Buried deep in the award chart devaluation that Delta announced last August, they also quietly stopped allowing holds on award tickets as of September 9, 2013. If there’s one airline where award holds are useful it’s Delta, because you’re simultaneously dealing with one of the industry’s worst online award search tools and the industry’s worst mileage award booking agents. Only some space shows up online while agents can’t see other space over the phone, so it tends to turn into a bit of a cluster*#$%, to put it mildly. Instead they now allow you to cancel or change your award within 24 hours at no cost, which is better than nothing, I suppose.

Anyway, Milevalue just shared a pretty simple trick for holding Delta SkyMiles award tickets.

Just start the process of making an award booking as you usually would. Once you’re quoted a price in miles just hit “Continue.”


On the next page you’ll be prompted to enter passenger information, so do that as you usually would.


Hit “Continue” once again, and you’ll be brought to the final purchase page where you can confirm the award. At this point you’d usually scroll all the way to the bottom of the page and click “Redeem Award,” which you’re not going to do in this case.


Instead scroll to the top of the page and click “Delta,” right above the “Verify & Redeem” text. This will take you back to the home page of delta.com.


Once there you’ll see the flight you were booking under the “My Trips” section.


There will be a confirmation number and a “Redeem Now” button, though at that point the itinerary is on hold for a couple of hours, and you can book either online or by phone.


So this definitely isn’t as useful as it used to be. You used to be able to hold SkyMiles awards when you didn’t have enough miles in your account. In this case you need enough miles in your account or else you won’t even be able to get to the “Verify & Redeem” page, because instead the previous page will have this message:


Still, I can see this being useful under some circumstances. If I have to book a SkyMiles award over the phone (due to travel on partner airlines that don’t show on delta.com) I’d rather already have something on hold so that the passenger name and some segments are in there. Then they should be able to pretty easily add the segments that you want over the phone and then ticket the award.

It’s ultimately not that much more useful than just ticketing a placeholder itinerary online and then calling within 24 hours to modify it for free, but hey, it’s another option at least.

  1. January 13th, 2014 at 8:33 am

    WanderingEntrepreneur said,

    Thankfully the ability to hold an award ticket is still possible, but an agent must do it for you. When they were having issues with their site two weeks ago, they had to do this across the board for a lot of people.

  2. January 13th, 2014 at 8:37 am

    Neil S. said,

    The other thing you can do is use PointsPros to figure this out for you! You guys found me a business ticket to Asia in April for 120K miles. I couldn’t find it on my own for less than 240K.

  3. January 13th, 2014 at 8:39 am

    lucky said,

    @ Neil S. — So happy to hear, thanks for the kind words! :)

  4. January 13th, 2014 at 9:31 am

    Lantean said,

    could this airline be any more frequent flier unfriendly?

  5. January 13th, 2014 at 9:50 am

    George said,

    Now that you blogged this, this useful loophole will be “fixed”.

  6. January 13th, 2014 at 11:33 am

    Dave said,

    This “held” my award for about 2 hours. I was logged out of Delta.com, logged back in and the award was gone.

  7. January 13th, 2014 at 11:37 am

    lucky said,

    @ Dave — Thanks for the data point.

  8. January 14th, 2014 at 8:52 am

    Dan said,

    @George, obviously you missed that Lucky reposted this from MileValue. MileValue got the info from DeltaPoints who also posted it to his blog and sent it out in his daily email blast. And Delta IT is so incomptetent that it will take them a year or more to “fix” it.

  9. March 10th, 2014 at 6:56 am

    RS said,

    Awesome, this still works. Thanks for the clear instructions. Only need it to hold for a few hours, so we’ll see.

  10. March 27th, 2014 at 2:46 pm

    GetToThePoints said,

    This trick doesn’t seem to work any more 3/26/2014

  11. March 27th, 2014 at 4:17 pm

    jackie said,

    Just tried today 3/27 and it still works!

  12. April 13th, 2014 at 8:14 am

    deltasegmentflyer said,

    4/13/14 – Still works. I held it in my name then called up and had it switched to my son’s name with the low availability thus saving a bunch of sky miles.

    Thanks Lucky!

  13. April 16th, 2014 at 10:05 pm

    Roni said,

    Any tips on getting a better award ticket over the phone with delta than what is reflected online? I found a decent one online last week but had to transfer SPG points over to have enough to book and once the points transferred the flight jumped from 40k to 52.5k miles a few days later. Any pointers or previous blog posts that addresses this? Thanks Lucky!

  14. April 17th, 2014 at 12:00 am

    lucky said,

    @ Roni — Are you looking for a domestic ticket on Delta, or where are you trying to fly to?

  15. April 17th, 2014 at 3:22 am

    Deltasegmentfly said,

    @roni sometimes it is a easy as just changing browsers. Deltas award engine is extremely bad and quirky.

  16. April 17th, 2014 at 5:51 am

    Roni said,

    @lucky yes domestic, AUS to PDX in July (for WDS). @deltasegment fly, I’ve used different browsers/devices on different days without logging into my skymiles account but get the same increasingly bad results

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