A SkyMile Redemption To Europe

I have always been a fan of Delta SkyPesos and somehow have never had an issue redeeming them for the places I have wanted to go. Sure, I have had to be more flexible in my travel options, despite this, when flying from the USA to the rest of the world, SkyPesos has always gotten me there at the lowest award level. Before the merger, WorldPerk Miles were easily redeemable and I flew all over for free, however since the Delta acquisition of NWA redemption options have been fairly meek! Either way, I’ve been able to fly to Colombia, Asia (three times), Beijing, two domestic award trips, and more on Skymiles at the lowest level award rate; sometimes on Delta metal, but mainly on partner airlines.

This week I started to look for award availability to take my brother to Europe for his college graduation. I decided to plan the trip for after the peak summer travel season and wanted to leave for Europe on or around 9/1 and return two weeks later. Trying to maximize my vacation, I wanted to be sure to leave the USA on a Saturday and return on a Sunday. In order to find space, I first went to Expert flyer and started looking at KLM and Air France award space. To my surprise, from every port in North American I could not find a single ticket in “x” space on either carrier! Alitalia also had no low level award space available and Air Europa was the same!! I was shocked, Delta’s partner awards have always been the only way I’ve been ever able to use my Skymiles!

After over an hour of searching for award space on KLM,Air France, and Alitalia on Expert flyer from every major city/destination served by the airlines I was ready to throw in the towel. Even Canadian’s ports weren’t showing any “X” space availability. Classic “European” awards in “T” class was plentiful, but such class is not bookable with skymiles. I was frustrated and done with my attempt to use my miles, but before quitting I wanted the Skyteam to know.


I direct messaged KLM like they asked me to and they told me they would do some research for me. I was done after that and called it a day. The next morning I woke up and not to my surprise, KLM never got back to me, over a week later now and not a single message from them. No surprise! .Go figure, but then again I didn’t expect them to. Feeling brave, I ventured over to Delta’s website and started looking for flights, hoping just MAYBE Delta would have some award availability. To my surprise, I found flights on the EXACT days I was looking for in the LOW level award category on their partners!!! Why in the heck had I not checked this earlier?!?!? The weirdest part was I found flights from Seattle VIA Calgary to Amsterdam that were on KLM from YYC to AMS! Even expert flyer didn’t show “X” space available on this flight! I quickly booked it!

So moral of the story? After using Experflyer for hours, I found going over to the unreliable Delta.com actually did the job for me! Now my brother and I will get to enjoy a summer trip to Europe! For 60,000 miles a person and $130 in taxes, we are going to fly Seattle-Calgary-Amsterdam-Madrid. We will spend a few days in Spain and then utilizing Delta’s stopover allowance, we will then continue from Madrid to Prague. The fun doesn’t stop there because Delta Skymiles can be useful, we are doing an open jaw ticket and returning from Amsterdam back to Seattle Via Calgary!

It was painful to find this award but sure enough, Award tickets can be found and Skymiles can sometimes be useful!

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That's so interesting because I use both EF and delta.com to search and I sometimes find the opposite--delta.com will show phantom KLM space that errors out if you click through to book it.

Having said that, YYC-AMS used to be a great route for award space. Glad you got seats.

Glad it worked out! I haven't been so lucky, unfortunately. My experiences tend to be more like what Matthew described.


It would time out each time however a quick call to the elite desk and they were able to book the ticket.

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