Bizarre Low Award Bookings via Delta SkyMiles

It is very bizarre, but there is some glitch right now with and particularly the system delta skymiles reservation agents use so that I have successfully obtained 6 coach seats on the same flight during the Christmas and New Year’s holiday season on Delta flights.  I was looking at particularly Atlanta – Puerto Vallarta, but I believe this glitch will work anywhere Delta flies their metal and codeshares with AeroMexico.I believe the glitch has something to do with Aeromexico changing the way they code their flight award buckets.  Now ‘X’ is the fare bucket required to indicate partner economy inventory.  I THINK ‘O’ is the one that indicates partner business availability.

Here is what I found:

  • Flights from Atlanta – Puerto Vallarta for almost every date in December does not have economy award availability for 2 people, and definitely  not for 6.  If you call Delta and ask them to check on availability for their operated flights, they will tell you the same.  HOWEVER, if you insist there is availability, and they just have to look at the AeroMexico Codeshare of the same Delta operated flight, and look at the ‘X’ bucket, then in each case and with each representative with which I have worked, it comes back as confirmed and they are able to get the seat on hold!  This even passed muster when I had a supervisor of Delta SkyMiles perform the same thing for another ticket.  For each time I tried to do this, Air France / KLM FlyingBlue would show availability for this flight in economy via their search engine, but couldn’t pull it up.  These have booked into ‘N’ and ‘X’ award ticket classes on Delta.
  • I haven’t tried this for routes other than Puerto Vallarta, but am thinking the same should hold true for Delta’s other Mexico Routes like Cancun, Zijuahtenajo, Cabo, etc.
  • When I did this before the flights showed up via FlyingBlue as available.  However, now when I search for this flight and the same one on various days, Flying Blue shows sold out which may mean they have fixed the computer glitch of the fare bucket coding error.
  • Below are some screenshots that show you the availability is not there.  However I called and asked about this same flight to multiple agents, and booked it as a record locator number with 4 people and another for 2 on the same flights on the same days round trip at low 35,000 miles
Search One Way Award from ATL to PVR

Search One Way Award from ATL to PVR

See the award calendar show it is not available in low for that day

See the award calendar show it is not available in low for that day

Have Delta show you it is 55,000 miles (although when you call and ask for AeroMexico codeshare fare bucket 'X' you get it for 35,000 as I did)

Have Delta show you it is 55,000 miles (although when you call and ask for AeroMexico codeshare fare bucket ‘X’ you get it for 35,000 as I did)

Also not pictured below, but a glitch I noticed that is now fixed is that if you searched by schedule for award seats on Delta’s site and then selected a non-stop aeromexico operated flight (like MCO – MEX or MIA – MEX) and you selected Economy, the next screen would say, “we found you seats in a better cabin for the same miles” and for only 20,000 delta skymiles could redeem the flight.  I think this was also associated with the glitch in their fare buckets.  I think this is fixed, but someone else should try and mess around with a couple search by schedule flights for aeromexico, select economy, and see if it comes back as the miles normally used for “low” but as business class.

I know I am rambling here, I guess there is one quasi example:

Search MEX – PVR on Dec. 24 by schedule on Delta’s website.  Pick the first flight of the day that only shows Economy.  When you click economy, you get this screen:

Showing you got business class for only 20,000 miles per passenger within Mexico.

Showing you got business class for only 20,000 miles per passenger within Mexico.

But this flight is a regional jet which only has economy.  So something is screwy between what shows and the fare bucket it uses to find and reserve award tickets.


When Record Locator Numbers Cause Uncontrollable Laughter

Today I had to call Delta to make some updates to a reservation.  The agent I was working with asked for my record locator number.  This is a 5 digit alphanumeric string that is the unique record of your reservation.

I had the agent on speakerphone and Lady Tocqueville was in the room.  So I gave him my record locator number.  Usually when listing it out, you either state it, or give a word to represent the first letter, like (A) as in Alpha or (C) as in Charlie.  I was feeling mischievous, so I gave mine out to the agent like this:

Agent: Could I please have your record locator number, sir?

Tocqueville: GABC4D, that is: G like Girabaldi, A like Azerbaijain, B like Breastfeeding (at this point Lady Tocqueville is in uncontrollable laughing fits, but trying to mute her voice to not be rude to the agent), C like Candystore, 4, D like Deltoid.


I could barely control my laughter as well.  Nevertheless, the agent was unphased and he successfully pulled up the record.



Valle de Bravo – A Gringo Weekend

Three friends and I took a long weekend to celebrate a 30th birthday.  Our destination, off the beaten path in Valle de Bravo Mexico, about 2 hours from Mexico City.  It is a place I had been to at age fifteen, and returned triumphantly with three friends for a weekend of cultural exploration, and personal excess.

15,000 British Airways Miles down, 17,500 United Miles back

15,000 British Airways Miles down, 17,500 United Miles back

Three of the four of us took award tickets, 1 from Atlanta on Delta for 37,500 miles.  The other two, me, and BB, went down with British Airways award tickets on American Airlines CLT – DFW – MEX on the way down for 15,000 British Airways points each, and returned for 17,500 each United points for the nonstop flight from MEX – CLT.

For three nights we stayed in a beautiful house, had a housekeeper cook fresh Mexican food, clean, and take care of us.  We explored the town on foot, checked out some of the local bars, took a boat on the lake, and rented ATV’s to climb a local mountain.

It was an AWESOME weekend.  We were the only gringos in town that day, and the Mexican people we met were very kind and friendly to us.


View from our balcony.


3AM fresh streetfood.  Not pictured is VERY SPICY salsa verde.


Enjoying fresh food made by a wonderful housekeeper


Because governments limit the freedom of travel, people in Valle de Bravo have to come here to get a passport or to apply for a visa to a foreign country like the USA.

My Chase Ink Bold credit card provided rental insurance CDW coverage, a savings of $38 a day.  With a favorable exchange rate, and a great corporate discount, our rental car for 3 days came out to $75 with all taxes and fees.

I am looking forward to my next trip to Mexico – slated for December 2013.  Sayulita will be the destination of choice then.