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Delta / SkyMiles Bait and Switch

1 Atlanta, GA, United States
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Hey guys -

I realize you probably get a zillion complaint emails about the airlines. I also realize that airline ticket prices change minute-to-minute, etc. However, I think I was just the victim of a legitimate bait and switch and I'd really appreciate it if you'd warn people about this.

Airline mileage programs are notorious for a reason. Because my wife and I have separate Delta Skymiles accounts, we were forced to book tickets (to Jackson, Wyoming, this August), separately. I ran through the system and applied my 20, 000 SkyMiles to get a $200 discount on my ticket, using my special American Express card that Delta requires to "pay with miles" (as opposed to buying a whole flight; the mileage is applied as a 1, 000 miles to $10 discount). I then *immediately* ran back through the whole system with my wife's SkyMiles account.

Importantly, I again was given a $200 discount on her 20, 000 miles. Again I was quoted the exact same flight price, flight time, etc. It was not until AFTER I had entered my credit card information and pushed 'PURCHASE' (which ordinarily completes the transaction) that the Delta system popped up and informed me that her ticket would cost an additional $130.

Damn, I thought, they moved the prices on me. I backed out and started over, looking for a better ticket price for her on a different flight. To my surprise, I saw that the same flight continued to be advertised at the rate I had bought my own ticket on just minutes before. That same price is STILL advertised now, an hour later. Delta straight up pulled a bait-and-switch on us, applying a $130 rate hike at quite literally the last minute without prior warning.

For couples flying on Delta, using separate SkyMiles accounts, this is nasty. You can't book together; they won't let you merge the accounts. The 5 minute time lapse between entering one ticket and entering the other is long enough for Delta to apply this rate hike. Most tellingly, *they do not advertise* that the rates have changed. Although my wife and I have separate SkyMiles accounts, they all belong to the same home address. I strongly suspect Delta's system is engineered to prevent two SkyMiles accounts belonging to the same home address from receiving a discount on the same flight.

In the end, we could have flown Frontier Airlines for the same price we ended up getting after applying 40, 000 miles. It's a racket. Don't fly Delta and don't bother accumulating SkyMiles.

Zach Matthews
Atlanta, Georgia

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