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Can you help me understand Delta award ticket levels?

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We want to use our FF miles to fly Bus/First from ATL to JNB in November 2013. Yes....almost a year away. DL puts awards seats into their computer 331 days in advance. However, it appears that all they put in at that point are the highest level of award seats. Typically November/December seats to JNB (Johannasburg, SA) are the lowest award level -- at least they have been for several years.

Question....at what point does DL "lower" the FF requirements for these flights? NW used to have actual "seasons" -- high, shoulder, low, with actual dates. Not so Delta. I'm sure it is capacity controls.

Does anyone have any suggestions? I need to lock into my land arrangements now, but can't until I know what dates we can fly. Its a real hair pulling puzzle -- renedering the DL award seats nearly unusable. Surprise.

Any council to help understand and ultimately manipulate this system will be extremely welcome. Thank you.

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