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Hello, I feel like you’re experiencing first-hand Delta’s attempts to do whatever they can to make one SkyMile worth exactly one penny. I was trying to look back and see just how many times Delta has devalued SkyMiles over the past few years since your original trip, but couldn’t find out for sure. It’s probably at least a few. So, I don’t think what you’re seeing has anything to do COVID, and more just their long-term attempts to peg a very specific value on their SkyMiles.
Agreed with Ricky, things are quite different now compared to 3 years ago and their dynamic pricing has become very dynamic to put it mildly… I personally even stopped earning on Delta at this point since I can’t do anything with Skymiles (except getting fancy Champagne in the lounge!).