A great trick for finding Delta partner award availability


Separately, we wrote about Virgin Atlantic’s fantastic award availability calendar.  While the tool is currently only intended to be used to find Delta or Virgin Atlantic award availability to or from England, it turns out that it is easy to trick the tool into searching for ANY nonstop Delta route.  When you use the tool to search for Delta awards, it shows seats that are available to book with Delta’s partners such as Virgin Atlantic and Air France.  That’s important because it is often the case that partners charge far fewer miles than Delta for the same flights.  In this post I’ll show you how to use the tool to find Delta award availability, and then I’ll show examples of how you can use this to save huge numbers of miles.

This post is being republished because the trick detailed here had previously stopped working, but it is working again (and has been for quite a while).  The original post follows…

a person sitting on a chair using a laptop

How to find Delta partner award availability

  1. Start with Virgin Atlantic’s Reward Flight Finder, here
  2. Select Flying with Delta Air Lines
  3. It doesn’t matter what airports are in the From and To boxes
  4. Click “Check for reward seats”.
  5. Trick: Change the origin and destination airports in the URL
    1. Make sure to use all capital letters for the airport codes
    2. Only include airport pairs where Delta has a nonstop flight. This tool won’t check for connecting flight availability.

I believe that only that step 5, above, requires explanation.  Once you follow steps 1-4, the URL in your browser should look something like this:


See how the URL says “origin=LHR” and “destination=ATL”?  All you have to do is change the origin and destination airports to match the route you want.  For example, suppose you want to fly from Atlanta (ATL) to the Bahamas (NAS).  You can simply change the above URL to this:


It’s important to note that lowercase letters don’t work for the airport codes.  And this tool will check only for nonstop flights.

With the above URL, I got the following results:

a screenshot of a calendar

Where it says “Upper Class,” it shows the number of Delta first class or Delta One seats available to be booked with partner miles.  “Premium” is for Premium Select, but I’m not at all sure that Virgin Atlantic can see or book Delta Premium Select seats.  “Economy” is the same as Delta’s Main Cabin seating.

If you want to see other months, simply click the buttons at the top-right of the calendar to progress forwards or backwards.  Alternatively, you could change the part of the URL that says “month=06&year=2023”.

Double check award availability at VirginAtlantic.com

While the Reward Flight Finder seems to be mostly accurate, I and others have found situations where it shows award space that isn’t really available.  So, once you find award space you’re interested in, go to virginatlantic.com to search for awards.  For a detailed guide showing how to do that (and a trick for showing results in a monthly calendar view), see: How to book Delta flights with Virgin Atlantic miles.

Better pricing with partners

Once you find Delta award availability, you can compare Delta’s own pricing to partners like Virgin Atlantic and Air France.  Often you’ll find much better pricing through a partner.  Don’t worry if you don’t have Virgin Atlantic or Air France miles.  Both transfer from many different transferable points programs:

Rewards ProgramAmex Transfer Ratio
(and transfer time)
Chase Transfer Ratio
(and transfer time)
Citi Transfer Ratio
(and transfer time)
Marriott Transfer Ratio
(and transfer time)
Capital One Transfer Ratio
(and transfer time)
Bilt Transfer Ratio
(and transfer time)
Air France KLM Flying Blue1 to 1 (~10 minutes to 1 day)1 to 1 (Instant)1 to 1 (Instant)60K to 25K (1 to 3 days)1 to 1 (Instant)1 to 1 (~5 Minutes)
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club1 to 1 (Instant)1 to 1 (Instant)1 to 1 (Instant)60K to 25K (1 to 2 days)1 to 1 (Unknown)1 to 1 (~5 Minutes)

Atlanta to Nassau, Bahamas

The award calendar shows lots of economy and first class availability from Atlanta to Nassau on June 27th.  Let’s look at the cost to book this flight with Delta directly vs. Virgin Atlantic and Air France….

Delta wants 19,000 miles for main cabin economy, or 49,000 for first class:

a screenshot of a flight schedule

Booking with Air France Flying Blue, you get a better price in economy (13,000 miles), but a worse first class price (55,000):

a screenshot of a computer

a screenshot of a computer

Virgin Atlantic is the clear winner in either economy or first class:

a screenshot of a flight schedule

As you can see above, Virgin Atlantic miles are the best option, by far, for booking Delta from Atlanta to Nassau!

