Easy Delta Awards to Australia? It is Possible, Confirmed for Dec-Jan in under 15 Mins!

Yesterday, I posted about China Southern’s new A380 service from LAX to CAN, which allows for easy connections to Bangkok, Singapore, and other Southeast Asia locations using Delta SkyMiles.  I mentioned that award availability was wide open, even to Australia.  Several readers emailed with questions including:

  • Does Delta actually allow Australia routings via Asia?
  • Are China Southern connections to Australia truly bookable via Delta?
  • Can I mix a China Southern flight award with a Virgin Australia award?
  • Can I book stopovers and open jaws?
  • Will the ticket actually price at 150,000 for business and 100,00 for economy.
I’ve tried to respond to all the emails (adam@pointmetotheplane.com), but here are the answers and the itinerary for a booking to Australia that I just made.
  • Delta does allow for routings via Asia using Korean Air (connect in ICN), China Southern (connect in CAN), and China Eastern (connect in PVG). These connections are bookable via Delta agents over the phone.
  • Any of the carriers above can be mixed together on an award with any other Delta redemption partner.  This is one of the great features of the SkyMiles program.
  • Yes, you can have one in-route stopover plus an open jaw.
  • No matter how many or which partners you mix and match, the award should price at the LOW level which is 150k in business and 100k in economy.
Today’s booking was actually a pleasure, the first Delta agent knew exactly what she was doing and immediately started piecing together my itinerary. For this experiment I decided I might as well try to find availability during the ultra peak season to Australia from December – January.  While this is not an award I intend to use (I have my own First Class flight later next year on Singapore to Melbourne in Suite Class!), I tried to mix and match carriers and include a stopover for everyone’s benefit.  The total call took only 14 minutes and 38 seconds.  I booked China Southern’s new A380 business from LAX to Sydney, Virgin Australia business from Sydney to Melbourne, and then Virgin Australia from Melbourne to LAX via Brisbane.  Total mileage required was 150k and $331 in taxes and fees.  Granted, domestic positioning flights would have increased the call length and altered the price.  When looking for US flights to LAX, remember to be flexible with connections and offer up economy class if first is not available.  Full details on tips when booking China Southern domestic positioning flights and viewing availability prior to calling in can be found in yesterday’s post.  Again, feel free to email for assistance or check out Juicy Miles.  Good Luck!

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  1. The thing you have to watch with using Asian connections to Oz/NZ is the published routing problem. Out of a CZ/MU/KE gateway city it shouldn’t be a problem, but I had a heck of a time routing OMA-SLC-LAX-ICN-AKL. Strangely, delta.com priced it correctly once the agents had put the flights into the booking, but the agents kept seeing a fare break in ICN (US-North Asia + North Asia-SW Pacific pricing).

    As to combining VA/DJ with MU/CZ/KE, published routings also come into play. For instance, don’t expect to do LAX-CAN-SYD(stop)-AYQ since no partner publishes a fare routed that way. Sometimes the system hiccups and allows those things, but I wouldn’t count on it. PER is an interesting place to consider because you can actually route via Asia and stay under the MPM DL uses, which opens up all sorts of interesting routing options (subject to the four-segment per direction limit).

  2. I am surprised the taxes were not higher, given the taxes DL charges for LAX-SYD return on VA is around $800.

    This is definitely a good find – thanks again for doing the leg work/experiment!

    • Please don’t conflate taxes and carrier-imposed surcharges. There are a non-trivial amount of taxes on a US-Australia return on any carrier (could be in the neighborhood of US$100), but VA has historically incurred an extreme level of fuel surcharges, which are carrier-imposed. It appears that the reservation in the post here did not incur any of those. I would avoid bringing that to Delta’s attention, as they might decide they want to find the bug that’s preventing the fuel surcharge collection.

      • @Mitch – thanks for all the great info! Looks like some of the fuel surcharges have been drastically reduced depending on the departure points. There’s a FT thread with some users reporting that they were able to re-ticket their confirmed bookings this week with new lower prices.

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