Earlier this summer, Air France’s coveted award calendar — the most dynamic tool available to look for mileage seats on SkyTeam airlines — disappeared. Then it returned and we all thought everything was once again right in the world as we know it.
Not so fast… there are some persistent problems with the calendar that hide available flights. This could prove tricky for those trying to find flights on partners like Delta, Korean Air, China Eastern and others using Flying Blue miles or other SkyTeam miles.
In the past, the award calendar would show availability for just about every SkyTeam partner airline.
That no longer appears to be the case, and selecting the award calendar actually hides flights on many major SkyTeam partners, including Delta.
The lack of a coherent and complete SkyTeam award calendar is certainly a loss for frequent flyers and credit card holders with transferrable points, from Amex, Chase and Citibank.
The Calendar is Hiding Partners
One attractive way to redeem Flying Blue miles is Delta domestic flights. Points from travel cards, like The Platinum Card from Amex, Chase Sapphire Preferred and Citi ThankYou Premier, can be transferred instantly.
Delta domestic flights on some routes can be wide open to partners like Air France. Previously, the Air France award calendar would show all Delta availability.
No more. Checking the ‘Looking For Flights Around These Dates” box before performing an Air France “Use Miles” search now results in an error message on Delta routes, even when availability is abundant.
International Availability Also Clouded
Even when Air France and KLM flights are appearing in an award calendar, competitive partner flights are not. This leaves calendars incomplete when, for example, Delta has an open seat on an Amsterdam to New York service, but Air France and KLM do not.
This severely limits the site’s usefulness. To find the best available options to redeem SkyTeam partner awards, whether using Flying Blue miles, SkyMiles, Korean SkyPass miles or any other SkyTeam mileage currency, it’s now only possible to search on a day-by-day basis.
Since Air France and KLM changed their own reward program scheme, the Air France and KLM flight flights that appear in Air France searches are often not available for booking through SkyTeam partners, either.
This lost functionality significantly complicates many SkyTeam searches. To search for Delta flights that are redeemable using partner programs like FlyingBlue and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, it’s now necessary to search on a painstaking day-by-day basis.
To search for flights on Air France and KLM that are bookable using partners like Delta and Korean Air SkyPass, it’s now necessary to use a tertiary website, like delta.com, to figure out which Air France flights might be bookable.
There was some upside to the mileage award changes introduced in early June. Some Air France and KLM flights are now available at previously unheard of low redemption rates. On the other hand, the entire process has yet again become more complicated and cumbersome.
Those frustrated with the amount of time it takes to search for mileage awards should consider a service like Points Pros or Juicy Miles to take care of some of the tedium. They should also complain, seriously.