How often can one frequent flyer program devalue award costs? In October 2020 Delta SkyMiles devalued partner awards significantly, and now it appears that the program has done so again (thanks to my awesome colleague Jimmy for the heads up on this).
Delta SkyMiles partner award costs increase again
Delta SkyMiles doesn’t publish an award chart, and has even had variable award pricing when traveling on partner airlines. That’s something we don’t see much even from other programs that ordinarily have dynamic award pricing.
Well, it looks like Delta SkyMiles has now increased award costs when traveling on partner airlines from the US to both Asia and Europe. How bad are the changes?
Higher business class award costs between the US & Europe
One-way partner airline business class awards between the US and Europe now start at 120,000 SkyMiles. This applies whether flying Air France, Virgin Atlantic, or any other partner. That’s outrageous.
As a point of comparison:
- Prior to October 2020, these awards cost 75,000-86,000 miles
- As of October 2020, these awards cost 95,000 miles
One-way Air France business class awards to Europe now cost 120K SkyMiles
Higher business class award costs between the US & Asia
One-way partner airline business class awards between the US and Asia have now also increased in cost:
- US to North Asia awards now start at 120,000 miles; previously these awards cost 102,500 miles
- US to India awards now start at 120,000 miles; previously these awards cost 102,500 miles
- US to Southeast Asia awards now start at 165,000 miles; previously these awards cost 147,500 miles
Those “previous” award prices don’t even reflect the previous devaluation. For example, prior to October 2020, a US to North Asia award started at 85,000 miles, then the cost increased to 102,500 miles, and now the cost increased to 120,000 miles.
Seriously, a one-way saver business class award now starts at 160,000 miles? 160,000 miles for a one-way saver business class award? Seriously? For real? Are you serious, like, actually?
Some one-way business class awards now start at 165K SkyMiles
Business class award pricing that isn’t changing
If it’s any consolation, Delta SkyMiles isn’t increasing business class award costs from the US to the Middle East or Africa.
It’s a bit odd that at this point:
- You’ll pay 120,000 SkyMiles for a New York to London or New York to Paris business class award
- You’ll pay “only” 115,000 SkyMiles for a New York to London to Johannesburg to New York to Paris to Johannesburg award
It now takes fewer SkyMiles to fly to South Africa than Europe
Delta SkyMiles has significantly devalued award redemption rates on partner airlines for the second time in a few months, including for travel to Asia and Europe. I wasn’t surprised to see Delta SkyMiles devalue once a few months ago, but again?! The fact that saver level awards between some regions now start at 165,000 miles one-way in business class is simply unbelievable.
But at the same time it’s perfectly believable, since we’re talking about Delta SkyMiles here. Don’t go out of your way to earn Delta SkyMiles, and if you do earn them, expect to redeem them for about a cent each towards some sort of Delta purchase. The SkyMiles program is trying to eliminate any sort of redemptions that offer outsized value.
What do you make of this latest Delta SkyMiles award devaluation?