I’ve managed to book two J-class awards for my wife and I for travel to Europe at Delta SkyMiles Level 1 (saver). Granted, J-class saver costs 62,500 miles each way, which is 12,500 more than most domestic carriers at the moment, assuming you can find availability, but I was quite happy with the result. October isn’t exactly high season to Europe, I suppose, but I got a flight that worked for us on exactly the day and time we want to go. The biggest news is that I’ve managed to do this twice since January 1 to two different cities.

delta skymiles, skymiles award availability

My latest booking is actually on Air France metal, but I need to depart for the trip from Chicago where I’ll be for a business meeting. I could have saved a few miles booking AA/US (US metal) in the latest wrinkle in award availability that appeared over the weekend, but that would require a connection or an extra day in Chicago for me to make it work. In the meantime, I have set up an ExpertFlyer.com alert just in case award availability opens up on AA metal on their nonstop from ORD. Then, I’ll make a decision on whether to stick with burning DL miles or flying AA for this trip.

I’m not sure October is the best example for travel to Europe, so I’ll ask – have your Delta SkyMiles award searches proved more fruitful since January 1, 2015? Has award availability really improved? Share some experiences in the comments section.

-MJ, January 22, 2015