Air France Flying Blue is the only Sky Team loyalty program that partners with all common transferable points programs: Amex Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards, and Marriott/SPG. As a result, it can be a useful program for booking Sky Team awards, including Delta awards.
One of the few options for searching for SkyTeam award space in calendar view (rather than one day at a time) is through Air France’s award calendar. To use the calendar, browse to Air France’s website, click the “Use your Miles” tab, log into your Flying Blue account, enter your desired flight details, and select “Your are looking for a flight around these dates.”
This works great if you want to fly Air France or KLM, but if you’d like to fly Delta, the calendar doesn’t work at all. If there are no Air France / KLM flights for the route you chose, you’ll be told “No flights available for your travel dates. Please change your selection.”
However, if you search just for one specific day (uncheck the box indicating that you’d like to look “around these dates”), the search works fine:
It’s more difficult to see this pattern when looking at routes that are served by Air France / KLM. In those situations, the calendar will show results, but the results won’t include Delta. Here’s an example where I searched for one-way Detroit to Amsterdam:
The calendar above shows results for one-way awards from Detroit to Amsterdam, but it doesn’t include Delta flights. Note that the cheapest flights shown are 29,000 miles plus $105.92 in fees. But when I click on a specific date to view available flights, I do see Delta flights. Notice, below, that the Delta flight I want costs only 27,000 miles plus $10.10 in fees:
What to do?
Based on a suggestion from a reader, in addition to airfance.us, I tried the airfrance.fr and airfrance.de websites, but with the same results as presented above. In all cases the award calendar failed to show Delta flights, but single day search worked fine.
Delta itself, of course, has an award calendar that can be used to find Delta (and partner) awards. But, since Delta doesn’t publish an award chart, it’s difficult to know which awards are at the saver level available to partners. This is critical if you want to use miles from another program to book Delta flights.
Here, for example, is Delta’s award calendar for one-way flights from Detroit to Amsterdam (I selected April 1 as the travel date, and chose to show a 5 week calendar):
As you can see above, you can book the flight every day for as low as 37,000 miles. Is 37,000 then the saver level? Maybe. Maybe not. There’s no good way to tell.
And here’s how Detroit to Buffalo looks for the same dates:
Every day is available one-way for 17,500 miles for this domestic flight. Traditionally, saver level awards cost 12,500 miles so you might not think that those awards are available to partners, but in this case they are.
The pattern is easier to find when fewer saver level awards are available. In the next example, I searched for business class (Delta One) from Minneapolis to Tokyo (HND):
As you can see, there are a number of dates available for 100,000 points one-way vs. 300,000 points on other dates. From this you can surmise that the 100,000 point dates are probably available to partners, but you can’t really be sure without testing it.
So, let’s look at Air France:
The Air France award calendar incorrectly shows “no flight available” on April 3, but by searching for an exact date, I do find the Delta flight:
Overall, the Delta award calendar can be used to find flights bookable with partner miles, but it’s not always as clear cut as shown above. When Delta has no saver level availability at all, it can be really tough to figure that out since Delta will always show results, but often with very high prices.
A very good option for searching for Delta awards is the Virgin Atlantic website. When trying to search for flights, though, the “To” box doesn’t auto-complete airports. One alternative is to use the map icon to find your desired “To” airport. I like to use a faster option:
- Enter your destination in the “From” box (it will autocomplete).
- Copy the destination airport text to the clipboard (select text and press control-C, for example)
- Overwrite the “From” text with your actual desired departure airport
- In the “To” box, paste the contents of your clipboard (click on box and press control-V, for example)
Next, make sure to select “Pay with miles” and, if you want to search for business class awards, select advanced options “Upper Class“.
Finally, click Show flights for: Within 5 Weeks. (if you do this too soon, it will revert to “Within 1 week” when you select other options)
In this case, Virgin Atlantic found the following Delta flights:
A careful reader will see that Virgin Atlantic did not find all of the 100K dates that Delta found, but it did find most of them. When it comes to Delta award space, “close” is about as good as you can ever get.
You may also notice that Virgin Atlantic is a lot cheaper than Delta or Air France for the same exact flight. Each of the above happen to be non-stop flights. If they weren’t non-stop, they would cost more. Unlike Delta and Air France, Virgin Atlantic penalizes you for including stops since it prices each leg of the journey separately. In other words, the more legs your journey has, the more Virgin Atlantic will charge.
Virgin Atlantic’s award calendar only shows Virgin Atlantic and Delta flights. This can be useful if you’re specifically looking for those awards, but it is less helpful if you’re hoping to find general Sky Team award availability. Unlike Delta and Air France, Virgin Atlantic is not a Sky Team member.
Another issue with Virgin Atlantic is that it sometimes finds award space that is not available to Delta or to other Delta partners. That’s beyond fantastic when you want to use Virgin Atlantic miles to book the award, but if you’re hoping to use Air France miles, for example, it can be a bummer.
