In case you’re wondering why they’re called SkyPesos…

A while back Gary coined the term “SkyPesos” to refer to Delta’s SkyMiles. I use the term without thinking twice about it nowadays, and often get emails asking me why I refer to Delta miles as “SkyPesos.” If you actually try to redeem miles with Delta, I’m sure you know why we’d use that term.

Here’s a classic example. Back in August Delta announced they would start service to Iceland next year, once daily from New York. Naively, I said I would be using my SkyMiles for a trip to Iceland, even though it’s not a great use of miles. When I said it wasn’t a great use of miles, I meant that redeeming 100,000 miles for business class on a flight that’s under six hours might be considered a waste.

Boy, was I dreaming! 100,000 miles in business class? Try 350,000 miles! I typed in two random dates in June, and out popped the high redemption rate of 350,000 miles per passenger. Hmm, I guess someone must already be booked in business class that day. I mean, it’s one thing if they only offer a “medium” tier award, but only “high” tier, really? Nope, not a single seat is taken in business class in either direction.

I had a look at the calendar, fully expecting that others days might be better. Nope, in the entire schedule, both ways, there’s not a single “low” tier award.

And that’s why we call ’em SkyPesos…

Filed Under: Awards, Delta
  1. Thanks for brining this to the attention of the frequent flyer community. As a diamond medallion on Delta, I wonder if I wonder frequently if I should change to another airline.

  2. You couldn’t possibly know that there is not a single C seat to Iceland next year. Absolutely impossible and unfair to make such a claim.

    For how broken the Delta award search tool is, all you can claim is that you cannot *find* such an award, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist! 😉

    (OK, OK, it probably doesn’t exist either. But until Delta fixes the tool, or makes their award inventory open to a tool that does work, we can’t really say!)

  3. At least you know how many miles an award costs before you book it.

    Try booking anything with Delta that does not involve North America. Not only do they not publish an award chart for itineraries originating outside North America, but the phone agents are also not allowed to tell you how many miles an itinerary would cost except for a specific routing on a specific day (so they can say that “out on June 11th, back on June 18th is 100k miles” but are not allowed to say that “75k is Low, 100k is Medium, 200k is High”). When prompted, they say that it is for “security reasons”.

    You can’t make this stuff up…

  4. Lucky,

    Hopefully you got your DL miles on the cheap (SunTrust promo, maybe?), as they are certainly not as valuable as AA or UA miles.

    However, I found it pretty each to use them on KLM flights to/from Amsterdam. I was able to book in business a round trip from NYC-AMS for 100,000 DL miles flying KLM. I do understand that other routes would be a bit more difficult.

    Also to that point, I find the KLM search tool much better than Delta, and they do show all of the routings for Delta, AirFrance and KLM, so you have pretty good Europe coverage.

  5. Lucky – I have 65k Skypesos left in my account and I think the best value is to redeem them for gift cards. The ratio is 6500 miles for $50 gift card – still not getting 1 cent per mile but it is about as good as it gets. This ratio is only because my status is Silver – my significant other who does not have any status, the ratio for gift cards is 17500 miles for $50 gift card.

  6. @ordfreqflyer
    If you have DL Amex the ratio is 1 cpm. I actually use them for rental cars. Not a good ration on weekends, but on weekdays is often 1.5 cpm.

  7. I book Athens – NY A few times a year— have to work very hard to get biz class for a 100,000 miles and need lots n lots of luck ,I start 6 months in advance– some times I can get biz one way but it is worthless as Delta charges same for one way as it does r/t after I USE UP MY MILES BYE-BYE never have a problem with A.A. via London or UA via Frankfurt— bring BACK PAN AM

  8. I like flying Delta, but I don’t understand how they let this craziness with Sky Pesos continue. I suppose they don’t feel they’ve been negatively impacted by not making award seats available at a reasonable level.

  9. Delta extends significant benefits to its frequent flyers domestically — upgrading on award tickets, for example, unlike any other airline today.

    Am I allowed to be a condescending coastal snob for a moment and speculate that Delta’s hubs (apart from New York-JFK, where there is a lot of competition) service a *much less cosmopolitan market* than the other legacy carriers, save US Airways? That is to say, the residents of SF, LA, NY, Chicago and Boston account for a massively disproportionate part of the total number of US passport holders, especially in comparison to Delta’s hubs (Atlanta, Minneapolis, Detroit, Salt Lake City, Memphis, Cincinnati). These are also the US’ main engines of globalization, and have knowledge-based economies that integrate them into the global economy much more deeply, and also pay better — all factors that suggest that there is a larger market for international travel. Moreover, it’s pretty easy to tell on a flight connecting through DTW or MSP which passengers are O&D and which are continuing onwards. So I would imagine that a lot of Delta’s frequent flyers just aren’t as interested in international travel as those of say, United.

  10. Also, I’ll note that Boston isn’t a hub for any legacy carrier today, but I’ve not once scored an upgrade on a transcontinental flight on UA or AA terminating or originating in Boston. FWIW.

  11. We have skypeso seats on delta later this week from W. Palm Bch. to Louisville. When I tried to reserve a car using skypesos, the reply was “there are no cars available at this location”.

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