Huh? Multiple Reps Say You Can’t Use Delta SkyMiles To Fly On Kenya Airways

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Multiple Reps Say You Can't Use Delta SkyMiles To Fly On Kenya Airways

Multiple Reps Say You Can’t Use Delta SkyMiles To Fly On Kenya Airways

This week, 3 separate Delta chat reps told me I can’t use Delta SkyMiles on Kenya Airways. We’ve seen other devaluations of the SkyMiles program this year, and this seems like just another loss of value. I tried to talk to Delta about this new policy, and here’s what I found out. There are also unanswered questions on this, so I’ll also outline what we don’t know (because they won’t tell me).

Delta SkyMiles Kenya Airways award search - no results
Delta SkyMiles award search says ‘no results’

How It All Started

To be clear, I’ve had trouble with award searches using Delta SkyMiles for Kenya Airways in the past. However, chat reps were able to find the award seating / space if I provided flight details. This is simple, using a search on Kenya Airways’ website. Tell the Twitter or chat teams the flights you want, they tell you how many miles you need and put the ticket on hold in your account. Then, you complete the booking over the phone to pay your miles & fees. Not too bad.

This past week, I looked for multiple different itineraries within Africa using Kenya Airways. My Delta award searches all came up empty, despite using multiple dates, starting cities, and ending destinations.

"Multiple

The Flights Exist

To be clear, the flights exist. They are available for sale on Kenya-Airways.com. Just to be sure, I searched using my Air France / KLM Flying Blue account. I easily found award space, though the rate was atrocious. Thus, award space IS available, just not to Delta.

Air France / KLM Flying Blue can book award flights on Kenya Airways
I can find the same flights via my Flying Blue account

Talking To Delta Proves Unhelpful

It’s odd that one SkyTeam member can’t book award flights on another partner, so I tried to find out more. 3 separate Delta chat reps tell me I can’t use Delta SkyMiles for Kenya Airways redemptions. After the first “no”, I waited a day and asked again with a different employee. Same answer, nearly identical phrasing. I waited 3 days and talked to someone else. I got the same answer with similar phrasing, though it’s not totally copy/paste.

Since the wording was slightly different each time, it tells me they weren’t given a script to copy/paste to customers. However, the end result was telling me that they have an “agreement” with Kenya Airways. Clearly, the reps are finding this info somewhere and passing it along. You can’t use your Delta account to book award redemptions on Kenya Airways. Why? It’s a mystery.

"Multiple

This must be new. I made an award booking using Delta SkyMiles to fly on Kenya Airways a year ago. I also found routing with Kenya Airways 4-5 months ago, so I should’ve booked it. Asking when this started, why it changed, etc. got no response from any of the chat agents. Here’s an analysis of what we know / don’t know about this weird agreement.

What we know:

  • Delta has an agreement to not book Kenya Airways award redemptions using SkyMiles

What we don’t know:

  • Why this agreement affects Delta, since Flying Blue can make these same bookings
  • When it started
  • If / when it will end

Final Thoughts

This just makes no sense to me. Why one partner can book award flights but another can’t defeats the purpose of an airline alliance. I’ve never found a SkyTeam member airline that can’t be booked using my Delta SkyMiles before now. As it stands, you can’t make Delta SkyMiles award bookings on Kenya Airways. Why? They won’t say.

Ryan S
Travel hacker in 2-player mode, intent on visiting every country in the world, and can say "hello" or "how much does this cost?" in a bunch of different languages.

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4 COMMENTS

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4 COMMENTS

  1. That reminds me of an episode I read about at The Freddie Awards around five years ago when somebody from Delta was asked what categories they were hoping to win. The Delta person said that if they ever won a Freddie in any category then they weren’t doing their job right. Kinda sad that they see providing loyal and involved customers with value as anathema but it gives some good insight into their thinking. Given that mindset, it shouldn’t be surprising that they aren’t interested in making things any easier for you.

  2. I found a similar situation trying to redeem on Aerolineas Argentinas. Multiple reps (at least 5), including supervisors.

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