Using Delta SkyMiles on the China Southern A380 to BKK, SIN, and even the Maldives and Sydney…very good availability

by Adam

It seems like everyone is booking a trip to Southeast Asia this week, I’ve received four award requests since Monday at Juicy Miles.  Randomly, they all want to use Delta SkyMiles as well, though there is little to no low level business award availability on Delta for any of the requested dates (big surprise).  My next step is always trying Korean Air, though this time, they too had no business availability on the requested dates.

Beginning October 12, China Southern will be flying their new A380 daily from LAX to CAN  (Guangzhou) and business class award availability is wide open.  While I’ve normally stayed away from recommending China Southern in the past, their new A380 looks pretty solid.  Take a look at their special A380 site for pictures and a 360 degree tour. Remember that business class is referred to as “First Class” while first class is “Deluxe First Class”.

Availability is visible on ExpertFlyer or you can utilize Seth’s Wandering Aramean Travel Tools for a completely free way to check award space. My requests this week included flights to Bangkok, Singapore, and Male and there was hardly a day when I did not find 4 available business class award seats from LAX to CAN. The connection flights usually had 2 seats.  Here are some examples using Seth’s tool, the returns had similar availability:

I was even able to book a Juicy Miles request to the Maldives using a combination of the China Southern A380 and China Eastern flights on to Male. **Update China Southern has their own flight to Male from CAN, flight 3083 (Sun/Thurs only)**

Sydney also becomes a possibility…if you can handle 9+ hours on the China Southern A330

Important – several of the Delta agents saw no availability when searching for business class awards on LAX-CAN, I had to instruct them to manually request the space from China Southern, make sure they do this. If they don’t know how or refuse to, hang up and call back for another agent.  You can add your domestic positioning flights once you confirm the China Southern flights.  Low level business should price at 120,000 SkyMiles while low level economy is 80,000 SkyMiles.

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Kevin September 6, 2012 - 2:37 pm

Thanks for the info.!

adam September 6, 2012 - 9:47 pm

NP Kevin!

Arthur September 6, 2012 - 4:22 pm

Very interesting. What stopovers/open jaws might be possible?

adam September 6, 2012 - 9:50 pm

@Arthur – Where are you thinking about heading??

Craig September 6, 2012 - 5:39 pm

I’m dying to burn a load of Delta Skymiles and would like to go to Asia from New York.

I’ve checked dozens of dates for Korean Air using Seth’s Wandering Aramean Travel Tools, and there appears to be absolutley no business class availability whatsoever on any date that’s searchable.

Any suggestions?

I’d consider going to China on the China Southern A380, which sounds pretty good, and there is availability. The problem with that, however, is that I’d have to position myself to LAX and back, which would take too much time. I don’t think Delta ever has any low level availability for JFK to LAX.

Thanks and keep up the good blog work!!!

adam September 6, 2012 - 9:47 pm

@ Craig – Korean used to have decent availability but I’ve been having a really hard time lately. The only luck I’ve had at all in the next few months is the ORD flight (#38). Have you tried that? For the China Southern flights I was able to get some flights to LAX from NYC though they were in economy and required connections. if the connections aren’t suitable you could always find a cheap JFK-LAX flight. Let me know if you are still not finding suitable options, I’m happy to help.

Ken Y. September 6, 2012 - 7:16 pm

Will Delta allow an award to Australia routing through CAN though?

adam September 6, 2012 - 9:42 pm

@Ken Y. – US to Australia via Asia with DL, is legal.

Simon September 6, 2012 - 10:11 pm

@Adam – how may DL points to Australia (from LAX), and would that include domestic flights in Australia on DJ?

adam September 7, 2012 - 2:19 am

@Simon – It’s 150k in Business or 100k in coach. Yes, you can have one in-route stopover plus an open jaw (including DJ flights).

Ken Y. September 6, 2012 - 11:30 pm

So I could do SFO-LAX (DL), LAX-CAN (CZ) STOP, CAN-SYD (CZ) DEST, and then back either on CZ, DL, or V Australia? All for just 150 Skypesos at the low level?

adam September 7, 2012 - 2:23 am

@Ken – Yes, since CZ has a published fare routed LAX-CAN-SYD and your itinerary above complies with the the DL one stopover rule. You could also route back via KE if you can find space.

adam September 7, 2012 - 11:30 am

@Ken – Check out today’s post for a sample booking at 150k!

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Mitch September 7, 2012 - 1:18 pm

@Craig: Seth’s tool (and anything else, including EF) can now only show Korean business award inventory for select intra-Asia routes (mainly Korea-Japan). You’ll have to call Delta to look for space. I scored the A380 LAX-ICN (continuing to AKL after about 23 hours in Seoul) for next May about a month ago.

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Craig September 10, 2012 - 6:19 pm

Adam — Thanks for the advice!

I just booked with Delta miles (120,000 each), two J tickets for LAX – CAN on the China Southern A380 for November. Delta (of course) had no low level availablity of JFK to LAX, so I’ll have to pay $350 a person for r/t tix on AA for the connecting flights and burn some eVIP upgrade certificates to fly out there in J.

