Courtesy Delta Newsroom

A few things to know about from the last couple of days

Delta Devalues SkyMiles Again

Every time they make awards more expensive, I think they have to take a break from alienating customers that purposely collect SkyMiles. But every time, I’m wrong.

Kyle at Thrifty Traveler reported this weekend on a slew of crazy new rates for awards. The gist of it is that in most cases, they are now pricing partner awards at the same insane levels as Delta’s own flights, assuming they both fly that route.

He saw 330,000 miles for business class to Europe on KLM, 220,000 miles on Virgin Atlantic to London, San Francisco to South Korea on Korean Air for 260,000 miles…. and yes, these are one way awards!

This is huge (disappointing) news because the way to get outsized value from SkyMiles has been, for very long time, partner redemptions. Now, it looks like Flash Sales will eventually be the only way to extract more than about 1.1-1.3 cents per mile in value.

Disappointing for sure. But I’ve ranted enough about SkyMiles and how I think the lack of an award chart or pricing transparency is extremely bad for loyalty (because you can’t work towards any goals), but their management openly admits they don’t care what we think of SkyMiles’ value. And indeed, I’ve found that most frequent Delta flyers give them a pass on SkyMiles as long as they keep the planes clean and on time and give them complimentary upgrades…

Iberia Switches Avios Earning to Revenue Based; British Airways Will Follow Next Year

Instead of earning by distance, you’ll earn 5 Avios per Euro spent. Elites can earn as much as 8 Avios per Euro.

Yet another airline is saying that they don’t care why you fly, how often you fly, or if you’re indeed even loyal (the highest paying customers are usually paying with other people’s money), but this has been the trend.

British Airways says they’ll be doing the same next year.

More info at Iberia’s website.

Alaska MileagePlan Changes

The good news: You can now book Cathay Pacific awards online.

The bad news: It probably won’t be at the same (amazing) prices for very long. Alaska has said to expect a full integration of award charts into one big one now that they are fully in the Oneworld alliance.

Every partner Alaska has onboarded recently has been at unusually lousy award rates (compared to Alaska’s historically amazing rates). They still keep (higher) standard award rates but on some partners you can pay more for awards that aren’t available at Saver rates. That’s an interesting feature for many as long as the Saver rates remain good, but the general thinking is that great awards like those on Cathay Pacific, JAL, and Fiji will increase, perhaps dramatically.


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