One Of Delta’s Worst No Notice Award Price Changes Yet

Filed Under: Awards, Delta

Back in early 2015, Delta deleted their award charts from their website overnight, instead suggesting that award tickets should work the same way as paid tickets, with variable pricing. They claimed that as long as the online award shopping process is easy, people don’t care about the lack of an award chart (too bad their online search tool is still broken, so they haven’t delivered on that).

Of course we’ve still been tracking award costs, and as of now Delta still has consistently priced “saver” award levels. Over time we’ve seen the cost of many SkyMiles awards increase.

For example, in August Delta quietly raised the cost of business class awards between the US and Europe from 62,500 miles to 70,000 miles one-way, for travel as of January 1, 2017. In January Delta quietly raised the cost of business class awards between the US and South Pacific from 80,000 miles to 95,000 miles one-way, for travel as of October 1, 2017.

Well, Delta has just made their latest award cost increase. Business class between the US and India at the saver level just increased in price from 70,000 miles to 97,500 miles one-way. While Delta never provides any advance notice of these changes in terms of when you book, in the past they’ve only had the devalued award costs apply for travel in a few months. In this case, business class awards are going up in price for travel effective immediately, even if you’re traveling tomorrow.


For example, here’s a calendar search of one-way business class awards between New York and Delhi:


That’s also a pretty drastic increase in terms of the number of miles. A roundtrip business class award to India increases from 140,000 miles to 195,000 miles — that’s a ~40% increase in the number of miles required. For what it’s worth, the cost of economy awards between the US and India isn’t increasing.

As previously announced, Delta is also increasing the cost of awards between the US and Middle East from 80,000 miles to 97,500 miles one-way for travel as of November 1, 2016.


Bottom line

It’s no secret how I feel about Delta’s lack of an award chart, and the resulting no notice award price changes. This change is especially bad, both in terms of the percent increase (which is worse than most of the others), and also in terms of the change kicking in for travel effective immediately.

I guess the change as such was inevitable, given that Delta recently raised the cost of awards between the US and Europe to 70,000 miles one-way in business class, and they weren’t going to have the same pricing for travel to Europe and travel to India.

Will you be impacted by this change in award costs to India?

(Tip of the hat to @kabirobhan)

  1. However, they have been pretty good at releasing “semi-saver” awards in the US for about 30-35k which is good

  2. Holy $***!!! That was the only reason I would have applied for the increased sign up bonus of the Amex Delta cards. Is there actually demand in flying via air France or Saudia to India. This is so stupid of Delta.

    I see no other value for me now getting those cards when I don’t have other travel plans to goto Australia or UK on Virgin flights where the is value.

    @ Lucky – don’t you think AA will naturally follow suit now that United charges 80k miles and Delta 97.5k for travel between USA-India. AA’s 70k is just too good a deal for flying via Etihad/Qatar business to India. I long suspect AA will increase this route requirement to 85k.

  3. Lucky,

    Do you think this is in response to so many award miles being in existence? I’ve earned hundreds of thousands over the last two years and it’s been pretty easy due to bonuses and credit card sign-ups.

  4. Why do you still keep promoting the Delta Skymiles Amex cards in that case? As recently as yesterday.

  5. Don’t you guys see that Delta is testing their customers to see how much will take for them to say enough and ditch them? They keep treating customers like crap and their flights are always full even when they charge astronomical prices for a seat. In their mind there is way more they can do to screw customers before they get in a dangerous zone. They will keep doing this over and over again.

  6. Yeah…..Delta will fire all the executives and reduce the mile awards back to 2000 levels once customers stop smiling.

  7. I don’t trust Delta ever since they removed their award chart. I cancelled my Delta Amex when they pulled that stunt. Don’t know why anyone still collects Skymiles anymore unless they want to be ripped-off and enjoy dealing with a shady company that makes changes to their loyalty program overnight with no notice.

  8. I dont know why I even bother anymore. As much as I love Delta I have been so frustrated, and I am a hardcore Delta apologist. My husband and i travel to Atlanta every week for business and each time we travel back and forth it seems as though every single person in line for the flight is sky priority. They may as well get rid of it and let everyone trample on at the same time. It is impossible even being platinum status to get any kind of upgrade on any flight into ATL (and almost anywhere else) from anywhere in the US. My newest frustration is from trying to book a flight using my miles for an upcoming trip to Stockholm. I have been looking on the flexible reward chart for the lowest price in miles for business class tickets. I pull up the chart and I see 125,000 for roundtrip ATL to ARN I go to click on it and then it takes me to an error page EVERY SINGLE TIME

    No results were found for your search. Try changing your cities or dates. Some itineraries may not be offered on; please call Delta Reservations Sales at 800-221-1212 to see if your flight is available. #101639A

    Each time I pull up that same flexible table that mileage amount still shows up. And if I click on the same date for main cabin at 60,000 miles those flights magically exist, oh and it shows the business class amount as well but now on the page where you pick the flight you want its now listed at 282,000 miles.

    I dont understand why Delta insists on complicating things I also dont know if it is an error or what. But tech support is no help whatsoever. Next step, calling India for some lame excuse, sigh. Remember when traveling was easy? #firstworldtravelproblems

  9. They never seem to adjust the saver economy pricing on award flights. Why is it always the premium seating that gets trashed?

  10. Since more miles are gained via credit cards than flying it makes sense for airlines to repeatedly devalue miles. The monster devaluations like the one Alaska/ Emirates pulled seems not to have affected things and I suppose many more are on the way. Would not be surprised to see round trip to Europe at 500k miles within 3 years and Australia at 1m

    Will have to get used to buying tickets in economy

  11. Delta is really the Trump of the airlines. Delta thinks they can do whatever they want and now it is almost like an insult to those who choose Delta. Seems like Delta is pushing the boundary bit by bit, so let’s see.

  12. As soon as I read this I depleted my 300,000 Skymiles stocked up in my account and secured two Delta One Flights for my wife and I to go to Argentina in 2017. Here’s to hoping they don’t touch that award pricing as although higher than AA and United, at least the one thing Delta has is that they offer attainable business/first class awards unlike United and AA.

  13. I think price increases like this will come with the following:
    1) better availability
    2) sale pricing that gets the price back down to the levels before or even lower

    I think many people would accept the increase in exchange for #1.

  14. how funny is it that while lucky bashes Delta constantly regarding the award prices he’s been pumping both Amex Delta cards like crazy this past month? Something doesn’t click..hmmmm…lol

  15. @Ken “Delta is really the Trump of the airlines. Delta thinks they can do whatever they want and now it is almost like an insult to those who choose Delta.”

    Actually I’d say Delta is more like the Barney Frank of airlines and you as the customer are one of his 20 year old congressional “pages” taking it without the KY.

  16. So what is a good use of Delta points as the rewards continue to devalue? Are there still some nuggets of value left in that program? Perhaps you could do a piece about options…

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