Amsterdam to Detroit Business Class

One famous best use for Virgin Atlantic miles is to fly between the U.S. and Europe in Delta One business class for only 50,000 miles.  Unfortunately, Delta is very, very stingy about releasing business class (Delta One) award space on these routes.  After hunting around a bit, I found one flight where I could demonstrate the pricing differences between programs.  The Virgin Atlantic Reward Seat Checker shows that there are 4 upper class (Delta One) seats available on March 27th from Amsterdam to Detroit:

a screenshot of a phone

For this flight, Delta wants a mere 375,000 miles (or 318,750 miles for cardholders) plus 215 Euros:

a screenshot of a facebook page

Air France Flying Blue is much more reasonable.  They want 79,500 miles plus $226.25 USD:

a screenshot of a computer

Virgin Atlantic wins the day again.  You can book the same flight with only 50,000 Virgin Atlantic miles plus 215 Euros:

a screenshot of a phone

It pays to compare

It’s not always the case that Delta’s partners offer significantly better award pricing than Delta itself.  Sometimes Delta offers the best option.  Still, there are times when booking via partner miles is so much better than with Delta that it pays to compare.  We can now use Virgin Atlantic’s Reward Flight Finder to see when a nonstop Delta flight is available to book with partner miles.  Once found, go to VirginAtlantic.com and to airfrance.us to see what the other programs charge.

Have you found other great deals by booking Delta flights with partner miles?  Please comment below.

Want to learn more about miles and points? Subscribe to email updates or check out our podcast on your favorite podcast platform.
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

It does not seem to work anymore. It appears to be limited to what you can select in a drop-down box.


Also seeing this issue.

Jake from MSP

Delta’s Partner Biz Availability is truly atrocious. After an hour, I have found one single international business class award and ironically, it’s April Fools day 2024


I am getting the message:
“Looks like we’re having trouble finding that info right now. If it happens again, try a bit later when we should be back on course.”

Has this stopped working? Or does it still work in Firefox only?


The page won’t open.


Has anyone been able to find any Delta One availability on any route on any date?

Jake from MSP

I found a single AMS->MSP on April Fool’s Day. Dead serious

[…] News and notes from around the interweb: How to use the Virgin Atlantic website to find Delta Air Lines award space available (at low prices)… […]


I was hoping this wouldn’t get posted publicly again. When all blogs got ahold of this last time, it was dead in a week. Hopefully it doesn’t happen again.

Todd Stanu

This seems to be working again….but the results seem to differ, or it doesn’t reflect seats that are already sold, when you type a route directly into virgin’s “book” search. For example; use the finder to search for flight from DTW to LAS on 11/21/23. The finder shows 9+ 1st class direct route seats available. When you search using the standard “book” link on Virgin’s home page, it shows economy seats available but no direct route 1st class availability.


It was a glorious couple of days; and I’m not surprised that they shut this functionality down. However, it is disappointing nevertheless. Also, I don’t know how this really hurt either Virgin or Delta given that it generated such positive news amongst the miles and points community during a period when there’s so much uncertainty about the impact of the SkyTeam integration.

Last edited 1 year ago by Jamal

It looks like they killed the Delta search by changing the URL.

Dugroz Reports

Well …. it was fun for like 2 days.


It worked last night but not anymore. It seems like this trick is blocked.


Changing to non-UK airports does not work for me now, although it did 2 days ago. I see “Hmm, Something’s not working”. I did confirm there was award space using the regular Virgin search.

Last edited 1 year ago by Scott

[…] FM notes that there’s an easy way to see Delta award space for partners by using Virgin Atlantic’s calendar view and modifying the origin and destination airport codes in the URL. I’d copy this URL into your notes and modify as needed for a quick search:https://travelplus.virginatlantic.com/reward-flight-finder/results/month?origin=SLC&destination=PHX&airline=DL&month=06&year=2023Just change the origin, destination, month, and year as needed, then paste into a browser, but note that it only works for non-stop routes. […]

[…] Frequent Miler found where you can actually do the search for city pairs that aren’t listed in order to search for routes that only Delta operates to reveal difficult award space to find. This is done by manipulating the URL: […]


I’m confused, the whole idea is to change the airports in the URL as opposed to changing them in the airport boxes on the webpage? Why is it better?