Delta FURTHER Devalues SkyMiles

I officially hate Fridays.

Last Friday we received word that United was devaluing their award chart as of February 1st. Apparently the folks at Delta realized they’d missed an opportunity by  devaluing their award chart as of June, so they’ve now published an interim award chart for travel using Delta SkyMiles between February 1 and May 31.

As an example, here is the chart for SkyMiles award travel from the US as of yesterday:

Delta SkyMiles Devaluation

And here is the chart Delta published as of today for travel after February 1st:

Delta SkyMiles Devaluation 2/1/14

Delta justifies the changes as follows:

This afternoon, you’ll be able to see some updates to our Award Ticket charts on To balance continued investments in products and services, we regularly evaluate Award pricing and adjust it periodically. Select redemption levels are changing for Award Tickets booked on or after November 8, 2013, for travel on or after February 1, 2014. You can continue to book Award Tickets for travel before February 1, 2014, at the current Award redemption levels.

Please review for existing and updated mileage redemption charts by region and additional information.

Once again, this is very poor form by Delta. While the changes themselves aren’t outrageous given what we know is coming in June, the practice of once again making adjustments to the Delta SkyMiles award chart without any advance notice is ridiculous, in my opinion.

For the most part, I think that anyone that cared about the value of their miles likely left Delta a long time ago, though I do know many people who were actively trying to burn their SkyPesos SkyMiles this winter. Changing the prices on award tickets from one day to the next is disingenuous, though sadly we’ve come to expect this behavior from Delta SkyMiles.

Another great reminder to always diversify your points, and to put as much effort into burning your miles as you do to earning them.

So, for anyone who still has SkyMiles – what do you think of this change?

(Tip of the hat to Jordan)

Filed Under: Delta
  1. @Lucky,
    Totally agree with you. Delta is a shame and such a crappy business.

    I have accumulated 420,000 skymiles. Not because I did not wanna burn, but because it has been extremely difficult to burn at reasonable value. So, each time I searched, I always ended up buring AA or SWA or US Airways miles.

  2. Burning them as fast as I can. Just redeemed 800k in one fell swoop. Now, the issue is to which airline and alliance should I status match?

  3. This is ridiculous! They didn’t even give us advance notice. What a worthless piece of you know what!

  4. Ha! After reading this I used the last of my miles to get a couple of magazines subcriptions to just use them up. This served as a reminder to me that I still had a few miles laying around. Thanks Ben!

  5. I am in a special situation where SkyMiles are a good value for me. Do you know of a good way to accumulate 20k points without flying? What would be the market value in $ for 20k points now that they are further devalued?

  6. Being based in HNL, I thought I had escaped deltas wrath because awards to north asia (the only routes I fly) went unchanged with the original June 1st award chart.

    However, it seems like they remembered they missed that route and today they went and changed it to 55k and 85k in coach and business respectively. It used to be 40k and 70k, which was great. looks like it was too good to be true for this Hawaii based flyer.

    All that being said, I am still more upset by the changes United implemented. 15k isn’t so bad. United raised their prices by 30k in J to the same destination.

  7. Will AA be soon follow suit?

    I was lucky to use 280k dl miles a few weeks ago for 2 business tickets to s.e. asia.

    bailing out of my delta amex card now.

    they ( and otherlines) should let miles piled up before the change to use at the rate that they were saved at. ( like that will happen)

    maybe its a good plan ( for them) to see when many accounts are about to reach a level that looks good to redeem miles, then raise the mileage to use, and hope some will just give up and never cash in the miles.

  8. Please don’t even start 🙁 I currently have almost 1 million of useless Delta miles. Forced to move from AA to Delta as I moved to a Delta hub and I fly a lot for business so adding an extra stop to fly AA does not help. Every time I try to dump these miles for leisure travel with family there is no way I can find a good way to use them.

  9. Wow, even I am shocked by this one. This is just downright greedy. Glad I booked a bunch of DL awards the last two weeks. Still sitting on 1 million SM, which is better than previous 2 million SM.

