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Courtesy Delta Newsroom
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I can’t believe that while still in the midst of a raging global pandemic, I’m writing about Delta devaluing their partner awards for a second time in the same pandemic!

The last time was back in October, when both Delta and United thought it was a brilliant time to devalue their loyalty programs.

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The October 2020 Delta SkyMiles Devaluation

Economy to Europe on Air France, KLM, Virgin Atlantic: Was 25,000 SkyMiles; now 35,000 miles – a 40% increase.

Business Class to Europe on Air France, KLM, Virgin Atlantic: Was 75,000 – 86,000 miles; now 95,000 miles (and only more than 60 days out). From 60 days to 21 days before departure, that 95,000 miles becomes 170,000 miles (yes, one way!) and within 21 days, it’s a crazy 195,000 miles.  The percent increase varies here based on your booking window, but it gets to around 250% of yesterday’s prices close-in.

Economy Class to China on China Airlines / Korean Air: Was 32,500 SkyMiles; now 40,000 (23% increase)

Business Class to China on China Airlines / Korean Air: Was 85,000 SkyMiles; Now 102,500 SkyMiles one way. 20% increase.

The February 2021 Delta Skymiles Devaluation

Per OMAAT today, we now have the following additional devaluations for Business Class SkyMiles awards:

  • US to Europe (on Delta, Virgin, AF or any partner) awards move from 95,000 miles to 120,000 miles (to start and one way)
  • US to North Asia awards move from 102,500 miles to 120,000 miles (to start and one way)
  • US to India awards move from 102,500 miles to 120,000 miles (to start and one way)
  • US to Southeast Asia awards move from 147,500 miles to 165,000 miles (to start and one way)

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MilesTalk Musings

Now, just stop and think for a second about how little you have to go back in time to see US to Europe awards for 50,000 miles each way. Now we are at 120,000 miles each way?!  You are telling me that it “feels right” to have a US – Europe round trip pricing at 240,000 miles?? That’s insane. You can often get round trip business class fares for a bit north of $2,000. Why does someone want to accumulate SkyMiles so that they can maybe get 1 cent per mile in value?

Delta’s Medallion program is arguably the best in the business at rewarding loyal flyers with perks like upgrades and consistent service. But Delta’s SkyMiles program is – hands down – the worst at rewarding that same loyalty with memorable experiences.

And if you, like me, like to aspire to awards, don’t you think it just stinks that a) Delta won’t publish an award chart for partners, b) charges whatever they feel like it on their own metal, c) gives no notice or warning when devaluing because, in their opinion, there is no award chart and therefore charging more can’t be a devaluation?

How is it fair for them to just keep moving the needle on what things cost? It’s obviously not. And doing it in darkness in the middle of a pandemic, losing even more trust with their customers before most of us get back to flying? Pretty low.

But at least we see what’s happening and everyone can vote with their dollars as they see fit. You may not choose to fly them less, but you sure as heck should consider earning fewer (any?) miles on their credit cards.

Thoughts?

Let me know below in the comments, on Twitter, or in the private MilesTalk Facebook group.

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New to all of this? My “introduction to miles and points” book, MilesTalk: Live Your Wildest Travel Dreams Using Miles and Points is available on Amazon and at major booksellers.

I got "in the game" in 2003 and since then I've collected literally millions and millions of frequent flyer miles and hotel points. I've flown around the world in first class seats that would cost $29,000 using frequent flyer miles and a few bucks in tax. And I've stayed in some of the finest hotels - all for free! A few years ago I realized many of my friends actually thought I was paying for these!! So I started sharing my tips. It's long been a passion, but when I hosted a session on Miles and Points at this year's South by Southwest festival, my love of the game intensified and this blog was born.

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