Delta seems to be becoming seriously more generous with award availability!
Some recent examples:
– I booked flights for next month on Virgin Atlantic business class without major issues
– I searched for flights around Thanksgiving to Europe and found plenty of availability in J and Y
– A few of the direct flights to Johannesburg are priced out at the low level
– Several DansDeals forum members are reporting great availability to Tel Aviv
All these changes come after Delta has increased mileage levels for most awards. Usually, increases in mileage levels come with an announcement of increased availability but this time Delta actually seems to have come through.
Even more interesting is that AMEX Membership Rewards Member Alitalia allows you to book the return flight from New York to Tel Aviv for 80,000 miles in BUSINESS CLASS
Fuel surcharges/taxes & fees come out to $321 instead of Delta's $150 though. Quite a deal if you are looking for flights to Europe or the Middle East!