Delta increases prices of Partner Award travel – the one sweet spot that was left in SkyMIles

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When I talk about SkyMiles with people just getting into the hobby, I generally always say “They are the hardest miles to use, I value them at least per mile than any other US carrier, they don’t publish award charts – BUT, they do have some solid partners that, when available, make for great SkyMiles redemptions.”

So, of COURSE, word comes out today via Lucky at OMAAT that Delta is messing with us once again. They have now raised the price of partner awards. They didn’t announce it, they didn’t give any advance warning, and the changes mean that round trip awards on partners go up by anywhere from 10,000 to 40,000 SkyMiles per round trip (depending on the route).

For example, LAX-SYD round trip on partner Virgin Australia (which recently increased from 80k each way to 95k each way in Business Class) is now 115,000 each way in Business Class. What the what?!?!

A route that I love for a partner redemption is JFK-MEX on Aeromexico’s new planes with lie-flat business class seats. It was just 30k each way this morning. This afternoon, it’s 35k each way up front. 10,000 more for the round trip just like that.

JFK to London? If it’s on Virgin it just jumped from 70,000 to 85,000 miles each way!!  And up to 102,500 for a last minute trip on VX.

The one workaround? if you can find low level availability on a DL feeder flight (i.e. if you were going SYR-JFK-LON and Syracuse to JFK is a low level award (which remember you just have to know what you are looking for since they don’t publish award charts anymore), the whole itinerary will still price out at Delta pricing (i.e. that would still be 70k).  It’s nice that there is a workaround but if you live in a hub city like JFK/LAX where you don’t take a feeder flight, you are getting burned even more.

I think Delta should be ashamed of this change.  What do you think? WIll this affect your loyalty to Delta?