Delta SkyMiles Eliminating Round The World Awards January 1, 2015

Filed Under: Awards, Delta

Delta is making huge changes to the SkyMiles program in 2015, on both the earning and redemption side. On the earning side, redeemable miles will be awarded based on how much your ticket costs as opposed to how many miles you fly, and SkyMiles is getting more restrictive on how many points you can transfer in from partners.

On the redemption side, SkyMiles is unfortunately adding more award tiers, though on the plus side will begin allowing one-way awards on partner airlines, which adds quite a bit of value to the program, in my opinion.

But it seems they’ve made another change which they haven’t announced.

Via Delta Points, Delta has updated their Membership Guide & Program Rules to add the following (bolded below):

  1. “The only “round the world” type award I really ever found worthwhile were American’s distance based explorer awards”

    I’d argue that Continental’s pre-UA merger Star Alliance round the world awards were an excellent value.

    And that some of the distance based award charts of Asian programs which include multiple stopovers can be decent value.

    None quite as good as the AA explorer award was though!

  2. @ Gary Leff — To clarify, was talking about awards that are explicitly round the world. Totally agree there are plenty of distance based award charts out there that represent a great value, and can be used for round the world awards.

    And true, 280K in first class with OnePass was a great deal. Though not sure it was a better deal than a US to Asia via Europe with a stopover for half that cost, given some of the award chart sweet spots you could use to book side trips.

  3. Booked a RTW in business for 220,000 Skymiles back in 2006 during my college days. Availability and mile earning was much better then which combined with open jaws, made it worthwhile at the time. Took multiple calls and 2 hour visit to Delta station at SAN to get ticketed but well worth it.

  4. I had once considered booking a DL RTW award but ended up transferring MR points to ANA instead and booked a RTW trip to Asia and Europe in J for just 125K miles. In a sense it wasn’t a “true” RTW since ANA’s distance-based award chart still applies, but they do have more permissive rules on the number of stops you’re allowed to make on an RTW, so forming it that way has value. ANA also allows some mild backtracking (I flew NRT-PEK-HKG-SIN for example), apparently unlike Delta, as long as you’re not egregiously zig-zagging all over the place.

    I can’t imagine too many people use these. I can’t even imagine very many people even were aware that this award existed.

  5. For those who consider a true rtw to hit all inhabited continents or at very least more than 3 it is hard to argue that the loss of the delta/skyteam award isn’t huge. Too many bloggers focus on fairly upscale destinations and miss the heart of the world.

  6. It could be because of how much time it takes up for agents to issue, ticket, and deal with RTW awards. Frustrating for everybody involved, I’d imagine, and logistically difficult with Skyteam partners and varying states of technology for each airline.

    It’s just too many resources dedicated to a very niche need. I’d imagine other programs moving in the same direction.

  7. Booked BOS-LAX-ICN-SYD-ICN-FCO-MAD-AMS-BOS back in ’01. Agreed that RTWs are no longer worth the effort–on either the customer or the ticketing agent’s side–given the ease with which one can book alliance flights and one-way segments these days.

  8. The 6 stops on my RTW:


    2. SYD-ICN-HKG

    3. SIN-ICN-BOM (long way)

    4. DXB-CDG-KBP

    5. IST-CDG-JNB


    7. SCL-ATL-SAN (home)

    Awesome trip in business class as graduation gift from college. Was 22 at the time so I didn’t know anything (still don’t) about miles/life.

  9. @ Tom — that actually sounds like an interesting routing, thanks! Wish I had more vacation time to go on one of this long trips.

  10. I used a first class RTW ticket in 2006. It was AWESOME value! Got true first class on one long segment (it is no longer possible to get true 1st on any partner). Overall the deal was amazing around a $25K ticket price. I planned to do one again next year since it was actually cheaper to go RTW than just fly somewhere and back. Last year Australia and back was 330,000 miles. Korea was the same quote. It is a shame they are doing this. It will actually make people like myself who hoard miles for big trips just fly other airlines instead of Delta and Delta partners exclusively. Fun while it lasted but likely I will start to stop flying Delta with these new rules. Likely they will shoot themselves in the foot and lose a lot of vacation flyers and small businesses with loyalty since you get little for distance or price shopping.

  11. For my husband and I the RTW biz class rewards have been very worthwhile. We’re retired, so plenty of time on our hands. Left mid-Sept from MSP, gone 3 months to New Zealand, Australia, China, Israel, Jordan, Egypt. Back to MN for the holidays, using Visa points to get home and on to J’Burg in March, then pick up Delta rewards flights to Buenos Aires, 2 1/2 months in S America, then home from Bogota to complete the RTW. Really couldn’t have done this just using point-to-point rewards.

  12. I did use Delta miles for an around the world trip ticket back in 2007: 140K miles (later went up to 180K) and $310 in fees: SFO-SYD, SYD-NRT, ITM-HKG, BKK-CAI, CAI-JNB, JNB-EZE and SCL-SFO. I just called them and priced out this itinerary in one way tickets and it comes to about 50K miles for each segment, so if I were to book 6 flights in economy, I’d be looking at 300K miles and about $300 in fees. This ATW reward ticket was well worth it. If you price out a revenue ticket with 6 segments, two hemispheres and open jars, you’re looking at $4000-$6000 with just as many restrictions. If you want a cheap ATW ticket, you’ll have 4 stops, no open jars and only one hemisphere. I definitely see this as a major loss.

Leave a Reply

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *