-trip itinerary (routing restrictions apply), will be charged half the applicable Delta round-trip miles. If any part of a round-trip itinerary is flown on Delta, it becomes ineligible for any refund of the unflown portions.”.
So, you can book an award ticket utilizing Delta on one-way and a different carrier – like American or Alaska – for the other half of the trip and only pay the one-way pricing for the Delta segment (while paying roundtrip for the whole trip). But, there is really not a workaround on that because, as you see above, if you try to cancel a partner flight after already flying the Delta segment, you will not get half of the miles back – it will be considered a Delta one-way (which costs the full roundtrip price).
At least you will not pay the ridiculous surcharges when originating from Europe when you book with Alaska instead of Delta (on Delta flights)…
Does It Bother You?
One of the main reasons to book one-way tickets is to utilize other airlines’ schedules. If the other airline is a partner of Alaska, that is possible by simply booking the one segment on Delta and the other on the carrier that better matches your schedule. But, if you wanted to book part of the trip using United miles, you are out of luck right now.
But, does it really matter to most travelers? As I mentioned above, using Alaska miles to fly on Delta is really not the best use of Alaska miles. But if you are busy collecting Alaska miles and you have forsaken the Delta program, it is nice to have the option. I recently booked a last minute flight for a friend (domestic trip) that would have cost $550 for the cheapest combination of flights! Thanks to 25,000 Alaska miles, I was able to book part of it on Delta and part of it on American – an itinerary that would have cost far more than $550 but which worked best for him. Sure, it was not Emirates First Class (bookable for as little as 90,000 miles), but at 2.2 cents of real value, I was happy with it for now.
In the end, there are far more important partners for Alaska miles than Delta. But, it is always nice to have options and right now, the ability to book a one-way award on Delta with Alaska miles is somewhat limiting.