My next dilemma — Do I fly home from LAX at the tail end of the trip on a redeye the next night to spend 24 hours in LA? The CAN flight arrives 6 pm, so I figure dinner, and then one of the beaches / piers the next day. Both Hyatts have swimming pools, which is where I’d probably stay.

adam September 11, 2012 - 8:06 pm

@Craig – Glad to help! Were there any connecting flights to LAX. I was able to book LGA-CVG-MSP-LAX, not all the convenient but an option to consider.

As far as the return leg, I guess that depends on your interest in exploring LA. Have you been before? If not, sure why not take a day and explore? I really like the Hyatt Regency Newport Beach but that’s not worth it if you’re only going to take one day. The Hyatt Regency Century City is an easy drive to Santa Monica.

Karim September 11, 2012 - 11:26 am

I can’t seem to get this tool to work for China Southern anymore: Wandering Aramean Travel Tools. It worked a few days ago.

adam September 11, 2012 - 7:46 pm

@Karim – It’s still working for me. What doesn’t seem to be working??

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Mike Palmer November 27, 2012 - 5:12 pm

Just booked two business tkts LAX-CAN-MNL, but the cost was 140K each. No biggie, better than DLs 220K minimum I found.

There’s no Visa needed for the transit through CAN right?

adam November 27, 2012 - 8:47 pm

@Mike – Nice! No visa needed to transit CAN and several readers have already emailed that they truly enjoyed their China Southern A380 flights!

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Ken December 11, 2012 - 1:46 pm


Is this routing valid? LAX-CAN-BKK (stop), BKK-CAN-MLE (DEST)and MLE-CAN-LAX.

adam December 12, 2012 - 8:42 am

@Ken – Unfortunately the Delta system will price the itinerary above as a double connection in CAN and tack on a second award ticket. I do have one reader with this exact itinerary who was able to get a Delta ticketing supervisor to approve the itinerary after 4 call backs, he was able to convince them that Bangkok was on the way to MLE, even though it requires a connection back to CAN. I can get additional details for you if you decide to try and book it but i would say this was really just pure luck.

Ken December 13, 2012 - 9:33 pm

Thanks Adam, I will give it a try. If they won’t let me, I could do a stopover in HKG and use avios to get to BKK.

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Nikki June 20, 2013 - 4:41 am

Is this route possible? Given that there is 1 free stopover?

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This might sound stupid but yeah, totally clueless about how this stuff work. Thanks!

adam June 20, 2013 - 4:48 am

@Ccdlsu- you can stop in Asia to/from Australia but you cannot stop in Australia on the way to/from Asia

andrew August 9, 2013 - 3:51 am

Hi, you wrote ”several of the Delta agents saw no availability when searching for business class awards on LAX-CAN, I had to instruct them to manually request the space” I just had this problem with delta trying to book korean airways, it was available but delta was saying it wasnt could i instruct them to manually request the space?
Also can delta book korean first class or only business.

adam August 9, 2013 - 5:34 pm

@andrew – DL can only book business on all partners, no first class unfortunately. If they aren’t seeing the Korean award space and you think it exists (where are you checking?), hang up and call back!

andrew August 11, 2013 - 3:15 pm

Hi im checking expertflyer. ive called them and asked them like you said and they said their is only 2 ways for them to request awards flights from partners, short sell and long sell, short sell being the normal way they do it by just clicking cities etc and long sell by filling out manually all the info , they tried both and still didnt show china southern business availability, other then that their is no other way of contacting the partner. am i missing something?

adam August 12, 2013 - 8:44 pm

@andrew – the long sell (manual sell) normally works to match EF. Are you still seeing availability on EF?

andrew August 13, 2013 - 7:09 am

i was looking for china southern, i dont know which airline is EF.

Simon October 18, 2013 - 9:42 pm

Hey, dude!

Sound that you are having a wonderful trip in Southeast Asia right now!

Can I ask if you got a “CZ First Class” or a “CZ Deluxe First Class” by using 120k DL Skymiles round trip? The first picture sounds like a “CZ First Class” rather than a deluxe first. If a “CZ first” is not available at a date, but a “CZ deluxe first” is available, will delta book a deluxe first for you?


adam October 19, 2013 - 6:08 am

@Simon – Yes these are CZ First, and not Deluxe. Unfortunately, Delta does not allow you to book actual first class cabins on any of their partners, including CZ.

Simon October 27, 2013 - 10:51 am

Now it sounds that there are very few award first class ticket on CZ327, and I do remember Delta ceased allowing using sky miles to redeem KE flights… Can I use skymiles to redeem such an itinerary PVG-CDG-JFK using a transpacific chart..?

Jennifer August 26, 2014 - 5:56 pm

I am trying to get to the Maldives on Delta points, but I’m having no luck. The Delta website doesn’t even recognize MLE, I called and the delta agent said I couldn’t book there, on either China Southern or Korean. Are the Maldives still available with Delta points?

Adam August 31, 2014 - 12:01 pm

@Jennifer – These are hard to come by but they are still available. You might want to check out Juicy Miles for award booking assistance.


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