Delta SkyMiles has long had one of the more generous policies when it comes to stopovers and open jaws on longhaul award tickets.
Delta SkyMiles stopover & open jaw policy
Historically Delta SkyMiles has allowed one stopover and one open jaw on a roundtrip longhaul award ticket.
Here’s what the SkyMiles Membership Guide says about stopovers and open jaws on award tickets:
Open jaw travel is permitted for Award Travel. To be eligible, the mileage between the open jaw points must be less than or equal to the total mileage flown between any other trip in the itinerary (origin to destination). A double open jaw is not permitted.
One stopover is allowed per roundtrip Award Ticket under certain circumstances. A stopover is defined as a stay of more than 4 hours between domestic flights and more than 24 hours between domestic and international or all international flights. The destination city is not considered a stopover. A stopover is allowed, provided there are no more than two connections between the origin and destination including any connections that are made while traveling to/from the stopover point. The stopover city must be located on a valid routing.
Change to SkyMiles stopover & open jaw policy
It looks like Delta SkyMiles has quietly changed this policy, and is now only allowing a stopover OR an open jaw on an award ticket, and not both.
To demonstrate, let’s look at a roundtrip business class award ticket between the US and Europe.
Here’s a ticket that has both a stopover and an open jaw:
- New York to London, followed by a stopover (in London)
- London to Paris, followed by an open jaw (between Paris and Rome)
- Rome to New York
Up until recently this would have priced at 125,000 SkyMiles roundtrip, since SkyMiles has allowed one stopover and one open jaw on a roundtrip award. However, the award is now pricing at 175,000 SkyMiles, which is the cumulative cost of a roundtrip business class award ticket between the US and Europe, and a roundtrip business class award ticket within Europe.
Just to isolate the actual issue here, let’s look at an award ticket that just has an open jaw. Here are the same flights we had between the US and Europe — New York to London and Rome to New York.
Those flights price out just fine, at the expected cost of 125,000 SkyMiles roundtrip.
To make sure this wasn’t just a website glitch I called Delta SkyMiles to price the same awards, and they priced the same as online.
It does indeed appear as if Delta SkyMiles is now only allowing a stopover or an open jaw on award tickets, but not both.
Was this prompted in preparation for the 2015 Delta SkyMiles program? There are several questions outstanding regarding that, like:
- Will Delta’s stopover policy change with the new program, since one-way awards will be possible?
- Will Delta’s open jaw policy change with the new program, since one-way awards will be possible?
- Delta presently imposes fuel surcharges on award tickets originating in Europe, so will that apply to one-way awards issued out of Europe with the new program?
Or it’s also possible that this has nothing to do with the 2015 Delta SkyMiles program, and is just a random change. Regardless, it’s not a positive one. It makes me like SkyMiles a little bit less, just as I was starting to grow fond of them.