The biggest downside of Virgin Atlantic’s online search tool is that not all airports are available to search. I believe that all airports in the US are available, but many international airports that Delta serves are not available online. In those cases, it’s better to revert to Delta’s award calendar to look for potential dates, and then use Air France to search just those specific dates. Finally, if you want to book with Virgin Atlantic miles for those airports, you’ll have to call Virgin Atlantic to make the booking.
Air France’s award calendar is not useful for finding Delta awards. The best alternatives are the Delta and Virgin Atlantic websites. Delta’s award search is the most comprehensive, but it is unclear from the results whether the awards will be bookable via partner miles. Meanwhile, Virgin Atlantic’s award calendar is pretty good, but many international airports are unavailable to search online.
[…] also noted that Delta availability can be easier to find via the Virgin Atlantic site (See: Finding Delta awards in calendar view (Air France is not the answer)), with Delta One Suites from Detroit to Amsterdam ringing in at 50K miles one-way or a route like […]
@Greg,I tried your method to find Delta award availability from SFO to ZRH. This route can be found at delta.com but ZRH could not be found as a from/to airport. Any suggestion?
Use Delta.com to find what appears to be saver level space, then verify it on Air France by searching that exact day. If you want to book with Virgin Atlantic, you’ll have to call.
[…] I was going to place this blog in the penalty box due to numerous Marriott merger related posts. But there is just not much quality miles and points related content out there. And with the increased award “sales” by Delta Skymiles, maybe this will help somebody. And I agree with blog reader Ryan it DOES feel like Delta is about to hammer us again, they tend to throw a sweet few bones before another big knife attack on us! Finding Delta awards in calendar view (Air France is not the answer). […]
Hi. I have a more basic question: How can I access the Delta award calendar? I’m using chrome and I don’t see the option of searching over a five week time period. Do I need to use a different browser? Or, how to access the old website? Thanks.
Via the regular delta.com website:
1) search for a flight
2) On the results screen click “Flexible Dates” (near the top, in small font)
3) Change CALENDAR VIEW to “5 Weeks”
This doesn’t work for me when I try LAX – EZE. I see lots of availability on Delta’s site for 37k miles on June 24, 2019 on Delta metal, for example, but I do not see them on Air France’s site.
I tried your trick on Virgin Atlantic’s site. Buenos Aires or EZE doesn’t come up as auto-complete. Clicking on the map icon, I don’t see an option for Argentina either.
I think the issue is that the Air France website isn’t looking for the same routings. Try this: on the date that Delta shows 37K, look at the exact routing (maybe through ATL, for example). Then search the Air France website for LAX-ATL and separately for ATL-EZE. If both of those come up in the results, then I think you’ll have to call Air France or Virgin Atlantic to actually book it.
Greg, when I tried to replicate msp-hnd booking, the pay with miles icon is always grey and it says this route is not eligible? What did I do wrong? Thanks.
That’s a bug in the site. Simply change HND to LHR, select miles, then change LHR back to HND
Useful info. Thanks
Thanks for the post. This is very helpful! I have an Air France flight coming up and am considering to credit the miles to Delta. Can I do that online or do I need to call Air France to request that the mikes be credited to Delta? Thanks!
I’m not sure whether Air France offers that option online.
Great post Greg! I was just wondering why I couldn’t find any Delta availability on Air France and KLM’s websites when I searched. This is very helpful info.
You’ll get mugged on the plane between DTW and Buffalo, if not outside or inside the airport. Carry a 3d printed PHOTO of a gun to protect yourself.
Thank you for this very useful post. I am in Detroit and we are stuck with Delta. To me Delta is the worst of big airlines in USA in terms of awards game, and Detroit is the worst city among Delta hubs. This post is a saver, this put two very useful tools (Air France and Virgin) together to score a Delta award seat, thank you!
MSP will take your challenge on worst Delta hub.
Sorry. I insist ATL is the worst hub for finding any awards out to anywhere. DL wants us to COLLECT their miles, but never USE them. Ugh. I couldn’t hate them more.
@Greg- Any reason why local flights such as JAX to ATL on Delta never show availability on Air France? Are there particular types of flights within the US that are available on Delta but not on Air France using their miles to book?
Do you mean that the awards don’t show up even when you avoid the calendar view? If so, try the airfrance.de site and let me know if you get different results.
Correct. No awards show up on several local US routes. Didn’t know if that meant there are no SAVER awards at Delta and therefore they don’t pop up on Air France? Thanks and I will check out the other site for Air France.
I just searched for one-way JAX-ATL on the regular airfrance.us site for April 1 2019, and awards showed up immediately. Have you been looking for flights within the next few weeks? I’ve noticed that Delta seems to be blocking close-in domestic awards from partners.
And that’s when the “search around this date” checkbox appears at all. Sometimes it’s just not there and you’re stuck with searching day by day!