Delta Air Lines

Interesting Delta Partner Pricing: 161,000 SkyMiles?

Did you miss a deal? Never again! Apply to join the members-only MilesTalk Facebook group.

Advertiser Disclosure: MilesTalk has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. MilesTalk and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers and MilesTalk may also receive compensation for content. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers. The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone.

I’m not going to make this a “the sky is falling” post about Delta SkyMiles. It may well be an isolated case, but I found it interesting enough to post about – mainly to see if any of you have encountered similar award pricing.


We know with Delta that the price is the price when it comes to awards. On Delta metal, the price fluctuates minute to minute and an award costs whatever it does.

💳 If you are in a cash crunch, you should avoid travel rewards credit cards until you are caught up. Here are our favorite credit cards for Intro 0% APR offers and for balance transfer offers

We’ve seen them increase the price on partners before. In Dec 2017 I wrote about some business class partner awards to North Asia being repriced from 95,000 to 125,000 miles (I believe this was close to the date of travel).

Just this June, I reported that I was finding NY – London Upper Class awards on Virgin Atlantic for 135,000 miles one way.

Fast Forward to Today:

Trying to price a one way ticket from New York to Male in the Maldives, I saw expected partner pricing on China Eastern for 95,000 miles. This is the “expected” saver / partner rate to Asia. While it’s not clear in the screen shot, this is a mixed cabin itinerary, with PVG-MLE in coach. I believe it would be the same 95,000 miles in all business, though.

But then there was a two-stop option, EWR-LHR on Virgin Atlantic, LHR-PVG on Virgin Atlantic, and then PVG-MLE on China Eastern.  All partners, no Delta metal at all. As  above, EWR-(LHR-)PVG is in Business and PVG-MLE is in coach. The only real difference is routing via Europe and with two partners.

The price? 161,000 SkyMiles.

Why Am I Writing About This?

Because it’s unexpected. It’s not the base expected rate from the US to Male. It’s not including any Delta segments. And it’s pricing at a “dynamic-esque” level. Meaning that it’s not 160,000 miles. It’s a very “dynamically precise” 161,000 miles (one way).

If it had been a “round number” I might have thought it had to do with transiting Europe or something, but there is no routing rule I’m aware of that would make something cost 161,000 SkyMiles.

What do you make of this? Have you encountered similar?

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

You can find credit cards that best match your spending habits and bonus categories at Your Best Credit Cards

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.