Shh! How to Book Hidden Award Flights With Delta Miles
Signing up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.Update: One or more card offers in this post are no longer available. Check our Hot Deals for the latest offers.
While you can use Delta miles to book award flights on both SkyTeam alliance and non-alliance partners, the Delta award search engine doesn’t always show every available flight or partner.
But if you know certain tricks, you can find and book these hidden award flights! And there are often plenty of award seats available.
I’ll show you how to book the best secret flights using Delta miles.
The Best Secret Flights to Book With Delta Miles
1. China Airlines
China Airlines is a 4-star Skytrax airline that flies between the US and Taiwan and to many points in Asia. There are lots of award seats in coach and Business Class between the US and Asia, and their Business Class cabin is widely considered one of the best.
As an alliance partner with Delta, you can use your Delta miles to book award seats on China Airlines. However, the Delta award search engine isn’t good at showing China Airlines flights. Delta’s website will show you direct flights on China Airlines, but won’t show you connecting flights.
Here’s an example – if you search for a one-way Business Class ticket from New York City to Hong Kong, the Delta website shows that the cheapest ticket costs 160,000 Delta miles:
However, if you search New York City to Taipei in Business Class, there’s a non-stop flight on China Airlines:
Then, if you search for a connecting flight from Taipei to Hong Kong, you’ll find lots of available award seats:
Because this is a connecting trip on China Airlines, the Delta search engine will NOT show the connecting option (in this case from New York City to Hong Kong via Taipei).
Once you’ve verified available seats, call Delta at 800-323-2323 and tell the agent exactly which flights on China Airlines you want to book with miles.
The agent will then price out the trip, and in this case, it would cost 95,000 Delta miles and ~$50, instead of the original “lowest fare” Delta suggested for 160,000 miles!
China Airlines flies from the US and Canada to Taipei from:
- Los Angeles
- New York City
- San Francisco
You can connect to places throughout Asia on China Airlines like Beijing, Osaka, and Tokyo for no additional miles!
This ticket would cost ~$3,500, so you’re getting a value of ~3.7 cents per mile ($3,500 cash price / 95,000 miles) with China Airlines, instead of the ~2.1 cents per mile ($3,500 cash price / 160,000 miles) that Delta would have suggested online.
You can use this trick to fly in coach for 40,000 Delta miles, although you should consider flying Business Class because you’ll get more value from your miles. And China Airlines has an amazing Business Class. You can use this trick to fly to places like Australia and New Zealand for 55,000 miles in coach, and 115,000 miles in Business Class!
If you use Air France / KLM Flying Blue miles, the same ticket would cost 40,000 miles in coach, or 100,000 miles in Business Class, so using Delta miles is a great deal.
2. Air Europa
Air Europa is a SkyTeam alliance airline, that flies between Madrid and:
- New York City
What makes Air Europa amazing is that they typically have 9 saver award seats in coach and Business Class for most of their flights! That means you can bring the entire family to Europe using Delta miles!
Out of New York City, they fly an A330 with angled seats in Business Class. If you’re flying Business Class, it’s best to fly out of Miami, where they fly a 787 Dreamliner, which has full lie-flat seats.
Unfortunately, you can NOT search Air Europa award seats for free, and have to use ExpertFlyer (a paid service) to find them. However, chances are that if you call Delta, the flight you want will have 9 seats in both coach and Business Class, so don’t worry too much about finding award seats first.
To book, call Delta at 800-323-2323 and give them your desired flight information. In coach, Delta charges 35,000 miles, and 85,000 miles for Business Class to Europe. Taxes are minimal at ~$50. For no additional miles, you can connect through Madrid to places like Barcelona, Ibiza, and Rome.
If you used United Airlines miles for flights to Europe on a partner airline, you’d pay 30,000 miles one-way in coach and 70,000 miles in Business Class. However, because Delta miles are much easier to earn, it’s certainly a worthwhile redemption.
3. Jet Airways
Jet Airways is an Indian airline that flies between Toronto and Amsterdam, and offers plenty of available award seats. Because getting to Toronto from most of the US is usually easy, this is a good option to look at if you’re going to Europe.
Jet Airways offers a comfortable lie-flat Business Class on this flight, and serves delicious Indian cuisine. To search for award seats, use the Delta search engine and search for flights between Toronto and Amsterdam.
What’s particularly amazing about Jet Airways is how many award seats they release to Delta – you’ll find 5 Business Class seats on most days!
And Jet Airways usually has 4 award seats in coach as well. You’ll pay 35,000 Delta miles one-way for coach, and 85,000 miles for Business Class on Jet Airways, and ~$50 in taxes.
You can connect to Toronto on saver Delta award seats, but the Delta search engine will NOT show you connection options.
First find award seats on Jet Airways using Delta’s search engine:
Next, find saver award seats on Delta from your home city to Toronto:
Finally, call Delta at 800-323-2323 and give the agent your desired flights. They should price out your ticket for 35,000 miles in coach or 85,000 in Business Class and minimal taxes!
This flight normally sells for ~$5,000 in Business Class, so you’ll be getting almost 6 cents per mile ($5,000 cash price / 85,000 miles)!
The Delta search engine isn’t the greatest tool to search for award seats with Delta SkyTeam alliance and non-alliance partners. Because certain airlines and routings won’t appear in your search, even if they have lots of award seats available!
But if you look to China Airlines, Air Europa, and Jet Airways, you’ll see that it’s easy to get saver award seats to Asia, Europe, and beyond!
Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express CardAPPLY NOW
Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card
Earn 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months, Offer Expires 10/28/2020.
Earn 2X Miles on Delta purchases, at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
New! Earn now. Travel when you’re ready. After you spend $10,000 in purchases in a calendar year, you will receive a $100 Delta Flight Credit to inspire your next travel.
Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta Flights.
Earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases.
Enjoy a $0 introductory Annual Fee for the first year, then $99.
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99.
Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)