  10. I am somewhat happy to say that my current skypesos balance is less than 100, because I liquidated them for a decent redemption before the most recent devaluation. (Well, you know, decent by skypesos standards.) Delta is dead to me. As it should be to anybody else serious about this hobby.

  11. I’m a Delta Medallion, have been for a long time. This doesn’t shock me anymore. They aren’t called the worst miles in the industry for no reason. This devaluation however, was not as bad as what I’m used to seeing.

  12. The problem is…they’re just a really nice airline to fly domestically. I tentatively tried to switch to UA/US this year, and I just didn’t like them as much. So I’ll fly Delta, and get UA miles from CC spend. Any value I get out of my DL miles is just gravy.

    With that said, PLEASE PLEASE don’t switch to a revenue based-system

  13. This is getting out-of-control!! Delta is making record profits, so how on earth can they justify yet another devaluation? I’m a Platinum member and it’s time I seriously re-consider my loyalty to this airline!! Absolutely ridiculous!!

  14. Thanks for the tip, Lucky! Ugggh.. now I have to worry about using DL miles. I only have 240k, but I was going to use it for India when I have more time to travel. 🙁

  15. It is becoming patently obvious that airlines are moving to a different model in which they are going to make their earnings and profits off of the actual business of flying people from point to point and having customers shoulder the entire cost of this. No longer will they rely on their loyalty/mileage programs to garner profits because at this point, who will go out and obtain credit cards from their partners for miles when they simply will be devalued in short order.

  16. @ Andy — From an award ticket redemption standpoint it can make sense, but if you fly quite a bit you’ll probably benefit more from the elite status benefits you get from Delta than Alaska. Also, with them going head to head in Seattle, I’m not entirely convinced that partnership will last.

  17. I’m sorry. Now that UA and DL have devalued their rewards,
    Did I hear someone say the merger of USAIR and AA would still be good for frequent flyers?

  18. I gather UA will try and match, as they see DL and SkyPesos as their model. I do wonder what the AA devaluation announcement will be next week? If all these changes are a based on a race to the bottom, then loyalty programs have lost their intrinsic worth, and it is better to buy the best net value when purchasing a product from an airline. As a general rule, the international airlines offer a far better Business and First class product than the US carriers. When one finds these onsale or through a promotional offer, it may be better just to pay for the product upfront and then credit the miles to one’s preferred frequent flyer or alliance program.

  19. There is only one real way to show your displeasure- vote with your feet and walk away to another carrier. I was once told that “you can’t make people respect you, but you can stop them from disrespecting you.” If a restaurant gives you bad service would you go back if you had a choice? Same for the airlines. When you have a choice fly someone else – and let DL know it.

  20. As much as I know this is not a glamourous award for miles, but I’m starting to think that magazines and newspapers are the best resumptions for Delta.


    A Wsj subscription costs 2,700 miles for 39 weeks. Even valued at 1 cent/mile this is worth $27. New subscriber offers cost $156 for the same term ($12 for first 3 months, then $24/month after). Renewal subscribers have are being charged close to $500/year (yes this is not a typo). So for my Skycents I’ll redeem for a newspaper that I read daily.

  21. You have no one to blame but yourself, if you’ve been accumulating tons of DL miles. They’ve been pulling this crap for 5+ years. Credit to AS, if you have to fly DL.

  22. Hi Lucky,

    I am trying to book a roundtrip business class from Zurich to Shanghai using Skymiles. The agent quotes me $820 for taxes and fees. I asked her for the breakup, but she can’t figure it out. I thought Delta no longer charged european origination fee… Do you have any clues why the tax and fee are so high, is there any way to get it around?


  23. @ Yang Shen — Unfortunately they do indeed still impose fuel surcharges for awards originating in Europe. Sorry!

  24. Delta Air Lines is the ringleader for frequent flyer programs they on admission Over the next 10 years for the airlines are band up to do away with frequent-flier programs it’s coming if anybody have over 200,000 miles I recommend you booking your trip somewhere quick before you wind up losing everything if you have elite status with Delta American Airlines will match their status

  25. This is an odd question, but how much does this affect the value of AmEx points given Delta is such a prominent partner and accounts for a lot of US domestic travel? (I wish they had Southwest as a partner!)

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