Delta Devastates Partner Awards with Massive Price Hike

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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.

Our Take

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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  • Kevin Felt says:

    Seriously, Delta. If a flight is a similar price and similar times, this kind of stuff makes me want to go with another airline.

  • Yeouch, that doesn’t help. As they’ve long ago terminated relationships with some survey sites I don’t get enough miles to use them much.

  • Delta stranded us twice on one trip and didn’t give a damn. We will never fly them again.

  • They can do this but changing without communicating the change in advance to the users is unfair.
    Are the devaluation concerning only the business class?

  • Only way to get them to stop them devaluing is to stop flying delta.

  • Ah, Delta, Delta, Delta. This is exactly why we can’t seem to get along.

  • Barbara C says:

    With Delta, we are somewhat a captive audience flying out of ATL. However, we are now in the earn and burn mode. We’ve still gotten great value on awards this year. Got 2 1-ways to Costa Rica at 17,500 each and also found a round trip for my friend from ATL to Newfoundland for 25,000. It is still possible to get value, you just have to work harder finding them.

  • Delta! Just stop it!

  • Thanks Delta.

  • Delta is so annoying. Glad I didn’t put a lot of work into Skymiles.

  • Bertrand Say says:

    Are airlines allowed to do this without any warning at all?

  • Let’s hope AA and United don’t copy such bad moves!

  • And who do we credit for the term, Skypesos? (Was it Gary Leff?)

  • I know that some people are hub captive, but I fail to understand why anybody would collect Skypesos.

    The sad part is that Delta’s apparent success is going to tempt others towards the same “no award chart, pay what we tell you” set-up. (i.e. Hilton Honors)

  • Adam Parsons says:

    Another devaluation, I’m thinking if this continues sale prices which now pop regularly will make points only a marginal difference.
    Is there a strategy behind devaluation to make them worthless?

  • Yikes! That’s too bad.

  • Probably costs Delta less with the partner airline if a Delta flight is included.. so generous Delta has seen a chance to save a dollar…

  • wow seems like aa and ua will follow again.

  • Is the credit card still useful in redeeming the miles at 1c per point?

  • Delta can not be trusted.

  • I rarely find any affordable partner space with delta. There partners don’t care. I think they just figured it is best to make it look unattractive and force to fly on delta operated flight

  • Makes me even happier that literally, last Thursday, I burned my final 160k on an ex-Asia biz award.

  • Another airline devaluation, nothing new here when it comes to AA, DL, and UA. I do not have many DL miles left so I will not be taking a huge hit. My motto is earn and burn. It seems like a get a weekly email from AA and UA offering to sell me there overpriced miles.

  • Delta is already hard to redeem with a high mile requirement… It seems to be best to keep on avoiding them.

  • Sebastian says:

    Thanks die the heads up!

  • This will also force more people on to DL metal making availability even harder to find. #KeepDescending

  • Delta really has no shame and doesn’t know when to stop.
    The only way to show DL they made a huge mistake is to not fly with them at all.
    Anyone flying DL and saving up Skymiles should stop doing that right now.

  • What else is new? Legacies just constantly obliterating their award programs constantly. It’s disappointing, but I guess we’re getting better deals often by way of cheaper fares via competition. I’d make that trade.

  • That’s a real shame! And the worst aspect is that this happened without Delta saying anything in advance!