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Award Booking Errors on Delta.com

Delta.com is famously known as delta.dumb on flyertalk because of the IT related issues on completing reservation(issuing tickets). Predominantly this happens with award searches and in some cases, booking award flights on delta.com

Last week, I was helping a client book a trip to China from the U.S., specifically, the client needed to return from Shanghai to the East Coast.

I was able to find a non-stop saver level flight on China Eastern for travel on the client’s desired date. Everything looked available for booking as shown by the screen capture image.

Flight results search page

Flight search results page on Delta.com

I had the client transfer their Amex Membership rewards points over to their Delta Sky Miles account and continue the booking process.

With Delta, however, their website never guarantees a smooth transaction especially when it comes to making a mileage redemption. I sincerely think Delta intentionally leaves bugs or is indifferent about fixing IT glitches to make it harder for consumers to use miles. I hate dealing with Delta Sky Miles because of this reason. This time around, when I went to proceed to complete the booking, I received the following error:

Error message on delta.com

Error message during an award booking on Delta.com

Now what?

I had the client transfer Amex Points to Delta, which is irreversible. Not to mention there are taxes that need to be paid to Amex for transfer Amex Point to Delta($.0006 per mile capped at $99 USD).

I tried to complete the booking a second time, but was faced with the same failure.

I was dreading that the seats would disappear and worked quickly to book it that night. I noticed that a record locator was created for the flight I was trying to book. A ticket number that’s usually associated with the record locator did not appear.  I assumed that the flights were on hold – a practice that Delta allowed in the past for 24 hours – and had some time to call and agent and complete the booking over the phone.

When I talked to an agent, I explained the situation and she told me that the Delta Sky Miles account didn’t have the sufficient miles to complete the booking. That seemed odd because the miles were in the account prior to the attempted transaction, but the transaction didn’t complete. I wasn’t sure if the tickets were issued or not.

The agent put me on hold and came back relatively quickly and told me that there was an error(NO KIDDING!).

She was able to take payment and complete the booking as originally intended for without any telephone booking fee or further complications.


Just because you have a record locator doesn’t mean the flights are booked. You want to be able to see a ticket number in your reservation. That’s the reference that the operating carrier will use to look your reservation in the system.

If you’re trying to book a trip on Delta.com and experienced a problem like I did, first check your “MY TRIPS” tabs to see if the trip you’re trying to book is there.

If it is, it’s most likely held for 24-hours. I would highly recommend getting on the phone with a Delta agent and explain that you would like to complete the booking you attempted to make online, but was unable to do so.  If the agent replies with that you don’t have sufficient miles or tries to impose a telephone booking fee, explain to them the situation and be adamant, but sincere about the situation.


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