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Update: Delta appears to have fixed the “bug” when adding a Delta-operated segment as mentioned below.
Ok, they have done it again and as usual without saying anything; once again Delta has devalued its partner awards and massively increased the cost in miles for flights booked with partners. Following the abolishing of award charts by Delta in 2015 there has been a continuous trend by Delta to hike the price of flying exclusively with partners. If you're looking to get a better value from your miles, check out some options you have when it comes to flying Delta and their partners at significantly reduced rates.
How Bad is the Devaluation?
While it is difficult to determine precisely how bad the devaluation is, since Delta does not publish an award chart, the only way to tell is to search for individual flights and compare them with previously known costs and the cost of the same route on Delta. Looking around the Delta site, there are some significant increases:
- Business class to Australia has gone up from 95,000 to 110,000 miles with Virgin Australia
- New York to London in Business is now pricing out at 85,000 miles on Virgin Atlantic, versus 70,000 miles on Delta
- Over most routes, there seems to be an increase in the range of 15-22% compared to flying Delta.
Rewards for Keeping a Delta Segment
Interestingly it seems Delta is trying to encourage travelers to keep at least a single segment of the trip flown on Delta. For example, it is cheaper to fly Las Vegas-Los Angeles-Sydney than it is to fly Los Angeles-Sydney, despite the fact that the Los Angeles-Sydney is the same partner operated flight, but the Las Vegas-Los Angeles component on Delta helps reduce the award cost. Perhaps this is simply a bug.
Devaluations are never good news, and you can only wonder when Delta will stop these sneaky devaluations. What is the point of having partner airlines that you can earn and redeem miles on if the redemption cost eventually becomes prohibitive? Fortunately, if you include a Delta component in your booking, then you can still get the lower price, which is great news, but might ultimately lead to people taking additional segments so as to keep the cost of their awards tickets down!
Source: One Mile at a Time
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